Cherry Coconut Macaroons

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Every once in a while, I actually get my life together enough to provide a seasonal recipe before the season actually ends.  Most of time, I end up making the recipe, taking about half the pictures, running out of time to finish taking the rest of the pictures, and decide I will keep them around until the next year when I can post that recipe.  And by the time the season rolls around again, I a. forget about it completely, b. have decided the recipe needs to be improved, or c. hate the pictures I’ve taken from the year before.

And the cycle continues.

But!  This year, I was actually responsible and got it all done, and now we have a springtime cookie recipe!  Eeee!  Also, not even kidding, I was able to get a couple of branches of the springtime cherry trees flowering a mere two. days. before they turned into dark purple leaves.  It was meant to be.

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These cherry macaroons were loosely inspired by smitten kitchen’s raspberry macaroons, which are 10/10, but I was looking for something a little different that had more of a “spring” vibe.  I always think of cherries when spring rolls around, because the cherry trees bloom like crazy around Reno once it hits March.  We also have these absolutely gorgeous trees that bloom little white flowers (as seen in a post from last year), and I absolutely loooove them, except I just learnt a dirty little nickname for them (prompted by a certain smell they give off) that I will keep off my family-friendly PG-13 blog, but let’s just say it rhymes with sum-trees *insert blushing-face emoji*.  If you really need more information, there’s a very entertaining article about it here.

The more you know.  I guess that’s what they mean when they say “Spring is in the air!”.  Thanks internet!

But anyways, is this really a topic we should be discussing in the presence of innocent, delicate, spring-time cookies that summon images of blossoms, bunnies, and little chickies popping out of eggs?  No.  But it is me after all, and this is just the kind of thing we can expect on SSL.

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One of my favorite aspects of these macaroons is that they are not quite as crackly as most macaroons I have tried in the past.  Luckily for us, Cooks Illustrated solved all of our coconuty-problems with one simple solution: just puree the coconut in a food processor!  Yay!  Also, I loooove that I don’t have to whip egg whites for 20 minutes, which is traditional in most macaroon recipes.  so. much. easier!

Lastly, while I think this is the perfect recipe for Easter-fun, I also just discovered that this is a kosher-approved cookie for my friendies celebrating Passover!  Macaroons for all!

Oh wait, P.S. I highly recommend drizzling some of these with chocolate and a sprinkle of chopped pistachios.  I used semi-sweet, but white chocolate or milk chocolate would work too!

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macaroons

xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: The Next Time Around by Little Joy

Potatoes Au Gratin

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The other day while browsing Instagram, I came across a Food52 post about their new app (Not)Recipes.  Basically, the premise of the app is that it is a place for cooks to share recipes, without measurements, that they make up on the spot when they’re too busy to bother with a super complicated list of ingredients and 100 steps until completion.  A.K.A. My perfect dream app (which is saying a lot, because to be honest I’m not huge on having a bunch of apps on my phone).  I immediately decided on my (not) recipe, put on my Lumineers CD, and got to work melding potatoes and cheese together in cute, tiny ramekins.  Then I went to download the app, but damn it, my ancient, Mesozoic era iPhone (an iPhone 5, but whatever..) wouldn’t let me download the thing, because it’s too outdated (thanks Apple!).  Plus, there’s no iPad version.  Wah-wah.  I was sorta bummed, because I cook without recipes all the time, but I guess not all hope is lost, because really, the whole point of writing a blog is that I can share whatever recipes I want, even if they’re not necessarily recipes.  (P.S. definitely not saying anything bad about Food52 or Apple!  I’m a big fan of both, although I wouldn’t mind if they made a  version of the (Not)Recipe app for oldie-iPhones :-))

When I think of meals made without recipes, I think of potatoes au gratin.  While this may not necessarily be a meal to most people, I have definitely eaten my fair share of potatoes au gratin for dinner on Sundays after long days of work and studying.  Plus, I’m pretty convinced that if you add bacon, it qualifies as a meal (probably).  However, I’m always a fan of potatoes au gratin as a side dish too.  Essentially, cheesy potatoes are always a good idea.

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With Easter around the corner, I was also hoping to post a nice Easter-y recipe.  In my family, Easter always involves potatoes + cheese, and since I was already planning on making potatoes au gratin for my failed (Not)Recipes submission, it seemed like fate, or at the very least, convenient.  Potatoes au gratin are perfect for Easter Sunday, but you could also add leftover ham as an easy weeknight meal.  Definitely not a healthy dinner route, but sometimes potatoes, cheese, and ham are necessary for getting through life.

Growing up, my family always celebrated Easter with a nice brunch or dinner, and the Easter bunny left my brother and I presents on the bench on our front porch.  We almost always got a VHS tape, new shoes, and some Easter candy in our baskets.  Sometimes we would get a small toy to play with, and I distinctly remember getting a lime green Skip-It one year.  My parents recently decided to move back to their hometown of Reno in the next couple of months, and today I found out that they accepted an offer on my childhood home.  The sale is incredibly bittersweet, since my parents will be much closer, but I also will be losing the home that gave me the best childhood memories, such as hunting for Easter eggs or playing with my new Skip-It.  Today has been kind of sad, but I know that I will always fondly remember cheesy potatoes on Easter, opening Christmas presents with my little brother, Thanksgiving family dinners, and all the amazing memories I had growing up with my friends and family in that home.

Thanks to Potatoes Au Gratin for the nostalgia!

*Note: When I made this recipe, I just threw all the ingredients together, but in the recipe I included some approximate measurements from potatoes I have made in the past.  For this recipe, I used thyme and cheddar cheese, but the recipe can be adapted to use whatever ingredients you want.

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Happy Easter!

XO SaraLynn.

*Song of the Day: Flowers in Your Hair by The Lumineers

Eos-ter Eggs!

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I don’t know if anything in this world could ever be as cute as Eos turned into Easter eggs and then put in a little homemade baskets.

I have endearingly began calling these guys “Eos-ter” eggs because I’m ridiculous and that’s just the kind of thing that I do.

But I just love them and they made a perfect Easter gift for my mom, grandma, cousins, and aunts.  Everyone loved them!  If you don’t know why it’s because, clearly, you haven’t used Eos chapstick before.  If you haven’t, you should probably rush yourself to Target or Wal Mart this instance and get going on that.

But that’s just my opinion.

Here’s how to make them!  (I’m the worst, and I didn’t get pictures.  Luckily, it’s pretty straightforward).

Things You’ll Need:

As many Eos as you need-I got a package of 5 Eos at Costco and then got 1 more at Wal Mart for a total of 6 that I needed.

Small plastic cups

Cute cupcake liners (optional, but recommended)–$1 store find!

Glitter glue! (optional, but recommended)

Easter grass-$1 store find!

Cute ribbon (try to find stiff ribbon so it maintains its shape)

Glue gun

Candy! (optional)-I got mine in bulk at Winco

1. Using your glitter glue, make designs all over the Eos.  I chose to do this to make them cuter and more Easter egg looking.  You could probably use different colors of paint and really go for it, but I liked simple little dots!  Let these dry for about 2 hours up to overnight if you wish.

2. Place a cupcake liner in the bottom of each little plastic cup.  They fit perfectly in those fat, short plastic cups you get on airplanes.  This is optional, but makes it look sooo much cuter than if you just use grass.

3. Place a healthy amount of Easter grass in the cup.  You want it to poke up way over the cupcake liner or it just doesn’t look very cute.

4.  Measure out ribbon for a handle and glue gun each side to the cup.  Let them dry for about 20 minutes so they really stick.

5.  Place candy in the Easter grass (as you will see later, this is optional, but it’s a nice little treat).

6.  Place your Eos-ter egg on top!

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You can choose to leave candy out of it, which really makes the Eos look more like an egg, but the candy looks really cute too.

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My family truly loved these.  I got rave reviews.

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These would be perfect for teachers or co-workers, and I promise they will like them much more than some Easter eggs filled with candy!

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Did I mention that I would definitely recommend adding candy to these?  They look cuter without candy for pictures, but they look so cute with candy in real life!

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Plus, they aren’t very expensive to make.  The most expensive part is the Eos which was $10.99 for a 5 package at Costco and $2.00 for an additional one at Wal Mart.  Not bad for a gift that people will actually use and like!  The orange one does not come in the five pack, but it smells amazing.  

If you do not have time to make the baskets, you could buy little candy holders at the dollar store from the Easter section.  They come in a package and look like small, Easter themed Chinese takeout containers.  Just add some Easter grass, candy, and an Eos-ter egg and you’re all set.

Or you can just opt to make the cute little baskets, which only take about 20 minutes, maybe even less.

Just listen to The Motorhomes-Songs for Me (And My Baby) like I did and they’ll go super fast.

Or you can listen to whatever floats your boat.

But I recommend The Motorhomes.

XOXO Sara

*I am not being paid by Eos to promote their products.  I simply had the idea and I am in love with their chapsticks!*

Cheesy Potato Casserole

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Happy Thursday!

Every day is a reason to celebrate, in my opinion.

So last night, Brandon and I were talking and I mentioned that he should eat healthier (to which he disagreed).  After explaining various reasons why he should eat apples instead of ice cream, I was intending to say “I’m just throwing it out there that you should eat healthier.”  But for some reason I was thinking about the word ‘freeballing’ (and no, I don’t know why) and it came out as “I’m just throwballing it out there…”

Needless to say, throwballing is the new word of the year in our house.

I blame it on college brain.  Where you go to school full time, work, and other stuff like that.

So to all you busy people, cheers.

On another note, I’ve been pretty homesick lately and I cannot wait to go home for Thanksgiving, so I decided to make a casserole that reminds me of holidays and home.

Cheesy potato casserole.  We actually normally have it on Easter, but it is definitely a Thanksgiving dish too.  And trust me, it is absolutely the best EVER.  I’m serious, people.

Some of you guys may recognize this casserole as Mormon Funeral Potatoes.  That’s actually what we call it at home even though we aren’t Mormon.  However, all my Mormon friends think it’s absolutely hilarious.

So make this for Thanksgiving and watch it disappear.  I swear, you will make a lot of people very happy.

Ingredients:

2 lb. refrigerated hash brown potatoes (the shredded kind)

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 pt. sour cream

1/2 c. onion, shredded (I usually omit)

1 stick butter, melted

8 oz. Cheddar cheese (plus more for top), shredded

1/2-1 c. corn flakes, crushed

Salt and pepper, for taste

In a bowl, combine the hash browns, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, onion, butter, cheese, salt, and pepper.  Spread in a greased 9×13 pan.  Sprinkle with more cheese and crushed corn flakes.  Add as much or as little as you need.  Bake at 375* for 1 hour.

To reheat: Bake at 200* for about 30 minutes after letting it warm up at room temp for about 45 minutes.

To make this extra yummy, prepare it the night before so the flavors can meld.  Just don’t add the corn flakes on top or they’ll get soggy.  Before you bake, just add them on top and bake as directed.

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Can you imagine this with Thanksgiving turkey and all the fixings?  I’m in.

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Have mashed potatoes and cheesy potato casserole.

I won’t tell.

XOXO Sara

Painting with Leftover Easter Egg Dye!

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Hi everybody!

Sorry for the little leave of absense.  Spring Break has been crazy!  Looking for houses, doing college stuff, weddings, and just family/friend time has made it really hard to do blog-y stuff.

Anyways, I’m back and ready to blog! I hope you all had a wonderful  Easter!  I most definitely did.  My family had a relaxing day at the house, ate a big dinner, and dyed Easter eggs.

Plus, I got Les Mis from the Easter bunny, so that definitely gave me something to do on the last day of Spring Break!

Since we’ve been so busy lately, I didn’t get to dying Easter eggs until today.  Which was fine because I got to do it on actual Easter which was a ton of fun!

The idea to paint with leftover Easter egg dye didn’t really occur to me until I was in the process of dying eggs.

And yes, I am way too old to be painting with Easter egg dye, but I thought it was such a great idea that I had to test it out so that parents might be able to try it with their kids!

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This was the perfect project to do while waiting for the eggs to turn bright colors.

To do this project, I used the “vibrant” colors, meaning I used 1 tablet, 3 Tbs. of white vinegar, and 1/2 c. water.  The other methods would probably be too light to show up on paper.

Then, I just started painting and it worked out great!

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Trees are always fun to paint.

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The more water you paint on, the more color.  You’ll have to add a lot of water to get color so you’ll probably want to hang them up somewhere to dry.  You will also get little dots all over your paper, but when the picture dries the dots will disappear.

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Obviously, I’m not an artist.  But it was still a ton of fun to paint while waiting for my eggs to dye!  Plus, it gives kids something to do before you throw out all that dye.

Another fun thing to do is paint on paper towels (preferably the non-patterned kind), because it looks like tie-dye.  Super cool!

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Here’s a picture of some of our eggs!  I love my dark green one.

And even though I got to this late, painting with Easter egg dye should be a great idea for Easter next year!

Let me know what you guys think.  I hope you have a wonderful night celebrating Easter with your families!

XOXO Sara