Blackberry Crumble

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Did you know that September is the most popular birthday month? I missed it by 6 days (My birthday is August 26)… Bummer! McCormick didn’t miss the deadline, though. They’re celebrating their 125th birthday/anniversary on September 28th!

They’ve introduced a new version of vanilla extract to celebrate their birthday: Extra Rich Pure Vanilla Extract. The name says it all… it’s deep, flavorful, and rich. It’s twenty five percent stronger than the classic vanilla and is a mix between sweet caramel and bourbon-rummy flavors. Since vanilla extract is used in practically every dessert, it only makes sense to make it a bit stronger. Less is more, in this case!

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McCormick is also celebrating their birthday by giving back to communities around the world through stories and conversations about the importance of flavor in our lives through their Flavor of Together program. It’s a yearlong initiative to share 1.25 million stories about how flavor brings together people from around the world. For every story shared on McComick’s social sites and website, McCormick will donate $1 to United Way.

Come join the conversation at flavoroftogether.com or use the hashtag #flavorstory to help contribute to a wonderful cause!

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In elementary school, all I ever had was cake for my birthday. It was always an ice cream cake from our local ice cream chain store with lots of frosting and mini ice cream cones on the side. I LOVED it when I was little, but as I grew older, I realized that I didn’t really care for cake. There are so many other good desserts out there! Cake just seemed kind of… ordinary.

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For my latest birthday, I celebrated it with a peach and strawberry crumble. It was perfect– something sweet, but not too powerful, and felt just like home. Crumbles are something that I envision a grandma making for having her grandkids over. You know, something made when the sun is shining and the birds are chirping through the window.

I have no idea where I get these visions from. It’s just what crumbles to do me.

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They’re so easy to make, too. There’s no rolling out dough or cutting anything out. You simply lather one layer on top of another and bake away.

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Those butter slices kind of look like potato chips, don’t they?

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I had a lot of blackberries on hand from my end of summer haul and decided to use them to make a crumble in order to bring back birthday memories. It was everything that I hoped for and more.

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Seriously, it was perfect. Look at the beautiful color oozing out of the sides!blackberrycrumble-6

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The crumble on top was crispy, buttery, and crunchy.

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Thanks to McCormick, I’ve got a McCormick Anniversary Pack to give away to one lucky reader! It includes exclusive McCormick product, a McCormick recipe book, and a branded canvas tote. Enter in the rafflecopter below!

Blackberry Crumble

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick’s Extra Rich Vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mash together the blackberries, sugar, vanilla, and lemon. Pour into shallow baking dish.
  3. In another bowl, mix together the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon of the butter until coarse. Pour evenly on top of the blackberries.
  4. Cut the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter on top.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes. Serve warm.
http://lovintheoven.com/2014/09/blackberry-crumble.html

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is a sponsored post, but the opinions expressed are my own.

S’mores Quesadillas

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Over this past weekend, I had the delightful opportunity of going camping with Kampgrounds of America (KOA). Since my DF and I have a wedding coming up this weekend, we didn’t want to venture out too far from Los Angeles. We still did, however, want a mini getaway. We settled on KOA’s San Diego Metro campground– not too close, not too far, just right. IMG_9795
It wasn’t the regular ol’ camping that I’m used to growing up. It’s “glamping”… aka “glamorous camping.” Have you ever heard of it? We got to stay in a deluxe cabin that had room for six people. It had a full bathroom, partial kitchen (the only thing missing was an oven!), two TV’s with cable, air conditioning, wi-fi, and two separate rooms (not to mention a loft). IMG_9638 FotoFlexer_Photo2
I didn’t take pictures of the bunk bed room, which is pictured below in the upper left hand corner. Since it was just the two of us, the other mattresses didn’t have any sheets on them. I told my DF that I’d love to have a vacation home just like KOA’s deluxe cabins. They have everything you need, yet remain minimal. I’m a sucker for those log/wood cabins. FotoFlexer_Photo3
Isn’t it amazing? Outside, we had our own fire pit and grill. If you want to rough it a little more than we did, KOA also has sites for RVs, tents, and regular cabins. This particular campsite was extremely close to everything– Starbucks, grocery stores, and even a drive-in movie theater! My DF and I decided to take advantage of its location and went exploring in San Diego. Here are some pictures from Balboa Park:
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When we got back from our day out, I went straight to the kitchen. What’s camping without some marshmallows? We didn’t have any firewood on hand, so I took advantage of the electric stovetop that was in the kitchen and made s’mores quesadillas! IMG_9727
San Diego is known for its Mexican food, so it’s only fitting to make something with tortillas. IMG_9750
The result was mouthwatering and, dare I say, better than a regular s’more. My DF agreed and happily ate this in lieu of dinner. Hey, we are on vacation after all!
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The quesadilla crisped up quite nicely and the cabin smelled heavenly. Who doesn’t love the smell of cinnamon sugar floating through the air? It’s almost as good as camp fire smell.
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These s’mores quesadillas were a perfect way to end our weekend. If you’re looking for a mini getaway, I’d highly recommend checking out what KOA campground is near you. They have almost 500 locations in the US and Canada! IMG_9805
If you do happen to go to the San Diego location, make sure to say hello to Courtney, the owner’s wife. She made us feel welcome and gave us a wonderful tour of the campgrounds. They’ll also be opening up their own restaurant in a couple of months (which she’ll be in charge of). I can’t wait to come back and try it out!

S’mores Quesadillas

Ingredients

  • 2 tortillas
  • 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 graham crackers, broken into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar

Directions

  1. Butter one side of each tortilla. Set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, place one tortilla with the buttered side facing down.
  3. Add the marshmallows, chocolate chips, and graham crackers. Place the other tortilla on top, buttered side facing up.
  4. Once the marshmallows start melting (about a minute or two), flip the quesadilla over and let the other side cook for another minute.
  5. Remove from heat and butter one side again, while warm. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top of the melted butter. Serve immediately.
http://lovintheoven.com/2014/08/smores-quesadillas.html

Wonka Chocolate Meringue Cookies

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Have you guys heard of WONKAPeel-a-Pop™ frozen treats? It’s a new product that came out this summer. Leave it up to Wonka to take ice cream to a whole other level. It’s basically a popsicle that you peel, just like a banana! Can you imagine all the fun the kids would have with this one?

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Even as an adult, I was a little giddy child opening the box.

“How did they make this?”
“I literally just peel it!?!”
“Can I eat the outside?”
“What is the outside made of?”
“Where do I bite it first?”

Wonka truly sparks imagination and creativity in their products. It definitely got my mind rolling with questions.

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The popsicles are pre-etched so it’s a lot easier to peel. All you have to do is take a bite, grab a piece of the outside, and pull straight down! Voi-la! Now you have access to the goodness in the middle. They come in two flavors: vanilla banana and vanilla grape.

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This ice cream inspired me to “wonkify” one of my own recipes. Instead of making regular chocolate meringue cookies, I added Nerds to the top right before baking to see how they’d turn out.

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I’m actually quite impressed… they didn’t melt away completely. You can still see them after baking. These cookies would be great for a Willy Wonka themed party!

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I did leave some of the chocolate cookies plain since not everyone likes a sour punch to their cookies. I bet you have all of the ingredients in your cabinet to make these cookies right now. Believe it or not, here’s no egg yolks, butter, flour, or regular sugar in the recipe.

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I’d consider that pretty healthy.

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Recipe slightly adapted from Swade Designs.

Wonka Chocolate Meringue Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup dark cocoa powder (I use Rodelle)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons Nerds (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking pans with parchment paper or Silpat.
  2. In a stand mixer, whip the egg whites until fluffy, about 3-4 minutes on high.
  3. Mix in the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, vanilla, and salt until smooth.
  4. The dough will be very sticky! Scoop with a 2 tsp cookie scoop and place on baking sheet, leaving at least 2 inches around each cookie. They spread!
  5. Sprinkle some Nerds on top (can omit if making regular chocolate cookies).
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Allow cookies to completely cool on pan.
http://lovintheoven.com/2014/08/wonka-chocolate-meringue-cookies.html

I am a member of the Unpeel Fun program and help spread the word about WONKA™ Peel-a-Pop™ frozen treats.  As a team member, I receive product and incentives in exchange for participating in brand related activities and spreading the word about WONKAPeel-a-Pop™ frozen treats