Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Zesty Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Summertime to me is the perfect time to use all sorts of delicious and fresh ingredients for tasty desserts. I love anything lemon so I knew that a lemon shortbread cookie would be the perfect addition to Mr. TL's birthday dessert spread. These little gems baked up beautifully - light and airy with a sweet tartness that was incredible. Enjoy!

Zesty Lemon Shortbread Cookies

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray.
In the bowl of a standing mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar together until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
With the mixer on low speed, add eggs, one at a time, until blended. Add lemon juice and zest, mixing until blended.
Add salt, baking powder and flour and mix until blended.
Drop by rounded spoonful onto prepared baking sheets and bake until edges are firm with no color, 12 to 15 minutes.
Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling racks and let cool completely.
Dust with powdered sugar.

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars

Mr. TL's birthday get together is always a time for me to flex my baking muscles! While I opted not to make his cake this year (a local restaurant offers a Heath Bar Crunch cake that is AH-mazing!), I did whip up two other sweets for people to munch on. These chocolate chip cheesecake bars are to die for good. Seriously. And did I mention easy? 4 ingredients and you're on yoru way to cheesecake heaven. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars
(adapted from Pillsbury.com)

16 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 egg
2 rolls of refrigerated chocolate chip cookies

Heat oven to 350°F. In small bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and egg until smooth.
In ungreased, 9x13 pan, break up one roll of cookie dough. With floured fingers, press dough evenly in bottom of pan to form crust. Spread cream cheese mixture over dough. Crumble and sprinkle remaining roll of dough over cream cheese mixture.
Bake 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and firm to the touch. Cool 30 minutes. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or until chilled. Cut into squares and store in refrigerator.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Toffee Dip

When you put the words "toffee" and "dip" together in a sentence, you're bound to have a match made in heaven! I borrowed this recipe from my girlfriend Nicole after she brought it to one of our girls night out get togethers a few months back. This dip may have been the hit of the party (besides the lasagna Candace made!!) and I knew I had to have the recipe. It's the perfect addition to fruit and Nilla wafers. And a little birdie told me that the leftovers taste amazing spread on a bagel. Enjoy!

Toffee Dip

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 bag of Heath Bar Toffee Bits
Fruit, cookies, crackers to serve with the dip (I used cut strawberries and apples and some Nilla Wafers)

Combine the first four ingredients with an electric mixer until smooth.
Fold in toffee bits.
Devour. And thank me later :)

Loaded Veggie Pasta Salad

This simple but tasty pasta salad is one that my mom would always make for BBQ's when I was younger. It's chock full of veggies, tender pasta, and yummy cheese. And if you know me then you know of my love affair with cheese! The nice thing about a recipe like this is that you can adjust the veggies, seasoning, and even pasta to your liking. The star of this recipe would have to be the McCormick Salad Supreme seasoning. It's just the right mixe of spices to jazz up the pasta salad. Enjoy!

Loaded Veggie Pasta Salad

1 pound of pasta (I use Wacky Mac for the tri color look)
4 tbsp Salad Supreme Seasoning
1 1/4 cup Italian salad dressing
4 cups of chopped veggies (I used broccoli, red onion, black olives, carrots, red pepper, zuchinni)
1/2 cup sweet pickes, chopped (just trust me on this one!)
1 cup chopped cheese (I used a colby jack blend)

Boil pasta until just al dente. Rinse under cold water.
Pour 1 cup salad dressing over warm pasta. Add 3 tbsp of the Salad Supreme seasoning. Toss to coat and refrigerate until fully chilled.
Toss pasta with veggies and cheese. Add remaining tbsp of seasoning and 1/4 cup of salad dressing and serve!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I'm alive!

Please please please forgive me for being a crummy blogger these last few weeks. Things have been crazy busy for Mr. TL and I but I think we are on the upside of things now!

I finished up this last semester of classes and we headed to FL for a week in the sun. The weather was perfect, the food was amazing, and the company wasn't so shabby either. I promise to share some pictures of our Disney trip with you all in the coming days!

Besides that we've, had weddings and portrait sessions out the wazoo that keep us running here, there, and everywhere. We are so truly blessed to have such an awesome opportunity to grow our business and work with the best clients around.

I'm in the middle of taking two summer courses this first summer session at my college. I have one more sumer class during the second session followed by two courses in the fall and them I am finally DONE! I can't believe it is *this* close to happening... I can practically taste it.

I'm extra excited because next Wednesday I'm headed to NC with my parents (Mr. TL has to stay home to work... Boo!) for my two cousin's high school graduations. I'm excited to see our extended family that I haven't seen since our wedding two years ago!

I think that just about catches you all up... I have some delicious recipes hitting the blog soon including a Toffee Dip and a Loaded Veggie Pasta Salad that were both hits at Memorial Day cookouts so keep an eye out for those as well.

Have a great Wednesday everyone :)