Feta Cheese-Covered Olives + Giveaway

This post is sponsored by California Ripe Olives through Kitchen Play. All content and opinions are my own.

Feta Cheese-Covered Olives is a fun and incredibly flavorful appetizer made with olives covered in a feta cheese mixture and rolled in crushed hazelnuts.

Feta Cheese-Covered Olives | www.diethood.com | Feta Cheese-Covered Olives is a fun and incredibly flavorful appetizer made with olives covered in a feta cheese mixture and rolled in crushed hazelnuts. | #recipes #appetizers #CalRipeOlives



On a scale of 1 to 10, how awesome is Summer!? I can’t get enough of this wonderful weather.

In the summertime, life is as sweet as can be. The days move slower, the food tastes better, and we look a million times prettier! Wouldn’t you agree?
Tan lines, chlorine-bleached hair and sandy toes are waaaay sweeter than a frostbite. Buh-lieve me.

Also? Let’s be honest. On a scale of 1 to 10, how good are these Feta Cheese-Covered Olives? I give them a hundred!…

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Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies


Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies | www.diethood.com | #recipe #cookies #shortbread #nutella

Did I just take the kids to McDonald’s Playplace? Did I really do that?! The one thing I swore I would never do?!?!

Yes. Yes, I did.

All I wanted was a few moments (2 hours) to stare at nothing and drink a cup of coffee. or Three.

Sue me. (Please don’t)

The thingamajiggers is that when I try to keep up with everything, I end up falling over. Well, not really falling over. Just feeling overwhelmed… Looking ahead, but can’t see through the piles of to-do… You know what I’m sayin’.

I know that if I had a few of these Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies, I would totally be back on track. It would take .03567 seconds for me to go from blah to wooooot! But, I ate them all last week. No, not all of ‘em. My husband helped. And the kids.

Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies | www.diethood.com | #recipe #cookies #shortbread #nutella

See, when you make shortbread cookies with hazelnuts, topped with Nutella and glitter, people wanna eat ‘em. Fast.

I have been trying to make these cookies “work” for quite some time. In the end, my gut feeling was right – vegetable shortening. Because, you know, shortbread cookies aren’t soft and buttery enough already.

To add, I figured out that these cookies get better with age! They taste that much better the next day.

Also, the hazelnuts made it into this recipe by accident. I was more about using some almonds, or even walnuts, but the jar of hazelnuts jumped up and I had to use ‘em. Besides, they made it all the way to me from Macedonia – my MIL sent me a bag filled with hazelnuts, and I still don’t know how we managed to get them through customs. {shrug} I even had a story in case they stopped me; “I’m a food blogger… I’m testing recipes… I’m going to feed the squirrels…”

Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies | www.diethood.com | #recipe #cookies #shortbread #nutella

The cookies literally take 10 minutes of hands-on prepping. The remaining of the time they will either be baking or resting.

They are SO easy to make, they are delicious and stunning. You will not regret it. Save thy recipe!

ENJOY!

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Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies

40 minutes

13 minutes

55 minutes

Makes 24 to 30 Cookies

Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread cookies made with hazelnuts and vanilla sugar, topped with Nutella and glitter.

Ingredients

    Cookies
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 1 cup finely ground hazelnuts
  • 2 sachets (0.35-oz each) vanilla sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • Optional
  • Nutella
  • Edible Glitter

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl sift together flour and corn starch.
  • Stir in hazelnuts, vanilla sugar, and powdered sugar. If you don't have vanilla sugar or can't find it, leave it out.
  • Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, work in the vegetable shortening; work it in until it all disappears and it's well blended.
  • Cover dough with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Line two baking sheets with silpat mat or parchment paper; set aside.
  • Remove dough from fridge and let rest for 5 minutes.
  • Flour your work surface and rolling pin; roll out the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness.
  • Cut out cookies with a round cutter and transfer to prepared pan. You don't have to space them a lot - the cookies will not spread.
  • Bake for 13 minutes.
  • Let cool on pan for 5 minutes; remove and cool on wire racks.
  • When completely cooled, dip them in Nutella and top with edible glitter or raw sugar.

Notes

Cookies are best a day later. You can freeze the cookies for up to 3 months.

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Coconut Baklava

Coconut Baklava | www.diethood.com | Layers of phyllo sheets filled with shredded sweetened coconut and walnuts | #dessert #recipe #baklava #coconut

Bust out the Phyllo sheets, my friends! I’ve got a project for you!

You are going to make Baklava this weekend! Coconut Baklava, that is!

I can’t even begin to count how many emails I have received from my fellow countrymen/women about a recipe for Baklava. Sure, they can go to Google and ask him, but that’s no fun! You want to go straight to the horse’s, or in this case, blogger’s mouth and hear it from the expert. buahahhaha I just called me an expert! Far from it! BUT! I do make a killer Baklava, so that’s that.

Coconut Baklava | www.diethood.com | Layers of phyllo sheets filled with shredded sweetened coconut and walnuts | #dessert #recipe #baklava #coconut

Baklava has been claimed by many and all; Turks, Greeks, Persians, Armenians, Macedonians… the list goes on. The truth is, we all make it, but we all also have our own ways of making it. The only standard is the Phyllo sheets.

Baklava is just that; a stack of those sheets filled with whatever the heck you want and drowned in a delicious simple syrup.

Macedonian Baklava is usually filled with just walnuts, but I am not a fan of the whole honey and nuts filling; I need more. So I added shredded coconut. That was a smart move. No. It was brilliant!!

This is the best baklava! Ever. Yes, I say that a lot, but seriously…it’s SO good! Wait until you read the ingredients and you’ll see that it is the best.

Ever.

The result is pure, sweet, coconutty goodness.

Coconut Baklava | www.diethood.com | Layers of phyllo sheets filled with shredded sweetened coconut and walnuts | #dessert #recipe #baklava #coconut

ENJOY!

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Coconut Baklava

30 minutes

40 minutes

1 hour, 10 minutes

Serves 12 to 16

Coconut Baklava

Layers of Phyllo sheets filled with a mixture of shredded coconut and walnuts.

Ingredients

    For the Baklava
  • 4 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1-1/2 cups finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 20 Phyllo Sheets, divided
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • For the Syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • Combine coconut, walnuts, vanilla, milk, and honey in a bowl, mix well and set aside.
  • Lightly grease a jellyroll pan.
  • Layer 10 pieces of Phyllo sheets, brushing each sheet with the melted butter before adding the next.
  • Sprinkle the entire coconut mixture over the dough.
  • Layer the remaining 10 sheets, brushing each sheet with butter before adding the next.
  • Cut the baklava. You can cut the baklava into a diamond pattern, like I did, or squares.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden.
  • Remove from oven and let completely cool.
  • In the meantime, prepare the syrup.
  • Combine water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil; lower heat to a simmer, and continue to cook for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice.
  • Pour the hot syrup over the completely cooled baklava.
  • Let stand, uncovered, for 6 hours or overnight.
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I’m linking up to TidyMom’s I’m Lovin’ It

Banana, Orange and Chocolate Truffles

Banana, Orange and Chocolate Truffles | www.diethood.com | #chocolate #recipe #cookies #dessert

Well this was a fun and eventful week!

We had a Kitchen Knives Giveaway to boot. Also, Good Cook’s Touch Treasure Hunt started this week! Then there was my Chicken Cashew Meatballs guest post, and finally, Pompeian’s contest for an all-expense paid trip to BlogHer Food ’13!

phewwwwwwwww…

Can we just take a breath?  Let’s absorb all this and have a stiff drink…I think a shot of moonshine might help me wind down.

Or a few of these Banana, Orange and Chocolate Truffles

Okay. So. I know they’re not real truffles, but… You know… They’re round(?) (doesn’t that count?!)

Banana, Orange and Chocolate Truffles | www.diethood.com | #chocolate #recipe #cookies #dessert

It’s been ages since we talked about chocolate around here… like, a week, but still…in my time, that was ages ago.

I made these for my dad. He asked me to make him something sweet, with fruits and nuts, but without butter.

My response to that request? —-> Ummmm. Oooookaaaay.

Next thing you know I’m mashing a banana that’s completely black, grinding graham crackers and nuts, and hoping and praying that I didn’t eat that last XL chocolate bar…

Surprise surprise! I did eat it! At this point I’m sort of panicking, but keepin’ my cool.

..back to the drawing board.

and powdered cocoa it is.

A little warning about these babes – don’t try the mixture before you shape it. Seriously! You will eat it all and the “truffles” part will never happen.  I’m speaking from experience… Yes, they are that good!

Banana, Orange and Chocolate Truffles | www.diethood.com | #chocolate #recipe #cookies #dessert

These little bon-bon thingamajiggers are the kind of thing that you sit down and eat mindlessly while watching an interview with New Kids On The Block!!! I was in HEAVEN!!!

…And it was 10 a.m. I should be ashamed. They were supposed to be for my Dad.

I had to make them again. For my dad. And for you.

ENJOY!

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Banana, Orange and Chocolate Truffles

20 minutes

2 hours

Makes about 24 cookies

Banana, Orange and Chocolate Truffles

Bite size, no-bake cookies, made with graham crackers, bananas, orange juice, nuts and chocolate.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups ground graham crackers
  • 1 cup ground walnuts
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 overripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • grated chocolate or cocoa powder

Instructions

  • Combine ground graham crackers, ground walnuts and powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl and mix together.
  • Stir in mashed bananas, orange zest, and orange juice; mix until thoroughly combined.
  • Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and set in fridge for 30 minutes, or up to an hour.
  • Remove from fridge.
  • Place grated chocolate or cocoa powder in a shallow plate; set aside.
  • Shape cookie dough into bite size balls with your hands.
  • Roll each cookie in chocolate or cocoa until completely covered.
  • Set in fridge for at least 1 hour before serving. The longer they stand, the better they will taste.

Notes

*** "Total Time" includes refrigeration time ***

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Baked Carrot Cake Doughnuts with Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting #Secret Recipe Club

Baked Carrot Cake Doughnuts | www.diethood.com | Baked Carrot Cake Doughnuts frosted with Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting and topped with Toasted Walnuts | #recipe #doughnuts #carrotcake #dessert

Doughnuts. Oh how I love you! Particularly if you are gourmet. Or cake doughnuts.

You know this to be true since you have seen me bake or fry a few of them here and there: Baked Cinnamon Doughnuts with Vanilla Glaze, Mojito Doughnuts, Jelly Doughnut Holes… I could talk about this doughnut biznass all day with you. Completely normal, right?

Before we get to the Carrot Cake Doughnut, and all of its yumminess, lemme tell you where it came from.

Because I am totally student council material, I need to be in every club that I can find! For that reason, I joined The Secret Recipe Club! The concept is simple; you are assigned a blog and you must choose a recipe from that blog to post on your blog. You make it or bake it, but can’t share it with that blogger, or anyone else for that matter, (it’s a *secret*) until reveal day, which happens to be today.

Baked Carrot Cake Doughnuts | www.diethood.com | Baked Carrot Cake Doughnuts frosted with Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting and topped with Toasted Walnuts | #recipe #doughnuts #carrotcake #dessert

Life’s Simple Measures was my assigned blog. The author behind the blog is Jess. This was my first time visiting her blog so I took the time to go through just about every recipe on her site. And man does she have some delicious stuff to share! There’s Pies, 7-layer Magic Bars, Baked Carrot Cake Doughnuts with Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting!

It’s been a few months since my last doughnut creation, thus when I saw a doughnut recipe on her site, I had to have it!

I should share that I didn’t want to come near a carrot cake until maybe 5 years ago. The thought of a vegetable in a cake did not appeal to me. Until that one day… I don’t know what got over me, but I thought, fear no more, take that bite! And I did. Oh my Gah, I fell in love with carrot cake.

The texture is awesome. The taste, pretty awesome. The frosting, super freakin’ awesome!

Put all that awesomeness in a baked carrot cake doughnut and you’ve got the best darn doughnut, ever! The Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting is da bomb!

I could not stop myself. I ate 4 of the 18 doughnuts. You know, just for taste. In case I needed to adjust a thing or two.

Baked Carrot Cake Doughnuts | www.diethood.com | Baked Carrot Cake Doughnuts frosted with Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting and topped with Toasted Walnuts | #recipe #doughnuts #carrotcake #dessert

If you don’t have a doughnut pan, yet, go and get one. You’ll love yourself for it. I know fried doughnuts rule, but baked doughnuts aren’t bad… not at all. They rock my world! They should be rocking yours, too.

ENJOY!

Baked Carrot Cake Doughnuts with Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting #Secret Recipe Club

20 minutes

10 minutes

30 minutes

Makes 18 Doughnuts

Baked Carrot Cake Doughnuts with Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting #Secret Recipe Club

Baked Carrot Cake Doughnuts frosted with Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting and topped with Toasted Walnuts.

Ingredients

    For the Carrot Cake Doughnuts:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 2/3 cup crushed pineapple, drained, reserve 4 tablespoons juice for the frosting
  • 2/3 cup finely shredded carrots
  • For the Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 4-ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons pineapple juice
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • Toasted chopped walnuts for garnish

Instructions

    For the Carrot Cake Doughnuts
  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Lightly grease the doughnut pan; set aside.
  • In a medium sized mixing bowl sift together the flour, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.
  • In your mixer's bowl cream together the butter, light brown sugar, and salt.
  • Add egg, vanilla, and yogurt; beat until smooth.
  • Set the mixer to low and slowly add in the flour mixture.
  • Stir in pineapple and carrots.
  • Spoon the mixture into a piping bag or a ziploc bag and pipe batter into prepared pan, filling only 1/2 way up the doughnut cavities.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Cool doughnuts in pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack.
  • In the meantime prepare the Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting
  • In your mixer's bowl cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
  • Pour in the pineapple juice and powdered sugar; continue to beat until completely blended and smooth.
  • Frost the doughnuts and top with chopped, toasted walnuts.
  • Toasted Walnuts
  • Add the chopped walnuts to a frying pan.
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until toasted and fragrant, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Notes

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I’m sharing these with Tidy Mom’s I’m Lovin’ It Fridays