The Weekender: Awards, Animals, & Injuries

Egg & Avocado Double Cheese Flatbread

Happy Easter everyone! I hope y’all will forgive me for not posting last week, but I was enjoying a very rare weekend with the entire Cookie family. More on that later.
First, let’s take a look back at this week’s eats so you’re all caught up and ready for next week’s grubbing.

Let’s review, shall we?

1. Easter Lemon Poke Cake
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2. 34 Best Easter Recipes
Almond Joy Poke Cake
3. Readers’ Choice Wednesday: Avocado & a Egg Double Cheese Flatbread
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4. Smart Cookie Shopping 26: Easter Eggs, Ravioli, & More
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Which of my Easter recipes will you be whipping up today? I’m joining My BF and his family for a feast that will include an indulgent Chocolate Peanut Butter Poke Cake. Stop in Monday for that recipe!

Let’s talk about someone who doesn’t have any Easter spirit: the person who abandoned three perfectly good bags of Cadbury Mini Eggs in the middle of the grocery store. What kind of monster are you? Everyone knows those things are made with crack and irresistible.

You’ll get to hear more about this weekend’s festivities in next week’s edition of the Weekender, but let’s talk more about why I held out on you guys last weekend.

For the first time in over a year, my mom, dad, sister and fiancé were all up here at once. They came to attend my college’s annual RSI awards, which are held each spring to honor student accomplishments in the Public Relations/Journalism department (how many of you remembered I was a PR major?).
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Since I’m a senior, these were my last RSI Awards, so it was an extra special event for me. If you were curious, I received the Outstanding Senior Award and the Faculty Award, which recognizes the upperclassman with the highest GPA.

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Photo collage credit goes to Sister Cookie

It meant a lot to have all the people I care about there with me.

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The only way the ceremony could’ve been better is if I was allowed to bring my babies! They’ve been getting into a lot of trouble this week, but what else is new?

Little Miss Mina sits in the sink with me every morning while I’m getting ready, so I decided to take a photo every day for a month to prove it. These are our first three days of girl time.

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On a less adorable note, I dislocated my toe this week. I didn’t even do anything cool; I was play-fighting with my BF, and he pretended to go for my legs, so I leap-frogged over him. It would’ve been really epic except for the fact that I landed like an uncoordinated elephant and smashed my toes in unnatural directions.

It’s feeling much better now though, and the bruising has gone down considerably. I know, I’m falling apart, right?

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A few states away, Reesy wasn’t doing so hot this week either. She had four teeth pulled, and she had to be put into the cone of shame so she wouldn’t bite her pain patch. Don’t worry; she’s doing much better now.

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Speaking of animals wearing ridiculous things, who wants to guess how Mr. Poe got stuck in my headband? I still don’t know.

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He sure does love a good grocery bag!

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Before I head out, tell me what you guys want to see in this week’s Readers’ Choice Wednesday! What are you guys craving?

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That’s it for now. Don’t forget to join me tomorrow for some cake!

Smart Cookie Shopping 26: Easter Eggs, Ravioli, & More

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It’s that time again, folks! We’re grabbing our grocery carts and hitting stores to find what’s new and what’s worth buying. I’ve got a spectrum of stuff for us to try today, everything from Russel Stover’s wide assortment of chocolate eggs for Easter to Lean Cuisine ravioli.

1. Pepperidge Farm Blueberry Cobbler Cookies available in the snack aisle of most grocery stores

Dang, for a store-bought cookie, these were delightful! They were so nice and soft with a generous amount of blueberries. I do wish there could have been a more authentic blueberry experience rather than the more dried “Quaker Blueberries and Cream Oatmeal” effect it had. Still, these were tasty and great for this time of year.

Photo by Pepperidge Farm

Photo by Pepperidge Farm

2. Russell Stover Chocolate Eggs available in the candy section of some grocery stores and most drug stores

I saw the endless assortment of RS chocolate eggs at my local Walgreen’s and darn-near lost my mind. Yes, these photos are of the empty wrappers because I ate them all before photographing. Here’s my take on the flavors I tried:

  1. Carrot Cake
    Delicious, but not carrot-cakey at all. It just tasted like a mildly spiced filling.
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  2. Red Velvet
    Tied w/ Birthday Cake for favorite. I’m not usually a dark chocolate fan, but I like this because it wasn’t bitter and was perfect with the sweet, rich filling.
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  3. Birthday Cake
    Now we’re talking! The filling was cake-like in flavor and texture, but still on a richer, more truffle-like side. I also appreciated the sprinkles on the outside. It’s the little things.
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  4. Wedding Cake
    I’m not sure what was supposed to be wedding cake-like about this, but RS missed the mark. This was way too sweet, and I don’t say that often.
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  5. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
    These were rich and yummy. I’m not sure if I’d say it hit the head on the cookie dough mark perfectly, but it was tasty all the same.
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3. Goldfish Pizza and Parmesan Mix available in the snack aisle of most grocery stores

This was not my favorite of the new varieties I’ve tried lately. The parmesan ones didn’t taste parmesan-y at all, and it felt like I was just eating a regular bag of the Pizza Flavor Blast ones.

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4. Flatout Light Italian Herb Flatbreadsavailable in the bakery section of most grocery stores

I’ve seen Flatouts around a lot, but I had yet to try them until now. I appreciated how hearty and generously sized the flatbread was for only being 90 calories. Plus, it has 10 grams of protein. It was thicker and better tasting than the whole grain pitas I’d typically buy.

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5. Lean Cuisine Spinach and Artichoke Ravioli available in the frozen section of most grocery stores
I’ll be straight up with you guys: don’t waste your money on this. It wasn’t bad, but for almost 300 calories, you only get FIVE raviolis. That’s right, five tiny little raviolis! That’s not a meal; that’s an appetizer.

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6. Joseph’s Spinach Artichoke Hummus (I refuse to spell it like they did) available in the refrigerated section near the refrigerated pastas

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it’s hummus and it’s delicious. But on the other, there were jalapenos in this, which just seems like an odd addition for something spinach-artichoke flavored, and they completely overwhelmed every other flavor that may have been present in the dip.

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7. Market Pantry Chocolate Truffle Muffin Caps - available in the frozen section of Target

This is Target’s version of my beloved Vitamuffins, but it doesn’t compare. These were pretty dry and just didn’t taste chocolaty. Stick to the name brand with this one.

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Readers’ Choice Wednesday: Avocado & Egg Double Cheese Flatbread

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Everybody knows it’s important to listen to their mama, and that’s why I’m appeasing Mother Cookie in this week’s Readers’ Choice Wednesday. She wanted something with avocado, and so avocado she shall get.

I went through all the obvious options during my brainstorming process: guacamole, salad, etc. But you know what? I don’t do obvious. I do Smart Cookie twists. So I took one ho-hum avocado and turned it into an Egg & Avocado Double Cheese Flatbread.

Is it breakfast? Is it lunch? Is it brunch? It’s whatever you want it to be! Don’t let the term “flatbread” fool you into thinking this is a light meal. On the contrary, it is incredibly filling with a whole grain crust, rich avocado, melty cheese, and protein-packed eggs. If this doesn’t load you up with energy to tackle even the toughest day, then nothing will.

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I never believed in miracles until I fell in love with avocados. They are so creamy, indulgent and delicious without doing a single thing to them, AND they’re jam-packed with nutrients. Have you ever seen something so beautiful? I haven’t. That’s why I smothered Mother Nature’s greatest gift atop this cheesy, hearty flatbread.

This makes for an easy and relatively healthy meal in minutes. But the fresh and unique combination of toppings makes you feel like you’re eating a fancy meal from a quaint brunch joint in town. The only difference is you don’t have to put pants on to make this at home. If you go out to eat though, I would advise grabbing some pants. Most restaurants look down on pantslessness.

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. Many cheeses would be delicious on this flatbread: mozzarella, muenster, pepper jack, Monterey jack, etc.
  2. An avocado is ripe if it’s soft but not mushy when you squeeze it. Think of the texture of clay.
  3. If you like runny eggs, feel free to cook you eggs that way and let the yolks run over the flatbread.
  4. A little taco seasoning would be delicious to zest things up.
  5. To pit an avocado, slice in half lengthwise then take a sharp knife and quickly and swiftly lodge it into the pit. Twist and remove.
  6. The lemon juice keeps the avocado from browning and add fresh flavor.

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Egg & Avocado Double Cheese Flatbread
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Ingredients:

  • 1 Flatout flatbread (I used Light Italian)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 3-4 drops lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 2/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 tbsp. shredded asiago cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place flatbread on sheet and bake for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a small pan with olive oil to medium-low heat. Cook eggs to your liking. Set aside.
  3. Remove avocado from skins and mash together with lemon, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Spread over warmed flatbread in an even layer. Sprinkle with cheeses and top with egg and return to oven for another 10-12 minutes, or until cheese is melted and crust is browning along the edges. Slice and enjoy.

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What do YOU want to see in next week’s Readers’ Choice Wednesday?

34 Best Easter Recipes

Almond Joy Poke CakeThis Easter is going to be a little different for me because it will be the first year I don’t spend it with Mother & Father Cookie. A few states may separate us, but no distance can really keep us apart. Plus, I am grateful to have people I love in the area who are kind enough to let me spend the day with them.

No matter who you’re spending Easter with, you can’t beat coming together over a great meal. I’ve compiled 34 of my Best Easter Recipes for you that will ensure your Easter is absolutely delicious. Which of these will you be whipping up? Continue reading

Easter Lemon Poke Cake

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There are a lot of fancy and festive Easter recipes floating around the web right now, many of which may have enticed you until you saw how much work they were. Plenty of folks find enjoyment in making elaborate meals for special occasions, but plenty more want something that’s as easy as it is impressive. If you’re already slaving over dinner, you want your dessert to be one less thing to worry about but one more thing to look forward to.

That’s why I was determined to create a super simple but cute and delicious cake that literally anyone could make for Easter. My Easter Lemon Poke Cake is doable for everybody and guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser. The festive little scene on top is just a matter of sticking things together, and the ultra-rich lemony cake starts with a boxed mix. Continue reading

Oven-Roasted Mini Pepper Nachos

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Nachos are a particularly evil food because not only are they incredibly addicting, but they’re nutritionally empty, so you have absolutely no excuses or solace after having downed a plateful. Nachos are maniacal little devils, and they’ll laugh in your face as they draw you in with ooey gooey cheese and crunchy chips.

I got hit with a particularly nasty nacho craving the other day, but I didn’t have any chips. How the heck are you supposed to make nachos without one of the two essential components? I’ll tell you how: you improvise.

The Smart Cookie Cook is the queen of improvisation, and if you don’t believe me, then check out these Oven-Roasted Mini Pepper Nachos. These are going to completely change how you think about nachos. Those chips you thought were so vital to the nacho equation suddenly are no longer necessary. Continue reading

Key Lime Pie Dip

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We’re on a roll with the springtime dips this week, aren’t we? Yesterday, we tackled a savory Lemon-Basil & Artichoke Bean Dip, but today, we’re making things sweet. Did you know you can take a favorite springtime dessert and make it into a dip?

That’s right, my Key Lime Pie Dip takes everything you love about the classic dessert and turns it into a cool and refreshing layered dip. A slice of pie is rather boring, but all the great flavors of that pie in a dip is much more fun. Plus, you can dunk just about anything in there, and it will be divine. I used the Pillsbury Key Lime Cookies I reviewed in last week’s Smart Cookie Shopping, but the possibilities are endless. Continue reading

Lemon-Basil & Artichoke Bean Dip w/ Homemade Basil Pita Chips

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I stepped out of my comfort zone with my Lemon-Basil & Artichoke Bean Dip. The truth is, I’m not crazy about lemon, especially in savory dishes. I can tolerate a lemon cake, but start putting lemon in my pasta, and I get angry. However, it is spring, and bright flavors like lemons are in high demand. So, I decided to put my feelings aside and give some new vibrant and tangy flavors a chance. Continue reading

The Weekender: The Best of Mina & Mr. Poe

Pink Chiffon Cookie Cups

In all honesty folks, this has been one craptastic week for me. The one thing that made it all better was capping it off with a great meal. Thank goodness for food, right? I know it is essential for our physical survival, but it sure makes things easier mentally too.

In case you had a week as rough as mine, I want to offer you a little something to help brighten it up. But before we do that, let’s take a step back and review all of this week’s eats. The only thing that could make a bad week worse is if you missed out on something delicious here. Let’s review, shall we? Continue reading