My Own Blog Review

Friday, January 30

This recipe is for all of us that have a very unsuccessful relationship with cookies. They turn out flat, never keep their shape, and sometimes tasteless. Well worry no longer, because you will never go wrong make these bars. They're delicious, keep their shape, and look fun and festive with interchangeable candies. Perfection!
PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE BARS
Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 oz package peanut butter M&M's
  • 6 oz peanut butter chips
  • 6 oz chocolate chips

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease 9x13 baking pan
  3. Whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda in a bowl, set aside
  4. Mix brown sugar, peanut butter, butter and sugar until smooth
  5. Add egg and vanilla extract and mix on medium speed until just combined
  6. Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour mixture
  7. Mix in M&M's, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips by hand
  8. Spread batter evenly in pan and bake 25-30 minutes until golden and center is done
  9. Cool on a rack and slice into bars once cool


You can modify these by omitting the peanut butter and peanut butter M&M's, and use any kind of candy you'd like. These are perfect for any holiday!

Recipe modified from The Happier Homemaker

Thursday, January 29

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Ingredients 
  • 12 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups plus 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • 11 ounces caramel bits {or 11 oz. caramel squares, unwrapped}
  • 3 Tbsp heavy cream
  • Sea salt, for sprinkling
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325. Prepare a 9x13 pan by lining with foil
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine butter and sugars, and mix until combined
  3. Add egg and egg yolk and vanilla, and mix until combined
  4. Add flour, baking soda, and salt, and mix until just combined {do not over mix}
  5. Gently fold chocolate chips into the dough
  6. Spread half the cookie mixture in the prepared pan, pushing with your hands to form an even layer. 
  7. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the caramels and heavy cream, and microwave on high at 20 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth
  8. Pour the melted caramel over the top and spread to cover. Sprinkle with sea salt. Top with remaining cookie dough. Sprinkle the top with more sea salt
  9. Bake 25-30 minutes or until very lightly golden around the edges. Be careful not to over bake. Remove from the oven and let them cool almost to room temperature before you cut into them. If you  cut into them too early you run the risk of the caramel leaking out

Recipe from The Baker Upstairs

Wednesday, January 28

Have you ever had prosciutto? I have seen it in recipes at restaurants and for one reason or another I steered clear of anything containing it. I'm not sure why but one thing I know for sure is I have been missing out. I have had it three times in the last month, at different parties, and I love it. One restaurant we went to made it themselves. The owner told us it takes one year, yes one year, to make. Crazy.

I honestly just threw this recipe together one night, and it was so good. You know it's great when your toddler says "Mmmm" after literally every bite. It reminded me why I love, love, love casseroles! They're a hit every time.
Broccoli Quinoa Casserole Recipe
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 jar pesto {just eyeball it}
  • Can of chicken
  • Bacon {also great with prosciutto}
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Seasoning salt
Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Prepare quinoa with water according to instructions
  3. Place broccoli in a medium saucepan with about 1" of water. Boil until tender, about 5-7 minutes
  4. Once the quinoa is cooked mix it with your pesto and bacon
  5. Lightly grease a 9x9 pan, then spread the quinoa evenly on bottom
  6. Spread chicken evenly over the pasta, and sprinkle seasoning salt on top
  7. Cover with cooked broccoli, then sprinkle cheese on top
  8. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until warm throughout
  9. Remove and serve immediately


Tuesday, January 27

3 Quick Edits I Make To Every Photo In Photoshop -- a quick step-by-step tutorial | myownblogreview.com
If you follow me on Instagam you know that one of my goals has been to improve my photography. I felt very overwhelmed and was kind of scared to even try, if I'm being honest. I knew it was the next step I needed to take in improving my blog, so to get started I did a lot of research. A LOT! You can find a lot of what I read here.

I also asked a lot of my blogging friends for advice.

As well as a good friend of mine growing up. Check out her photos here. We played on the same competitive soccer team from 4th grade until we graduated high school and I had no idea she had such an artsy side to her. She's fabulous! If you're in Utah look her up!!!

Here's the gist of what I learned:
    • Shoot in RAW
    • Learn Photoshop and/or Lightroom
Shooting in RAW gives you a lot more control in Photoshop {PS}. It allows you to recover a lot of the detail and true color you can loose when taking photos. For example, if your exposure and white balance settings aren't perfect when you're taking the photo you have full control to fix that in PS. When shooting in RAW you have a lot more freedom with lightening and darkening shadows or highlights, and tweaking color while editing.

PS does cost money, but they have a pretty reasonable monthly plan that gives you access to Lightroom too. If you have a blog, want to start a blog, or just want to start improving your photography overall I highly suggest you get PS/Lightroom.

Like I said, I have researched a lot, and I still have a lot more to learn, but these are the three edits I make to every picture. Try them out and you will see how you can transform your photos!

1) Brightness/Contrast
3 Quick Edits I Make To Every Photo In Photoshop -- a quick step-by-step tutorial | myownblogreview.com
I like clean, white photos! I like to keep my photos as bright as possible while still keeping detail in the whites. If you can keep from loosing detail then it won't be too bright. Trust me. If you don't feel a little uncomfortable with how bright and white it is, that probably means you need to crank your brightness even more. This will really make your photos pop! Some of my pictures I go as high as 39 and 40 respectively.

2) Levels/White balance 
3 Quick Edits I Make To Every Photo In Photoshop -- a quick step-by-step tutorial | myownblogreview.com
I usually try the auto button for white balance, just to get an idea of how it needs to be adjusted. But if I have a large enough area that is pure white I use the bottom dropper, click on the white of the photo, and it adjusts the levels of the picture according to the area you indicated was white.

3) Vibrance/Saturation
3 Quick Edits I Make To Every Photo In Photoshop -- a quick step-by-step tutorial | myownblogreview.com
For this particular photo I didn't change much, but I did adjust it a little.

I think we can all agree that the end product looks much better than the RAW original. Just start playing with your photos, try a lot of different adjustments and you will start to find what you like. Check out pinterest, and blogs {especially mine, haha} and find out what types of pictures you gravitate toward and start from there!

Making beautiful pictures is so fun, and it really is something that everyone and anyone can do!
3 Quick Edits I Make To Every Photo In Photoshop -- a quick step-by-step tutorial | myownblogreview.com

Monday, January 26

I am so excited because I'm getting a new design for my blog! I can not wait to reveal it, and once it goes live I'm having HUGE giveaway, so be sure to check back soon. I think you are going to really like it. Eek! So excited.

This Mousse is amazing! It is so delicious! You can use it in a really yummy chocolate cup like I did, or use it as a dip with pretzels, graham crackers and baked pie crust for your next party. Or go casual and eat it by the spoonful in your sweats while you watch TV. No judgement here!

Lemon Mousse in Chocolate Cups
Ingredients
  • 3 extra-large whole eggs
  • 3 extra large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan whisk together 3 whole eggs and 3 egg yolks {remember egg yolks...I messed this up!}, 1 cup sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
  2. Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for about 20 minutes, until the mixture is thick like pudding
    • The heat needs to be super low, otherwise the eggs will cook and scramble, and you don't want that!
  3. Take off the heat and set aside for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the lemon glaze and refrigerate for about 1-1/2 hours, until completely chilled.
  4. Place half the egg whites and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high speed with the whisk attachment. Add the remaining 2 Tbsp sugar and continue to beat until the whites are stiff and shiny. Carefully fold the beaten whites into the cold lemon mixture with a rubber spatula
  5. Place the cream in the same bowl of the mixer and beat on high until the cream forms stiff peaks. Careflly fold the whipped cream into the lemon mixture
  6. Fill a pastry bag, fitted with a large round tip, and pipe it into the chocolate cups to the very top. Place in the fridge and chill for several hours
  7. If desired, right before serving, using a sieve, dust the top with cocoa powder
Recipe adapted from Mamas Gotta Bake

Friday, January 23

Please note: many {or all} of these photos do not belong to me. If you want to pin a specific image, please click on it to visit it's original source. If you want to pin this collection as a whole, feel free to pin the collage image above!

Thursday, January 22

These bars contains everything I love, and so naturally I love them! Red velvet {check}, Oreos {check}, Cookies 'n Cream Hershey's Kisses {check}, sweetened condensed milk {check}. Isn't that all you need to know to know that they will fit seamlessly into your life as well? Oh my word, so delicious. I love how each bit tastes a little different from the other because the kisses don't melt everywhere. Then there's the crunch of the Oreos. Oh my word, I'm going to make some more tomorrow.
Red Velvet Cookies 'n' Cream Magic Bars
Ingredients

  • 1 box red velvet cake mix
  • 1/2 cup oil or apple sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 splash vanilla extract
  • About 15 Oreos, coarsely crushed
  • 24 cookies n cream Hershey's Kisses, unwrapped
  • 1 {14 oz} can sweetened condensed milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13x9 inch baking pan with foil and mist lightly with cooking spray. Set aside
  2. In a large bowl combine the cake mix, oil, eggs and vanilla until well blended. Press the dough evenly into the prepared pan
  3. Bake for approximately 10 minutes
  4. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately top with the crushed Oreos, and {unwrapped} Kisses evenly on top. Drizzle sweetened condensed milk on top of candies
  5. Return pan to the oven and continue to bake until golden and bubbly, approximately 10-15 minutes
  6. Allow the bars to come to room temperature before cutting into the squares
    • I suggest cutting with a plastic knife

Recipe adapted from The Domestic Rebel

Wednesday, January 21

Casseroles have become some of my favorite things ever! They make so much, they're yummy and you have plenty of left overs. Another awesome thing is being able to pretty much add whatever you have into the dish. Ran out of cream of chicken soup? Awesome, add Cream of Mushroom, or whatever you have!
Broccoli and Cheese Casserole
Ingredients
  • 1 box macaroni {or other small pasta}
  • 1 can chicken
  • 1 head of fresh broccoli, or mixed veggies, boiled until tender
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can cheddar cheese soup
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp lemon juice 
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Prepare pasta according to box instructions
  3. Place broccoli in a medium saucepan with about 1" of water. Boil until tender, about 5-7 minutes
  4. In a sauce pan stir broth, cream of chicken, mayonnaise, chicken, and lemon juice together. Heat and stir until well combined and heated through
  5. Lightly grease a 9x13 pan, then spread the cooked pasta evenly on bottom of the pan
  6. Spread chicken cream sauce evenly over the pasta
  7. Cover with cooked broccoli, then sprinkle shredded cheese on top
  8. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted
  9. Remove and serve immediately

Tuesday, January 20

Island Pork Tenderloin. Sweet with a little bit of heat! My 3-1/2 year old ate it, so don't be scared of the tabasco sauce. This is so good! ~ My Own Blog Review
One of my favorite things to make {and eat} is definitely pork tenderloin. It's so delicious and tender! It can be kind of hard for me to try new recipes because when I find one I love and I don't want to waste such a good piece of meat on a potential bad recipe. I'm so glad I tried this recipe, however! Oh my word, it seriously blows my mind. I was a little hesitant at first due to the tabasco sauce, and thought about omitting it, but you mustn't. It adds so much! My 3 year old at this recipe, so that goes to show you that it's not all that spicy. I mean it definitely has a kick to it, and I did make sure I didn't add any extra sauce to his helping, but he really liked it. So if you are sensitive to spice try this anyway!
Island Pork Tenderloin. Sweet with a little bit of heat! My 3-1/2 year old ate it, so don't be scared of the tabasco sauce. This is so good! ~ My Own Blog Review
Island Pork Tenderloin
Ingredients
Spice Rub:
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 pork tenderloins {2-1/4 to 2-1/2 lbs total} trimmed
2 Tbsp olive oil
Glaze:
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
1 Tbsp Tabasco

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Stir the spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl and rub all over the pork
Heat oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Brown your pork, turning occasionally, about 4-5 minutes. Place in an oven safe dish
Stir together brown sugar, garlic and tabasco in a small bowl. Pat the mixture on top of the pork
Roast until the thermometer reads 145 degrees. About 20-25 minutes. Check every couple minutes after 20 minutes.
Remove from oven, and let rest for 10 minutes
Island Pork Tenderloin. Sweet with a little bit of heat! My 3-1/2 year old ate it, so don't be scared of the tabasco sauce. This is so good! ~ My Own Blog Review
Recipe adapted from Little B Cooks

Monday, January 19

Copycat Cheesecake Factory Bread. This honey wheat bread is so dense and delicious, just like the kind you love from Cheesecake, just without the extra caramel coloring ~ www.MyOwnBlogReview.com

This may not look like The Cheesecake Factory bread you receive while you're waiting for your dinner, but it is, more or less. What's the difference you ask? I didn't add caramel coloring or instant coffee, but I promise you will still love it. If you want the dark color you can add 2 tsp instant coffee and 1 Tbsp powdered caramel color. Honestly, I have no idea where one would get caramel color, but obviously you can.

This bread is also known as Canadian Brown Bread, or Honey Wheat Black Bread, but everyone knows what you're talking about when you say the Cheesecake Factory Bread, so enjoy!
Copycat Cheesecake Factory Bread. This honey wheat bread is so dense and delicious, just like the kind you love from Cheesecake, just without the extra caramel coloring ~ www.MyOwnBlogReview.com
Copycat Cheesecake Factory Bread
Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 cups warm water {*100-110 degrees}
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 cups Unbleached Bread Flour
  • 1-2/3 cups White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 2-1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 egg + 1 Tbsp, for egg wash
  • Oats for sprinkling
*If the water is too hot it will kill the yeast

Instructions
  1. In a medium sized bowl, or the bowl of your electric mixer, combine all of the ingredients
  2. Stir the mixture together, using your hands, or your mixer, until the dough forms a ball that begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl
  3. Knead or mix for about 10 minutes, until it becomes smooth
  4. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise until double its size; at least an hour
  5. Grease two medium-sized bread pans and divide the dough between the two. Cover and let the loaves rise another hour
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  7. Prepare egg wash, brush on top of the loaves and sprinkle with oats
  8. Bake the bread for 20-25 minutes
  9. Cool on a wire rack
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour