Cookies with a Twist

One of my first friends in Kansas City was Megan. Like me, she was an old soul in a young body. We met while working on our Masters degrees at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. We also had a lot of fun exploring the city – dinners, plays, and concerts. Megan is so talented and has taught me so many things. I also owe the start of my nonprofit career to this lady. She helped me make a resume that visually popped. Her networking skills also helped me find my first nonprofit job as a grant writer. That job was one of the best teams I’ve ever worked on and a few of those fantastic women are still dear friends.

Megan is Martha Stewart. Not only is she an amazing cook but she and her husband are also master gardeners. They have turned their passion for gardening into a full-scale Kansas agri-business. If you are close, visit their Next to Nature booth on a Saturday morning at the Bonner Springs Farmers Market. They have everything from fresh seasonal produce to products made from honey. I love watching their business adventures on Facebook.

Megan_weddingI was lucky enough to be a bridesmaid for Megan and Chad’s wedding. Like all weddings, they had a hiccup right before their big day. Less than a week before their big day, the building where they were going to have their wedding reception was hit by a car. The good news is that structural engineers determined it was still safe to remain open. Their wedding end up going off without a hitch. And nine years later, they are still happily married.

For our wedding, Megan shared this recipe. I wasn’t sure what to think at first. Orange and chocolate chips? Sure, I’ve seen chocolate covered orange slices but I’ve never eaten them. But I trusted Megan. She’s Martha Stewart, right. I have to tell you, these cookies were so good I wish I had made a larger batch. I hope you love these super soft cookies as much as I did.

Orange Chocolate Chippers by Megan Gilliland
IMG_01601 c. shortening
1 – 3 oz. package of cream cheese
2 T. grated orange peel
2 c. flour
1 (6 oz.) package of chocolate chips
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt

Cream together shortening, sugar, and cream cheese. Add eggs, orange peel, and vanilla. Shift together salt and flour. Then, add to mixture. Fold in chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoons onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool and remove. Makes 4 dozen.

Guacamole

Five weeks ago, I married the love of my life in a small but beautiful ceremony. Although our original plan was to go to St. Kitts. Then, the Zika virus happened. We decided we want to either stay in the states or head up north to Canada. We settled upon San Antonio, Texas. Why? We had never been and read lots of things that said it was a must visit destination.

Jeremiah and I are planners. Unfortunately, wedding planning and out of town travel for work left us heading to San Antonio without a plan. When we arrived, our first stop was a great little restaurant called Magnolia Pancake Haus. OMG – that side order of pancakes was the best pancakes I’ve ever had. It was so good, we went back one more time and even purchased a bottle of their homemade syrup to take home.

All the food we ate on our honeymoon was amazing. We loved the Hearthstone Bakery Café, Tycoon Flats, Franks, Gruene River Mill, and Guenther House. But Boudros Texas Bistro on the Riverwalk makes the most amazing table side guacamole I’ve ever had. And Jeremiah and I thought we love Chipotle’s guac until we tasted this dish. Lucky for us, we were able to find this recipe online. My husband made it two weeks ago for dinner and I’m roasting the ingredients right now so we can have it for dinner with Skinny Chipotle Cilantro Rice and Carne Asada (cooking in the crockpot as I type this post). Note – the secret ingredient here is fruit squeezed orange juice.

IMG_0971Boudro’s Famous Guacamole
1 orange
2 limes
4-6 avocados
1 roma tomato, roasted and diced
2 serrano pepper, roasted, seeded, and diced
4 T. red onion, diced
½ c. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. sea salt
1 garlic clove, chopped

Squeeze orange and lime juice into a bowl. Scoop out avocados and add to the bowl. Add tomato, peppers, onion, garlic, and cilantro. Fold into avocado. Add salt to taste.

Notes:

  • Results should be more or cut together than mashed. Our server just used the two knifes she cut everything open with.
  • This makes 6-8 serving. Since guacamole gets brown so quickly, we half this recipe.

Refreshing Cocktail

This is a recipe I found in one of those Hy-Vee magazines they mail to your home. I made it for a recent party at my home. One of my friends called the fresh fruit a bonus to this refreshing sangria drink.

Peach Sangria

1 bottle of Pinot Grigio, chilled
½ c. of sugar
1/4 c. Peach Schapps
2 c. ginger ale, chilled
1 peach, sliced thinly
1 mango, sliced thinly (I peeled it)
1 orange, sliced (I peeled it)

Mix all ingredients (except ginger ale) and stir. Refrigerate for two hours before adding ginger ale and serving. Makes eight wine sized glasses.

 Note: This drink has a lot of alcohol so sip slowly.