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These are a special cookie recipe that combines the flavors of the Fall and Winter season! It will satisfy that pumpkin spice craving and make you feel like you are sitting by a fire drinking some wassail.

I love how soft and flavorful these cookies are. They have just the right amount of spice, but not overpowering. They are sweet, spicy, and has just the right amount of pumpkin flavor. The best part would be the gooey caramel drizzle. It gives it the WOW factor, as it brings a citrusy pop that compliments the spice of the cookie.

Bring these cookies into your heart and home this holiday season!

Ingredients for Cookies:
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 + 1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ginger
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Rolling Sugar:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Wassail Caramel:
1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 cup pineapple juice
Juice of one orange
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup whipping cream, room temperature

Directions

In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, cornstarch, cream of tartar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, Cinnamon, Ginger, and Nutmeg for 20 seconds, set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar just to combined. Occasionally scrape down sides and bottom of bowl throughout entire mixing process if not using a paddle attachment that constantly scrapes bowl while mixing.  Mix in egg yolk, then mix in pumpkin and vanilla extract. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients then mix until combined. Divide dough in half and place each half in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill 45 minutes to 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees during last 10 minutes of refrigeration.

In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup granulated sugar with 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Scoop dough out 2 even tablespoons at a time  and shape into a ball, roll dough ball in cinnamon sugar mixture to evenly coat then transfer to Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets spacing cookies 2-inches apart. Bake in preheated oven 12 – 14 minutes (they should look just slightly under-baked as they’ll cook slightly once removed from oven). Cool on baking sheet about 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For Wassail Caramel Sauce:
Cook cider. pineapple juice, orange juice and cinnamon sticks in a 3-qt. saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, 10 minutes or until reduced to 1/4 cup. Remove the cinnamon sticks and stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly; boil, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and cool completely. Drizzle over cookies and serve!

 

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I’m a part of an amazing group, on Facebook, called The Mix. It’s based on a mutual love of essential oils, and it has grown into a community that shares healthy (and not-so-healthy) recipes, workout tips, “Scent of the Month”, DIY, skincare, and more!

I happen to be a leader in our culinary team and some of our members have come up with an amazing recipe using Young Living’s Lavender Vitality. I mean, look at it! It looks so juicy and inviting! The combination of bright lemon and floral lavender really elevates this dish to a whole new level.

Try this recipe out and tell me how you like it!

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Photo by: Nicole Ahart Radmacher

Lavender Chicken (from The Mix)

Ingredients:

>> 1 lemon, zest and juice
>> 2 sprigs of thyme, leaves pulled off stem
>> 2 tablespoons olive oil
>> 2 drops of Young Living Lavender Vitality
>> 2 tablespoons honey
>> 2 pieces of bone-in, skin-on chicken, either breast or leg
>>  Pinch of salt and pepper
>> Sprig of culinary lavender and twist of lemon slice for garnish

Directions:

Combine Lavender Vitality oil, olive oil, honey, thyme, and lemon zest and juice. Mix well.
Add chicken pieces and spoon marinade over chicken until well coated. Cover and marinate for 30 minutes (or up to 4 hours).

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Put chicken and marinade into roasting pan. Sprinkle tops of chicken with salt and pepper. Roast chicken for 45 minutes, turning pieces over halfway. Cook chicken until it has an internal temperature of 165°F or when thickest part is pierced with a skewer, the juices run clear (not red or pink).

Serve chicken with cooking juices poured over and around.

To order Young Living Lavender Vitality, either message me or talk to whoever you have talked to about Young Living before.

As some of you may know, I have been using Young Living products for almost two years now. I joined because I was looking for natural ways to improve my family’s wellness. I bought an essential oil starter kit in November of 2013 and my life was forever changed. I look at every aspect of the way I live differently now. I no longer use harsh chemicals to clean my home, I have changed the way we eat, I have changed the way we approach wellness, and many of our household items have been replaced with a more natural option. I found out quickly that Young Living is more than just essential oils. We have toothpaste, hand soap, laundry detergent, face wash, lotions, chocolate, energy drinks, spaghetti, pancake syrup, and…one of my new favorites, FLOUR!

Einkhorn flour is made with an ancient wheat grain that has only 14 chromosomes, as opposed to today’s modern, hybrid wheat, that has 42 chromosomes. It’s been so modified that it has become extremely difficult for us to digest. Wonder why people are so sensitive to gluten? Modern wheat has been modified so that the kernels don’t fall off. During the natural process of germination, wheat kernels loosen. When this occurs, enzymes are activated. These enzymes help our bodies digest the wheat. Because of this modern modification, these enzymes are never activated, causing many people to have issues within their guts, as their bodies struggle to digest the wheat.

Thankfully, Einkhorn wheat is coming back. This wild, ancient grain hasn’t been modified and goes through the natural germination process and the enzymes are activated. Young Living has 200 acres of Einkhorn growing in Utah and another 2000 acres are growing in France. Amazing!

I finally bought a box of the flour, on my last order. I just opened the box last night so that I could make some chocolate chip cookies. I will go ahead and say that I did NOT strive to make this a super duper healthy cookie recipe. Come on, it’s chocolate chip cookies….let’s live a little. So, if you have any other dietary restrictions, then you may modify to your own needs. The only thing I swapped out was the flour.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 C plus 1 TBSP Einkhorn flour
  • 3/4 C brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 stick of butter (I use unsalted Kerrygold)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 8 oz chocolate chips

In a sauce pan, on medium-high heat, melt the butter. Allow it to bubble, swirling the pan often, until it turns amber brown (about 3-4 minutes). Take off the heat and allow to cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 375°. Line a cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat.

In a stand mixer, combine the butter and brown sugar. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix until well combined.

Add your salt and then slowly add your flour and baking soda until well mixed.

Add your chocolate chips until just combined. Turn off mixer.

On the cookie sheet, scoop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoons. Chill the dough for about 15 minutes and then place into the oven for 10-15 minutes (varies by oven) until golden brown. Remove from the oven, transfer to cooling rack, and repeat with the rest of the dough.

You should end up with about 12-18 cookies, depending on how much dough you use per cookie.


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If you are interested in purchasing Einkhorn flour, you may visit my website at https://www.youngliving.com/greeneliving

Chorizo Cornbread

Chorizo Cornbread

Storms came rolling into the area today and dropped the temperatures to the low to mid-eighties. That means, in Texas, that you can use the oven…. perhaps even wear a light jacket.

At the store, the shelves were emptied of the hot cocoa and marshmallows… In Texas, there are very few times that we will empty the shelves. First, at the whiff of a tropical storm, the water will be gone. Second, when Blue Bell stopped production, I offered $50 a spoonful of some contraband Homemade Vanilla to anyone willing to play listeria roulette. Lastly, when the temperatures fall below the eighties, we take full advantage of pretending that both Fall and Winter exist here. Sure, I may be sweating bullets… but we really need to take these adorable Winter wonderland photos for our greeting cards that I found on Pinterest.

What was I talking about? Oh… oven-cooking…

I had a hankerin’ for some cornbread and a pound of veal chorizo that needed to get cooked… so, chorizo cornbread it is!

It’s spicy, flavorful, and…. best of all…. a one-pot wonder!

It’s almost like a Texas version of shepherd’s pie… but with cornmeal and BIG Texas flavor.

Before I go off on another tangent, I’ll share this recipe with you.

For the Cornbread:

3/4 cup cornmeal
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup quinoa
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1 fresno pepper, sliced
1 pound of chorizo (I use organic veal chorizo)

Preheat your oven to 400°

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the milk, egg, and grapeseed oil.
  3. Slowly pour the milk mixture into the dry mix. Stir in the peppers, onion, and cheese. Set aside.
  4. In your cast iron skillet, brown the chorizo but do not cook through.
  5. Pour the batter over the chorizo, top with the sliced fresno peppers.
  6. Place your cast iron skillet on the middle shelf and bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before slicing into wedges.
  8. Serve with your favorite condiments. I love serving my cornbread with fresh guacamole, black bean and corn pico de gallo, and salsa.

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Chorizo Cornbread

And there you have it! Delicious Chorizo Cornbread with black bean & corn pico and guacamole!

Enjoy!

Our dear friends, Julia and Aaron, invited us over to dinner tonight. We absolutely love hanging out with them! We are all pretty laid back, our kids are the same age, and we have a love for good food and good conversation. They provided some pretty excellent empanadas, from a nearby joint, and I brought a dessert. Man, everything was so good! I think my favorite was the black bean and corn empanada! So much flavor! If you have never had empanadas, you’re missing out! Seriously… you are!

I recently bought a new tart pan and really wanted to create something revolving around chocolate. So, I knew that I would make a quick ganache and go from there. Marshmallows… they make most everything better. Graham crackers, sweet potatoes, hot chocolate, rice crispies…. by itself… you get the picture. So, the natural choice would be S’mores tart. Simple. No fuss. Always excellent.

It’s so simple… it’s almost too easy to really blog about it, to be honest. But, man… I’m gonna.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers
1/4 cup sugar (granulated or brown… use brown if you love life)
6 TBSP melted butter
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips (I like Guittard)
1-2 cups of miniature marshmallows

  • Pre-heat your oven to 375°; lightly spray your tart pan with non-stick spray
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the first three ingredients until the graham crackers are nice and moist.
  • Pour the graham mixture into the tart pan and press evenly, make sure to get an even edge around the pan to ensure the ganache will not escape.
  • Place the tart pan onto a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
  • In a medium sauce pan, combine the sweetened condensed milk and chocolate on medium-low heat. Stirring often, allow the chocolate to melt until silky smooth.
  • Immediately pour the ganache into the tart pan and even it out with an offset spatula. Immediately press your marshmallows into the ganache and allow the tart to set for at least 30 minutes.
  • Using either a kitchen torch or the broiler of your oven, toast the marshmallows.
  • Serve and enjoy!

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As some of you may know, I had the opportunity to go to California this year and try out for MasterChef. Though I did not make it onto the show, I did make the Top 100 home cooks in the country. I am pretty proud of that accomplishment!

MasterChef just celebrated it’s 100th episode! How exciting! So, to celebrate this momentous occasion, the Top 14 home cooks were given the challenge to create a birthday cake worthy of the MasterChef kitchen. Each cook had a different point of view and, sadly, two cooks went home. Christina Tosi’s birthday cake was absolutely beautiful! It was her bakery’s version of a funfetti cake. It looked moist and delicious!

After the episode, I was inspired to create my own version of birthday cake. It was my father-in-law’s birthday on July 3rd, and we were all going to celebrate Independence Day and his birthday on the 4th of July. I asked him what he wanted and all he said was Vanilla. I asked him if a creamy orange sounded good to him. He said YES! So, the dreamsicle cake came into my mind and onto the cake plate. It is creamy with a delicious citrus flavor. There is orange zest, juice, and even a little Orange essential oil. There’s a whole vanilla bean, butter, and cream cheese. It’s everything you look for when you think dreamsicle, except it isn’t frozen. I hope you enjoy making this cake for your loved ones!

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Dreamsicle Cake Sponge:

4 cups of Cake Flour
1 1/2 tsp of kosher salt
2/3 c grapeseed oil
3 tsp baking powder
4 tsp vanilla
1 c buttermilk
1/2 vanilla bean, just the caviar
2 1/2 c granulated sugar
2/3 c shortening (butter flavored)
1 stick of butter, room temperature
6 TBSP brown sugar
6 eggs
1 orange, zest plus 2 TBSP of juice
3 drops of Young Living Orange Essential Oil (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Rub three 9″ round baking pans with shortening and then flour the pans
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, vanilla, vanilla caviar, orange juice, zest, and orange oil. Whisk together. Set aside.
  • Using a stand mixer on medium-high, beat granulated sugar, shortening, butter, and light brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions and occasionally scraping down sides and bottom of bowl. This is important. If you add the eggs at one time, it won’t incorporate the way they should.
  • Continue to beat mixture, occasionally scraping down sides and bottom of bowl, until almost doubled in volume and very light, airy, and pale yellow, about 4 minutes.
  • With mixer on low, add buttermilk mixture until incorporated.
  • Slowly add the dry mixture, scraping the bowl as needed. Do not overmix or you will end up with a dry cake.
  • Add an even amount of batter to each pan, smooth the tops of each one, and gently drop each pan on the top of your counter to get rid of air bubbles.
  • Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. The edges should have some elasticity to them and the middle should no longer jiggle.
  • Allow cakes to cool on a wire rack.

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Orange-Cream Frosting

2 stick of butter, room temperature
16 oz (2 blocks) of cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup of shortening
4 TBSP light corn syrup
2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
TSP kosher salt
2 TBSP vanilla
1/2 vanilla bean, caviar
1/2 orange, zest and juice
1/2 tsp baking powder

  • In a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, shortening, and cream cheese. Beat on medium-high until smooth. 2-3 minutes. Scrape down sides of the bowl.
  • In a small bowl, combine the corn syrup, orange juice, zest, vanilla bean, and vanilla. With the mixer still on medium-high, slowly stream this mixture into the mixer bowl until silky and glossy. Scrape down sides.
  • With mixer on low, slowly add the powdered sugar, salt, and baking soda. Once combined, raise the speed to medium-high and mix until fluffy and smooth, about 4 minutes.

Cake Soak:

1/4 c whole milk
1 TBSP vanilla
2 TBSP orange juice

  • Whisk these together and brush on each cake layer as you assemble the cake.

Assembly:

  • Trim each layer of cake to get rid of the golden brown skin. This will allow you to brush the soak on each layer and add some moisture and extra citrus flavor.
  • Add a layer of frosting between each cake layer. You can add some Orange food coloring to make your Dreamsicle cake pop. Frost the rest of your cake. Decorate as you wish.
  • Serve!

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So, I entered a Bacon contest with Central Market a couple months ago and got a phone call at the beginning of this month that I was a finalist! Yay! I totally entered on a whim and didn’t think much of it, until I got the phone call.

I have made bacon caramel brownies before, but someone mentioned that it needed to be taken to the next indulgent level. I had recently seen bourbon caramel being made and decided to go ahead and try adding a little to the bacon caramel tosee where it would go.

Well…apparently it works really great. Bacon-contest-winning great!baconbrowniespicture

Brownies:

1/2 c. flour
1 1/4 c. cocoa powder
2 c. brown sugar
8 oz (1 c.) semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
4 eggs
8 oz butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Caramel:
4 slices of thick bacon
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. heavy cream
2 TBSP bourbon (optional)
4 TBSP unsalted butter


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  • In a frying pan, crisp your bacon. Place the bacon on paper towels to cool.

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  • Drain off the fat, leaving only 2 TBSP of fat in the pan.
  • Add your bourbon and butter to the pan and deglaze. Add the cream and bring to a simmer.
  • Add the sugar and bring to a high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.caramel
  • Chop the bacon and stir into the caramel and set aside. baconcaramel
  • Preheat your oven to 300.
  • In a mixer, beat eggs until fluffy. Add the sugar to the bowl and combine.
  • Add your remaining ingredients until just combined, do not over mix.
  • In a buttered and floured 8-inch square pan, add half of the brownie batter.
  • Pour 3/4 of the caramel into the pan and then cover with the remaining batter.
  • Pour the remaining caramel on top and swirl into the batter.
  • Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes (Depends on your oven and weather, it took me an hour yesterday)intheoven
  • Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
    * I like to make extra caramel for a garnish

Get messy…. don’t worry about pretty plating…. I plated this dish in about 5 seconds, as I was about 15 minutes late to the contest…. my phone died (had to run into Verizon to get a charger so I could use my GPS), a guy pulled out a pipe and threatened a driver behind me, got stuck in traffic in the Galleria area, got stuck behind a looooooong train about 700 yards away from my destination…. whew….it was an adventure. But the result was winning a $350 gift card to Central Market/H-E-B! It was awesome!!!!!

Below is a picture of the brownie embellished for my MasterChef audition this year. I got past the dish presentation round but did not get picked for the Top 100 this year (I made the Top 100 last season)…. curse my niceness and lack of drama in my life…. Oh well.

Anyway… I present to you Bacon Brownie with a Cherry Bourbon Gastrique, Thyme, Cream Bourbon Caramel, and “Bacon Bits”

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