Happiness Project #40: Cookie Batter Waffles!

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Every month, for one glorious week, I travel 3 hours south, to where my sister & 3 nephews live. And even though I’ve been taking Ari with me, for a good 5 months now, it’s always a little bit like opening a huge, musical present on Christmas morning, filled to the brim with bubbles, legos, splashing, laughter and warm, giggly hugs! I am incredibly lucky enough to have one of those (somewhat rare) very close & loving relationships with both of my sisters, even though my oldest sister doesn’t live in the same area as the majority of my immediate family does. And now that I am finally FREE from so many of my previous health challenges (which prevented me from traveling), I am always incredibly excited about my special “Sister Adventure” trips! So is my (now) 17mo Daughter! Who ADORES her three VERY affectionate & loving cousins. ADORES them! Like no other! Cousin time that she doesn’t really have with any of my closest relatives (here in the Bay Area). Though, considering how much of an introvert I still am (in combination with my daily battle with PPD, anxiety and Menopause, yes, I did say Menopause at 36 years old), I’m fairly convinced that some of this “isolation” is partly my fault. Hence, our monthly trips south. With my oldest sister, I feel SAFE, which is a VERY important thing to me, especially since becoming a Mom.

Anyhow, every time my Daughter & I stay with my sister, I’ve been hell bent on either cooking a Dinner Dish or baking up a Dessert for her family, as a Thank You, for being such an important part of our lives, no matter how often my sister tells me that it’s not necessary *wink* So last week’s special treat, from me to my sister’s family, was Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Waffles for Dinner! Yes, for Dinner! Because who doesn’t want breakfast for dinner?? And let me tell you, you haven’t lived until you’ve had Cookie Dough Waffles! Seriously! You may never look at a Waffle in the same way ever again, after this. I don’t. So here you go, my friends! Breakfast for Dinner =)

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of kosher salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground cinnamon

1 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 cup brown sugar, light or dark

1/2 cup granulated sugar

4 eggs

1/2 tablespoon vanilla

3 tablespoons whole milk

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Gather up all of your cookie dough ingredients, as well as your trusty waffle iron. My sadly neglected Cuisinart Waffle Maker has been sitting unused behind my coffee machine, for nearly a good year now. I’m quite convinced that if this pretty, little machine could talk, it would have been scolding me one minute yet joyfully singing out it’s freedom the next.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, stir to mix. Set aside.

In a stand mixer (or by hand held mixer), beat together the melted butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar, for 2-3 minutes, until throughly combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed with the vanilla. Drop your mixer speed down to low and add in the flour mixture, until just blended. Stir in up to 3 tablespoons of milk to create a silky, liquid-like dough texture, instead of a traditionally thick cookie dough batter. A liquid-like batter is essential for creating a good waffle dough. Lastly, but most importantly (because, well, it’s chocolate), stir in those chocolate chips.

Once your waffle machine is prepped and ready, drop about a cup full of the cookie dough into each waffle segment and let bake for 4-5 minutes. If you’re not sure if your waffle maker is made with a non-stick iron, then lightly spray each segment with butter, before adding any cookie dough to it. Your waffles will be ready for consumption when the edges are lightly browned and the waffle is slightly springy to the touch. Oh, and when your entire house begins to smell just like a cookie! That’s the WHOLE idea, right? Right.

Best thing about these waffles? They taste just like the actual cookie so you don’t even need to add any topping to them. Unless you REALLY want butter, syrup and powdered sugar. They’re your waffles, after all! Though a scoop of Vanilla Ice-Cream might be fun, too. Just because.

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Happiness Project #39: Hamburger Casserole Croissant Buns

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Beef. It’s what’s for dinner. Seriously. There’s a HUGE croissant takeover happening on Pinterest when it comes to whipping up a quick, yummy and easy dinner recipe. And I am most definitely ON that band wagon. Possibly forever. Because well, you can make just about ANYTHING in a lovely, flakey croissant roll. Chicken Tacos (which I’ve also done), Mac & Cheese Rolls, Mini Pepperoni Pizzas, to name just a few! Provided that my family doesn’t tire of them too quickly. Though, considering that my husband devoured 4 of these Hamburger Casserole Buns last night, (within a span of something close to 10 minutes), so far, I think I’m in the clear. And fortunately, my 16mo Daughter LOVES these toddler sized mini-meals. So that settles it, in my book. Ready for a very simple, fun and toddler friendly dinner recipe? Here you go…

1 package of refrigerated Croissant Rolls

1 cup seasoned ground meat, skillet cooked and drained

1 cup cubed red potatoes, properly cooked, drained and pat dried

1-1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese, melted

*1/4 cup catsup (optional)

Firstly, skillet cook the ground hamburger meat until nicely browned and sizzling. Drain and set aside. If you’re up to multitasking, while the ground meat is cooking, throw the cubed red potatoes into a lightly salted pot of boiling water, for a good 8-10 minutes. Once the potatoes are soft to the touch, drain and pat dry. Also set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line one baking sheet with a Silpat mat or aluminum foil. Gently crack open the croissant roll package and line up all 9 dough pieces onto the baking sheet. Set aside while you mix the hamburger filling.

Once the cooked meat has cooled, using your fingers (yes, this is very, very messy), generously mix in the catsup (if using). Next, heat up the grated cheese in a micro-wave safe bowl, until melted. Which REALLY means until gooey. Stir the cooked potatoes into the melted cheese. Again, this will be very messy. But fun. Okay, well, I thinks it’s fun, at least.

Using a tablespoon, drop up to 2 tablespoons of the potato/cheese mixture into the top middle section of each dough piece (which looks something akin to a pizza slice). Gently press 1 tablespoon of hamburger meat into each mound of potato/cheese. Once each roll has been garnished with it’s potato/cheese/hamburger filling, fold each corner flap of the dough pieces, into one another & transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the Croissants are lightly browned on the edges and an even shade of golden yellow on top. Cool on a wire rack for 2-3 minutes before serving.

So. So. Easy. Your tummy will thank you, I promise.

The Stealthy Kitchen Mama Photo-shoot with So Cute Photo!

A couple of months ago, I had come up with the idea of doing a SKM photo-shoot with my (now 16mo) Baby Girl. I wanted to celebrate the inspiration behind first creating my recipe blog, nearly 3 years ago to date.  3 years ago, due to severe pain from Endometriosis, my husband & I had been struggling to become pregnant. And, in ways, this blog, at first, was my way of coping with that struggle. Until, shortly after it’s creation, I miraculously became pregnant. And although my pregnancy was high risk, involving a very traumatic surgery at 4 months along, being so severely sick on a daily basis that I was bed ridden 60% of my entire pregnancy, as well as having pneumonia when I gave birth to my Daughter, I KNEW that she was bound & determined to have her place in this world, no matter how my own body struggled. And take her rightful place, she has. And every day that I am with her, I am a better person because of her. My beautiful, determined, happy-go-lucky, sassy Little Girl. So I did this photo-shoot, to honor the one who captured my heart and saved my soul; My Baby Girl. Without further adieu, it would be my honor to introduce her to you…

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This is just one of the many reasons why I LOVE being a Mother to such a happy little spirit! Her contagious curiosity makes everything new and exciting, especially, in the kitchen.

SO MUCH THANKS to the BRILLIANT So Cute Photo! My friend, Brenden, has been taking photos of my Baby Girl since she was first born and I adore, not only all of her work but also her incredibly friendly & open-hearted personality (even more so)! It’s not always an easy thing to find a photographer who shares in your own happiness, as well! Brenden, at So Cute Photo, always knows the perfect way to capture the moment. So much so that when I first received this file of photos, I became teary-eyed over quite a few of these. Thank you, Brenden, for always capturing the heart of my Baby Girl and showing the world the true beauty of Motherhood.

http://www.socutephoto.com

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