Wonder Woman Super Snacks

This summer, our movie screens were blessed with Wonder Woman. After reading the glowing reviews, I knew I wasn’t going to be disappointed with this movie I’d been waiting so long for. But, I didn’t expect it to have such a toll on me. I cried when Diana goes over the top of the tranches to take on no man’s land by herself and I saw her in the full Wonder Woman outfit. I was so moved seeing such a strong and powerful woman on screen. I walked out of that theatre feeling powerful and knowing I had found one of my new favorite movies.

So, of course I had to find some way to work Wonder Woman into my blog. I’d been looking to try one of those homemade ice creams that have been all over the internet recently, and since it’s summer I had to work in flavors like lemon and summer berries somehow. After some brainstorming, I’m excited to share with you my Wonder Woman Super Snacks!

Wonder Woman Ice Cream

The inspiration for the ice cream came from the sweet scene of Diana trying ice cream for the first time. It was a simple moment of Diana enjoying the little things in the midst of war. I couldn’t forget ice cream in my Wonder Woman inspired treats after this. Move over Superman ice cream, here comes Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman Lemon Berry Whoopie Pies

Whoopie pies were on my “to-do” baking list, and after seeing Diana wielding her shield in the movie, it was the perfect inspiration for these Lemon Berry Whoopie Pies. The lemon and berries are a perfect combo of summer flavors, while a little pinch of cayenne pepper giving it kick. I think it embodies the sweetness of Diana and her badass side.

Serve these up at your Wonder Woman viewing party once it comes out on DVD or whip them up whenever you need to get in touch with your Wonder Woman side.

Wonder Woman Ice Cream

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pint of heavy cream
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 and a half teaspoons of vanilla
  • Red, blue, and yellow food coloring
Instructions
  • Whip the heavy cream until peaks form, then add the condensed milk and vanilla.
  • Separate the mix into three bowls, and add one of the three food colorings to each and mix.
  • Layer the colored mix into a pan (I used a loaf pan)
  • Run a knife through the mixture to swirl the colors in any pattern you like.
  • Freeze for about 4-5 hours before serving

 

 

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Wonder Woman Lemon Berry Whoopie Pies

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1 cup and 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 and a half tablespoons of grated lemon zest
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla 
  • 1 egg
  • 2 and 1/4 cups of flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • Raspberry Buttercream
    • 1 stick of butter, softened
    • 1 tablespoon of whole milk
    • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
    • Fresh raspberries, rinsed
    • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • Blueberry Buttercream
    • same as above, substitute blueberries
Instructions
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Beat the butter, brown sugar, and lemon zest. Add the vanilla, lemon juice, and egg and beat to combine, scraping down bowl as needed.
  • In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt together.
  • Add in flour mixture and milk in small amounts, alternating between the two.
  • Drop batter in mounds on baking sheets with parchment paper. Bake about 17 minutes.
  • Set aside to cool on wire racks.
  • While the cookies are cooking and cooling, beat the butter, milk, and vanilla.
  • Once creamy, add the raspberries and beat until well combined. I eyeballed this, doing a small handful at a time till I got the color, flavor, and consistency I wanted.
  • Add the powdered sugar in batches until mixed in. Repeat to make the blueberry buttercream
  • Place the raspberry buttercream in a piping bag. I had to improvise with a plastic bag, so while it isn’t as pretty, it got the job done.
  • One cooled, flip the whoopie pies so the flat bottoms are facing up and pair the shapes the best you can.
  • Pipe a bit of raspberry buttercream onto one whoopie pie, and add blueberry buttercream to the other side. Stick em together like glue.

Enjoy!

 

 

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Cheers, Josie

Chicken Enchilada Chili

Sometimes keeping it simple and sweet is the best answer for dinner, especially when your schedule is jammed packed. With less than a month till my senior year of college starting, I’m stocking up on new slow cooker recipes. I will continue to preach my love for my slow cooker till the day I die, and I stand by my statement that college students should have them if they move to an apartment. They just make everything so much easier!

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This recipe came around as a “I have things in my fridge about to go bad, what can I make with these ingredients?” situation. My chicken and jalapeños were getting ready to turn, so that opened up to a lot of recipe ideas. And so came the Chicken Enchilada Chili. The only thing I had to go out and buy for this recipe was the enchilada sauce, since all the other items are staples in the apartment. Easy ingredients make for an easy dinner. Even kittens can’t resist this chili.

This is my half recipe, and since it’s hard to find half size cans, I put the remaining half of everything into a bag and put it in the freezer so it’s all ready to go next time I want to make this. I’m putting the ounces just in case you’re able to find smaller cans of these.

Chicken Enchilada Chili

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces red enchilada sauce
  • 7 ounces diced tomatoes with green chilis
  • 7.5 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 7.5 ounces corn, drained
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 3/4 of a pound of chicken breasts
  • cup chicken broth
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon and 1/8 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 tablespoon chili powder
Instructions
  • Add the enchilada sauce, tomatoes, black beans, corn, jalapeño, onions, uncooked chicken breasts, chicken stock, and all of the seasonings to the crock pot. Stir well.
  • Cover and cook on low for 5 hours, until chicken will shred easily.
  • Remove the chicken from the crockpot and shred in another bowl using two forks.
  • Cut the cream cheese into small cubes and put them in the crock pot. Stir well and cover. Let it sit for a few minutes on high heat and then whisk the cream cheese to melt.

  • Add the shredded chicken back into the crockpot. Stir and cover. Cook on high until all the cream cheese is completely melted. Stir.
  • Serve with toppings of your choice! I used sour cream, green onion, cheese, and a splash of fresh squeezed lime.

    Enjoy!

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    Cheers, Josie

Door County Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

In July, my parents and youngest sister took a road trip up from Florida to visit me, and while they were here we took my first (and hopefully not last) jaunt to Door County. The area is known for its cherries, and we were there right before they went in season. Passing the cherry orchards and seeing the bright yellows fading into the deep reds for the upcoming season was beautiful and something I’ve never seen before.

Of course I had to bring some cherry souvenirs home, so I went for the dark chocolate covered cherries. They were the best I’ve ever had, and I made sure to grab an even bigger bag of them (and one to send to my lovely girlfriend Brigid) before I left. And as someone who loves new recipes, the second I got them home I started wondering what else I could do with them. Then it hit me: Door County Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies!

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Let’s be honest, fresh chocolate chip cookies are some of the best things in the world, and you can’t go wrong adding delicious dark chocolate covered cherries to them. This is a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe you can find on the back of any bag of chocolate chips, but I just make a few little changes to make it my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. Using flaky sea salt instead of table salt gives it a little extra salty bite that I love. Yes, I love salty chocolate chip. I know it’s weird way to describe it, but I swear it’s good. Everyone at the office loved them when I brought them in, so I promise there are other people who like it. Trust me, the sea salt is great, especially when paired with the tartness of the cherries.

I thought I’d give a new recipe format a try, with a PDF version available here. I’ll still include the gallery of step-by-step photos on each post. Let me know what you think of the new layout and if you’d like to see more like this. Enjoy!

Door

 

 

 

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Cheers,  Josie

 

My 6 Best Finds at the Lands’ End Warehouse Clearance Sale

My roommate, Maria, and I took a drive to Dodgeville on Friday to check on the Lands’ End Warehouse Clearance Sale. My mom was an intern for Lands’ End, which has it’s headquarters in Dodgeville, when she went to school here and made the 45 minute drive from Madison everyday, sometimes in the snow. I honestly don’t know how she did it, it felt like forever. That’s about the same time between where I live back in Florida to Boca Raton and that drive never feels long. I’m also not used to long stretches of farmland in between destinations, but this was worth the drive.

The sale is at Ley Pavillion in Harris Park and goes for six full days, with the stock rotating everyday. The last day is tomorrow from 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., so try to make it out there and get some deals while you can. Apparently the last day is the best deals, going up to 70 percent off.

 

I’d never been to a warehouse sale before, so it was a little overwhelming when we first walked in and saw the rows and rows of clothing racks, boxes, and tables. They give you a huge, clear garbage bag when you walk in to fill with things you find. For a Friday afternoon, it wasn’t super crazy crowded. It was mostly old ladies fighting each other for things, and Maria and I couldn’t help laughing at the passive aggressive remarks they kept making to each other. Only a couple other groups of people our age were there, but the deals here are great for college students, so I’d really recommend trying to get out there if you can and bring a whole group of friends. The coolest thing to me was they have everything that was a mess up or returned monogram or embroidered name heavily reduced. It’s cool seeing what was returned and wondering why they were. You might even luck out and find your name. I found one that was only a letter off from my monogram. Damn, so close.

My haul consists of six pieces, much less than the people walking out with two or three filled garbage bags of stuff. Everything I got was discounted extra for being “Not So Perfect”, which ranged from discontinued items to catalog returns to physical mistakes. A couple of mine say it’s for fabric damage or mess ups, but I certainly can’t find or see them. I got major savings, and would say the little day trip out to Dodgeville was a success. Take a look at my finds below!

Side note: I apologize now for the awful lighting in my room. A basement apartment doesn’t make for a great photo shoot.

Women’s Explorer Down Parka in Black

  • Originally: $199.00
  • Marked Down: $119.00
  • Extra 50% off: $59.50

 

Women’s Polartec Aircore 100 Fleece Half Zip in Lavender Pink

  • Originally: $34.00
  • Marked Down: $17.00
  • Extra 40% off: $10.20

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Women’s Active Crop Pants in Classic Navy

  • Originally: $45.00
  • Marked Down: $31.50
  • Extra 40% off: $18.90

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Women’s Starfish Leggings in Black

  1. Originally: $35.00
  2. Marked Down: $24.50
  3. Extra 30% off: $17.15

Acrylic Throw in Blackwatch

  1. Originally: $25.00
  2. Marked Down: $6.00
  3. Extra 30% off: $4.20

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Plush Fleece Throw in Blackwatch

  1. Originally: $24.00
  2. Marked Down: $14.00
  3. Extra 30% off: $9.80

Original Total: $362.00
New Total: $119.75
Total Savings: $242.35

With huge savings on items from a company I know has reliable clothing that’ll last me a while, this event will be on my calendar from now on. Take a trip to Dodgeville and see what steals and deals you can get for yourself. Let me know what cool things y’all find!

Cheers, Josie

Slow Cooker Brisket Dinner

Since I started college, I don’t eat beef as much as I used to back home. It’s just too expensive and I’ll admit I’m too much of a priss to go for the really cheap cuts. Even those are hard to find since my closest grocery store is Trader Joe’s. Sometimes I luck out though and can find a good deal, like I did with some beef brisket the other week.

A treat of good beef called for a good dinner, complete with sides. I rummaged through my cabinets and found a couple unopened ingredients I wanted to incorporate somehow: wholegrain mustard infused with Irish stout and some pear balsamic vinegar. With a little creativity and editing of some old go-to recipes, I came up with slow cooker brisket sandwiches with Irish stout honey mustard and a side of pear balsamic green bean salad. Like most of my slow cooker recipes, this is pretty simple but you get the satisfaction of a proper dinner like you’d get back home. So put down the microwave dinner, close out that EatStreet app, and give this a try!

  • A couple tips
    • Since this type of mustard is really strong, I did it all to taste besides the base amount of mayo.
    • This green bean salad is a variation of one I’ve made a few times before using normal balsamic that also has grape tomatoes and feta cheese in it, so if you want some extras in the salad or can’t find pear balsamic, it’s super customizable.

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Slow Cooker Beef Brisket Sandwiches

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes

Makes ~ 2 sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound of beef brisket
  • 1/2 cup of beef broth
  • 1/2 cup of red wine
  • 1/4 of a yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried rosemary
  • Bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup of Mayo
  • Irish stout whole grain mustard
  • Honey
  • Sourdough buns

Instructions

  1. Cut any large jiggly bits of fat off the brisket, then season with salt and pepper all over.
  2. Add some olive oil to a skillet and heat, then add the brisket to the hot oil and brown on all sides till you get a nice crust.
  3. Place the onion, garlic, rosemary, bay leaf, broth, and wine to the crock pot. Add the brisket and fill with enough water to cover the beef.
  4. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  5. To make the honey mustard, mix the mayo with the mustard, honey, salt, and pepper to taste. Let it sit in the fridge while the brisket cooks.
  6. Once done, remove the bay leaf and shred the brisket.
  7. Toast the buns, spread with the honey mustard, and add your brisket to build your sandwich.

Pear Balsamic Green Bean Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: at least 1 hour to set
Total Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed 
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 and a half tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 and a half tablespoons pear balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground mustard
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  1. Boil green beans until tender (6-8 minutes).
  2. Drain, then immediately blanch (put in ice water to stop the cooking process) the green beans, then drain again and pat dry with paper towel.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk oil, lemon juice, pear balsamic vinegar, salt, garlic powder, mustard and pepper. You can adjust this to taste too, as i like a little extra pepper in mine.
  4. Drizzle over beans, add the onion, and toss to coat everything. Refrigerate at least 1 hour to let all the goodness soak in.

Enjoy!

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Cheers, Josie

French Onion Chicken Casserole

One of the things that was a culture shock when I first moved to the Midwest was the craze of “hotdishes” up here. I honestly had no clue what people meant when they said that until I went to a potluck and someone signed up to bring a hotdish displayed a casserole. I had my “Ohh, so that’s what it is,” moment.

Don’t get me wrong, the South loves casseroles too. My sister, Izzy, makes an awesome green bean casserole for our holiday dinners. But, like, y’all eat an insane amount of casseroles up here. I’m sure there was at least one casserole option at Gordon dining hall every night. Which makes sense, since the all-knowing Wikipedia assures me it is “one of the quintessential foods of the region.”

IMG_5808Basically, a casserole/hotdish/kugel/whatchamacallit is a glorious mix of a canned (usually) cream of something soup, a type of starch like potatoes or pasta, a meat, and canned or frozen veggies. Doesn’t sound too bad, huh? Considering how easy to make and yummy they sound, I decided to make one myself with ingredients I had laying around in my cupboard. Since my favorite casserole is Izzy’s green bean casserole, I started with my favorite part of that casserole: French fried onions. I’d recently seen a Pinterest recipe for French fried onion crusted chicken, so I thought that was a good route to go. Mix that all up with some cheese, cream of chicken soup, and noodles, and you’re good to go. I ended up loving this and it really was an easy grab-what-you-can-out-of-the-cupboards-and-dump-it-in-a-bowl type recipe. I 10/10 would recommend giving this a try yourself, or even giving your own creation a shot. Let me know what you think of this or what you come up!

French Onion Chicken Casserole

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30
Total Time: 40-55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked chopped chicken
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 8 oz French Onion Dip, premade or from a mix
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  • 6 oz egg noodles
  • 1 cup crushed French fried onions

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 8×8-inch pan with cooking spray. I only had a bread pan, but that worked well too and make the casserole a bit deeper.
  2. Cook egg noodles 8-10 minutes.
  3. Prepare the french onion dip if using a mix. I used the Lipton Onion Soup and Dip Mix, so half a packet with about 8 oz of sour cream. You can always taste and add a bit more mix if needed.
  4. While the noodles are cooking, combine the soup, french onion dip, cheese, and half the French fried onions.
  5. Drain and stir in cooked egg noodles and cooked chicken.
  6. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Top with the remaining French fried onions and a little extra cheddar cheese.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes until everything is melty, bubbling, and heated through.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Cheers, Josie

My Bolognese

I’m finally doing it. I’m jumping into the Great Bolognese Debate.

Hold on, let me give a little context here. The Great Bolognese Debate is basically an ongoing debate, well more like just arguing at this point, about the One True Way to make bolognese sauce, a meat-based sauce from Bologna, Italy. Comment sections of cooking videos on Facebook are riddle with it, and sometimes I like to skim through them to see who has what to complain about now.

How dare you use olive oil in this dish!

Where is the olive oil? Isn’t this an Italian dish? Why would you use butter!

You only use the fat from the meats, you heathens! 

Tomato paste and no sauce? 

Ewwww, who puts milk in it???

Red wine.

No, white wine.

Red wine!

White wine!!!

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Paste or no paste? Sauce or no sauce? Crushed tomatoes or none? White or red wine? So many questions with many different answers

I think you get the idea. Honestly, there is no point arguing in the comments section of a 45 second Tasty or Delish video about how wrong it or another person’s recipe is. I do find it funny that the people who complain the most about the recipe being totally wrong offer little to no explanation why and no alternative recipe. I do appreciate the people who leave comments saying that every nonna, Nanny, or Great Grandma in Bologna has their own recipe that is the claimed One True Way and passed it down for generations.

This bolognese recipe is what came of experimenting with a couple different recipes and ingredients since March. I’ve made it three times, all different ways, and then took my favorite aspect of each and combined it into my perfect sauce. I used a combination of the “official” ragù alla bolognese recipe from the Accademia Italiana della Cucina website (that one semester of Italian my freshman year paid off, I didn’t even have to translate the whole page), a Pinterest recipe, and another traditional recipe online. I prefer using the white wine instead of red wine, I do put milk in mine, and I only use the fats of the meats I’m cooking with, so no oil or butter. As much as I would love to use pancetta in mine, it isn’t the smartest purchase on a college budget, so I make mine with bacon. I’m sure my Italian ancestors (haven’t you noticed my last name is Russo?) are rolling in their graves, but hey, a girl has to make smart choices. Maybe my graduation present to myself will be buying some pancetta and making this sauce properly.

The bottom line for me is if the recipe sticks to the general roots of the tradition and it’s something you like and makes you happy, that’s all that matters. Isn’t that the point of recipes? I love the idea of every family having their own version that changes over the generations.

So here is my contribution, and why I simply called it My Bolognese.

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My Bolognese

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: ~2 hours
Total Time: ~2 hours and 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 pound of ground beef
4 ounces pancetta or bacon, diced
1 and 1/2 cups of mirepoix
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup (3 oz) tomato paste
1  can (6 oz) tomato sauce
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup milk
1 (16 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, brown the ground beef with salt and pepper. Drain the fat and set aside.
  2. Do the same with the pancetta or bacon until it’s crisp. Drain most of the fat, leaving some for cooking, and set aside.
  3. Add the mirepoix and cook until soft, about 8 minutes on medium heat.
  4. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for about 1 minute.
  5. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for about 2 minutes.
  6. Add the wine and simmer until almost evaporated, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add the milk and tomatoes, stirring until combined.
  8. Add in the meats and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  9. Bring to a simmer then partially cover and reduce to medium-low heat. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 2 hours.
  10. Serve over your favorite pasta, some fresh bread, or toast. Remember, it is how you want to enjoy it!

Side Note: I’m using a gas stove, so it cooks a bit faster and hotter than usual. Keep an eye on your food when cooking and adjust the cooking times and heats for your stove.

Enjoy!

 

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Cheers,  Josie

Lemon Butter Cookies

I love summer because it means tons of lemon, lime, and orange flavored drinks and food galore. I live for key lime pie, and I’m so prissy about it that I even brought my own key lime juice from the Florida Keys to Wisconsin to bake with. I also love lemon desserts, like blueberry and lemon muffins. Oh, and lime and coconut shortbread! With all these different options, it is hard to chose what I want to make next! So, of course I took to Twitter to get some opinions.

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The Lemon Butter Cookies were the clear winners, and even though the Key Lime Pie got not love, I’m sure I’ll still get around to making one this summer. IMG_6699

This cookies are delicious though. They combine the butteriness of shortbread with the refreshing tartness of lemon that just screams summer. Just writing this is making my mouth water and now I want to make another batch. Even Rey was trying to get ahold of one. Note to self: don’t make anything that requires sticky glaze and do it where a kitten can reach. There was a lot of cleaning sticky paws and reprimanding that day. As you can see, it didn’t do much good. She lurked around on the chairs just waiting for me to turn my back so she could grab the parchment paper and try to pull all the cookies to the ground. There were a couple times she came close to doing it too. Kittens do not make a good sous-chef.

I made these for a NAMA party at the end of the year and it seemed like people really liked them! Of course since it was an agriculture related class, I had to use the cow cookie cutter I found for a couple of them. Give the recipe a try yourself and let me know what you think!

Lemon Butter Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

For the cookies (about 2 dozen):

  • 1 cup  of butter, softened
  • 2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 2 lemons, for zest and juice
  • 4 and 1/2 cups of flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
For the glaze:
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • Fresh squeezed lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Zest one lemon into the mix, then beat in eggs, milk and fresh lemon juice.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients about a cup at a time to the creamed mixture and mix well.
  4. Cover and chill for 2 hours, then preheat oven to 350°F.
  5. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with a 2-inch cookie cutter. I didn’t have mine, so the lid of a mason jar worked just fine!
  6. Place 2-inches apart on ungreased baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.
  7. Allow cookies to cool for about 3 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
  8. In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon zest and juice from the other lemon until smooth. Dip each cookie top into the glaze, then let the cookies sit until icing has set.

Enjoy!

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Cheers,  Josie

Smoky Chipotle Nacho Dip

I’m a spice and oil hoarder. A weird spice I’ll probably use once? Need it. Flavored oils at the Dane County Farmer’s Market? Gotta have them. I knew I was doomed when one of my professors introduced me to Acala Farms flavor-infused cottonseed oils right before the summer break started. Lots of free time and a bunch of fun ingredients means new recipes, so how could I resist? I quickly swept up six of the flavors:

  • Fried Shallot
  • Jalapeño-Lime
  • Smoky Chipotle
  • Sweet Guajillo Pepper
  • Fresh Roasted Garlic
  • Chili Cumin

I’d never used cottonseed oil to cook before, so I was excited to give them a try. I also wanted to know what the benefits of using cottonseed oil are.

A high smoke point means that Acala Farms oils won’t burn, scorch or disappear in the pan, so they’re great for frying, searing, sauteing and stir-frying. The clear, clean, light body of these oils leaves no oil-taste halo, so the flavor you want is the flavor you get. Rich in antioxidants, the oils contain zero trans fat and zero cholesterol.

– “WHY COTTONSEED OIL?” Acala Farms

So far, I’m loving them. They add such great flavor to all the recipes I’m experimenting with, and doesn’t overwhelm other ingredients. I’m mostly coming up with the recipes with whatever the flavor of the oil inspires, like jalapeño-lime chicken sandwiches or fried shallot roast potatoes. Smoky chipotle made me think of a slightly spicy and smoky nacho dip, so that’s exactly what I made. Like a lot of the things I make, it is super easy and delicious. It’s a perfect quick summer snack to take with you to picnics and cookouts. You’ll be sure to impress.

If you’re not able to get ahold of Acala Farms cottonseed oil, I would recommend a mix of light olive oil and smoky chipotle seasoning when cooking the veggies and meat, and just adding seasoning to the cheese sauce with the other spices. Or you can use a similar flavored oil you find, especially since chipotle is so popular. But, I highly recommend trying these oils out! They’re worth it. With 14 weeks of summer left and five more oils, stay tuned to see what other creative concoctions I can make with these flavor-infused cottonseed oils.

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Smoky Chipotle Nacho Dip

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • Acala Farms Smoky Chipotle cottonseed oil
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 pound of ground beef
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 4 tablespoons of flour
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 3 cups of shredded cheddar
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 a teaspoon cayenne

Instructions

  1. Sauté the diced red pepper, onion, and jalapeño in some Smoky Chipotle cottonseed oil, about eight minutes.
  2. Brown the ground beef with a bit of Smoky Chipotle cottonseed oil, then drain.
  3. Heat the butter and flour, whisking until bubbling. Cook for about 60 more seconds.
  4. Whisk the milk into the mixture, bringing it to a simmer while whisking until thick.
  5. Turn off the heat and stir in handfuls of shredded cheddar until melted into the sauce.
  6. Once melted, stir in the meat, veggies, salt, cayenne, and a little more Smoky Chipotle oil to taste. Serve with tortilla chips or pretzel nuggets and a light drizzle of the Smoky Chipotle oil on top.

Bonus Recipe! Pretzel Nuggets

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

  • 1 pound of pizza dough
  • 1/3 cup of baking soda
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Sea salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 450°F, and bring about 5 cups of water and the baking soda to boil. Pull pieces of dough and roll into small balls. I made about nine and they get pretty big after cooking.
  • Drop a few pieces of dough into boiling water, and cook them about 30 seconds before removing them with a slotted spoon to shake the excess water off.
  • Place them on a oiled cookie sheet about 1/2 inch apart. Brush dough with egg and sprinkle with salt.
  • Bake 10 to 12 minutes, then immediately remove to cooling rack for about five minutes. Serve pretzel bites with the fresh nacho dip.

Enjoy!

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Cheers,  Josie

Beauty & Botany: Rosehip Oil

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Marshalls is a dangerous place. I went in with my roommate a few weeks ago as she looked for some shoes, and we both came out with bagfuls of stuff we didn’t need. I was strong until we made it to the beauty section. I couldn’t resist the bright red “Under $5” sign glaring at me, or the pretty packaging of the Organik Botanik Australia hair & facial treatment packs right on top of the sale pile. I snagged up one of each: Girls Night In: Rosehip Oil, Weekend Away: Coconut Oil, and Recovery Rescue: Charcoal & Mint. At $4.99 each when they’re usually $15 for one, I simply had to get them.

Since it was spring break this week and I stayed in town, I thought I’d pamper myself with the rosehip oil one. I actually hadn’t heard much about rosehip oil before buying the pack, so I decided to do some research before running it through my hair and all over my face.

What is it and where does it come from?

Rosehip oil is extracted from the seeds of wild rose bushes (Rosa moschata or Rosa rubiginosa). Most oil comes from the southern Andes in Chile, but can also come from South Africa or Europe  (Rosa canina).The oil in the treatment pack I bought is from Rosa canina.

Rosehip oils comes from the “hips,” the small fruits found behind the flowers, which are left once the roses have bloomed and lost their petals. It isn’t the same as rose essential oil, but it still has a light scent that reminds me of rose.

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The oil has been used for generations by the Andean Indians and Egyptians because of its abundance of natural nutrients and vitamins.

What is it composed of?

Rosehip oil contains a bounty of nutrients including vitamins A, C and E, essential fatty acids (linolenic, linoleic, and oleic acid), stearic acid and palmitic acid (x).

So what does all that do?

It’s a natural treatment for dry or dull hair, dry skin, dry/brittle nails, acne, dandruff, scar treatment, sunburn, and eczema. (x) 

“The essential fatty acids found in rosehip seed oil also work wonders for dry scalp and itchiness due to stress and chemicals in shampoo. It’s what the skin needs for hydration and skin sensitivities.” Joanna Vargas, celebrity facialist and founder of the eponymous salon and skincare collection, said in an interview the The Huffington Post. 

After reading all this, I figured it was worth giving the pack a try, especially since I have dry skin and hair.

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The Facial Scrub and Mask

First off, I loved how rose and rosehip products smell. It’s a very light floral, and not cloying when you put it on. I probably wouldn’t have used it if it was. So if you’re sensitive to really strong smells, don’t worry with this.

The scrub was nice and refreshing. It isn’t a deep one like an apricot scrub, but it does use walnut shell (Juglans regia) like most scrubs I’ve seen. I got my face damp and went through the usual motions of a face scrub. It was cooling and smelled lovely, but wasn’t too special since you washed it off immediately.

The face mask was my favorite part of the whole pack. It was light and didn’t overheat my skin like some masks too because it’s so sensitive. I only had to keep it on for 10-15 minutes and it doesn’t dry down, but it felt and smelled so lovely I didn’t want to take it off. I legitimately sat back on my bed and relaxed while I had it on, which is rare for me. To take it off, I used a washcloth with warm water, and then rubbed the remaining oil into my skin. It felt so smooth and hydrated that I wanted to just keep touching my face!

The Hair Mask

I’m honestly not sure how to feel about the hair mask. I loved how my hair felt after I washed it out, but I hated every second it was in my hair because it felt so weird. I have really thick hair and it’s super fluffy, so I think the sensation of putting goup in my hair is what freaked me out.

Like the face mask, it only had to be in my hair 10-15 minutes. I focused on coating the ends and then ran it through to the roots. Then I wrapped it up in a towel and tried to relax, but wasn’t so successful with that part. My favorite part of the mask was washing it off.

It left my hair smelling like roses, made my curls soft, and actually calmed down the natural frizz. While actually wearing the mask in my hair was awful, I would do it again for those same results.

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The Bottom Line

For $4.99, this was totally worth it. You get a good amount of each product (0.71 oz  each for the face scrub and mask, 1.41 oz for the hair mask) and I had a bunch left over from the face products. I tried looking up online where to get this, but haven’t had much luck. I might need to trek over to Marshalls again to grab a couple more. Hopefully they still have some lingering around. If I can’t find anymore, I’m definitely looking into buying a bottle of rosehip oil to  mix into some conditioners and lotions. From my quick skim of a few websites, it seems to average $11-12 for a 4 oz bottle. But if this first use is anything to go by, I think it will be worth the investment, especially since you only use a few drops each time.

Since this pack went well, I’ll be sure to try the other two out and give y’all my feedback and some botanical background of those ingredients. Any preference for which I do next? Weekend Away: Coconut Oil orand Recovery Rescue: Charcoal & Mint? Let me know in the comments below!

Cheers,  Josie