Ally's Sweet and Savory Eats: May 2018

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Peanut Butter Magic Bars

I needed a little magic in my life so I created these bars!
Like a typical seven layer bar, but with some added twists.

Peanut Butter Magic Bars...a chewy, sticky, buttery peanut butter and chocolate dessert bar that everyone loves!  (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

The kids have offically been out of school for one week and my brain is already mush.  What day is it today?  Who has showered?  You have a game tonight?  When does your camp start?  And they call me an organized mother.

We are all going in different directions and it's rare we're ever in the same place.  Our first week has been filled with sweltering heat {go figure}, playing outside in the hose, attending basketball camp, lots of bike rides with friends, ball games and later nights with the hopes that all children will stay in their beds past 7 a.m.

It happened once.

One child slept in until 8:15 a.m. and I assumed the world was coming to an end.  I was THIS CLOSE to going in and checking on her, but instead refilled my coffee cup and enjoyed the peace.

Summer break is hard.

Peanut Butter Magic Bars...a chewy, sticky, buttery peanut butter and chocolate dessert bar that everyone loves!  (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

On another note, I've been trying my best to eat better.  I've drastically cut carbs {ahem, all breads are my weakness} and sugar {again, super weakness}.

So why am I posting this decadent dessert bar?

Because.

I'm the owner of this food blog and I do what I want.

And because with the kids home, I'd rather have them eat something homemade with memories of me baking for them, than some stale, crappy, fake dessert from the grocery store.  So I got all daring and whipped up these bars yesterday.  I allowed myself a very small corner piece {because, well, recipe development}, gave them one each for two days in a row and per usual delivered the rest out.

And let's be honest, when the kids are underfoot baking relieves some stress for me.

Peanut Butter Magic Bars...a chewy, sticky, buttery peanut butter and chocolate dessert bar that everyone loves!  (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

Do I have any peanut butter lovers out there?

I mean, honestly you should all be silently raising your hands.  The only people who aren't are allergic and I'm fairly certain they'd raise their hands if they could.

I not only drizzled melted peanut butter over the crust, but then I dropped a WHOLE bag of mini Reese's peanut butter cups on top too.  It's just enough to blend in with the buttery, Nilla wafer cookie crust and the millions of mini chocolate chips.

And a little sweetened condensed milk to bring all the stickiness together.

Peanut Butter Magic Bars...a chewy, sticky, buttery peanut butter and chocolate dessert bar that everyone loves!  (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

After these bars are cooled, cut them into bars and stick them in the fridge {especially in these hot temps}.  Keeping them chilled is FABULOUS.  They hold together well, do not get too hard and basically become that "thing" you dream about all day at work.

Get real fancy and plate one of these with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.  My eldest asked for that exact dish last night after dinner, but I declined on the ice cream.  I mean, I was already rotting his teeth out with this bar.....I didn't want to take it too far.

I'm all about balance.

Three cheers for summer desserts!

peanut butter, dessert, bars, chocolate, sweet treat
Yield: 24Pin it

Peanut Butter Magic Bars

There truly is MAGIC to these bars. An incredible layered treat that is a bit crunchy, a bit sticky and full of chocolate and peanut butter!
prep time: 10 minscook time: 25 minstotal time: 35 mins

ingredients


  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups Nilla wafer cookies, crushed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted peanut butter
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup mini Reese's miniature cups

instructions


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a bowl mix together the melted butter, crushed Nilla wafers and sugar together.  Pack this mixture into the bottom of the pan.
  3. Drizzled the melted peanut butter over the crust and sprinkle on the mini chocolate chips, then drizzle the sweetened consdensed milk over that.
  4. Cover the rest of the crust with the mini Reese's cups.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes and allow to cool completely.
  6. Cut into 24 bars and keep in the fridge.  They serve best when chilled.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Strawberries & Cream Pull-a-Part Bread

This fantastic pull-a-part bread is a show stopper.
Filled with cream cheese, jam and drizzled with icing, plus juicy strawberries, it's mouthwatering!

This post is sponsored by Kalona SuperNatural, but all opinions are my own.


Strawberries & Cream Pull-a-Part Bread...a delicious breakfast treat!  Tender, flaky biscuits layered with cream cheese and strawberry jam, then drizzled with thick icing and topped with fresh strawberries!  Ideal for brunches, weekend breakfasts and party desserts.  Sponsored by Kalona SuperNatural. (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

It's been waaaaaaaaay too long since I've shared something sweet to my faithful readers and since today was the last day of school for my kids, I figured today was better than ever!

Was I celebrating?

I'm not really sure.  Because let's face it, I now have three kids under the roof all day every day.  All prayers, coffee, chocolate and spa certificates can be sent my way.  I hope that I can keep them entertained enough, I hope that I can keep up with all my work with them underfoot, I hope that we all still like each other come August.

I love summer, I just love it more when it's all mine.  Selfish?  For sure!  To battle this, I hope to start my days with early morning walks {to clear the mind}, once-a-week coffee dates, date nights with the hubs....and the smartest thing I've done since I've become a Mom, scheduling a babysitter once every two weeks JUST FOR ME.

Strawberries & Cream Pull-a-Part Bread...a delicious breakfast treat!  Tender, flaky biscuits layered with cream cheese and strawberry jam, then drizzled with thick icing and topped with fresh strawberries!  Ideal for brunches, weekend breakfasts and party desserts.  Sponsored by Kalona SuperNatural. (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

I'm going to use those full days with a sitter in hand to get all the things DONE.  Blog work {mostly} and occasional errands {groceries}.  A full day where I'll bust my butt to check things off the list and plop down on the couch that night in utter exhaustion.

Sounds tantilizing, right?

On those days I'll get to make super delicious treats, like this Strawberries & Cream Pull-a-Part Bread.

Have you stopped drooling yet?  I made this for the last day of school, let everyone sample and then promptly delivered the rest to my friend's work {office gals always love a good treat}.


Strawberries & Cream Pull-a-Part Bread...a delicious breakfast treat!  Tender, flaky biscuits layered with cream cheese and strawberry jam, then drizzled with thick icing and topped with fresh strawberries!  Ideal for brunches, weekend breakfasts and party desserts.  Sponsored by Kalona SuperNatural. (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

This summer I'm excited to be a Brand Advocate for Kalona SuperNatural.  This company has long been a dear friend of mine {I toured their production facility a few years back} and they are located just a mear 30 miles from my home.

Since 2005, Kalona SuperNatural has been making and distributing delicious organic dairy products to families all over the country.  When the founder and owner Bill Evans put down his roots in Kalona, Iowa, his family quickly became part of a community that is largely comprised of Amish and Mennonite farmers.

The most unique aspect of Kalona SuperNatural is that they truly are grassroots.  They know EACH and EVERY farmer they work with - they know their families, their land and are devoted to their superior product.

Strawberries & Cream Pull-a-Part Bread...a delicious breakfast treat!  Tender, flaky biscuits layered with cream cheese and strawberry jam, then drizzled with thick icing and topped with fresh strawberries!  Ideal for brunches, weekend breakfasts and party desserts.  Sponsored by Kalona SuperNatural. (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

Their organic products include milk, cottage cheese, sour cream, yogurt, butter, whipping cream, Greek yogurt, half & half and kefir.

For this recipe I used their milk and butter.  Butter!  One of God's greatest gifts.  Milk!  I've been drinking it since I was a babe and forever will.

Their dairy is so rich and perfect.  Their milk comes from small, sustainable farms with an average of just 35 cows.  Their cows diets range from fresh pasture grasses in early summer to clover in mid-summer.  The most surprising food choice in the Fall?  They love turnips!  

During the winter when the ground is FROZEN here in the Midwest, they eat stored forage {typically grown on the farm} or other organic foods like roasted soybeans {for protein}, corn {for energy}, barley, hay, silage or wheat.

Needless to say, they eat well.

Strawberries & Cream Pull-a-Part Bread...a delicious breakfast treat!  Tender, flaky biscuits layered with cream cheese and strawberry jam, then drizzled with thick icing and topped with fresh strawberries!  Ideal for brunches, weekend breakfasts and party desserts.  Sponsored by Kalona SuperNatural. (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

No doubt, their milk and butter made this breakfast treat PERFECTION.  I layered each divided biscuit with a sweet cream cheese and strawberry jam, stacked them up all, baked till golden brown, then drizzled with a sweet, creamy icing and topped with fresh strawberries.

Whew.

Did you catch all of that?

If not, go back, read that again...I just described heaven on a plate.  Or heaven between your fingers, because whose kidding, you pick apart this bread by the slice and shove it in your mouth.

Strawberries & Cream Pull-a-Part Bread...a delicious breakfast treat!  Tender, flaky biscuits layered with cream cheese and strawberry jam, then drizzled with thick icing and topped with fresh strawberries!  Ideal for brunches, weekend breakfasts and party desserts.  Sponsored by Kalona SuperNatural. (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

This pull-a-part bread is ideal for weekend breakfasts, bridal showers, Sunday brunches, dessert after dinner, however you want to eat it.

Prehaps in the closet hiding from your kids on the first day of summer break?

Just me?

Regardless it's fantastic.  One slice and I was converted.  All breakfasts from here on out will never compare.  Do yourself a favor, grab some Kalona SuperNatural milk and butter and make this for yourself!

A big thanks to Kalona SuperNatural for sponsoring this post.

breakfast, strawberries, bread, brunch
Yield: 8Pin it

Strawberries & Cream Pull-a-Part Bread

This stellar breakfast showstopper is perfect for entertaining or a simply Sunday brunch. Fresh strawberries, a cream cheese filling, jam and icing make this pull-a-part bread super tasty!
prep time: 15 minscook time: 50 minstotal time: 65 mins

ingredients

Pull-a-Part Bread
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 can (16 oz.) refrigerated Buttermilk biscuits
  • 1/2 cup strawberry jam
  • 2 T Kalona Supernatural salted butter, melted
Icing
  • 1 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 T Kalona Supernatural 2% milk
  • 1 t vanilla extract
Topping
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, chopped

instructions


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer or using a hand held mixer, beat together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Open the can of biscuits and separate/split them in half, making 16 biscuit rounds and flatten them into 4-inch circles.  Spread a generous amount of the cream cheese mixture onto the biscuit, then with 1 teaspoon of strawberry jam.
  4. Stack the biscuits into 4 piles of 4 biscuits each.  Place each stack on its side and lay in a row in the loaf pan.  Drizzle with the melted butter.
  5. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a deep golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes.  Loosen the sides, invert and carefully remove from the loaf pan, placing top side up on a serving plate.
  6. In a small bowl beat together the cream cheese, milk, vanilla and powdered sugar until smooth.  Drizzle the icing over the bread.  Top with strawberries and serve.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Friday, May 18, 2018

Egg-in-the-Hole Cast Iron Skillet Burgers

Burgers in a cast iron skillet are incredible...but imagine the delight 
of a cracked egg INSIDE the burger.  It's better than flowers and sunshine.

This post is sponsored by the Iowa Egg Council, but all opinions are my own.

Egg-in-the-Hole Cast Iron Skillet Burgers...a deliciously seasoned hamburger with a cracked egg fried in the middle.  Perfection in a burger! (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

Considering I've given you TWO, count them two, burger recipes this month, I think it's fair to say that right behind chocolate, pizza, coffee and any-and-all pasta dishes, burgers rank right up there at the top.

They hold a special place in my heart.

Especially in the summer.  Especially when grilled in a hot cast iron skillet.  Especially when eggs are involved.

Cracked in the middle, drippy, fried eggs.

Egg-in-the-Hole Cast Iron Skillet Burgers...a deliciously seasoned hamburger with a cracked egg fried in the middle.  Perfection in a burger! (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

Yes, you heard that right.

I went ahead and cut out a perfectly centered circle in each of these burgers, then cracked an egg into that darling little well during the cooking process and afterwards proceeded to eat all that drippy goodness with extremely sticky fingers.  I washed up and then seriously contemplated having another one.

I've had a long, lovely relationship with the Iowa Egg Council, so when they approached me about creating a new egg recipe, which happens to just coorespond with National Burger Month {ahem, May} and National Egg Month {ahem, again May}, we both quickly settled on this fun burger.

Did you know that Iowa, of all places, is the #1 egg-producing state in the country, producing nearly 16 billion eggs per year?  That means that nearly one out of every five eggs consumed in the United States comes from an Iowa farm.

Egg-in-the-Hole Cast Iron Skillet Burgers...a deliciously seasoned hamburger with a cracked egg fried in the middle.  Perfection in a burger! (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

Eggs are always, always, always in our fridge, whether from my friend's local farm or from the grocery store.  We eat them every which way - scrambled, deviled, hard-boiled, fried...and recently inside burgers.

They are cheap {17 cents per serving}, good for you {zero carbs, no sugar and just 70 calories}, plus they have six grams of high-quality protein, so when you mix that with a burger you'll be full and happy for hours.

Add a little butter to cook them in, a slice of Swiss cheese and my personal favorite a dollup of blackberry jam {a little sweet to cut through the savory} and this is a burger made in heaven.  But don't worry, if that's not your thing, top it traditionally with lettuce, tomato, onion, mustard, pickle and ketchup.

It's goes down just fine all the same.  So good!  And can we talk about what happens when you cook burgers or eggs in a cast iron skillet?  

It's incredible.  The burgers get a flavor infused crust on them and the eggs get a crispy edge and well it all just makes me want to dive in and take a bath in the skillet itself.

The yolk can be cooked to your liking - drippy and messy as I enjoy it or a bit more firm and not so drippy if that's your thing.  Don't miss out on that yolk!  They contain choline, a nutrient that promotes natural cell activity, liver function and the transporation of nutrients throughout your body.

Egg-in-the-Hole Cast Iron Skillet Burgers...a deliciously seasoned hamburger with a cracked egg fried in the middle.  Perfection in a burger! (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

I've yet to even mention the sliders that come with this burger.  Remember how you cut out that center circle?  Well, save those little babies to fry up in that same hot, buttery cast iron skillet for sliders later.

Or - if you're making this meal for the family and the kids are a bit freaked out about an egg-in-the-middle-burger {it's okay, they'll learn to love 'em}, cook up the sliders for them and everyone is happy!

Or - better yet, make these the center of attention at your upcoming Memorial Day barbecue.  How impressive to throw that cast iron skillet right on the grill and showcase these burgers to your crowd?  I can bet people will be super impressed.

And they'll be drooling.

Egg-in-the-Hole Cast Iron Skillet Burgers...a deliciously seasoned hamburger with a cracked egg fried in the middle.  Perfection in a burger! (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

I big, flowery, sun-kissed summer-y thank you to the Iowa Egg Council for sponsoring this post.  My sponsors and supporters are what keep this fun food blog moving along.  And thank you to my faithful readers who continue to support and make my meals!

MAKE THESE BURGERS.

FRY UP THAT EGG.

Combine the two and experience an epiphany.

burgers, cast iron
Yield: 3 burgers + 3 mini slidersPin it

Egg-in-the-Hole Cast Iron Skillet Burgers

Would doesn't love a runny fried egg on top of the burger? But what about inside the burger? YES. This burger is genius.
prep time: 10 MINScook time: 10 MINStotal time: 20 mins

ingredients


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3 eggs
  • freshly cracked salt & pepper
  • 1 T sugar
  • 3 slices Swiss cheese
  • 3 brioche buns
  • 3 T unsalted butter

instructions


  1. In a bowl combine the ground beef, sugar and lots of freshly ground salt and pepper.
  2. Divide the meat into 3 sections and form into 3 large burger patties, about 4-5 inches in diameter.  Place the burgers on a cutting board.  Take a round glass, cup or cookie cutter and cut a circle out of the middle of the burger.  Set that "mini burger" off to the side.
  3. Heat your cast iron skillet to medium-high heat.  Add the butter to the skillet when hot.  Place the burgers into the melted butter and cook for 3 minutes on the first side.
  4. Carefully flip the burger and immediately crack the eggs into the middle of the burgers.  You might have some overflow if they are large eggs, but that is okay.  Cover the skillet loosely with tin foil and cook the burgers for another 4-5 minutes.
  5. If the egg is still too runny, gently flip the burgers for another 30 seconds before removing from the skillet.  Allow the burgers to rest for a few minutes.
  6. Lightly toast both sides of the brioche buns in the hot skillet.
  7. To serve remove the toasted buns, top with a slice of Swiss cheese and the finished burger.  I additionaly topped my burger with a dollup of blackberry jam, for a sweet/savory effect.  But mustard and ketchup works just fine too!
  8. Don't forget to quickly grill up those mini burgers for the kids!
Created using The Recipes Generator

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Do not be afraid of brussels sprouts!
I turned these little baby cabbages into a crispy, delicious side dish.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Bacon...this jazzed up veggie side dish is fun and new!  Roasting the brussels sprouts with bacon and tossing them in a sweet glaze makes them perfect for any dinner. (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

I figured I'd throw in this delicious vegetable side dish {with just a hint of bacon} before I throw a greasy burger at you next week.

It's all about balance.

More on these little cabbages in a bit.

Let's talk life first, because you know I always like to talk life first.  What have you been up to?  Are they the same things I'm surrounded with right now?

Here's my list: gardening, baseball tournaments, flowers, softball practices, end-of-the-school-year mumbo gumbo, field trips, yard work, garage sales and so much more.  I honestly feel like the month of May is the craziest when you have kids.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Bacon...this jazzed up veggie side dish is fun and new!  Roasting the brussels sprouts with bacon and tossing them in a sweet glaze makes them perfect for any dinner. (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

My second grader is living and breathing baseball {he thinks he's Anthony Rizzo} and infomed me just last night how when school is out he's done with all things learning.  No summer worksheets to keep his math on track and no "resting" in the afternoons to read.

Ha.

He must not know his Mother.

My first grader can be found doing cartwheels down our hallway at all hours of the day, so much so my house shakes at all hours.  She can crack that softball across the field with her eyes closed and only wants to help with chores if there is something in it for HER.

And then we have that youngest babe who turns FOUR on Monday.  She had a ONE HOUR tantrum yesterday because I asked her to put her clothes away.  Yet, she is the biggest helper outside, willing to dig in the garden with me or to pull tulips weeds.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Bacon...this jazzed up veggie side dish is fun and new!  Roasting the brussels sprouts with bacon and tossing them in a sweet glaze makes them perfect for any dinner. (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

The kids are keeping me incredibly busy and although I'm a stay-at-home-mom, time is still limited.  Each and every day I forget to do something I was supposed to do the day prior.  Buy that special drink for their field trip the next day?  Forgot.  Boil eggs in the Instant Pot because suddenly everyone in the house wants to eat them ALL THE TIME?  Forgot.  Vacuum out the van which looks like a homeless person is living in it?  Still hasn't been done.

But make a somewhat healthy, delicious side dish?

I've got time for that.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Bacon...this jazzed up veggie side dish is fun and new!  Roasting the brussels sprouts with bacon and tossing them in a sweet glaze makes them perfect for any dinner. (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

Are brussels sprouts your thing or are you afraid of them?  I didn't grow up eating them, so up until a few years ago I don't think I had ever even had one.  Let's face it, they got a really bad rap for many, many years.

People boiled them {yuck} or steamed them {double yuck} and basically served them plain and unseasoned and quite honestly they should have been taken off the food pyramid.

But dear readers when you roast them in the oven {or saute in a skillet} they get crispy and a bit crunchy and are just delightful.  Then if you take my advice and get all fancy adding bacon and a sweet balsamic glaze....they are down right delectable.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Bacon...this jazzed up veggie side dish is fun and new!  Roasting the brussels sprouts with bacon and tossing them in a sweet glaze makes them perfect for any dinner. (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

Now, I didn't get this genius brussels sprouts idea all by myself...

As one of the perks of food blogging, I am sent about one cookbook a month to review and drool over and last month I was sent Real Life Dinners by Rachel Hollis.  

I love, love, love Rachel Hollis, as well as her blog, plus her other new book is sitting on my shelf right now in line for me to read next {Girl, Wash Your Face}.  Seriously, I should be on her marketing team as I just sent you to about a million of her sites.

Anywho, there is a recipe for her Crispy Brussels Sprouts in Real Life Dinners and I was salivating immediately.  I dog-earred this recipe and then put a spin on it for all of you!  I added some bacon and ditched the scallions and used a different type of almond.

That's my spin.

Make this recipe today {or tomorrow if you're busy}, then email me {or Rachel} and tell us how good it is, okay?

Yield: 4Pin it

Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

These crispy, roasted brussels sprouts will be the hit at dinner! Sweet, crunchy and tossed in a fun glaze you'll be making this again and again.
prep time: 10 MINScook time: 15 MINStotal time: 25 mins

ingredients


  • 1 lb brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t pepper
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T honey
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

instructions


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and spray a large rimmed cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Using a small knife cut off the ends of the brussels sprouts, then again in half lengthwise.  Separate the leaves as much as you can and place them in a bowl.  Add in the almonds, oil, salt and pepper and toss to coat.
  3. Spread the mixture onto the baking sheet and sprinkle with the cooked bacon.  Roast for 10-15 minutes or until browned and crispy, stirring halfway through.
  4. While it's roasting, make the sauce.  In a small saucepan combine the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and honey.  Cook over low heat until it's reduced by half and is thick and syrupy.
  5. Take the roasted brussels sprouts out of the oven, pour into a bowl and toss with the reduced sauce.  Serve warm and eat immediately.

notes

***Recipe adapted from Real Life Dinners by Rachel Hollis.
Created using The Recipes Generator