… and the 1st Ever “A Lot On Your Plate’s Use What You’ve Got” Bake-off Winner is … (Guest Post)

Congrats to AmySue @ A Healthy Life For Me

You all did such an amazing job and I want to thank each and every one of you for taking the time to participate in the bake-off.

I will be hosting one of these contests each month, so if you didn’t win this time around, there’s always next month!  Please don’t be offended if you didn’t win this category.  It was extremely hard to choose a winner and you all should be very proud of yourselves.  You’re all tremendously talented.

Now for the winning recipe:

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies Dipped In Chocolate

(Written by: A Healthy Life For Me)

These cookies are so simple to make, with limited ingredients, time and easy clean-up.  They look so elegant and are quite addictive!
  • 2 sticks of butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 cup of bittersweet 60% chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray a 13 x 9 baking pan with baking spray.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugars and salt for about 1 minute. Beat in vanilla.

 Reduce speed and add flour in 3 additions, beating just until blended. Stir in 3/4 cup chocolate chips.

 Transfer dough to an ungreased 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Press dough evenly on bottom of pan with your fingers.

Bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes; do not underbake. Let cool for 5 minutes.  Transfer cookies onto parchment paper and cut into triangles or rectangles.

Melt bittersweet chips in glass bowl in microwave for 2 minutes.  Taking halfway out to stir.

Dip ends of cookies in melted chocolate and cool on parchment paper.

Please be sure to check out ALL of the other participant’s recipes as well! 

Dry Fruits & Oats Cereal Apple Cookies submitted by: Sara @ Fooding Rookie

Lofthouse At Home Cookies submitted by: Learn2Kitchen

Fabulous Peanut Butter Cake Mix Cookies submitted by: Alison @ Love Bake Chocolate

Cinnamon Brown Sugar Cookies (Gluten, Egg, & Dairy Free) submitted by: Aubin @ In The Usual Way

Lemon Cranberry Cookies submitted by: Hollie @ Hollies Hobbies

Peanut Butter Cookies submitted by: notimeforironing

Basic Oat Mix; Choco Chip Cookies, & Seed and Honey Cookies submitted by: Paula @ All About The Bake

Cookies and Cream Cookies submitted by: Mary Beth @ Mary Beth Cooks

English Breakfast Tea Cookies submitted by: Add A Little Sunshine

Oatmeal Raisin & Chocolate Chip Cookies submitted by: Laura @ Confessions of a Young Chef

Momofuku Inspired Banana Cookies submitted by: Crafty Bake Oven

MockLava Cookies submitted by: The Poor Baker

S’mores Bites submitted by: Sara Tedde @ Cook by the Book

Pignoli Cookies submitted by: Quinn @ Quin Goldie

Lemon & Thye Tea Cookies submitted by: Christine @ Angry Cherry

Peaches & Cream Oatmeal Cookies submitted by: Audry @ Tonetiki

Stove Top Oatmeal Cookies submitted by: Karen Lynne @ Karen Lynne’s Kitchen

Oatmeal Craisin Cookies submitted by Stefanie @ Hugs Kisses & Snot

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies submitted by: Fika @ Fika And More

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip w/ M&Ms submitted by: Alice @ Modern Alice

Chocolate-Toffee Cake Batter Cookies: submitted by: Erin @ Erin’s DC Kitchen

Chocolate Espresso Cookies submitted by: Morgan @ Gradually Ginger

Twodaloo Cookies submitted by: Stephanie @ Twodaloo

Again, you all did such an amazing job.  I can’t thank you enough for participating.

Be sure to check back for next month’s Contest/Giveaway!

Happy Monday!

- J

DIY: Floral Paint Sample Bookmarks


Dont you just love the differant uses for a paint sample?  Here is a DIY project that is super easy and very useful.

Floral Paint Sample Bookmarks:

What you will need:   

paint samples (you can pick these up free at any Lowes, Home Depot, or local paint store.)

floral embellishments (find these at Michaels for $4.99 or less)


Simply attach the floral embelleshment to the paint sample.

Check back for more super easy DIY projects!

Happy Crafting!

- J

Dinner Made Simple: Kraft Fresh Takes & Sizzling Salads

Dinner Made Simple:

Kraft Fresh Takes & Sizzling Salad Products

I’m always looking for great recipes that aren’t to time-consuming during the week.   Kraft’s new line of dinner kits helps make dinner a little easier.

Kraft Foods came out with 2 new products guaranteed to provide a quick and easy dinner that tastes great.

Fresh Takes

Kraft Fresh Takes ($3.99)

The Italian Parmesan Breadcrumb Mix is a hit in my household.  This “set it and forget it” recipe is perfect for dinner after a long day at work or school.  Kraft Fresh Takes comes in a bunch of flavors like Rosemary and Roasted Garlic, Southwest Three Cheese, and Cheddar Jack and Bacon. (Recipes available for chop meat as well).

Take one of the Fresh Take breadcrumb mixes and rip the bag the crumbs come in accordingly.  Mix the breadcrumbs with the cheese, shake until all the ingredients ae mixed well.  Take 4 pieces of chicken, one by one placing in the breadcrumb and shaking until the chicken (or fish) is coated.  The cooking time varies on what you are using the breadcrumb mix with.  Bake as directed.

sizzling saladsKraft Sizzling Salad ($4.19)

Kraft Sizzling Salads are the perfect way of infusing flavor into a healthy dinner.  Simply cook 4 chicken breasts on each side for 4-5 mins.  Make sure they are cooked through.  Turn heat down low and add 2 tablespoons of the sauce, heat on low for 1 min.

separately, take salad and mix with the salad dressing.

Perfect with italian or wheat bread.

Below are the nutritional value for the Fresh Takes (Italian Parmesan Recipe) and the Sizzling Salad (Tuscan Chicken)

(Italian Parmesan Dinner Kit)

(Tuscan Chicken) 

Have you ever or plan on trying any of these Kraft products?  All comments welcome below!

For more info on these and other Kraft products, head to Kraft.com.

Happy Dining!


Recipe of the Week: Easy Parmesan Turkey Meatballs

This recipe originally came to us by Real Simple MagazineAfter tweaking the recipe a little bit, it’s now meant to only serve 4 instead of 12.


Prep Time: 20 MINS

Active Time: 25 MINS


1: Chop the onions, parsley, and garlic until finely chopped.

2. Transfer the onion mixture to a large bowl and add the turkey, Parmesan, eggs, bread crumbs, milk, 1 dash of salt, and 1 dash of pepper (or chilli powder to spice things up). Use your hands to gently combine.

3. Form the meat mixture into meatballs (about 2 tablespoons each). The meatballs can be frozen at this point.

4. Heat broiler (on high). Place the meatballs on a foil-lined broilerproof rimmed baking sheet and broil, turning every so often, until cooked through, 8 to 12 minutes.

Hope you guys enjoy these meatballs as much as my family and I have!

Happy Cooking!

- J

There’s An App For That: Postcard on the Run

Postcard on the Run

This App of the Week is for iPhone users, in the hopes that it will one day come to android phones.

Postcards on the Run is perfect for travelers, whether you’re on vacation or business, and for those “You had to be there moments”. For .99¢ a picture, you just snap, upload, and enter a mailing address. The photo will be printed and mailed to the mailing address given! Again, this offer is just for iPhone users. I’m hoping the Android version comes out soon.

So clever. I wonder what they will think of next!

Happy Monday!


5 Minute Recipe: Super Easy (And Cost Efficient) Vanilla Candy!

Vanilla StarsHappy Friday Everyone!

Ok, so last night I wanted to try something that I havent been successful doing in the past, that something is making candy.  2 years ago I attempted chocolate truffles from scratch and it didn’t go very well.  People now refer to that Holiday season as, “The year Jess tried to make truffles”. Lol, ok I get it!  However, I came back last night with a vengeance and discovered whats possibly the EASIEST AND MOST COST EFFICIENT way to make candy EVER.

Note: These candies make the perfect inexpensive home-made gifts and party favors.

Vanilla Flavored Candy:

What You’ll Need (all purchased @Joannes Fabric, but depending where you purchase your supplies, prices may vary):

(1) Candy mold of your choice ($1.99)

(1) Bag of Wilton’s Candy Melts (Any Color & Flavors are fine) ($2.99)

(1) microwave

Optional: (1) Bag of Wilton Disposable Candy Decorating Bag ($4.99), Foil Candy Wrappers ($1.50)

Prep Time: 2 MINS

Active Time: 5 MINS

Wilton Candy Melts: Blue VanillaStep 1: Fill a microwavable bowl (or microwave safe container) with Wilton’s Candy Melts. (The directions call for a whole bag, but i only used a handful and they filled a whole candy tray).

Step 3

Step 2: Place bowl in the microwave (or container) for on 50% power or the defrost setting for 1 minute. *Note: not all the pieces will be fully melted and that’s okay.

Step 3

Step 3: Stir and place back into the microwave for 30 seconds.

Step 4

Step 4: Once the candy is fully melted, stir well and pour into candy mold (please excuse the water droplets in the picture, i had just washed these, i highly recommend you fully dry the mold before use to avoid air pockets).

Step 5: Tap molds to let out all the air pockets, then place in the refrigerator until the molds look frosty or the candies are firm.

Vanilla Stars

Step 6: Enjoy!

If you have anything to add to this recipe, please feel free to comment! All comments are always welcomed!

 Be sure to check back for more 5 Minute recipes !!!

Happy Friday!

- J

Website of the Week: Real Simple

Real Simple

Doesn’t the name say it all?  I’m so excited to share with you guys one of my favorite websites (and magazine) of all time.

RealSimple.com is ideal for everyone from working women and men to thrifty shoppers, the health conscious, etc … If you are looking to better and simplify yours and your family’s lives, then this site is for you.

Real Simple offers free healthy, quick recipes, as well as organization, fashion, and beauty tips.

This site (and magazine) is also great for people who love entertaining guests or decorating for holidays.

My favorite part?  The New Uses for Old Things section.  You’d be surprised what you can repurpose to save you money and time.

This site is definitely awesome and worth checking out!

Happy Reading!

- J