baking

recipe: strawberry cream cheese pie.

if you ask me what my favorite dessert is, my answer is going to depend on the time of year. in summer, give me all the ice cream. in the fall, it’s my mom’s coffee cake. winter, creme brulee, preferably at a cozy restaurant with my husband. but springtime has me craving anything with fruit. the fresher the better. even if it’s not quite in season yet, i just want all the fruity, baked goodness.

my hands-down, all-time favorite fruity baked dessert is the strawberry cream cheese pie that my mom has made since before i have memories. something about the juicy strawberries, the sweet creamy spread on the bottom, and the homemade glace holding it all together gets me every time. it reminds me of eating dinner on the porch when the weather finally gets warm enough, and of family dinners on sunday nights.

did i mention that it’s also gorgeous?

strawberry cream cheese pie

make this and serve it to people you love. they’ll be able to taste the love when they take a bite.

strawberry cream cheese pie, makes one pie, serves 8 with big slices

  • pie crust
  • 1 1/2 qts. fresh strawberries
  • 4 oz. cream cheese at room temperature (use neufchatel cheese for a lower fat option)
  • 1/2 C. powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • splash of milk (to moisten cream cheese mixture)
  • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 3/4-1 C. white sugar
  • 1/2 C. water

for the pie: make your pie crust (or use a pre-made one like i mostly do, pillsbury works great!) and lay it in a 9-inch pie pan. bake according to the directions, making sure to poke the bottom with a fork before baking so it doesn’t puff up. let the pie crust cool.

mix together cream cheese, powdered sugar, almond extract and the splash of milk until smooth. the consistency should be somewhat firm and not runny, as you will be spreading this in the bottom of the pie crust. add more powdered sugar until you reach the desired consistency. spread in the bottom of the crust and refrigerate until set, around a half hour.

while crust and spread are setting up, quarter the strawberries, reserving 1 C. of them aside for the glace. fill the pie crust with the strawberries. the strawberries should be slightly rounded at the middle of the pie.

for the glace: in a small saucepan, mix together the cornstarch and white sugar. mash the 1 C. of reserved strawberries with the water. mash well so there are no large chunks. add to the sugar and cornstarch. heat over medium heat until it thickens, stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. boil for one minute, then remove from heat and cool for about five minutes. pour the glace over the top of the strawberries, covering well. refrigerate for at least three hours before serving.

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recipe: chocolate covered cherry cookies. [christmas cookie exchange]

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welcome to day 8 of #12daysofblogging! if you’re just joining us, you can find out more about the christmas linkup here. today’s prompt is “christmas cookie exchange”. get inspired and spread the christmas spirit! share your link below!

chocolate covered cherry cookies - hooleywithaz.com

it’s not going to surprise anyone who’s been around here before that i am the MOST excited about today’s post. COOKIES! RECIPES! ALL THE GOOD THINGS! i can’t wait for all the ideas i’m going to get today.

chocolate covered cherry cookies - hooleywithaz.com

chocolate covered cherry cookies - hooleywithaz.comand i know i just talked about cookies on monday, but honestly, what do you people expect from me? variety? of course multiple christmas favorite things are going to be about dessert. only i can’t give you the recipe i talked about on monday. that’s a family secret and if i put it on the internet there would be  consequences. probably a lot of yelling too.

chocolate covered cherry cookies - hooleywithaz.com

so instead, you get the next best thing: my go-to christmas cookie recipe. i got this recipe from Mister Man’s old roommate, megan. he and megan were living together when we started dating, and i owe her a lot of my happiness today. see, she trained him into how to live with a girl so i never had to, and he is so much better for having been her roommate. she and her husband are still dear friends (although we’re currently trying to find ways to get them to move back to minnesota from upstate new york…) and you can thank her for this deliciousness that i’ve turned into my signature christmas cookie.

chocolate covered cherry cookies - hooleywithaz.com

chocolate covered cherry cookies - hooleywithaz.comi highly suggest making a double batch of these cookies, because they disappear very quickly, and you’ll be sad when they’re gone! even my dad, the cookie connoisseur, says that i need to make these every year or else. i have none left in the house and after writing this post i’m contemplating making more.

chocolate covered cherry cookies (makes about 2 dozen for a single batch)

  • 1/2 C. butter
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 C. flour
  • 1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 10 oz. jar maraschino cherries (drained, save the juice)

Frosting

  • 1/2 C. Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 C. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. reserved cherry juice

in a large bowl, cream butter, egg and sugar together. add vanilla extract and mix. add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. the dough will appear a bit crumbly, but will come together once you start to make the balls. roll dough into balls about one inch in diameter and set on baking sheet (they will seem small, but spread out when they bake). make thumbprints in each cookie, and place one cherry into each cookie. spread frosting over the top of the cookie so the cherry is fully hidden. bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes.

for the frosting: melt the chocolate chips with the condensed milk over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. remove from the heat. add the salt and cherry juice. if the frosting starts to thicken or harden, either heat it up briefly, or add another 1/4 tsp. of cherry juice to thin it out.

chocolate covered cherry cookies - hooleywithaz.com

merry christmas and happy baking!

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the end of daylight savings means cookies (and a giveaway).

it was light when i woke up on sunday at 6:30am (damn you adulthood!) and i had a whole extra hour in the day to fill. so i obviously made chocolate chip cookies. WITH SEA SALT ON TOP LIKE A PROFESSIONAL.

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sprinkling baked goods with sea salt makes me feel like tinkerbell sprinkling her fairy dust all over the place. slightly badass, but also with the best of intentions. it’s just so good, and salty-sweet is always the way to go when you’re looking to fill up your time with baking. because i know we all have that problem…too much time on our hands. you’re welcome.

i have a huge hatred for daylight savings time in the spring. how rude of whoever invented that day to make it darker in the morning. it’s already hard enough to get out of bed, and you had to go and make it darker? which is why i love the end of daylight savings when we fall back. and all of a sudden the sun is up with us, like magic. it can turn a person’s day around when they wake up to the sun, i’m telling you!

so what i’m saying is: the weekend was wonderful. it started with a date with my husband and ended with waking up to the sun in my eyes and cookies baking in the oven, and it doesn’t get a whole lot better than that.

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cookies(p.s. the recipe for the cookies is: read the back of the tollhouse chocolate chip bag and follow their directions. then sprinkle some sea salt on top of the cookies before you put them in the oven. the end.)

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in other parts of the world, i’m giving away a little gift over at ashten’s place! a housewarming jar to be exact. it’s pretty fabulous if you ask me, it has lots of stuff in it that help make a house (or apartment) start to feel like a home. it’s perfect to give as a gift or to keep for yourself…i would totally keep it for myself.

housewarming jaryou can enter here or on ashten’s blog. good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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MAKE SURE TO CLICK THAT FOLLOW BUTTON OR THAT BLOGLOVIN BUTTON TO YOUR RIGHT OR ADD ME TO YOUR READER IF YOU WANT TO TREAT YOURSELF TO ALL MY BRILLIANT LIFE MUSINGS. I TEND TO KEEP THINGS FUN AROUND HERE. PLUS, YOU KNOW YOU LOVE WHEN I GIVE AWAY PRESENTS.

humpday happy list.

when i sat down to write this humpday happy list for september, i looked back at my past lists to see how often i had posted the same things. it turns out that this week marks the one year anniversary of my humpday lists. and what a year it has been.

these lists have brought me so much happiness over the past 365 days. i started writing them because i realized i needed to focus on the good more than i focused on the bad. and when i had crappy weeks, these lists got me focusing on the things that inspired me instead of the things that were bringing me down.

sometimes it felt almost impossible to come up with five things that made me feel good. but i forced myself to look for inspiration in what was happening around me (or on pinterest). and it helped. it always helped.

here’s to another year of humpday happy and looking for the good around us!

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humpday happy list 9-25

1) humpday seasonal cocktail: caramel apple vodka.

okay, so i don’t know what could be a better fall cocktail than caramel vodka and apple juice over ice. maybe a hot version? yea…a hot version in a travel mug smuggled into a late season baseball game. i think i could get into that.

2) humpday recipe: iced pumpkin coffee cake.

and sally does it again. i have made a couple of her recipes, including her original super crumb coffee cake and her chocolate covered strawberry cookies. she is a baking wizard, and has a cookbook coming out soon, so you should definitely keep an eye out for it…except make sure you have people to share with, otherwise you’ll eat it all yourself, and that can’t last very long.

3) humpday style: this fall outfit.

is this not PERFECTION?? keri russell can do no wrong. and this outfit can do no wrong. and now i need to go buy oxfords so i can be this comfortable and fall-chic. the end.

4) humpday obsession: you know what.

i’m sorry, but at least one humpday happy list per year needs to include this candle. don’t hate, i have a problem and i’m in no rush to fix it.

5) humpday fun: twins game this weekend.

Mister Man and i get to have a little date this weekend, in the fancy seats at target field (the tickets were a gift from his boss…thank you dave!). you guys, the fancy seats are right behind home plate and include free food and free drinks!! i am going to eat my weight in popcorn and brats and maybe even licorice. who knows, stuff could get crazier than i expect!

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these days.

it’s friday. and i am so happy.

Mister Man sent me a text this afternoon asking if i would like to go out on a sushi dinner date, and my answer was, YES BEST IDEA EVER. sidenote: i highly suggest asking your spouse out on dates even after you’re married. even though we eat dinner together almost every night,  i still get butterflies when i know we have a date night in our future. 

i hope you all have the best weekends. (let’s keep up with each other on the twitter and instagram?) now i’m off to get dolled up for my hot date.

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these days i’m…

eating my banana bread i made in my incredibly hot kitchen the other night. turns out i had enough left after giving loaves to the neighbors to eat some myself!

being inspired by my crazy hydrangeas in the backyard. they are one of my favorite things about the new house, and i love how large and in charge these things are. they make me so happy when i see them in their vases around the place.

hydrangea

planning on attending my friend kali’s “replenish, relax & renew” workshop. kali is a wellness coach, and has her own wellness practice, which is fabulous. the workshop is basically a chance to gather yourself and focus on getting back to your best, most healthy self. there is a detox involved, but i’m still excited…does this mean i’m growing up? 

writing my post for amber’s linkup tomorrow for the say yes project. (yea, it’s not written yet. i never said i was good at time management, and i know i’ve had two weeks to do this. woops?) make sure you visit to see all the stuff some awesome people are saying “yes” to.  

say yes project

wearing my new haircut! i got my hairs did for the first time in 4 months the other day, and holy cow did it make me feel like a new person! sidenote: i tweeted that photo below from my instagram, and TOMS shoes tweeted that they liked my haircut and the TOMS i was wearing. my day was made, let me tell you!

haircut

drinking trader joe’s carrot juice blend. it’s so much better than the v8 stuff you guys. if you have a tj’s anywhere near you, i highly suggest picking some up. pro tip: mix it with champagne for a twist on a traditional mimosa. you can thank me later.

loving sweater weather. i am sick of being sweaty. i’m a minnesotan, and i’m pretty sure my body thrives in the colder weather. plus, i get to start wearing my BOOTS again! (yes, MM, i do need all of them…)

not loving summer coming to an end. i know i just said i loved that fall was coming, what a brat, i can’t have it both ways. i know this. but summer was very short this year. we’re talking snow in late april. can’t we have it start just a little bit earlier, and keep fall right on schedule? is that too much to ask?

working on finally organizing our wedding photos…are you sensing a trend here with my procrastination? we don’t have a wedding album or really many framed photos from our wedding, and they are some of the best photos we’ve ever taken. so yea. planning on getting that done as soon as it gets cold out.

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MAKE SURE TO CLICK THAT FOLLOW BUTTON OR THAT BLOGLOVIN BUTTON TO YOUR RIGHT OR ADD ME TO YOUR READER IF YOU WANT TO TREAT YOURSELF TO ALL MY BRILLIANT LIFE MUSINGS. I TEND TO KEEP THINGS FUN AROUND HERE. PLUS, YOU KNOW YOU LOVE WHAT’S HAPPENING AROUND HERE THESE DAYS.