Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

There is nothing like getting ready roll out your sugar cookie dough, pulling out your rolling pin, and discovering a dried chunk of glittery blue play-doh stuck to it.

This is my life people.

And after my kids eat these cookies, my life is cleaning frosting off of every surface imaginable.

Totally worth it.

These cookies are insane. My mom has been making these since I was young enough to leave play-doh on her rolling pin. They are soft and tender. Valentine’s Day is not the same without them. I make them every year no matter what. It’s time to share the cookie love.

Before we get to the recipe I want to share a few tips that will turn an already great cookie into a phenomenal cookie.

1. Wash the play-doh off your rolling pin and sanitize thuroughly . Or is that just me?

2. Don’t over mix the dough! Barely incorporate the flour in. It will be sticky!

3. Chill dough in refrigerator for at least an hour.DSC_0184

4. When ready to roll out, use lots and lots of flour! Flour is your friend.

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5. Since you are using so much flour, gently toss each cut-out cookie back and forth between your palms to shake the flour off.

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6. Bake on light colored baking sheets, if possible.

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7. Serve with ice cold milk and side of self control… just kidding, that won’t help you.

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8. Last but not least, DO NOT, under any circumstances take your child’s cookie away.

RECIPE TIME!

{{Sour Cream Sugar Cookies}}

  • 1 C. Shortening
  • 1 C. Sour Cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 3 C. Flour
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp.
  •  Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda

Combine shortening sour cream and sugar. Beat very well. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add remaining ingredients and mix just until incorporated.

Chill dough for at least and hour.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Roll out with LOTS of flour to about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick

Bake on light colored baking sheet for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.

{{Frosting}}

  • 1 stick of softened butter
  • 2-3 cups of powdered sugar
  • 2 Tblspoons milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Beat on high until the frosting increases in volume and is light and fluffy.

These are good the day you frost them. But are even better the next day!

Ok you have everything you need for true sugar cookie bliss, exept one thing. My confession. I had two cookies for breakfast, and then let my kids each have a cookie after their breakfast. And I’ll probably do it again tomorrow. Can we still be friends?

Wiggle With Me, Tina Turner Style

I have been putting this off for a bit, not because I’m apathetic toward this award, but rather I have other priorities. Let me just lay it out for you: If I have to choose between blogging or teaching my kids the lyrics to Gangsta’s Paradise, well, I’m sure you can guess where my loyalties lie.

Let’s get down to the Nitty Gritty (Nacho Libre style). Roni, over at Losing Screws Nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award.  First of all, the fact that she thought I was dope enough to receive an award makes me do a little beatboxing in my chair (mmmsk mmmsk mmmsk). Second I don’t think you will be let down by her not so unfamiliar friend Murph. Go check her out.

Here is the award I will shamelessly post in my sidebar: versatile

So the rules are as follows.

  • Show off that award on your blog
  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Tell the world 7 facts about yourself
  • Nominate 15 blogs
  • Link to the blogs and let them know you shared the love

So here we go.

I want to present you Seven facts about myself, however, since this is an award directed toward versatility, I thought I might display seven other ways that I am versatile outside of the blogging world.

  1. I can keep my whites white and my colors bright dog. #laundrypro
  2. Bumpin’ TLC’s No Scrubs in the mini van while dropping the kids off at school.
  3. Mindlessly watching the bachelor and at the same time completing my 4th crossword puzzle.
  4. I can dice onions and totally hit that Tina Turner wiggle.tina-turner-dance-o
  5. While chewing gum I can still totally think about all the chocolate I want to be eating.
  6. Tell my husband how much I love him while I get my feet rubbed from him.
  7. When I drink diet coke, I do it like a lady, however, at the same time I can imagine my self like so…200w-12

So here are my Nominees:

  1.  The Cinema Bliss
  2. Benna Kim
  3. Just a Mom Giving it a “Tri”
  4. In Love With a Twilight Star
  5. misterwelch
  6. Emerging Adult Eats
  7. Glittery Moss
  8. My black, fleece lined leggings. So versatile folks.
  9. Farewell My Manicure!
  10. Strength Is Beauty
  11. Kristel’s Food Finds
  12. My copper eyeshadow. It flows seamlessly from day to night.
  13. eat.laugh.craft
  14. Sweet Charlie
  15. Ignite Fitness

Dear Nominees, Please feel no pressure whatsoever to accept the award (I know it’s not for everybody) However, do know, that I’m reading and enjoying, and want to share your talent with others so they can do the same.

Happy reading!

Thanks!

Jessica

Butternut Squash Soup

Let me start by saying; my kids won’t stop singing Christmas songs!! And it doesn’t help that whenever it snows, they are convinced it is Christmas morning again. When will it end?? I’m done with Christmas! The carols and discussions about Santa Claus do not belong in January. (I’m the kind of person who takes the tree down around 7pm on Christmas Evening.) However, I do have a hard time letting go of Fall. I love wearing brown and I’m a die hard for my pumpkin candles and soap. I also love an awesome harvest soup. I certainly make sure that this soup does not die with the season. I pump this stuff into my veins year round baby.

Before I get into how easy and  yummy it is, please let me fill you in on a few things that are NOT simple for me.

  1. Sticking to a daily cleaning schedule
  2. Pulling out just one wipe at a time from the baby wipe case.
  3. Opening a box of macaroni and cheese.
  4. Bedtime.

Ok. Now that we have cleared that up, I need you to understand how simple this soup is. ESPECIALLY when you get pre-cut butternut squash. It’s a little more expensive but you save a BUTT(ernut squash) load of time by not having to cut it. This obviously gives you more time to show your kids how to Macarena.

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This is about 5 cups of butternut squash. Or if you don’t like the Macarena, you could buy one medium to large squash and cut it yourself.

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Dice a sweet onion. Add it to a large pot with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté until translucent (about 5 minutes).

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Add the cubed squash and 3 cups of chicken stock (Veggie stock works great). Or at least to the top of the squash. I actually use this chicken base. For every cup of water, you add 1 teaspoon of this stuff.

Simmer for about 20-30 minutes until the squash can be smashed easily with a fork.

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Add everything to a blender (in batches if needed) and blend until smooth. Blend in additional salt and pepper if needed. The soup should be thick. If its too thin, return to pan and simmer until it reduces a bit. If it is too thick then add a little chicken stock and re-blend. Emersion blenders work great as well. Save the mess!

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Thats it! Garnish with a dash of nutmeg. Simple, healthy and filling. I just drink this stuff straight out of a mug. However, if I’m feeling a touch more civilized, I’ll serve it as a side dish with dinner. It pairs perfectly with my Pistachio Crusted Cod.

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Ingredients:

  • 5 cups of cubed butternut squash (or one medium to large squash)
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 3-4  cups of chicken stock
  • Nutmeg

I hope you enjoy! What are your favorite items of Fall that you drag into January and beyond?

Thanks!

Jessica

‘Cod’ you pass the Pistachios Please?

Pistachio crusted Wild Pacific Cod. Sounds fancy right? It’s really not. It’s just frozen cod from Costco and some pistachios from the pantry that I have been needing to use up so I can buy a fresh bag. Bottom line is this recipe is easy. It is healthy. And it sounds super fancy so you can totally impress your family/friends.

Start by thawing your filet pieces.

Shell your pistachios. Or you can buy them pre-shelled if anyone in your life has ever used the word “moneybags” to describe you. Also, if you have a three year old, try to shell faster than she eats.

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Now you need some breadcrumbs. I prefer to just get a slice of whole wheat bread and toast it. Continue reading

Cranberry Orange Smoothie

Happy healthy day everyone!! I have a confession. I am in another relationship. Anthony knows about it and is supportive…wait ok. This is weird. It’s my blender… My Blendtec. We’ve been together almost four years now and he has never let me down. I give him fresh, basic ingredients and he gives me a creamy, cold cup of delicious bliss. After just a few sips of said bliss I feel like I can climb a freakin’ mountain, or at least throw a football over them. (Napoleon Dynamite anyone?)

Today I found some extra cranberries in the freezer from the holidays. Since I don’t see myself making cranberry sauce any time soon (like until, um, Thanksgiving) I thought maybe they could add a punch to our smoothie this afternoon. And I thought right.

Let me introduce you to our lineup:

SPINACH DSC_0112_edited-1 Any greens will do. Kale, Swiss Chard, Romaine etc. Just try to make sure it is organic. I am by no means an organic nazi, however, I try to make sure my smoothies have organic greens. You will be ingesting a large amount of them, AND our bodies sucks up these nutrients easier than they would greens from a salad.

CRANBERRIES DSC_0108_edited-1 Those right there, that bag in the freezer, behind the sticky ice cream container and stacks of frozen ground beef and chicken.

APPLE DSC_0121 copy Honeycrisp>> Oh baby I love your way, everyday. Wanna tell you I love your way, everyday. Wanna be with you night and day.

BANANA DSC_0124 copyBecause I ain’t no Hollaback girl.

ORANGES DSC_0116 This is a regular navel orange and a Cara cara orange. A Cara cara orange looks like a small grapefruit, but it tastes like a regular orange. I would say it’s not as bright tasting as an orange but has a deep ruby flavor. Ruby? Yeah totally. There isn’t much of a taste difference in the smoothie, so feel free to use just a regular orange.

Directions:

Measuring for smoothies is just wrong. IMHO. You gotta do what you feel. If you want healthier, use less fruit and more greens. If you want if sweeter use more fruit. I will just explain what I do for me and the kids, so parents listen up!

This base recipe makes around 32 oz. I make this for me, and take about 24 oz. Then add more fruit to what is left in the blender, re-blend and give it to the kids. 1. Stuff/pack/smoosh greens into the blender up to the 3 cup line.

2. Add the fruit on top of the greens.

For my smoothie I used:

  • 1/2 Navel 1/2 Cara Cara orange
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • half a banana
  • 1/4 apple (This apple was bigger than a softball)

3. Ice

4. Pour water until the water line comes just below the top of the spinach.

5. Blend.

6. This is where I pour my cup, and then add more fruit for the kids. You could also add yogurt,  juice or honey. My kids love it with just a touch more fruit. DSC_0104 Why do I add more fruit for the kids? This particular smoothie is slightly tart from the um, oh I don’t know, the cranberries? So the kids enjoy it more with a little more sweetness. Liam, my 4 year old asked if we could have this smoothie every day, my 3 year old was lukewarm about it but drank it anyway, and my 1 year old guzzled it out of his sippy cup like a gansta y’all.

My kids drank this smoothie for lunch alongside Mickey Mouse chicken nuggets and french fries. Sup. I keep it real.

IF you do not own a Blendtec or Vitamix, you can either buy one, or do the following: blend the water and greens up first. Then add the fruit chopped into smaller pieces. DSC_0130

Happy health drinking! Do you have any favorite smoothie combos?

Thanks,

Jessica

Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas

What comes to mind when you hear enchiladas? I doubt you think of the word “healthy” when confronted with these comforting, creamy, cheesy packets of love. But that is exactly what they are. Now, they are not like kale and water healthy, but they are definitely better than the alternative. Let me throw a few other things atcha: Kids love them, and they are packed with protein and veggies.  This has been one of my go-to meals for years. Today I made a few healthy tweaks so you can still enjoy a comforting family meal AND meet your “stay healthy” goals!

Ingredients:

  • 4 frozen chicken breasts
  • 1 large 28oz can of enchilada sauce
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and dried
  • 1  7 oz can of green chilies
  • 1 1/2-2 cups of cheese divided equally
  • 1 generous cup of nonfat plain greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 1 cup of corn
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. chipotle chili pepper
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 10-12 flour tortillas (you can sub whole wheat or low carb tortillas)

Start by boiling four frozen chicken breasts. (This is the easiest way for me, but feel free to bake it) If you are using frozen breasts, boil for about 25 minutes.

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While the chicken is boiling,  dice one red pepper and one sweet onion. Sauté in the oil of your choice. Now, here is were you can really get creative. You can add any color pepper, or how about mushrooms! Zucchini! You could even try shredded carrot. Use what you have.

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Once the chicken is done boiling, let it rest on a cutting board for 5-10 minutes. Shred with two forks, and then sprinkle with your seasonings: Salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, and chipotle chili pepper. WARNING>> The chipotle chili pepper can be a bit spicy. If you have children that are sensitive to spicy, reduce the amount you use, or just omit it all together.

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Add chicken to a large mixing bowl with your sautéed veggies and your other ingredients: Black beans, half of the cheese, greek yogurt (or sour cream if you are “living la vida loca”) and diced green chilies. At this point add anything else that sounds good. I love adding corn but I forgot. I also love adding fresh cilantro, however I always forget at least one item at the store and today it was the cilantro, and the diapers.

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Now hire some really cute helpers to do all the dirty work. I know it can be scary to let kids help with the cooking, but try to just go with it. They usually love any kind of job you give them and you might just find that they eat more when they help make it.DSC_0101

Liam loved to help cut the peppers and stir.

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Braunson’s job was to nibble a tortilla and then pass it to Liam. (Don’t worry, these will only be consumed by our immediate family)

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Set up a station with a pie pan or a large plate with a lip. Fill this plate with enchilada sauce. This is where you will dip the tortillas. Have another plate next to it, this is where you will fill and roll the tortillas. Lastly have a 9×13 baking dish with just a little bit of enchilada sauce to cover the bottom. Fit 6 or 7 enchiladas in one pan. I made two pans with 6 enchiladas each.

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Now add more enchilada sauce on top. If you like super soggy, saucy enchiladas (I salute you) then pour a bunch on. If you like your enchiladas a little more dry and to mostly keep their shape, just drizzle and then spread over the top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Please notice how reserved I was with the cheese use here. (small victory)

Cover with foil and bake both pans on the center rack for 30 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and melted. Let sit for about 5 minutes before serving. You could also just cook one pan and freeze the other one!

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Serve warm with a big salad and a hungry helper.

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Add salsa and sour cream or greek yogurt and enjoy! If you are wondering whats up with the greek yogurt, I promise you can hardly tell a difference! I almost prefer the taste over sour cream. It’s an easy way to lower the calories and pump up the protein.

How I feel: New Year’s Edition

It is the new year and that means one thing: errrryboday wants to lose weight. So to ring in the new year I thought I would share some of my favorite “How I Feel” moments that I typically experience in the first week of January.

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Walking out of the bedroom the morning of January 1st, after a bangin’ NYE party. And by bangin’ I mean unlimited appetizers and dessert.

                                                

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Losing 4 pounds the first week.

                                             

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Waking up Monday morning and gaining 2 pounds back over the weekend.

                                                  

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Driving past my favorite cheesesteak joint.

                                                   

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Trying to imagine my protein bar tasting like a Milky Way.

                                                    

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When my husband asks where the brand new package of Oreo’s went.

                                                 

In all honesty, I’m actually doing great with my goals. I’m trying to have a little more balance. My main goal is to feel good. I have found that I feel my best (physically, mentally and spiritually) when I am eating things that I know make me feel healthy, so I try to do that for the majority of my day. The other thing(s) that makes me happy are bacon and oreos. Oh, and too much salad dressing. So I do those things too.

Did you have a goal to be healthier this year? How is to going so far?

Thanks,

Jessica

Bacon Lettuce Tomato

Dear Dream Reader.

I hope you like BLT’s.

Let me hit you with a fact about me straight out of the gate: I do NOT eat enough BLT’s. This needs to change. And it will. One sec…let me update…done. Ok. I just added number 18 to my New Years Resolution list>>18. EAT MORE BLT’s, Ironically positioned under>>17. LOSE 10 POUNDS.

But look at it! IMG_3665

I whipped up this little number pre new year resolution-ing. Basic. Simple. Clean. Quality ingredients that each stand alone. I could eat this everyday.

If you are on the fence about converting to the BLT, let me offer a little help:

1. There’s bacon

2. There’s bacon.

So let’s celebrate the BLT this year! Every month I will deliciously bring you a new recipe for a not-so-average BLT.  So stay tuned.

But for now we need to get the basics down:

1. BREAD. If I didn’t adore bacon so much I would say the ‘B’ in BLT stands for bread. Do not under-rate this ingredient. If you have any experience making bread, do it. Trust me. It is the ticket! If you are not comfortable with this, then pay a local bakery to do it for you. Or just choose a good quality bread.

2. TOAST. What’s better than cutting up the roof of your mouth with a hearty, toasted piece of bread??? Well, a lot of things actually, but what I’m trying to say is, It’s worth the pain. So toast that sucker up.

3. MAYO. And lots of it.

4. LAYERING. #justsaynotosoggybread The order is bacon on the bottom, tomato in the middle and lettuce on the top. No battle.

5. SALT AND PEPPER. Put salt and freshly ground black pepper allllll up on that tomato. K?

Thats about it. I’m not picky about the tomato selection or lettuce selection or even bacon selection (I’m a lover not a hater). But should I be? Lemme know if I should.

Thanks,

Jessica

If You Don’t Like Squash, Think Again!

Move over butternut! Mama’s got a new favorite squash and her name is     Kabocha! Plus, it’s fun to say. This is how it is pronounced [kah-BOH-chah]. This info would have been utterly useful when informing the checkout lady exactly what she was scanning. “Um ko, ko, ko something… Ko-be-chi, Ko-bu-choo…I know it starts with a K. ” Thankfully, I now have engrained this delectable, heaven-sent gourd to memory, and you should too.Kombucha2

It’s been around forever, but I was introduced to it less than 2 years ago. It had me intrigued, but I have been a little lazy. PLUS it super hard to find at the local grocery stores. I now am starting to see them pop up here and there, and I’m so happy we have found each other! The taste is a mix between a butternut squash and pumpkin. The flavor is nutty and sweet and fills you to the brim with happiness. On top of that you know you are getting all the good stuff like vitamins or whatever. If you like to nerd-out on nutrition info, check it out here.

Many of the ways to prepare Kabocha involve cutting it and then baking it. But I’m all about easy, and let me tell ya, cutting a Kabocha squash is not easy (think butternut squash on steroids) SO I thought I would just go with my gut,  aaaannnnddd guess what happened…NAILED IT!

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash.  Cut squash in half and remove the seeds.
  3. Brush the flesh with coconut oil (you can sub any other oil here)DSC_0082 copy
  4. Bake cut side up for 30-40 minutes (depending on the size)
  5.  Let cool slightly and cut into wedges for serving. (It’s about easy, not pretty remember?)

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Easy. Fast. Healthy. DELICOUS.

I eat it right out of the skin. The skin is actually tender enough to eat as well if you are hardcore like that. I served it with chicken broccoli and cauliflower. Honestly I just put a sprinkle of salt on mine. It doesn’t need much! For the kids I cut it in chunks and sprinkled a little cinnamon sugar on it and they annihilated it!

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Here are some other ideas for serving:

  1. Coconut oil and salt. (Yes that is how I explained in the recipe.) But next time I’m def going to add a little extra coconut oil after it’s baked. I think it compliments really well with the nuttiness of the squash.
  2. Cinnamon sugar. (So easy for the kids)
  3. Butter and brown sugar.
  4. Pure maple syrup and toasted pecans.
  5. Peanut butter. (Whaaaaaa?) Yes, do it.

Real moment: I don’t know whats worse: The fact that I am just finding out about Kabocha, or the fact that I just wrote 500 words about it. Thoughts?

If you are a lover of Kabocha fill me in on the deets! What are your favorite ways to eat it. I feel like I’m missing out on some big stuff here.

Thanks!

Jessica

A New Year A New Goal

Today I introduce myself. I am a mother. I am fiercely in love with my husband of nine years. I cook, I bake and I’m awesome at both. Hi, I’m Jessica.

With this New Year comes an opportunity for new goals. My goal is to be more open. I want to use this blog to do just that. In the past I have dabbled with our family blog a bit. I had a short list of family and friends who would read my blog and I liked it that way. I didn’t want any one else to read it. When someone I didn’t know would leave a comment, it would leave me itchy and reaching for a brown paper bag.

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This fear extends to all corners of the internet. I admit I have always been a lurker. I don’t dare leave my fingerprints with likes or comments! However, in real life, I am quite outgoing. Put me in front of 1,500 people and I actually enjoy it. I can see their faces, I can sense their feedback, and it fuels me. But ask me to comment on someones blog I have never met, and I crumble. This blog begins the process of changing that. I no longer want to prowl secretly through social media. I want to share the love, leave my mark, and maybe in return, float a little love my way.

I originally had this blog planned as a food blog. I love getting creative in the kitchen, and for many years, have wanted to share that inspiration with others. So this blog is appropriately titled The Sweet Files, where I can file and share my recipes. However I also want to file things that are sweet to me as a mother, as an adventurer and as a humor addict.

Please note that YOU have the power to help me face my fear by leaving a comment! It will force me to respond.

Thank you for reading!

Jessica