Jell-O Cookies {Just Helen}

15 Aug

image from Just Helen (click for source)

(Review by Denise)

This pin was so cute I couldn’t help but check it out. Turns out: cute and simple! Just Helen  has a smart thing going with these colorful cookies. Check out her recipe here.

I would have loved to make all four flavors like she did–or at least two different flavors–but this desert heat is just too much for extended baking.  (I got lucky today because it was overcast and slightly cooler!) I used a pack of strawberry Jell-O we had on hand. I did not add any food coloring as the dough, but had I wanted a brighter pink I certainly could have. I used bright pink sprinkles on one tray, and red sprinkles on another. Both look good, but the pink blends in more. (My photo from my phone is below.)

Verdict? Great! They turned out perfectly–not crispy and not doughy. The strawberry flavor is noticeable; I wasn’t sure if it would be. (One more reason to try the other Jell-O flavors!) My girls, of course, would gobble any pretty pink dessert, but I had my doubts when it came to my 5th grade son. I thought the lack of chocolate chips alone would be a disappointment. He loves them! These would be great for a colorful birthday party or if your child’s school allows home-baked treats, don’t you think?


Caramelized Honey Dijon Chicken {How Sweet It Is}

2 Aug

Click image for source

(Review by Denise)

Last night my mom came over for dinner and, in the name of saving money, I refused to go to the grocery store for ingredients. Thank you Pinterest, once again, for coming to my rescue! This time a pin from How Sweet It Is  provided just the recipe I needed: few ingredients, all on hand. Go check out the recipe for Caramelized Honey Dijon Chicken right here.

Not knowing if my mom would go for the sharp flavor in straight-up Dijon, I used 1/8 cup Dijon and 1/8 cup whole-grain Dijon (which has more of a sweet flavor). The spicy mustard I used was just regular ol’ grocery store stuff you put on a hot dog, spicy brown mustard. All else I cooked per her instructions, and I am notorious for drying out chicken so I was skeptical.

Verdict? Awesomesauce. And of course I mean that literally, because the sauce was oh-so-awesome. The chicken didn’t dry out (whoo-hoo!), and it was indeed, a beautiful caramelized color. I served it up with some long grain brown rice and green beans. It was a hit with my mom and my little girls. A definite keeper.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie {Redhead Recipes}

31 Jul

(Review by Denise)

I am having a hard time locating the source for this recipe. The website on the pin is, but nothing comes up. After doing a Google search, there is in fact a blog called Redhead Recipes–but I cannot find Pumpkin Pie Smoothie on her site. However just in case, here is a link to Redhead Recipes.

The pin included the recipe underneath.  So for lack of a real web link, here it is:

Blend together 1/2 banana, 1/3 cup pumpkin puree, 1/3 cup Greek plain yogurt, 3/4 cup vanilla almond milk or vanilla soy milk, few shakes of pumpkin pie spice, & 4-5 ice cubes.

I improvised based on what we had on hand. We have vanilla yogurt, but only regular ol’ (non-vanilla) cow’s milk. I also added a smidgen of vanilla extract and some women’s protein powder.

Verdict? Delicious! It really tasted like pumpkin pie, but with the slight tang of yogurt you’d expect in a smoothie. My son really liked it, too, and he is picky about smoothies.

Brownie in a Mug

17 Jul

(Review by Denise)

There are so many “in a mug” desserts on Pinterest! This is the first one I tried. I am disappointed to report no real blog link exists for the recipe. As you can see, it is one of those pins with the information ready to go. When I clicked for the link, was the site. I have my doubts that “Go Marketing Ideas” is the responsible party for this recipe. (If you happen to know the original source, please comment!)

We topped ours with ice cream and whipped cream, because we’re awesome like that. My sister-in-law is a higher-up tier of awesome because she requested that I put some M & M’s in the brownie batter before cooking it.

Verdict? Win. I especially love that there are no eggs in it, so you can under cook it if you like mushy desserts like I do. This would be great for college students, too!

The World’s Best Chicken {Rachel Schultz}

17 Jul

Image from

(Review by Denise)

This is one of “those” recipe pins. You know the ones… “Best recipe I’ve ever had in my life!!” “Only 5 ingredients!” “You’ll never make another chicken recipe again!” I went for this one, not because of the spectacular claims, but because the ingredients are ones we usually have on hand. Check it out here on Rachel Schultz’ blog.

The comments on her page mentioned how high the temperature sounded, but there were mixed results for people about how the chicken turned out in spite of that. I went with 400 degrees instead of 450. I also went with a smaller pan than a 9×10, mainly so it could fit in our toaster oven and not heat up the (already hot) house. Two fatso chicken breasts cut in half came out to one pound of chicken. I also used white wine vinegar because I had unknowingly run out of red. We are maple syrup snobs around here, so only the best for that.

Verdict? I loved it!! It turned out perfectly moist, something that rarely happens when I cook chicken. I have some small, picky eaters–but even they liked it paired with their favorite sauces. (And no, I wouldn’t recommend a grown person dip this delicious chicken in ranch dressing or catsup. But you do what works with kids sometimes.)

Moist Chocolate Cake {Foodess}

25 Jun

I’m proud to introduce today’s reviewer, my friend Steffi! Not only is she one of “those people” who often concoct their own fancy recipes (you know: “those people” we like to befriend), she is your go-to source if you’re on the hunt for gluten free eats. Check out her recipe blog, Steffi’s Kitchen! (Fun fact: Steffi speaks German. I know…totally demotes my bragging rights for speaking Spanglish.)

(Review by Steffi)

For Father’s Day I needed something that would make my husband’s taste buds dance. My man is a chocolate lover whose sweet tooth is rarely satiated. I’m gluten intolerant and don’t really have much of a sweet tooth, so I bake only for holidays and birthdays. When I found this recipe on Pinterest from Foodess I instantly thought it would be right up Rhett’s alley.

The cake is extremely easy to make. As Jennifer mentions – it is very quick. From the time I pulled ingredients from the pantry to the time I put the cakes in the oven to bake only 12 minutes went by.  The batter smells fantastic and it looks beautiful. The one thing I wasn’t too certain of is the coffee. Rhett is not a coffee drinker and doesn’t really care for the taste at all.

The cakes baked in exactly the amount of time the recipe listed. This shocked me. I find that baking times are always off when I bake. Sure enough, cake tester was inserted at 35 minutes and came out clean and clear!

I did two 9” rounds. I iced with buttercream and filled with choc mousse. Rhett said it was indeed the moistest cake he’d ever had. There is literally no trace of coffee flavor in the cake at all. I highly recommend this recipe for cake and/or chocolate lovers.

Mini Ham and Cheese Quinoa Cups {Iowa Girl Eats}

19 Apr

Photo by Iowa Girl Eats

(Review by Marci)

I don’t really have a good story to go along with this post. I wanted something easy and something for which I wouldn’t have to go to the store. I found this recipe for Ham and Cheese Quinoa Cups on Pinterest from Iowa Girl Eats. It seems to me that EVERYONE in the Midwest is really good at cooking. Maybe there is something in the water there? Anywho, I did not have ham but I did have sausage. Either one works well with eggs, so it’s all good. I was a little worried about the quinoa and how it would affect the texture and thus effecting whether or not my kids would eat. I was relieved that they loved it and asked for seconds! I love how versatile this recipe is and will be adding it into the rotation!