Sunday, February 9, 2014

Carrot Cake Cookies

Last fall, when we went to Disney, my husband was on a mission to find the location at Disney where you could find the Carrot Cake Cookies that he had heard about on various podcasts and blogs. We had success and found them at the Writer's Stop in Disney's Hollywood Studios. They were were everything that he hoped for.

The other day, he mentioned that I should find a recipe to make them at home. So, I went on a search and found this version of the recipe. It seemed fairly straight-forward, so I picked up the missing ingredients and set out to make them.

He was so excited that even shared my plans on Facebook.
The batter seemed very thin, but I gave it a shot. I was right, it was a little too thin and the edges got overdone. I wound up opening up another cake mix and adding 3T of mix to the batter. The cookies came out just like I would have wanted for them too. They were not too thick, but held their shape when baking. Of course, I didn't want to have to use 1 box plus 3T of another to make these cookies in the future, so I did some experimenting. I grabbed another cake mix (different flavor) and adjusted the ingredients a little bit. I initially removed an egg, half the oil and half the water, but wound up adding the egg and the oil to the mix. I was pleased with the results.

I used the Neufchatel cheese, to reduce the calories/fat of the recipe and was pleased with the consistency and flavor of the filling. Even with that, each filled cookie is about 200 calories.
Carrot Cake Cookies with cream cheese filling

1 box carrot cake mix
3 eggs
2/3 cup oil
1/2 cup water
8 ounces cream cheese
8 tablespoons butter
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup crushed pineapple drained
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Yield: 18 filled cookies

Prepare cake mix with eggs, oil and water. Drop by tablespoon-full on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Allow to cool 5 minutes on pan, then transfer to wire cooling rack.

In a mixer bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, pineapples and vanilla extract. Mix into a fluffy consistency.

Once the cookies are cool. Place scoop of cream cheese mixture on one cookie and spread out. Top with a second cookie.



Sunday, February 2, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Soup

I am a big fan of meals that are full of flavor. One of my favorites is buffalo wings. I recognized young that although I could eat my weight in wings, that it wasn't the best or healthiest option for me. So, I had to learn to enjoy them in moderation. It helped me find other ways to enjoy the flavor that they offer.

I started to get a side of sauce and extra celery when I got wings, so that I could enjoy some wings but then continue to enjoy the flavor in a better for me way by dipping my celery in the sauce. It was also a great way to try some of the other sauces that they offered without committing to it.

I started ordering buffalo chicken salads, made with grilled chicken that had been covered in the sauce.

I started enjoying grilled chicken breasts with buffalo sauce, with a side of a tasty steamed vegetable.

I learned that I could thoroughly enjoy the flavor of buffalo wings without the calorie commitment of the wings.
Then, recently, I found a soup recipe that turned out to be a great way to enjoy the flavor. As an added bonus, I was able to make it in my crock pot and it was so warm on those very cold winter days we have been having. And, as an added bonus, it was only 180 calories for a serving!

I am thinking about making up a batch to serve during the Super Bowl.
Buffalo Chicken Soup
Serves: 8

1/4 cup onions, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 carrots peeled
32 ounces chicken broth
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, shredded
1 packet ranch salad dressing mix
1/2 cup orzo pasta, uncooked
2/3 cup buffalo sauce
4 ounces Cheddar cheese shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese


In a pan, saute your onions, garlic and carrots. Add the chicken broth, chicken and packet of ranch mix. Bring to a boil and add the orzo and buffalo sauce. Reduce heat and simmer for ten minutes. Add cheeses and allow to melt before serving.

Alternatively, I prefer to allow my chicken to cook in my crock pot all day. Place the chicken broth, the chicken, the onions, garlic and carrots in your crock pot and simmer on low for 6 hours. Remove the chicken and shred with two forks. Put the chicken back in the broth and add the packet of ranch mix, the pasta and the buffalo sauce. Continue to cook on low for about 30 minutes. Add in your cheeses and allow to melt.

You can serve it with carrot and celery sticks or perhaps a nice baguette. We garnished with cheddar crumbles.