This Week in the Charming South Kitchen

Chocolate chip cookies

Hooray for a Monday off (well, I really don’t work, so not much change here) and the unofficial start of fall.  I’ve got some eating healthy to do this week.  My mister has some stuff going on with work so the littles and I will be eating our meals by ourselves for a few days at night.

I have some leftovers to send with the mister for lunches: beef stew, triple b mac and cheese, cream of celery soup (recipe coming soon), and vegetarian baked ziti.  And this week I’ll be making:

Spaghetti Casserole

Lots of green smoothies

Lots of salads

The boys faves: chicken nuggets, fish nuggets, veggies, fruit, sandwich meat, pbj, etc.

Making these muffins (it is one of our rotations for breakfast along with oats, yogurt and granola and fruit, and cinnamon toast)



Lemon Cardamom Shortbread Cookies

Lemon Cardamom Shortbread

Cardamom is definitely my favorite go-to spice with anything berries or citrus.  It just lends that special “oomph” and “hmmm, wonder what is in there” to any recipe.  I have made some cardamom sugar with the pods and always have ground cardamom in my spice “basket” (a wine box I found at Goodwill which I love and am always in search of another one for cheap).

Anyway, I had to share this recipe tonight!  Just in case you have tons of lemons and you just have to have cookies with your decaf tonight!

This recipe is a shout out to Cheryl Day who owns Back in the Day Bakery – my fave cafe in my favorite city in Georgia, Savannah.  I tweaked her recipe and oh by golly is it good (and her’s is stellar too by the way).

Lemon Cardamom Shortbread Cookies
Recipe type: Cookies
Cuisine: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 dozen
Perfect chewy shortbread for that cup of coffee!
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ tsp lemon extract (I love opening the bottle of this, smells amazing)
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1¼ cup 10x sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • zest of two lemons
  • ⅛-1/4 cup cardamom sugar (for sprinkling on top before baking)
  1. Heat oven to 350.
  2. Spray sheet pans with baking spray.
  3. Cream butter. Add in salt and lemon. Combine sugar and zest. Then add in all purpose flour. Shape into balls with your hands and gently press them down (I'd love to find a pretty cookie press for this one, a simple, antique one would be great).
  4. Let chill in fridge for 2 hours.
  5. Sprinkle cardamom sugar on top of each cookie.
  6. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.
  7. Cool a little - then devour them warm, or wait until morning.


Dark Chocolate Pecan Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

Dark Chocolate Pecan Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

I didn’t grow up on homemade cookies.  The closest we got were a couple of Christmas goodies I remember my Mom training me to bake and Publix cookies.  Oreos were always my favorite and of course I was a Girl Scout so the peanut butter sandwich cookies were my favorite thin – now, it is the Thin Mints, hands down.

But, now, sometimes, I wake up thinking about chocolate chip cookies.  Who knows?  But, I woke up this morning thinking about cookies.  It was raining.  I have boys.  Friends were coming over.  No time to go to the store.  This is how these amazing cookies started.

A new friend gave me some toffee on a recent trip to the Triangle.  I had mini chips in the freezer.  My mom always stocks my pantry full of pecans, and I had bars of chocolate in my baking stash.

These are the perfect chewy consistency.  Nice and big but not too flat.  I tweaked a recipe and it turned out great.  I hope you enjoy!

Chewy Cookies

Dark Chocolate Pecan Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24-30
These chewy chunky toffee cookies will be a crowd pleaser!
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ⅔ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • Half cup each:
  • chopped toffee
  • mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • chopped milk chocolate
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Lightly spray baking sheets.
  2. Combine dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. Cream together the butter and the sugars.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla.
  5. Add in the dry ingredients and stir together.
  6. Fold in the add-ins.
  7. Do not over mix
  8. I got 6 cookies per baking sheet - so these are pretty generous cookies.
  9. Bake for 12 minutes.
  10. Do not over bake.
  11. Let cool for 1-2 minutes and remove to a cooling rack. If you let them stay on the baking sheets, the toffee will stick to the pan.

This Week in the Charming South Kitchen

Apple Peel

I have a love hate relationship with Pinterest and Instagram.

Pinterest gives me so many options but sometimes the recipes just aren’t any good. Then I’ve wasted a meal and may not even serve it to my family and resort then to pbj or cereal!

Instagram shows me lovely ways to style food and tells me what food days are coming – and I usually tend to bake or cook something that I don’t need.  But its fun!

We love brinner at our house and I have tons of eggs in the fridge.

I do love to bake with the boys and these will be a fun treat to have in the house.  I just can’t eat them all!

Love fish tacos.  Nothing beats grilled or fried mahi but we have swai so I will use it.




Weekend Link Love

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Pumpkins and Link Love

It is a beautiful fall day here in the Atlanta Metro area.  The blue sky beckons you to be outdoors (but my littles are asleep) and we are heading to the river later on today.  The crisp morning air gives way to cooler sunny afternoons.

Here are a few posts for your weekend viewing:

We went on a two week road trip for our honeymoon and loved it all.  One of the meals in Prince Edward Island has turned out to be a much requested (never made) meal for my mister.  I’m going to aim at fixing that this week with this recipe.

I passed by a sale feature today at TJ when I went of Raspberries. My older son could eat them all in one sitting if I let him.  I give him some at each meal if I have them on hand.  I tell him the reason I give him those is because I love him.  Baby brother doesn’t like them. His daddy sure does.  I’m making this granola to go with it this coming weekend for a special breakfast before family pictures and donut day

Definitely would consider this a tasty way to use up the two acorn squash sitting in my fruit bowl on my island.

Just because into every life must come the perfect sugar cookie.

One of the reasons I love to travel is to taste all of the food that the city I’m going to has to offer.  I’ve been to the Bay Area one time and I so want to return. Actually, one of my dream trips is to fly into San Fran and mill around and then drive up the coast or however you get to Napa and Big Sur.  Oh, to dream.  But, reading this post, I at least know which stops to make with a fork in hand.

Soft and Chunky Oreo Peanut Butter Cookies


Soft and Chunky Oreo Peanut Butter Cookies

Here are two disclaimers for this recipe post about a delicious cookie:

1.  I am a purist when it comes to Oreo Cookies.  None of these fancy seasonal flavors or even the double stuff or reduced-fat. No, give me the original!

2.  I wouldn’t say that peanut butter cookies are my favorite.  There are plenty in front of it.

So, when I passed by the Peanut Butter Oreos in the Wal-Mart aisle today, it could only be my creative streak and giving into my son when he said “cookie” that made me want to whip up a batch of these.

Elijah's first baking

But how would Oreos and Reece’s Pieces (E. T. Phone Home – my husband’s favorite childhood flick) go together.  I guess there was only one way to find out!

Reece's Pieces


These cookies were like pillow-soft.  I loved that about them.  Perfect texture.  I loved the chewiness with the texture from the Oreo pieces and candy coating from the Reece’s.  My husband said he wouldn’t change a thing. I’m glad. I adore these cookies.

And the colors work perfectly for the Fall.

Soft and Chunky Oreo Peanut Butter Cookies
Recipe type: cookies
Cuisine: dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18-24
Soft, chewy, chunky, peanut butter cookies - easy to munch on all night!
  • 1½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup regular sugar
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup crushed Oreos (but not too fine)
  • 1 cup mini Reece's Pieces
  1. Cream butter and sugars for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
  2. Add peanut butter, egg, and vanilla - mix for another 5.
  3. Add in dry ingredients
  4. Fold in Oreos and Reece's.
  5. Spray 3 cookies sheets with cooking spray.
  6. Preheat oven to 350
  7. Spoon out onto sheet pans and bake for 10-12 minutes or until set - but don't overcook.
  8. Let cool.
  9. Devour

Just for You: Link Love

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Pink and Orange

I spend much time on the internet: writing, reading, looking for recipes, etc – so I thought I would share some great finds with you.  Enjoy!

Because we are coming upon soup season (isn’t that every day?) and you need to make this

And this pretty one too

Love these cupcakes and the author’s ownership of her own blog instead of trying just to please her readers

Good read on how you can be a joy to be around on Sunday morning (in church) – and you can talk about football or cooking or kids

It takes a lot of skill to make steel cut oats look pretty and desirable

These cookies would make a perfect cookie for a swap

We love us some popcorn in our house, my Mister may need to make us this

This for breakfast – yes please.

Sundays in the South

Sundays are for Baking

I missed last’s week’s Sundays in the South installment.  For the first time in over a month my mister had a Sunday afternoon off – so we enjoyed that time together.  I usually don’t get on the computer when he is home – because I want to be about doing life with him, not blogging.  So, what I need to get better at is writing blogs and posting them to be live on those days that he is off – that way I would still be posting regularly.

The Fall is always a time of celebration for our family and this time we are including a family vacation and the boys and I are taking a trip to Little Rock.  With celebrations comes food.

And today, Sundays in the South is brought to you by a new food for me: I just finished reading my latest edition of Southern Living, and I saw a Dutch Baby (which is an oven pancakes).  I have everything – so I am going to head on into the kitchen to make it.  We will see how it turns out!

Snickerdoodles with Spiced Pumpkin Buttercream

Snickerdoodles with Spiced Pumpkin Buttercream

Bring on the Fall!  The weather hasn’t changed that much from last week, but the feel in my kitchen certainly has.  Earlier this week I made some of these: some friends and some little misters in our home devoured these.

They are all gone.


I had never made a snickerdoodle until I lived with one of the girls I discipled (while she was in college).  She loved snickerdoodles.  And the fun thing is – that as I read the directions, I read them wrong, and it turned out I like it better and now this recipe is my tried and true snickerdoodle.  Snickerdoodles are so easy and if done right they are perfectly soft and chewy for days.  We just had the last of these at lunch and they were still chewy. Success!

Fall Snickerdoodle Lineup

And seriously – one of the things that can make any bad day better for me is buttercream.  I love it – a true Hero! :) But, it is also a bear to get perfect.  If you get your butter too soft – forget it.  I think I added too much pumpkin to mine trying to achieve the perfect pumpkin flavor – but below I’ve changed the recipe some.  I hope yours turns out better than mine.

These were a perfect way to start off Fall baking season!  And my favorite buttercream frosting is this one

Snickerdoodles with Spiced Pumpkin Buttercream
Recipe type: Cookies
Cuisine: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
Soft chewy snickerdoodles sandwiched with a soft and spiced pumpkin buttercream
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup plus 2 T sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1 /4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • My favorite buttercream recipe (for this recipe, don't use as much vanilla) - see link above
  • 1 T pumpkin puree
  • ½ tsp cinnamon, allspice, and pumpkin pie spice
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Cream butter and sugar, egg, then add vanilla.
  3. Add dry ingredients.
  4. Roll in one inch balls and then roll in sugar and cinnamon mixture.
  5. Let bake - mine took 11 minutes to come out perfect. 10-12 depending on your oven.
  6. Let cool.
  7. Follow directions on buttercream, adding in the pumpkin and spices to your taste!
  8. Sandwich and eat!


Buttercream Cookies and Ministering to Widows

posted in: food | 1

Buttercream cookies

Food is such a way to minister to people.  Especially the lonely.

The widows.  The lonely.  The Shut-ins.  How do we interact with these people on a regular basis?  I have to admit I fail at this miserably – but I desire to get better at it.  One way we did this as a family recently is by taking cookies to some widows on Valentine’s Day.  I wanted to make some cookies and then deliver them.  I knew the boys would bring a smile to their faces (I was right on that account) and cookies are always delicious!

I read some invaluable posts by my friend Brian Croft over at Practical Shepherding.  I won’t re-hash them here, but encourage you to go read these:

How to minister to widows when a holiday is approaching?

How do you minister to widows when a family holiday is coming up?

As a SAHM, how can we minister to widows?

During the Christmas season and winter, how do I shepherd widows?

There are more at his site – just go search widows and you will get many posts to read and implement.  Brian and his wife, Cara, have years of experience living this out – not just writing down ideas.

One way that I’m going to be doing this is by writing letters.  I’ve asked my husband to get a list of the widows in the church and each week I want to write to one widow, pray for her by name, and if the time allows, visit her with my children and husband.  Visiting widows is very out of my comfort zone.  Aging is something that is hard and makes us examine our own mortality and the end of our lives.  It is also hard to know how long to stay, what to say, how to sit there with them if they aren’t coherent, or if they are really sick.  But, Jesus said to go to the sick and minister to the widows.  And I also know from years of experience – ministry is not easy.  But, still needs to be done.

Buttercream Cookies
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Cookie
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
Delicious cake like cookie with buttercream frosting
  • 1⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • ⅔ stick of unsalted butter
  • ⅓ cup whole milk with 1 tsp white vinegar
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ⅓ tsp kosher salt
  • Frosting;
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • milk or heavy cream to your consistency likeness
  • 2 drops red food coloring
  1. Combine dry ingredients
  2. Cream wet ingredients.
  3. Spoon onto greased baking sheet to make BIG cookies (should get 8)
  4. Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes or until done.
  5. Let cool
  6. Make buttercream. Pipe unto cookies.
Here is a simple cookie recipe that you can use as you minister to widows in your church.  A plate of cookies is always good.  If for some reason they can’t eat them, they most likely have caretakers and they will enjoy them!

How do you care for the widows in your church or community?  Enjoy the cookies!

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