Tag Archives: baking

Thanksgiving Meal Prep (or Hopefully Everything Tastes Great)

Soon, I’ll be heading down to San Diego to be with my family for Thanksgiving. It’s probably going to be a long drive (a combination of holiday and rush hour traffic), but I’ve got lots of podcasts to keep me company while I’m making the drive.

My mom is making pretty much everything for Thanksgiving this year (technically my family is hosting it at the house we are renting in San Diego), but I really wanted to help out. I know that my mom works hard to get everything done, so if I can do a little of that work for her I know that she’ll have some extra time to be with everyone.

I first offered to make the feta, pine nut, sun-dried tomato dip that I made last year. I know that it’s a pretty easy recipe and that everyone seemed to like it when I made it last year (although I personally think that my mom makes it better than I could ever do). I also said that I’d make the blueberry banana bread since everyone likes that too and it can be breakfast for a couple of days. Then I thought about what else I could make in advance that my family might like. And I decided to make the black bean dip that I love for veggies. I’ve personally been adding salsa to the dip to make it a bit spicy, but it’s doesn’t last as long that way (maybe it’s too watery?) so I made it the normal way.

The only time I’d have before driving down to make all the food was on Sunday, so I made that my cooking day (even though only one thing actually has to be cooked). The first thing I got done was the blueberry banana bread since I figured I could do the dips while it was in the oven. It’s simple enough to make and within about 10 minutes I had that recipe done and in the oven to bake.

Next I worked on the black bean dip. Again, it’s super easy to put it together. I think the most time consuming task was to drain and rinse the beans. I got that done and in a disposable Tupperware container to bring with me.

Then I ran into a big of a snafu. I only have one food processor bowl and both of the dips needed to be made in the food processor. I had washed the bowls for the bread and the food processor after finishing the bean dip, but I used my kitchen towels to dry the bowls (not sure why I did that but I did). So I couldn’t really dry my food processor. So I took a break while that dried and then about an hour later got started on the feta dip.

I’m hoping that the feta dip turned out ok. It seemed more difficult than last year to make. The food processor didn’t want to process it. I had to start and stop several times and try to mash things down myself. I finally got it to look the way I feel it should look (it’s a bit smoother than I like it to be), and it seemed to taste ok to me. It has a few days for the flavors to meld together. Hopefully it just gets better with time.

I know that making 3 things for Thanksgiving is much less than most people have to make. But for someone who has been struggling to make more things from scratch, making 3 things from scratch in one day is a lot! But I think that it all looks pretty good to me!

Thanksgiving Food

Hopefully when my family gets to eat them that they enjoy them! I’ll have to let you all know how it goes when I do my Thanksgiving recaps next week!

The next few days of posts will be written before Thanksgiving, so they won’t totally be Thanksgiving related. But I want to share with you all what I’m thankful for this year, the gift that I had made for my mom that she will be getting tonight, and what my mom, dad, and I worked on to give to everyone in my family this year for Thanksgiving.

Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Cookies (or Cookies That My Mom Approved Of!)

The cookies that I made for the blogger cookie exchange were a big hit! After I had made them, I shared the recipe with my mom, and she liked them too! So here is the recipe for you all to enjoy some red velvet white chocolate chip cookies (made with boxed cake mix!)!

You’ll need:


2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 box red velvet cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 egg

2 cups mini white chocolate chips (I did 1 cup of regular ones)

What to do:

Preheat oven to 350

In a mixing bowl, add butter and mix until soft and fluffy

Slowly add in cake mix and flour

Once combined, add egg and mix completely

Add white chocolate chips and mix until well combined

Form dough into 1 inch balls and bake for 8-10 minutes (highly recommend baking on a Silpat or similar silicone baking mat)


Let cool for a few minutes before transferring to cooling racks


(I know that they aren’t super gorgeous, but I made the cookies too big and didn’t know to let them cool more before transferring them to the cooling rack)

This recipe says that it will make 4 1/2 dozen cookies, but since mine were so big, I got about 3 dozen.

I also highly recommend baking these in advance and storing in a zip bag in the freezer. When you want to serve, leave out at room temperature for at least 10 minutes (I do it an hour in advance). For some reason, I think that frozen and then defrosted cookies taste better! I think it makes them less crumbly but more moist.


Yogurt Banana Blueberry Bread (or Another Yummy Easy Recipe)

I’m not the biggest baker. I feel like people are bakers or cooks. I’m totally more of a cook. But there are some things that I bake well (like my brownies).

I found this recipe on Daily Garnish and only changed some minor things.

Here is the recipe for Yogurt Banana Blueberry Bread

What You’ll Need:

1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour

2 Tsp Baking Powder

1/2 Tsp Kosher Salt

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

1/4 Cup Cane Sugar

2 Ripe Bananas

1 Tsp Vanilla

2 Eggs

1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt (I like non-fat)

1 Cup Blueberries (frozen not recommended)

What To Do:

Preheat the oven to 350

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl.

In another bowl, mash up the bananas until they are gooey and liquid-like.

Add the sugar, eggs, and vanilla to the mashed up bananas.

Add the greek yogurt to the liquid mix and whisk until everything is combined and there are no lumps left.

Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix until just combined.

Fold in the blueberries. I found that the frozen ones end up adding too much extra liquid, so if you go that way, make sure to defrost and drain the frozen blueberries before mixing them in.

Pour the batter into a greased pan. I’ve made this both in a loaf pan and an 8×8 square pan. I now prefer the square pan. You can also cut the bread into cute little squares that way.

Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour. This depends on what you bake it in and how accurate your oven is. You will know it’s done when the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

When it’s done baking, let it cool for at least 15 minutes before trying to cut it.

This bread is so yummy and you don’t even taste the greek yogurt in it. But what I like about adding it in is it does add a little protein. It also helps keep it super moist.

And a tip if you freeze bananas when they are beyond ripe. Peel the bananas before you freeze them. It will make your life so much easier. It is almost impossible to peel a frozen banana.

Hope you all enjoy this bread and thanks to Daily Garnish for creating the recipe!

The Best Brownies Ever (or How to Impress with an Easy Recipe)

As I promised yesterday, I’m sharing my mom’s recipe for the most delicious brownies.

I’m not exactly sure where the recipe comes from originally, so I’m sorry I can’t properly credit whoever created them. All I know them as are Extra Rich (and Gluten-Free) Brownies.

Here’s what you’ll need:


1/2 cup butter (I use unsalted)

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 large eggs

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup chocolate chips (or change it up to peanut butter chips like I did)

And here’s what you do:

Preheat your oven to 350

Lightly grease an 8×8 baking pan (or be lazy like me, line the baking pan with foil and then grease the foil. It’s easy cleanup that way).

Melt the butter in the microwave and then add cocoa powder. Whisk.

Mix in the brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla.

Add the cornstarch and salt. Mix well.

Stir in the chocolate chips (or whatever type of chips you are using).

Pour mixture into the pan and bake for about 35 minutes. You want a toothpick to come out clean.

Let the brownies cool completely (I waited overnight) before cutting.

These brownies are awesome and seem to always impress the people I serve them too. And if you want extra easy cleanup, do what I did. Melt the butter in a Ziploc container and mix everything in there. One bowl to clean, and then I ended up using the same bowl to bring them to the picnic.

I hope you all enjoy this recipe. I know that these aren’t healthy, but they are a treat. They are pretty inexpensive to make though.

And let me know in the comments if you’d like me to blog some more of my recipes!