Friday, February 28, 2014

Biscoff Brownie Bars

Hello, my name is Lindsay and I am a Biscoff Addict.  My addiction began about 6 months ago when I read about this delightful food on a Peanut Allergy Forum.  So many people were going on and on about how good this stuff is and I wanted to try it for Lacie!  I bought some, and I was not prepared for how wonderful it would taste!  Biscoff does not taste like is much much better!  This stuff is cookies that some genius thought to grind up and turn into a scrumptious, spreadable substance!  If you have never tried it run to the store and get some!! 

This is what I am talking about!!!  DELICIOUS! 

My recipe for Biscoff Brownie Bars is super simple!  It starts off with boxed brownie mix, making it Cake Mix Recipe #29!  Don't be scared by the layers, this comes together very quickly and it is a great way to fancy-up a plain old box of brownie mix! 

Here's What You Need to Make the Biscoff Brownie Bars:
  • 1 box of your favorite brownie mix plus the ingredients called for on the back of the box
  • 1/2 cup Biscoff spread - creamy style
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature 
  • 2 cups powdered sugar 
  • 2 tbsp milk 
  • 1 cup chocolate chips 
  • 1/4 cup butter 
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Now Let's Make the Biscoff Brownie Bars:
  1. Prepare your brownie mix according to package directions in a 9x13 pan.  Even if your brownie mix calls for a smaller pan (like mine did) still bake them in the 9x13 pan and shorten the cooking time.
  2. Allow the brownies to cool completely - at least one hour.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (you could also use a hand mixer) cream together the Biscoff Spread and the 1/2 cup of softened butter.
  4. Add in the two cups of powdered sugar, beating until incorporated.  
  5. Add milk and beat until smooth.
  6. Spread Biscoff mixture over the brownies.  Mixture will be thick.  Use a spatula (or even clean hands) to spread it out to the edges.
  7. Place chocolate chips and 1/4 cup butter in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave until the chocolate is melted (I did 30 seconds, stirred, and did another 30 seconds)
  8. Remove from microwave and stir until chocolate is completely melted and smooth.  Stir in 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
  9. Pour chocolate over Biscoff layer and use a knife or a spatula to spread to edges.
  10. Put pan in refrigerator until the top chocolate layer is set and has hardened (at least 30 minutes)
  11. Using a sharp knife, cut into squares
Store bars in refrigerator until you are ready to enjoy!  I promise you will love these Biscoff Brownie Bars! 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

#hiloskyeveryday2014 Week 9

Happy Thursday!  This week has felt long to me!  Anyone else?  I am so happy that tomorrow is FRIDAY! Here's what we have been up to.

Day 52 - both Lacie and Blakely had well check-ups at the pediatrician!  I am so grateful that we were not there for sick visits...but still going to the doctor with a 1 and 2 year old is never fun.  Blakely did not enjoy this visit...or her shot!  At least she only needed one vaccination.  She got to skip out on the Chicken Pox Shot since she had quite a case of the pox for her first birthday.  

Day 53 - Saturday morning means pancakes for the Hilosky crew!  I changed up our traditional Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Pancakes and made Snickerdoodle Pancakes instead!  It was a good change, and everyone approved!

Day 54 - The weather in New Jersey was finally nice enough to spend some time outside!  We took a family trip to Blakely Park! 

Day 55 - Someone was a really good girl, so she got to make chocolate chip cookies as a reward! 

Day 56 - A quick trip to Barnes and Noble!  My girls just love love love reading! I hope that is something that never changes! 

Day 57 -  Blakely enjoying her pink smoothie at snack time.  She loves drinking out of the big girl cup!  I make all kinds of smoothies for the girls, but this one was simply a half of an avocado, a few frozen strawberries, and water! 

Day 58 - This Mama Runs on COFFEE!  Some days just call for two three cups of coffee (or four). 

If you don't want to wait until can keep up with me and my crew everyday by following me @lindsayhilosky on Instagram

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

John's Asian Inspired Chicken Stir Fry

Stir fry is such a quick and easy dinner!  In fact, the prep (measuring out the ingredients) is the hardest part of this dish!  But making it it so simple!  And fast!  Much much faster than waiting for take out!  This is one of John's favorite and most requested dinners!  I love it too!

You may not have this in your pantry, but you need this spice for the dish! 

Here's What You Need to Make the Asian Inspired Chicken Stir Fry:

  • 1 pound chicken breasts sliced into thin strips 
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce, divided
  • 3/4 tsp Chinese Five Spice Blend
  • 1/2 pound (or what I like to call 1 large handful) green beans, cut in half
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic 
  • 2 tbsp Hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil 
  • 1 tbsp toasted white sesame seeds 
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes 
  • 1/4 cup cashews 
  • 4 tbsp cooking oil that is suitable for high temps (coconut, veggie, canola)
  •  cooked brown rice for serving 
Now Let's Make the Asian Inspired Chicken Stir Fry:
  1. Slice chicken into strips and place in a glass mixing bowl. 
  2. Add 4 1/2 tsp of soy sauce and the Chinese Five Spice to the chicken.  Stir and allow to sit for 10 minutes while you prep the rest of your ingredients
  3. Measure out the remaining 3 tsp soy sauce, garlic, hoisin, sesame oil, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, and cashews into little bowls (you will need to add them quickly to the dish while stirring - and having the ingredients ready to go it the best) 
  4. In a large wok heat the cooking oil over high heat
  5. Add chicken and the sauce it was marinating in to the wok, stir for about 2-3 minutes until chicken is brown
  6. Add green beans and stir for another 2-3 minutes until beans are a crisp-tender
  7. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds
  8. Add hoisin, remaining soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, and cashews.  Stir to coat and cook for additional 1 minutes.
  9. Serve over brown rice

It's one of our favorites for a reason! 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Mommy Mondays - Lacie Jane's Half Birthday

I cannot believe how grown up my little girl is! 

Last Wednesday, my sweet little Lacie Jane - my first baby - turned 2 1/2!  I know that some people may feel this isn't a real "thing," but in the Hilosky house we will always always always celebrate half birthdays!  I mean why not?  Everyone loves birthdays and who doesn't need an excuse to eat more cake!  Plus, I think it's a fun and sweet family tradition that can be passed down!  We don't "go big" or spend a lot of money for half birthdays!  I make a half cake and we sing "Happy Half Birthday."  We also give small presents!  This year (and last year) Lacie received two books!

The Half Cake
So I must admit, I found this idea on Pinterest!  You make a half cake for a half birthday!  I made a Strawberry box mix cake in 2 circle pans.  I cut each cake circle in half.  I piled 3 out of the four halves up to create this half cake!  I filled and topped it with my homemade buttercream icing!  Simple, cute, and delicious! 

Here is a peak of what the inside of the cake looked like!  Now like I mentioned I only used three out of the four halves.  You could use all four, but I feel like that is too tall.  You could also use only one circle pan to bake your cake, which would leave you with two larger layers of cake!  It's totally your preference! 

 Lacie loved listening to everyone sing "Happy Half Birthday" to her!  She felt very special, which of course is the whole idea behind half birthday celebrations! 

Lacie opening her present! 

Celebrating half birthdays for Lacie and Blakely will always be a tradition that we do in our house!  Here's a look back at Lacie's other half birthdays! 

The Very First Half Birthday Celebration!
Lacie and Mommy!  She was 6 months old! 

Daddy and Lacie!  I love this picture because it really shows you how tiny she was! 

Lacie with her tower of red velvet cupcakes!  Of course at the first half birthday celebration, the baby doesn't really get to enjoy the cake!  This was also before I found the idea of making a half cake for a half birthday!  She was so little and didn't understand what was going on, but she really enjoyed everyone singing to her! 

Fast forward one year! 
Lacie Jane on her 1 1/2 year old birthday! 

These pictures were from her 18 month old photo shoot!

Blakely Hope was a teeny tiny three month old at the time!  

Opening her books!

Lacie's half cake for 1 1/2! 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Buttercream Icing

Friday is always dessert day in our house, but this week we enjoyed a mid-week treat in honor of Lacie Jane's half birthday!  You can read more about why we celebrate half birthdays in Monday's post!  

For now let's talk about Buttercream Icing!  The icing is always the best part of any cake or cupcake!  It is honestly so easy to make a great homemade buttercream icing that I am not sure why anyone would buy icing in a can.  Now to clarify, I don't think there is anything wrong with grocery store short cuts!  In fact, I have a whole page dedicated to Cake Mix Recipes.  I love using cake mix because it is a quick and easy short cut!  And you know what?!?  I think that whipping up a box of chocolate or yellow or strawberry cake mix tastes almost as good as cake from scratch.  But do you know what does not come even close to tasting as good...that's right...that canned icing!  So I always, always, always make Buttercream Icing from scratch! 

And I PROMISE that once you make my homemade buttercream icing, you won't go back!  It is so easy and it tastes 100 times better! 

Yes, this is all you need! 

Here's What You Need to Make Homemade Buttercream Icing:
  • 2 sticks of butter, softened to room temperature 
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract 
  • 1 box of powdered sugar (1 box equals 4 cups or 1 pound or half of a 2 pound bag) 
  • milk or half and half (if needed to thin out icing)
  • food coloring (optional) if you want to color your icing

Now Let's Make the Homemade Buttercream Icing
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the butter until it is soft and creamy
  2. Add in 1 tsp of vanilla extract and mix until it is fully incorporated 
  3. Add half of the powdered sugar and beat on the lowest speed until it is combined well with the butter
  4. Add the other half of the powdered sugar and beat on the lowest speed until combined
  5. Now turn you stand mixer up to medium high and beat for 2 - 4 minutes until your buttercream frosting is whipped and fluffy and thick
  6. If you need your frosting a bit thinner, mix in a bit of milk or half and half *one tablespoon at a time* until you have reached the desired consistency 
An Example of When I Wanted Thinner Icing:
This was part of Lacie's Pinkalicious Half Birthday Cake.  For this icing I added two tablespoons of half and half (I always use half and half over milk - we are coffee drinkers so we have it in our house at all times - but if you do not have half and half on hand use whatever milk you have) to thin the icing so that it would spread easily on the cake.  I also added a few drops of pink food coloring! 
The completed Cake! 
And a slice of the cake!  Thinning out the icing a bit with half and half allowed me to spread this buttercream icing much easier over the surface of the cake!  And yes, the cake is from a box!  And it was delicious!  But the icing is never ever from a can! 

An Example of When I Wanted Thicker Icing:
For Blakely's First Birthday Cupcakes with Buttercream Icing I did not add any milk or half and half because I wanted the icing to be thicker so that I could make these thick swirls of icing on top of the cake! 

If the weather is hot, I would recommend refrigerating your cake/cupcakes once they are iced!  If you do want to leave them out at room temperature that is fine, but by the second day I would put any leftovers in the refrigerator.  I always keep mine in the fridge because I like them cold...but of course this is totally your preference! 
Happy Baking! 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

#hiloskyeveryday2014 Week 8

Day 45 - Happy Valentine's Day!  I can't believe that this marked Lacie's 3rd and Blakely's 2nd Valentine's Day!  I am one blessed mama that I get to spend everyday with these two love bugs! 

Day 46 - We enjoyed my red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing (made completely from scratch) all weekend long!  They are John's favorite Valentine's Day treat!  Click here for the recipe

Day 47 - Blakely enjoying some morning snuggles with Daddy!  Sundays are the best! 

Day 48 - Wegmans is totally stocked up on these for Easter!  They just happen to be my favorite candy! Click here for a cookie bar featuring these little chocolate nuggets of deliciousness! 

Day 49 - These was Lacie Jane at nap time!  Yes she is nude.  Yes I told her over the speaker to put her clothes back on.  And yes this is how she looked at me because she knew I was watching.  *sigh* I can't make this stuff up people! 

Day 50 - February 19th is Lacie's Half Birthday!  She turned 2 1/2!  In our house, we definitely celebrate half birthdays!  You can come back tomorrow to read more about this special celebration in Friday's Post! 

Day 51 - Finally getting out of the house!  We went to the mall to see Miss Amy!  And we did lots of singing and dancing! 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

One Pot Chicken Parm Pasta

There is nothing better than a one pot meal for an easy weeknight dinner!  Easy to make and only one pot to wash!  This meal was eaten and approved by two hungry adults and two always hungry little girls!  We all loved it!

I used whole wheat shell pasta because I try to exclusively use whole wheat pasta, especially when I'm feeding the littles!  But sometimes finding 100 percent whole wheat pasta in a specific shape can be hard since there is a smaller selection of whole wheat pastas.  Below is what I used.  You can use any short cut whole wheat pasta that your find at your local food store!

Here's What You Need to Make Your One Pot Chicken Parm Pasta:

  • 1 pound chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes 
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced 
  • pinch of red pepper flakes 
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • 1 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes 
  • 4 cups chicken broth (you would probably need a little less if you are making this with white pasta)
  • 1 pound whole wheat shell pasta (or any other short cut pasta)
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups freshly grated mozzarella cheese 

Now Let's Make the One Pot Chicken Parm Pasta: 
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
  2. In an oven safe dutch oven or deep skillet, heat the extra virgin olive oil (I used my Le Creuset Round Oven)
  3. Add chicken and cook through until no longer pink 
  4. Remove chicken to a plate and keep warm (I used a foil tent)
  5. Add minced garlic, red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning to the bottom of your pan and stir for about 1 minute
  6. Add the can of tomatoes, the chicken broth, and the shell pasta to the pot.  Bring to a bubble and cook until pasta is al dente.  Stir frequently during this process, breaking up the tomatoes as they cook (note if you do not like chunks of tomatoes, you can always put tomatoes in a blender to puree them before adding them into the pot)
  7. At this point you can add salt and pepper to taste
  8. Once the pasta is cooked and most of the liquid has been absorbed, return chicken to the pot and stir to evenly distribute chicken throughout the dish
  9. Stir in one cup of the mozzarella cheese and one cup of the parmesan cheese 
  10. Sprinkle remaining cup of mozzarella and half cup of parmesan cheese over the top 
  11. Place your dutch oven or skillet in preheated oven and bake until the cheese has melted, the mixture is bubbly - about 20 minutes 
  12. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving!  Enjoy! 

Le Creuset Signature Rosemary Round French Ovens Le Creuset Signature Rosemary Round French Ovens


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