One Smart Little Cookie is a collection of everything that brings inspiration, comfort and beauty into my life and home.
I love to create a beautiful home and enjoy it with my family.
It is sharing
what I love to do; baking and cooking in a healthier way without sacrificing flavor
, crafts,
party planning, activities, organization, and home decor.

Being a "Smart Little Cookie" is not about being perfect, it is about knowing how to enjoy life and family to it's fullest~to your fullest.
Due to my creative process, my home gets messy, my kids play in their jammies-all day sometimes (the terribly relaxed days tend to be my favorite),
and my hubby has become much more patient and supportive over the years with all of this.
In fact, he often has his own creative ideas and we both find ourselves anticipating our upcoming projects together~love him!
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE a clean house, but I've rejected denial, and with a toddler who is a budding creative type herself,
I feel accomplished when the dishes are in the dishwasher before naptime (not mine, hers).
I've accepted the fact that "spotless" cannot mean what I have always
envisioned in my mind, at least not with kids,
and I would rather enjoy my kids and beautiful home, than a spotless, sterile home.
I have learned to take each day, one day at a time, and everyday should leave us feeling inspired and more contented.
The day should leave us, whispering in our ear, "the day has been as well as it could have been done, and it has been done well."

Go ahead and take a bite, indulge yourself and try my recipes and crafty creations in your own home.
I hope to inspire you to feel like the "Smart Little Cookie" you are!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Greek Easter Bread

With Easter on it's way, I've made one of my favorite Easter recipes, Greek Easter Bread.  This bread is not only Delicious (it tastes very similar to Hawaiian Bread), it is Absolutely Gorgeous! It will look Beautiful on your special Easter table at breakfast or dinner.  It also makes a delicious french toast, when sliced.
Bon Appetit!  
 20 Servings

The Recipe

1 t. allspice                                                             1/2 sugar
2 t. cinnamon                                                          3 T. butter
1 cup warm water                                                    2 large eggs
pinch of salt                                                            2 egg whites
pinch of sugar                                                         1 t. salt
2 packages yeast                                                     1 T. water
4 3/4 cups unbleached flour                                      1 large egg yoke

Combine water, pinch of salt, pinch of sugar, and yeast in a large bowl, stir with a whisk.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Add 1 cup flour to the yeast mixture and stir until combined.  Let stand 20 minutes.

Place sugar and butter in a large bowl and mix until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and egg whites, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Stir in the allspice and cinnamon.  Add the yeast mixture to the butter mixture and mix with a whisk until well combined.  Stir in 1 t. salt.  Add 3 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup at a time.  The dough will be sticky.

Place the dough in a large bowl, coated well with cooking spray, coat the top as well.  Cover and let rise for 1 hour or until size has doubled.

Divide dough into 3 equal portions.  Shape each portion into 14-inch-long ropes.  Place the ropes lengthwise on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Pinch the ends together at one end to seal.  Braid the ropes and pinch the end pieces to seal.  Lightly coat with cooking spray.  Cover and let rise 45 minutes or until size is doubled.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine 1 T. water and egg yolk, stirring with a whisk.  Brush half of yolk mixture over the loaf.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Repeat with the remaining egg yolk mixture.  Bake for 30 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped.  Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.  Mmmm...!

This recipe is from Cooking Light, so the recipe has already been lightened.  I have cut a tad more fat and cholesterol in the recipe by using 2 egg whites, along with 2 whole eggs.  This does not compromise the taste or texture of the bread. 


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Somewhere Over The Rainbow Cupcakes

These are the best little rainbows you'll ever eat! They're worth the effort and are a lot of fun to make. They're definitely worth their weight in gold!!
Makes 2 dozen
The Recipe

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour                 2 1/4 cups sugar
2 t. baking powder                                        1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 t. salt                                                        1 cup skim milk
1 stick unsalted butter                                   8 large egg whites
1 cup unsweetened applesauce                       food coloring~red,
                                                                    yellow, green and blue       
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two standard 12-cup muffin pans with white paper liners.  Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt (I love to use Redmond Realsalt sea salt, found at Target or your local health food store).  Set aside.

In a separate medium size bowl, beat together the butter (I like to use natural and organic unsalted butter, such as Tillamook-found at Walmart, and Archer Farms-found at Target), applesauce and 2 cups sugar (I like to use organic Florida Crystals brand sugar, found at Walmart), until light and fluffy.  Mix in the vanilla extract.  Add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; mix until just combined.  Set aside.

In another clean medium size bowl, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy.  With the mixer on, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form.  Do not over beat.  Gently fold a third of the egg-white mixture into the cupcake batter mixture until combined.  Gently fold in the remaining egg whites.

Divide the batter by 1/2 cups into 6 separate bowls.  Add food coloring in each bowl making the colors of the rainbow-red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.

With a small cookie scoop, scoop a half-scoop of purple batter into the bottom of each muffin liner.  Rinse scoop, add blue on top of on top of blue...yellow on top of on top of on top of orange, rinsing the scoop before each new color is added.  Liners should be about 3/4 full.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, and until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.  Move cupcakes to a cooling rack.

White Cloud Frosting

2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup skim milk
1 T. natural or organic unsalted butter, softened
2 t. almond extract

Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl, adding extra powdered sugar until desired consistency.  Frost each Rainbow with White Cloud Frosting.

Keep an eye on your pot of gold while eating this treat, leprechauns are very aware of how distractingly yummy these are!

My two-year old daughter, excited to eat her first rainbow!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Scrumptious Confetti Popcorn Treats

These scrumptious little goodies are perfect for a party snack or a tea party hosted by the little princesses in your life.  Each time I make these, they are eaten up very quickly-daintily, of course!

The Recipe

1 bag microwave butter popcorn
(I like to use 2 small bags of 100 calorie popcorn)

1/2 bag small marshmallows


Microwave the popcorn according to the package directions.  When popped, transfer to a medium size mixing bowl.  In a separate microwave safe bowl, melt marshmallows for about 1 1/2 minutes.  Spray rubber scraper with cooking spray and pour marshmallow mixture over popped popcorn and mix thoroughly, but gently.  Spread popcorn mixture onto a flat surface (such as a sprayed casserole dish or cookie sheet).  Sprinkle the sprinkles over the popcorn mixture and let set, about 10 minutes.  Pull apart and enjoy! (And yes, before typing out this recipe I've had several bite size yummies, myself.)

Smart Little Cookie Tip:
Be creative, use any topping your heart desires, especially for holidays or themed parties.  You could use colored sugar sprinkles, oreo bits, peanut butter cup bits (found in the ice cream topping aisle of your local grocery store), you could also mix in nuts, chocolate chips, etc., etc...the possibilities are as endless as the rainbow!  

Happy Munching!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Delicious Soft and Chewy Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookies


What day isn't a good day for chocolate and peanut butter? This was my first time making this particular recipe, tweaking the ingredient list a little bit.  I think they turned out really well, and so does the empty cookie plate from our family night last night.  I'll be taking most of them to a church program tonight and hope everyone 
enjoys them as much as my family did.

The Recipe

1 cup unsalted butter                                             1 t vanilla
1 cup crunchy peanut butter                                   2 1/2 cups unbleached 
1 cup white sugar                                                           all-purpose flour                        
1 cup packed brown sugar                                      1 t baking powder 
1 egg                                                                    1/2 t salt
2 egg whites                                                          1 1/2 t baking soda
1 package chocolate chips                                           

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a bowl, sift together flour (I use all-purpose unbleached flour), baking powder, baking soda, and salt (I love to use Redmond Realsalt sea salt, found at Target or your local health food store).  Set aside.

In a separate bowl, cream together butter (I like to use natural and organic unsalted butter, such as Tillamook-found at Walmart, and Archer Farms-found at Target), peanut butter (I use natural Skippy peanut butter) and sugars (for white sugar, I use organic Florida Crystals brand, found at Walmart).  Beat in egg, egg whites and vanilla.  Stir flour mixture into batter mixture.

Scoop into balls with a medium size cookie (or ice cream) scoop and drop onto parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray about 1 inch apart.

Bake for about 10 minutes or until the cookies begin to brown.  Do not over-bake.  Transfer to a wire rack.  
While cookies are cooling, lay out a large piece of parchment paper on top of a large movable surface (I like to use a larger cookie pan or a large pizza pan).  Melt 1 bag milk chocolate chips (I love Ghirardelli), in a medium microwave-safe bowl, in the microwave for 20-30 seconds at a time, stirring in between melting times, until the chocolate is melted and silky smooth.  Working with one cookie at a time, cover the front half of the cookie with melted chocolate using a large spoon, turn and cover half of the bottom of the cookie, scrape off excess on both sides.  Place the finished cookies on the prepared parchment paper.  When the parchment is filled, transfer cookies to the refrigerator so the chocolate will set.  

Smart Little Cookie Tip: 
You might like to chop roasted peanuts or peanut butter chips and sprinkle them on top of the chocolate before the chocolate sets, to make it a bit more scrumptious.  

Voila! And Enjoy!

Monday, March 1, 2010

This is a collection of something I love to do, it brings me joy and makes me happy-Baking! I love to bake! As a little girl, I used to watch my mom bake in our kitchen, and it always felt like home.  I have a long time passion for creating and recreating recipes, making them healthier without sacrificing flavor or texture.  I know I've succeeded when a cookie or another sweet treat brings a smile to my face, and most importantly, to the faces of my family.  Bon Appetite!