Friday, September 30, 2011

The Cookiepedia!

A few weeks ago (okay, probably a month ago…but I was out of town for 2 weeks on business), I got contacted by the good people of Quirk Books.  They asked me if I was interested in receiving a copy of The Cookiepedia, by Stacy Adimando, for review.  Umm…of course, I was!  Being a “cookie enthusiast,” I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to review a new cookie cookbook, now could I?


There are so many things that I love about this cookbook.  First of all, every single recipe is a cookie = awesome!  Secondly, it’s so cute and practical. The pages are spiral bound for ease in turning and propping open to your recipe. Plus, the font is fun, the recipes are clear and they even leave a little space for you to make your own notes on the recipes.


Third, there are pictures of every cookie.  I don’t know about you, but I enjoy it when cookbooks have pictures.  It helps when you know what your making is going to turn out looking that good! Winking smile


And lastly, I love this quote within the first few pages!  Ain’t it the truth?


While perusing this cookbook, I came across many cookies that I immediately wanted to make such as the Thin Mints, the Animal Cookies, the Everything-But-The-Kitchen-Sink-Cookies, the Madaleines, the Lemon Chewies…well alright, I kinda wanted to make them all.  However, I could only pick one, so I picked the Oatmeal Raisin Cookies!  I loved these oatmeal cookies cause they were easy to make; plus, they were hearty and deliciously cinnamon-y. 

So, if you’re a baker and cookie lover like me, I’d definitely recommend checking out The Cookiepedia.  I foresee many more cookie posts in the future on my blog.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, from The Cookiepedia


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats or quick cooking oats
  • 2/3 cup raisins


  1. Cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed for a few minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla and mix a bit more.
  2. Sift the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a bowl.  Pour in the flour mixture an run the mixer motor on low, just to work it in.  Stir in the oats and raisins with a spoon.
  3. Scoop out tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto parchment-paper-lined cookie sheets about 2 inches apart.
  4. Bake from 12 to 14 minutes, rotating cookie sheets halfway through baking.  Let cool and enjoy.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Banana Bread

A few weeks ago, I was at Sam's Club browsing the fruit area when I saw a bunch of overripe bananas.  "Those poor bananas," I thought, "Who's going to ever buy those, especially when they are near the perfectly yellow ones?"  Yes, I know it's kinda sad that I think that about over ripe fruit...but nevertheless, I did.  The whole bunch of about 3lbs of bananas was only $1.98!  A total bargain, right?  But what does one do with overripe bananas?  Make banana bread, of course!  And so, the bananas somehow made their way into my cart.

I've made this recipe many times over the past few years and it has become my "go-to" banana bread recipe.  Not only is it simple, I bet you have all the ingredients in your pantry, but it's delicious!  When making this bread, I sometimes use whole wheat flour and sometimes just regular flour, or you can mix and match.  Also, I add spices to my bread, per the modifcations below and it turns out great everytime.  I always get compliments from people saying how moist and flavorful this bread is; plus, numerous requests for the recipe.  So, here you go, my friends.  Make this soon and enjoy it as a snack with coffee or as my personal fave - warmed up with some butter on top for breakfast.  Mmmm!



Quality control.

Banana Banana Bread by
Printable Recipe

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/3 cups mashed very overripe bananas
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Lightly grease 9 x 5 loaf pan
  3. In large bowl, combine flour, soda and salt.
  4. In separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar.
  5. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended.
  6. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten.
  7. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 60-65 minutes until a toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.
  9. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Homemade Salsa

Hello!  I’m back.  I took a break.  Because I felt like.  Alright, let’s move on.
Chips and salsa are a favorite for Jeremy and me.  We like it as an appetizer, apart of a meal or as a snack.  But why should we always have to resort to store bought salsa?  Though there are many delicious varieties of store bought kind (ex. Trader Joe’s Pineapple Salsa), there is something about homemade salsa that is so good.  Maybe it’s the fact that you can make it as spicy or chunky as you want.  Or maybe it’s because it’s so easy.  My vote is for all of the above!

This recipe is from Jeremy’s sister and brother-in-law and it’s fabulous!  It’s a mix of canned and fresh items, which make it so delicious and as I’ve mentioned…easy!  Plus, I frequently cut the recipe in halve and it still turns out great.  It’s one of those recipes that you can’t mess up.  So, go ahead and make the Carne Asada Burritos that I’ve talked about and this salsa.  Throw in some tortilla chips and you’ll have a wonderful, fiesta.


Just add chips!
Delicious Salsa

  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes (dice a little more)
  • 1 large bunch of cilantro (chopped)
  • 3/4 of a large white onion (chopped)
  • 2 raw jalapeno peppers (chopped)
  • 1 Anaheim chili (fire roasted on stove, until black, then chopped)
  1. Combine all ingredients into a large bowl.
  2. Season with garlic salt and black pepper, to taste.
  3. Refrigerate left overs.

Monday, July 4, 2011

My New Obsession

If you know me at all, you know that I’m slightly obsessed with peanut butter.  I’ve been know to eat spoonful's out of the jar.  I eat it on apples, on celery sticks, on carrot sticks…actually, I’m pretty sure I’d eat it on just about anything. 

When I first came across this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Picky Palate, I knew I was destined to make it.  It’s main ingredient is peanut butter, with the second ingredient being Oreos.  That’s right, I said it, Oreos.  Followed by the last ingredient, white chocolate chips.  I’m going to give you a moment to imagine the goodness…

Are you drooling yet?  Please.  I beg you.  Stop what you’re doing right now.  Make this peanut butter.  Then, grab a spoon and dig in, while you check out some of Jenny’s other amazing recipes on her blog.



Cookies and Cream Peanut Butter, by Picky Palate


  • 10 whole Oreo Cookies (I added a whole roll of Oreos, which I think is about 15…because really, why not?)
  • 2 Cups creamy peanut butter (Per Jenny’s recommendation, I used a “natural” pb, since we’re adding so much sweetness)
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter


  1. Crush Oreos into small pieces and place into a large bowl.  Add 2 cups peanut butter.
  2. Place white chips and 2 tablespoons peanut butter into a double boiler and stir until melted OR microwave in 30 second intervals.Add to bowl of Oreos and peanut butter. 
  3. Stir just a little so you have a bit of swirls of chocolate throughout.  Place peanut butter into a jar!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Carne Asada Burritos

Hello?  Anyone out there?  Probably not, since I've neglected my blog for the past 2 months, but for reals, I'm back.  Over the past few months, I was traveling for work a lot, which didn't equal a lot of home cooked meals and when I was at home, I was just making my old standbys.  Yeah, yeah, I know , that’s always my excuse.  However, I'm now back in the kitchen, cooking up fabulous eats and treats.  So, lets get going with this one!

In our weekly meal planning, Jeremy said he wanted Carne Asada Burritos.  I immediately thought, "Umm, I'm not even sure what Carne Asada is exactly, besides delicious."  So, to the internet I went.  Specifically, to one of my favorite blogs - For the Love of Cooking.  Pam has a fabulous website with so many delicious recipes!  I've been reading here blog for a long time and I always find awesome stuff on it.
Just recently Pam posted Carne Asada Sandwiches. Um, yum!  Well, since we wanted burritos, all I had to do was make her Carne Asada recipe, add our fixins’ and ta-da, a delicious meal was born. 
Within our burritos, we added pinto beans, cilantro, cheese and grilled onions.  Mmmm, I’m not going to lie…this carne asada is fantastic!  Jeremy and I were both shocked how good it was.  I’m talking restaurant-quality- good here.  You should all make it this week.  Actually, you should all make it tomorrow night,  invite me over for dinner, and then go check out Pam’s blog, so we’ll talk about her recipes, deal? Open-mouthed smile
Slicing the meat.
Quickly being consumed by me!
Carne Asada Marinade
from Pam at For the Love of Cooking
Printable Recipe
  • 1 1/2 - 2 lbs of flank steak (I couldn’t find flank, so I used thin sirloin)
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (I only used about 1/3)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1-2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 4-5 cloves garlic minced
In a gallon size Ziploc bag, combine all ingredients with flank steak and mix really well. Let marinate for at least 6 hours - overnight if you can.  When ready, grill to your likeness.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cake Balls

If you've been around the food/cooking/baking blog community, I'm sure that you're familiar with Bakerella.  Her beautiful treats are works of art and her Cake Pops are especially lovely.  If you're not familiar, go ahead and check out her website, I'll wait...
Pretty cute, right?  Did you see the reindeer ones for Christmas?  So, cute!  Why can’t I have that talent?
Anyway, I've wanted to make Cake Pops for awhile and finally got around to doing it a few weeks ago.  However, I didn't have any sticks, so mine were Cake Balls.  I followed Bakerella's directions located here and my Cake Balls were a success!  Not only were they easy to make, but boy, were they good.  They reminded me of kind of a Ho-Ho, with their firm coating and soft inside.  One thing to remember though is to make sure your chocolate coating stays warm and melty…otherwise, it will start to thicken up and you’ll have lumpy balls.  Ha!
Smooth, pretty balls.
Bumpy, ugly balls.
Mmmm, Cake Balls!
On a side note, when I was making these Cake Balls I could not stop thinking of the Saturday Night Live skit called, "Schweddy Balls."  In fact, I giggled for a good hour while making them (I have a high level of maturity).  You've seen the skit, right?  It's good old Saturday Night Live humor and though slightly's hilarious!  And just incase you haven't, here it is. 
Enjoy the video clip and enjoy these Schweddy Balls...I mean, Cake Balls!

Cake Balls by Bakerella


  • 1 box cake mix (cook as directed on box for 13 X 9 cake) – I used Devil’s Food
  • 1 can frosting (16 oz.) – I used Vanilla
  • 1 package chocolate bark (regular or white chocolate)
  • wax paper


  1. After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl.
  2. Mix thoroughly with 1 can cream cheese frosting.
  3. Roll mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet.
  4. Chill for several hours.
  5. Melt chocolate in microwave per directions on package.
  6. Roll balls in chocolate and lay on wax paper until firm.

**See Bakerella’s website for detailed instructions and prettier balls! **

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Decadent Peanut Butter Pie

Well, well, well...look who it is!  It's me!  I'm back from my blogging hiatus!  Isn't that exciting?  Since the end of February, I've been traveling a lot for work, but over the past week I have been home and making some good recipes.  To make up for my absence, I'm starting off with a recipe that will knock your socks off, so here we go...

First of all, I love peanut butter.  It is my favorite food.  I've asked (and received) peanut butter for Christmas.  I think it's delicious.  I have a jar in my desk at work.  And I've been know to eat spoonfuls straight out of the jar.  It completes me.  When I first saw this recipe, I knew that I was destined to make it. 
Man 'o man, this pie did not disappoint us.  It is rich in it's peanut butter and chocolate flavor, but also light at the same time.  With a filling made of cream cheese and cool whip, it doesn't leave you feeling weighed down...just thoroughly peanut butter satisfied.  Usually I would use light cream cheese, but I didn’t want to risk changing the texture of the pie, so I used regular.  However, I did use “light” Cool Whip because as you all know, if you use at least one “light” item in your baking, it cancels out the calories of everything else.  No joke.  It’s a true story.  Also, as you'll see from the pictures, I added chopped up Reese's Peanut Butter cups to the top of the pie because really...why not?  If you’re a peanut butter nut like me, go make this pie and then enjoy every single bite of it.  That’s what I’m going to go do now! 

  • 1 cup Jif Creamy Peanut Butter, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 (12 oz.) container (4 1/2 cups) frozen whipped topping, thawed and divided
  • 1 prepared chocolate pie crust
  • 1 (11.75 oz.) jar Smucker's Hot Fudge Ice Cream Topping, divided
  1. BEAT together 1 cup peanut butter, cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with an electric mixer on medium, until well combined. Gently mix in 3 cups whipped topping until thoroughly combined. Spoon mixture into pie shell. Using a spatula, smooth mixture to edges of pie.
  2. RESERVE 2 tablespoons of hot fudge topping into the corner of a resealable food storage bag; set aside. Microwave remaining topping on HIGH (100% power) for 1 minute. Stir. Spread topping over pie, covering entire peanut butter layer. Refrigerate until set. Spread remaining whipped topping (1 1/2 cups), over hot fudge layer, being careful not to mix the two layers.
  3. CUT a small corner from bag containing topping. Squeeze bag to drizzle topping over pie. Place remaining 2 tablespoons peanut butter in a resealable food storage bag; cut bag corner and squeeze to drizzle in opposite direction from topping. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Lucky Winner is…

Thanks to all of you fine blog readers who entered my CSN Stores GIVEAWAY last week!  After much deliberation…and the usage of the true random number generator…we have a winner!  So, congratulations to…



from Black and Gold Girl’s Book Spot!!

Yay!  I highly recommend that you check out Renee’s blog.  This girl is reading machine, who writes excellent book reviews and loves the Pittsburgh Steelers!!  Plus, she’s a great “blog friend” to me!

Thanks again to all of those who entered my GIVEAWAY and many thanks to CSN Stores for this great opportunity!  I’ll be posting new recipes soon, I promise.  Enjoy the rest of your week, my friends.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I’ve Been Absent…So, Let’s Have a Giveaway!

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know.  I haven’t posted since January.  Shameful, isn’t it?  I do have a good excuse though.  You see, my husband decided to hurt his knee and he had to have surgery, so I’ve been busy taking care of him.  In order to buy myself some time before I get a new recipe posted, how about a GIVEAWAY?! 

Those awesome people at CSN Stores are once again, offering a generous gift certificate for $50 to any of their over 200 online stores, to one of you fine readers.  Whether you're looking for some modern office furniture or perhaps some fitness equipment or even a fountain for your backyard, CSN stores have it all!!

Legare Furniture - Select Series 60" Wide Corner DeskCap Barbell - SDKCS-TN030 - Tone Fitness Cement Filled Kettlebell SetBond - Y98834 - Pembrooke Old World Design Fountain

I’ll be randomly selecting one lucky reader to win this GIVEAWAY!  There are 3 ways to enter and all entries must be received by midnight (AZ Time) on Saturday, February 19th and here’s how you enter:

  1. Leave a comment telling me how you found my blog. (I don’t have a ton of reader, so I’m just curious how you found me! )

  2. Follow ME on Twitter @saraboff, or if you already do, let me know

  3. Become a Follower of Sara’s Sweets, or let me know if you already are

*Please leave separate comments to let me know that you’re a follower on Twitter or of the blog.

Good luck!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Best Chocolate Cake in the Whole World!

Ladies and gentlemen, do I have a recipe to share with you!  I've been holding onto this recipe for years...just waiting for the right time to make it.  Last week, we were having friends over for dinner and I needed a dessert to make.  While looking through the cabinets, I stumbled upon my Bundt pan and I knew, it was time to make this cake.  Holy moley, I don't know why I waited so long to make it, but boy, am I glad that I did!!
This cake is the most chocolaty cake I've ever had in my life.  And I am absolutely, 100% in love with it.  Not only is it chocolate cake, but it's got chocolate pudding mix and chocolate chips inside, and it's covered with chocolate glaze.  Oh yea!  What's not to love about that?  This cake is wonderful at room temperature, but for more decadence, put it in the microwave for 30 seconds.  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  It's Heaven, I tell you.  Pure Heaven.  Even Jeremy, who isn't a fan of cake, said, "This is amazzzing!"  Plus, when I told him that I was going to make us one every week, he gladly said, "Sounds good to me!"  Make this cake now.  You will not regret it (though your hips just might!).



  • 1 (18 1/4 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
  • 1 (4 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Glaze

  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 -3 tablespoons hot water
  1. Preheat oven to 350°, grease and flour bundt pan, set aside.
  2. In large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, pudding mix and chocolate chips.
  3. In another bowl, combine water, eggs, and vanilla mixing well.
  4. Add egg mixture to dry mixture and mix with spoon until just blended.
  5. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until cake tests done when wooden pick in center comes out clean.
  6. Cool 15 to 20 minutes before removing cake from pan.
  7. For Chocolate Glaze: Combine all ingredients in bowl and mix with spoon until smooth.
  8. When completely cool, drizzle cake with Chocolate Glaze.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I'm Baaaack! With Rocky Road Candy

Hello friends!  Since it's been awhile since my last post, I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  I apologize for disappearing for a few months, but it just needed a break from blogging about my cooking.  I still cooked and I still took pictures, but for some reason, they just didn't magically blog themselves.  Bummer, right?  Anyway, I'm back with recipes to share, so let's get to it!
When I was a kid, my mom would make Rocky Road Candy every Christmas, as gifts for people, and they would rave about!  Now that I'm a "grown up," I make it for friends during the holidays too and it is something that I look forward to it all year long.  Not only is it chocolaty and delicious, but it is ridiculously easy!  No joke, there are only 4 ingredients and it takes less than 8 minutes to make.  Besides all that, what I love the most about this is the butterscotch chips!  You don't suspect them to be in there, but then you bite into the candy and get that yummy butterscotch flavor in the background.  Mmmm!  I highly recommend that you make this candy, whether it's Christmas time or not.








All cut up and ready to be eaten!

Rocky Road Candy by Mom


  • 1 bag of chocolate chips
  • 1 bag of butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup of chunky peanut butter
  • 2 cups of marshmallows
  • Anything else that will make your candy "rockier": raisins, nuts, craisins, etc.
  1. Put chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and peanut butter in a microwavable bowl.  Melt on high for about 3 minutes, until smooth.
  2. Stir in marshmallows.
  3. Pour into a greased 11 x 8 pan and refrigerate for a few hours or even overnight, until hard.
  4. Cut into 1 inch squares and store in the refrigerator until ready to give away or eat.