12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip

Bust out those aprons – it’s cookie time! Between now and Christmas, I’ll be sharing 12 delicious cookie recipes for you to try. Share some with your neighbors, bring some to a cookie swap party, or keep them all for yourself. I won’t tell anyone. Promise. 

chocolatechip

Welcome to day 2 of my 12 days of Christmas cookies series.

Today I’m sharing with you a recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Sure, they don’t scream Christmas, but they are a classic that will sure to please the taste buds of any recipient. 

I love how hearty these cookies look – they remind me of big, chunky Christmas sweaters. 

The recipe is versatile – you can add in raisins, berries or really whatever else tickles your fancy. I made another batch the last night and threw in some holiday colored peanut M&M’s and they turned out great. 

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Pro-tip: just before baking, press a couple of extra chocolate chips into the top of each cookie to make them extra pretty (and chocolate-y)

Enjoy!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
11 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
11 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 egg
  2. 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  3. 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  4. 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  5. 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  6. 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned whole rolled oats (not instant or quick cook)
  7. 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  8. 1 tsp cinnamon
  9. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  10. pinch salt
  11. 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl and electric mixer) combine the egg, butter, sugars, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until well combined
  2. Add oats, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, optional salt, and beat on low speed until just combined
  3. Add the chocolate chips and beat on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds.
  4. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in fridge for approx. 2 hours
  5. Roll dough into 1" balls and place onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  6. In an oven preheated to 350, bake cookies for 11 minutes or until edges are slightly brown
  7. Allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack
Notes
  1. Dough will still look undercooked when cookies are ready to be removed from oven, they will continue to cook so don't worry!
Adapted from Averie Cooks
Adapted from Averie Cooks
BRINGING UP BYRDS http://www.natashabyrd.com/
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12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Butter Pecan Cookie

Bust out those aprons – it’s cookie time! Between now and Christmas, I’ll be sharing 12 delicious cookie recipes for you to try. Share some with your neighbors, bring some to a cookie swap party, or keep them all for yourself. I won’t tell anyone. Promise. 
Butter Pecan Cookie Recipe

My contribution to our Thanksgiving meal this year was a big platter of cookies. I whipped up a few batches of these butter pecan cookies to add to the spread and, on the drive over, was instructed by Alex and my brother that we weren’t going to tell people how good these were so that there would be more for them. How’s that for holiday spirit? 😉

Of course, I caved as soon as someone asked me which one was best. Typical Natasha. 

butter pecan cookies

butter pecan cookies

We never got to see which cookie was the official crowd favorite since we had to end up leaving for the hospital but, I can tell you that at least half of the butter pecan cookies were gone before the turkey was out of the oven.

Just sayin’. 

butter pecan cookies

Butter Pecan Cookies
Yields 24
Soft, chewy and buttery cookie sure to be a crowd pleaser
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Prep Time
3 hr 30 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
3 hr 40 min
Prep Time
3 hr 30 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
3 hr 40 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups chopped pecans
  2. 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  3. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  4. 1 cup packed brown sugar
  5. 2 large eggs (room temperature)
  6. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  7. 2 1/2 cups flour
  8. 1 tsp cornstarch
  9. 1 tsp baking soda
  10. 1/2 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Place pecans on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and toast in oven for 5 minutes
  3. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment (or in large bowl with hand-held mixer), beat the butter until smooth (approx. 1 minute)
  4. Add both sugars to bowl and beat until light and fluffy
  5. Beat in eggs and vanilla on high speed
  6. In separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients
  7. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet mixture until well combined
  8. Add pecans and mix an addition 5-10 seconds until incorporated
  9. Cover with foil or plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 3 hours
  10. Remove dough from fridge and allow 15-20 minutes for it to warm slightly
  11. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  12. Bake in preheated oven for 10-11 minutes
  13. Allow to cool on cookie sheet approx. 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack
Notes
  1. For an extra sparkle and a little added sweetness, roll the dough in granulated sugar before placing on baking sheet!
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction
BRINGING UP BYRDS http://www.natashabyrd.com/
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Halloween Snack Fail

With it being Halloween week and all, I thought I would switch up our lunch routine a little bit and make some of those cute banana ghosts. You know, the ones that have chocolate chip faces? Lyla loves bananas and chocolate [ I mean…I’m assuming she does, I wouldn’t know that my toddler loves chocolate from experience or anything 😉 ] so I figured that they would be a home run.

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After she woke up from her nap, I sat Lyla on the kitchen counter we built them together. We peeled the banana, sliced it in half and then stuck some chocolate chips inside. Easy peasy. 

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She seemed to think it was cute at first. 

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But then decided that chocolate chips don’t belong inside of her bananas. 

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So she put her serious face on and helped me pick the chocolate chips out. 

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Chocolate chip removal is serious business. 

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I think it’s safe to say that this Halloween snack was a fail.

Maybe next year.

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Sweet Potato Banana Muffins

 

These days I can’t step into the kitchen without a certain toddler following me saying “pleeeeaaassseeee”. 

lyla-banana

She has discovered where all of those delicious “mum mums” that mom and dad bring to her come from and she wants in on as much of that action as she can get.

A girl after my own heart…errr stomach.

Hearing her little voice say “please” is basically the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard and it’s really hard to turn her down so I figured it was time for me to make something healthy for her to snack on. 

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Enter these sweet potato and banana mini muffins. They are quick & easy to make, have only four main ingredients, and are toddler-approved. 

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You trying saying “no” to that face. 

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Caramel Apple and Pecan Pie Marshmallows

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BakeInTheFun #CollectiveBias

caramel apple pecan pie marshmallows

Happy Friday, everyone! It’s been a busy week here at the Byrd house. We moved into our new place and have been spending every minute getting it unpacked and feeling like home.

Well, almost every minute. 

I’ve also been spending some time getting acquainted with our new kitchen and, judging by how these caramel apple and pecan pie marshmallows turned out, I think we are going to get along just fine. 

Making your own marshmallows is incredibly satisfying. I first tried last year and was so surprised that I didn’t need any special kind of equipment or anything. Just a few pots and pans and my stand mixer. Don’t have a stand mixer? Don’t let that discourage you! You can totally make your own batch of marshmallows using an electric hand mixer too and, when you are done making the marshmallows, you can come back and enter the MARS Bake In The Fun Sweepstakes for a chance to win your own! 

 

MARS Bake In The Fun Sweepstakes

 

To make these caramel apple and pecan pie marshmallows, you are going to start by gathering your ingredients. You will need: Mott’s® Apple Juice, 2 packets of unflavored gelatin, a package of a Pillsbury™ Moist Supreme® Cake Mix, granulated sugar, confectioner’s sugar, caramel, vanilla extract, cinnamon, salt and a package of M&M’s® Pecan Pie. 

I had the gelatin and sugar already, but was able to find everything else at Walmart. 

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In a bowl, combine 2 packets of gelatin mix with 8 Tablespoons of cold apple juice and set aside. While that is setting, grease an 8×8 pan with butter and sprinkle with a coating of confectioner’s sugar. 

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In a saucepan, combine 1/3 cup of cold water with 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar. Stir, over medium heat, until the sugar is dissolved. Once the sugar is dissolved, add the gelatin mixture to the pan and whisk until boiling. 

Once you have that mixture boiling, pour it into the bowl of your mixer and let cool for about 10 minutes. When cooled, add 1 tsp vanilla extract along with 1/4 each of salt and cinnamon. Start mixing on medium speed for about 10-15 minutes, or until mixture is white, shiny and thick. 

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At this point, your kitchen will smell perfectly fallish. You can thank me later. 

Pour your marshmallow mix into your pan, sprinkle with more confectioner’s sugar and put into the fridge to set for a few hours. Oh, and make sure to call dibs on the spatula before anyone else beats you to it. Again, you can thank me later. 

Once you have let them cool completely, it’s time for the fun part! 

I suggest cutting them into squares before you add your toppings. Once cut, drizzle a bunch of caramel sauce on top and then add a whole lotta M&M’s®. When they look something like this…

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…you’re done. 

Now, you could just leave these alone and eat them as they are. Or you could take it to the next level and turn them into a filling for a nice, fall s’more. 

Yep, I went there. 

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Get one of these bad boys sandwiched between two layers of a Pillsbury™ Moist Supreme® Cake and you’ve got yourself a little slice of fall heaven. 

You’re welcome. 

Tons of other bloggers are sharing their favorite fall recipes here and I know that I am looking forward to trying some of them out while breaking in our new kitchen. Which one would you try first?

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Homemade Ranch Dressing + Pizza = Homegating Heaven

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GameDayPizza #CollectiveBias

homemade-ranch-dressing-recipe

Pizza and ranch. In our house, it’s as classic of a combo as peanut butter & jelly. Chip and Dale. Salt and pepper. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. 

You get the picture. 

We’ve always planned for pizza night to happen in our house at least once per week but, now that football season is in full swing, I have a feeling that it’s going to happen a lot more often. 

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There isn’t a national football team representing our great state of Hawaii so we don’t have the opportunity to attend any games in person however this leaves plenty of Sundays open for us to cheer on our favorite teams with some good old-fashioned homegating.

What is homegating, you ask? You know…all the goodness of tailgating before a game…just done at home. No worries about weather conditions, lack of bathrooms, or nap space for your kids. PLUS you have access to your kitchen. Which means instead of grilling up the same game day food every week, you can serve yummy alternatives like Red Baron pizzas. With homemade ranch dressing of course (because there is no better pair, remember?)

Homemade ranch dressing is SO delicious and a lot easier to make than you probably think. You start off with a base mixture of dry ingredients (pepper, garlic salt, dried onion and dill weed), add them to a combo of fresh ingredients (buttermilk, sour cream, lemon juice, mayonnaise and fresh parsley), give it a stir and you’re done!

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homemade-ranch-dressing-dry-ingredients

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Easy peasy lemon squeezy. (HA – see what I did there?!)

Anyways, back to homegating. Your homemade ranch dressing is sitting in the fridge, patiently waiting for it’s chance to wow your family and friends so it’s time to prepare the pizza. You could stick to the homemade route OR you could stay on the quick and easy train and pop a few Red Baron pizzas in the oven. Which one are you going to choose? I vote quick and easy, especially when the big game is about to start. 

I know you are thinking why on earth, if I’m trying to “wow” my guests, would I serve frozen pizzas? I would be too…if I hadn’t tried Red Baron pizzas. Seriously guys, these pizzas are delicious. The people over at Red Baron have perfected their crust game in a way that I simply haven’t been able to yet — it’s crispy, consistent and oh-so satisfying. One bite of any of their pizzas and I’m sure your family and friends will be asking for more. 

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You can pick up a few Red Baron pizzas the next time you find yourself at Walmart (which I highly suggest doing before the next big game). They are located in the frozen goods aisle of the grocery section. While you are there, make sure to pick up an Edwards Pie to share with the fans of the winning team. Because victory is sweet. So is pie. (Get it? Man, I’m on a roll today) The Edwards Pies are also located in the frozen section and will keep your homegating prep nice and easy – all you have to do is thaw and serve!

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When you are shopping, keep an eye out for the Red Baron products that have the on-package promo materials for the Tailgate at Your Place Sweepstakes. Our friends at Red Baron are giving away over $100,000 in prizes – including checks, shopping sprees and 6 months of free pizza PLUS there are a bunch of instant win prizes that are up for grabs. 

Which Red Baron pizza are you going to pick up for the next big game?

Homemade Ranch Dressing
Creamy, fresh, delicious homemade ranch dressing
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DRY INGREDIENTS
  1. 1/4 cup black pepper
  2. 1/2 cup garlic salt
  3. 3/4 cup dried onion
  4. 2 TB dill weed
  5. WET/FRESH INGREDIENTS
  6. 1 cup mayonnaise
  7. 1 cup buttermilk
  8. 3/4 cup sour cream
  9. 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  10. juice of 1 lemon
Instructions
  1. Combine dry ingredients in glass jar, replace lid and shake to combine.
  2. Add mayonnaise, buttermilk and sour cream to medium sized bowl. Stir until smooth.
  3. Add 1 TB of dry mixture to wet ingredients. Stir to combine.
  4. Add juice of 1 lemon to wet ingredients, followed by chopped parsley. Stir until combined.
  5. Place dressing into storage container and store in refrigerator.
Notes
  1. Together, these dry ingredients will make a lot of extra ranch dressing mix. Store it in an air-tight container for future batches of ranch dressing, sprinkle it on chicken before cooking or gift some to a friend!
BRINGING UP BYRDS http://www.natashabyrd.com/


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Special K Bars

I hope you all had an awesome Labor Day weekend. Things around here were busy but super productive. As I mentioned last week, we are moving back to Ewa Beach soon and I have been frantically getting us organized for that.

When we moved last year, we downsized majorly and gave away/sold a lot of our furniture so now we are on a quest to rebuild our inventory. New furniture is expensive and I can’t stomach paying full price for everything so we have been hitting up garage sales on weekends and I have been watching Craigslist like a crazy person. 

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It’s totally paying off in a we haven’t had to pay for hardly anything kind of way 😉

We’ve scored so many great pieces of furniture already and I can’t wait to get them into our new home. For now, they are squished into our little front room so I won’t be sharing any pictures of them quite yet.

Probably the Craigslist find I am most excited about is our new (to us) piano. It’s a beautiful freestanding oak piano that a hospital was donating and we were lucky enough to be the recipients. 

Two of my cousins and a couple of their buddies (all freshman at the University of Hawaii) volunteered to help Alex pick up the piano on Friday night with the promise of being paid in a homemade dinner. When they got here, we ate dinner and then I whipped out my Grandma’s Special K bars for dessert. Our whole family loves these bars and whenever we are in Michigan visiting my grandparents, Grandma always seems to have a pan ready for us. She’s the greatest.

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The recipe is super easy and perfect to make as a thank-you to a bunch of college boys that help you move heavy pianos, to pack in your kids’ lunch throughout the week, to bring to a potluck, to munch on while your baby naps, etc. Basically, they are perfect and delicious and you should make some now. 

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I am so thankful that these boys were able to help Alex pick up the piano this weekend and am extra thankful that they offered to help move it again when we head to Ewa next week. Alex says we will have to pay them a little better than just dinner. I’m thinking maybe two batches of Special K bars will do the trick 😉

Special K Bars
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup light corn syrup
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 1 cup peanut butter
  4. 6 cups crispy rice cereal
  5. 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  6. 1 cup butterscotch chips
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, mix together corn syrup and sugar
  2. When sugar is boiling, turn off heat and mix in peanut butter
  3. Add cereal and stir until completely mixed
  4. Press cereal mixture into greased 9x13 pan; let cool
  5. Melt together chocolate and butterscotch chips, pour over cereal mixture; let cool
  6. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. TIP: cut into serving sizes before bars are completely cool to make serving a little easier 🙂
BRINGING UP BYRDS http://www.natashabyrd.com/
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