No Bake Cookie Dough Truffles

In the spirit of the Christmas Season, we attended our friend’s Annual Christmas Cookie Party! Not only did I have fun making these decadent No Bake Cookie Dough Truffles, it was such a treat to taste all the other cookies and confections at the party. You can make these Truffles year round, and freeze them until you are ready to serve and eat. These are seriously sinful, but the best part is you can eat Cookie Dough without fear of getting sick with this egg-less cookie dough recipe. Try out this easy peasy recipe, and let me know what you think!
no bake cookie dough truffles, holiday baking, chocolate chip-Darcy Oliver Design

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (for dipping)
  • 1 teaspoon of shortening for chocolate dipping sauce

eggless cookie dough, candy, treats-Darcy Oliver Design

DIRECTIONS

  1. Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with waxed paper; set aside. In a medium bowl beat butter, brown sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Beat in flour just until combined. Stir in chocolate pieces. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place on prepared baking pan. Cover; freeze about 30 minutes or until firm.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan heat chopped chocolate, candy coating, and shortening over low heat, stirring until until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. (I actually microwaved my chocolate and shortening mixture in a ceramic mixing bow for 30 seconds, stirred, and repeated until the chocolate lumps were gone and mixture was creamy and smooth.)
  3. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Using a toothpick (I used a boutonniere pin hehe), dip balls into chocolate mixture, allowing excess chocolate mixture to drip back into saucepan. Place dipped balls on the baking sheet. Lightly drizzle with a fork the remaining melted chocolate mixture. Let stand or cover and chill about 30 minutes or until set. I froze mine until I was ready to bring to the party, or you can freeze them and eat for a cold chocolate indulgence!

 

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Baked Pumpkin Seeds

While we all want to munch on all the Halloween candy we can get our hands on, you will most likely feel guilty afterwards. Like most things, candy in moderation is okay, but for those who do not have a sweet tooth or want to serve up something healthier put your Pumpkin Seeds to good use and whip up some Baked Pumpkin Seeds! With just a few easy steps, you can pop these seeds guilt-free. Happy Halloween!
baked pumpkin seeds, vintage glass, pink, recipes-Darcy Oliver Design

DIRECTIONS:

  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. strain all of the pumpkin guts off of the pumpkin seeds & rinse thoroughly
  3. prepare a baking sheet with foil or use my favorite, a Silpat
  4. in a mixing bowl, add a teaspoon of EVOO and stir
  5. now add your favorite ingredients to the mix!
  6. I add sea salt & garlic powder to taste, and a dash of onion powder – mix well
  7. pour the pumpkin seeds on the sheet and spread out
  8. add more salt and garlic powder to the pumpkin seeds (lightly)
  9. bake for 20-30 minutes, watch your seeds so they don’t burn!
  10. use a spatula and spoon into a bowl, enjoy!

pumpkin seed steps, recipe, strain, bake-Darcy Oliver Design

jack o lanterns, halloween, pumpkins-Darcy Oliver Design

Merridee’s Bread Basket :: Famous Chicken Salad

After our Anniversary Vacation back to Nashville, TN., I could not wait to get home and try out Recipes from Merridee’s Bread Basket in downtown Franklin, TN. I picked up their Cookbook only to discover that their famous Chicken Salad Recipe was no where to be found! Luckily my Mother-in-law had their old cookbook which had this delicious and easy recipe…phew!

I am not sure if I just missed Merridee’s so much, or if it was a major pregnancy craving, but we had a Chicken Salad Sandwich for lunch 4 days out of the 9 that we were there…it’s that good y’all. Not only is the Chicken Salad just like Grandma used to make, their Oatmeal Bread is probably the most delicious home baked bread I’ve ever had (sorry Grandma). Stay tuned for that Recipe, I plan to make that next!
merridee's chicken salad, recipes, franklin, tn.-Darcy Oliver Design

FAMOUS CHICKEN SALAD

  • 1 lb of chicken tenders
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise

DIRECTIONS

  1. place chicken tenders in a 9×9 glass pyrex dish.
  2. sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. pour 1 cup of buttermilk on top of chicken.
  4. bake until tender and no pink shows inside at 400 degrees, approximately 20-30 minutes.
  5. let cool and chop into cubes.
  6. add 1/3 cup chopped celery.
  7. add 1/3 cup mayonnaise (I used light hellman’s mayo…do not use miracle whip!!!)
  8. mix well and served chilled on a bed of lettuce or on sandwich bread.
  9. enjoy!

 

 

Heirloom Tomato Rustic Italian Pasta Salad

Summer is the season for cold salads, vino in my glass, and outdoor picnics. This Heirloom Tomato Rustic Italian Pasta Salad is perfect for BBQs, picnics, or outdoor meals. Farmer’s Markets are loaded with fresh produce right now, and heirloom tomatoes are my absolute favorite! With just a few simple ingredients, you can prep and have this Salad made in under 30 minutes.
Rustic Italian Pasta Salad
Ingredients for Pasta Salad

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bag or box of farfalle pasta
  • 1 carton of mini heirloom tomatoes, sliced in halves or quarters
  • 3/4 of celery heart stalk, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 can of sliced black olives, drained
  • 1/2 red oninon, sliced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bottle of tuscan italian dressing from trader joe’s
  • 2 cups shredded parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. boil pasta until al dente.
  2. while pasta is cooking, chop and slice washed vegetables and place in large mixing bowl.
  3. drain olives and add to the mix.
  4. drain pasta thoroughly, and keep in strainer.
  5. drizzle 1tsp of extra virgin olive oil, and stir pasta in strainer.
  6. add 3/4 of the cheese to the vegetable mix.
  7. add pasta and stir into mixture.
  8. add dressing and stir.
  9. add remaining parmesan cheese and mix together thoroughly.
  10. let cool down in fridge for at least an hour before serving.
  11. enjoy with a glass of vino!

 

No Bake Strawberry Icebox Cake

If you love Strawberry Shortcake, then you’re going to love this simple and festive Strawberry Icebox Cake! With only three ingredients to make this cake, you’ll have plenty of time to prep for the rest of your dinner. Make this cake the night before to let the ingredients settle beautifully together, but do not worry…this cake will also be ready to serve after 4 hours in the refrigerator.
strawberry icebox cake-Darcy Oliver DesignRECIPE FOR STRAWBERRY ICEBOX CAKE:

  • 1.5 cartons of strawberries, sliced
  • 1.5 tubs of extra creamy cool whip
  • 4 sleeves of graham crackers

DIRECTIONS:

  1. keep cool whip in fridge or on countertop until you can whip it when it is not frozen.
  2. slice strawberries.
  3. spread a thin layer of cool whip on bottom of casserole dish.
  4. lay down 6 graham cracker, 3 side by side.
  5. spread a thin layer of cool whip on top of graham crackers, and top with strawberries.
  6. spread a thin layer of cool whip on top of strawberries, and repeat process 4 times.
  7. top layer should include cool whip and strawberries.
  8. take extra cool whip and lightly “ice” the sides of the cake.
  9. cover and refrigerate over night or at least four hours until the graham crackers are softened.
  10. keep refrigerated until served.
  11. you can drizzle chocolate sauce on each slice if desired, and enjoy!

 

Avocado Egg Salad

Spring and Summer calls for cold salads on warm days, and this Avocado Egg Salad is your healthy ticket to just that. Whether on top of a bed of lettuce, or folded into sandwich bread, you can enjoy Grandma’s classic Egg Salad with all the creaminess of Mayo without the high saturated fat.

Avocados offer so many health benefits such as fiber, potassium, Vitamins C, K, Folate, and B6, and they also help you better absorb lycopene and beta-carotene due to the healthy monounsaturated fat in one avocado. Give this avocado recipe a try, and not only will you enjoy the rich and creamy taste, you’ll be doing your body good. Bon Appetit!

Avocado Egg Salad-Darcy Oliver Design

Ingredients, egg salad recipe-Darcy Oliver Design

  •  5 hard boiled eggs chopped
  • 1-2 avocados (I only needed one, so cut into one at a time)
  • 2 tbsp of yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro diced (optional)
  • pepper to taste (you can add salt to taste if you prefer)

Directions:

  1. chop 5 hard boiled eggs, and set aside in medium sized bowl.
  2. add freshly ground pepper (and salt if you prefer) to the eggs.
  3. shell and cut up 1 avocado, and smash in a small bowl.
  4. finely dice 1 small bunch of cilantro, and add to smashed avocado.
  5. add mustard and lemon juice to smashed avocado and stir completely through.
  6. add avocado mixture to eggs, and stir.
  7. serve chilled on a bed of lettuce or between sandwich slices and enjoy!

***best served on day it is made, and store in refrigerator***

Hummingbird Cake

Last Easter I wanted to bring a little Southern Tradition to the table for my soon-to-be husband. He had mentioned chocolate Coca-Cola Cake that he grew up with in Franklin, TN., but since everyone will be indulging with chocolate bunnies I thought of the classic Hummingbird Cake instead. No one from my San Diego Family had ever tried Hummingbird Cake before, so I thought it would be a delicious and fun cake to bake for everyone!

Hummingbird Cake was originally submitted by Mrs. L.H. Wiggins of Greensboro, NC. in Southern Living’s February 1978 issue. This recipe is known to have won numerous blue ribbons at county fairs. The name Hummingbird Cake was derived from the humming sound “mmmmmmm” people made while eating this delicious cake.

hummingbird cake recipe-Darcy Oliver Design

Hummingbird Cake Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 cups chopped bananas
  • 1 bag of malt easter egg candy (for decoration)
  • 3 cups of shredded coconut (for decoration)
  • green food dye (for decoration)

Preparation

  1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; add eggs and oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. (Do not beat.) Stir in vanilla, pineapple, 1 cup pecans, and bananas.
  2. Pour batter into three greased and floured 9-inch round cakepans. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
  3. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, prepare the shredded coconut with a few drops of green food dye.
  5. Mix food dye and coconut until you have reached the desired green “grass”.
  6. Sprinkle green coconut on top of the cake, and along the rim of the cake plate.
  7. Top off the grass with the malt easter egg candy.
  8. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

  1. Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla.

Seared Avocado & Cilantro Chicken: Side of Kale Chips

If you are trying to eat clean or healthy, you may be bored with chicken. Throw in some Avocado and special seasonings, and you have one winning and easy Chicken Week Night Dish!

My husband gave this dish 2 thumbs up not only on the chicken and avocado topping, but gave me one heck of a cute smirk when he realized he was in love with…don’t say it!…Kale Chips.

Pinterest has been such a useful tool in finding healthy recipes for our family, and just say Avocado and I’m there! Without further adieu, here are the Recipes for Both Seared Avocado & Cilantro Chicken, plus Kale Chips.

I prepared the Kale Chips first, so be sure to preheat your oven to 350 Degrees.

Seared Avocado & Cilantro Chicken, Kale Chips-Darcy Oliver Design

Seared Avocado & Cilantro Chicken, Kale Chips

Seared Chicken:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts (thinner filets are best)
  • blackening seasoning (I used Chef Paul’s Magic Seasoning: Blackened Redfish Magic)

Avocado & Cilantro:

  • 1 diced peeled avocado
  • 1/2 bunch of diced cilantro
  • 1 tbsp of diced jalepenos (I used 1 tbsp of sliced jalepenos, and then diced them)
  • 1/2 squeezed lime juice

**Mix together ingredients for the Topping  in a bowl & set aside.**

Avocado & Cilantro Salsa-Darcy Oliver Design

Avocado & Cilantro Salsa

Directions:

  1. Heat your skillet on med/high temp.
  2. Rinse your Chicken & place on a plate.
  3. Cover the chicken with the seasoning on one side.
  4. Add 1 tbsp of Coconut Oil to the hot skillet.
  5. Place Chicken in the Pan to sear for 2 minutes.
  6. Cover the chicken with the seasoning on the empty side.
  7. Sear on the other side for 2 mins.
  8. Flip over, and cook the chicken on each side for 3-4 mins.
  9. Spritz your chicken with the juice from the other half of the lime
  10. Serve on plate with Avocado & Cilantro Topping.

Kale Chips:

Kale Chips, Recipe-Darcy Oliver Design

Kale Chips

  • 1 bunch of fresh dark green kale
  • garlic powder
  • ground sea salt
  • onion powder
  • steak seasoning (optional)
  • olive oil

Directions:

  1. Wash the kale, tear the leaves off of the stalk, and place in mixing bowl.
  2. Drizzle olive oil to lightly coat the kale.
  3. Sprinkle the above seasonings, or choose your own!
  4. Place in the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes, until crispy.

 

 

Party S’More Pops!

You will want to party s’more after you try these pops! So easy to make, S’more Pops are perfect for Birthdays, Baby Showers, and even little get together’s or a sweet little treat for the kids. Not only can you keep the traditional campfire taste alive without all the mess, you can even melt White Chocolate and dye it to suit the holiday!

With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, you can add a few drops of green food dye to your white chocolate and dip in Graham Cracker Crumbs or colored sprinkles! S’more Pops have all the sugary cuteness that Cake Pops offer, but are so much easier to make.

smore pops, dessert, candy, chocolate-Darcy Oliver Design

What You Will Need:

  • 1 Bag of Semi-Sweet Chocolate (Ghiradelli is preferred)
  • 1 Bag of Med/Large Marshmallows
  • 1 Box of Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 1 Small Bag of Lolly Sticks

**Side Note: You can put Graham Crackers in a Food Processor until finely ground.

Directions:

  1. Line a Cookie Sheet with Wax Paper.
  2. Twist your Lolly Sticks into all of your Marshmallows.  Do not puncture through the entire Marshmallow, but nearly to the other end of the Marshmallow.
  3. Pour your Graham Cracker Crumbs into a small bowl.
  4. Dump your Chocolate Chips in a Microwave Safe Bowl.
  5. Microwave your Chocolate in 20 Second intervals, and stir until completely melted.
  6. Carefully & quickly dip and spin your Marshmallow Lolly in the chocolate, and then dip into the Graham Cracker Crumbs.
  7. Place Graham Cracker side down on your Cookie Sheet.
  8. Place in fridge when complete to harden, and then serve. Enjoy!

Neiman Marcus Popovers

If you have ever lunched at Neiman Marcus, you understand the importance of ordering their Popovers with Strawberry Butter. A Popover is the American version of English Yorkshire Pudding, and they literally “pop over” the muffin-like pan. You will need to purchase a Popover Pan to make these beauts, as a Muffin Pan is too shallow.

Serve your Popovers as a Valentine’s Day Breakfast treat with jam, or eat as a roll with dinner! Their egg batter consistency makes them dense and hollow, melt in your mouth treats. If you have never had the pleasure of tasting a Popover, this easy Recipe will kick your taste buds into gear!
Neiman Marcus Popover-Darcy Oliver Design

Recipe from Neiman Marcus Cookbook:

Makes 12

  • 3 1/2 C. milk
  • 4 C. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature

Pre-heat the oven to 450°F

Place the milk in a bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes, or until warm to the touch. Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder together in a large mixing bowl.

Crack the eggs into the work bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until foamy and pale in color. Turn down the mixer to low and add the warm milk. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Turn the machine off and let the batter rest for 1 hour at room temperature.

Spray a popover tin generously with nonstick spray. Fill the popover cups almost to the top with the batter and place the popover tin on a cookie sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Turn down the oven temperature to 375°F and bake for 30 to 35 minutes longer, until the popovers are a deep golden brown on the outside and airy on the inside.

Turn out the popovers and serve hot with strawberry butter or strawberry jam.

Note: The key to making great popovers is having the eggs and milk warm before mixing. It is also important to let the batter sit for an hour before baking it. Popovers do not freeze well, and pre-made batter has a tendency not to work properly the next day.
Popover Recipe-Darcy Oliver Design