Category Archives: recipes

Tips for Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Three-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies

I’m not a big dessert person…at all. In fact, my entire family (the O’Halloran clan) really isn’t into desserts. It’s funny because on our birthdays we all kinda groan when my mom says we have to order dessert so we can sing “happy birthday.” Yep, we’re crazy like that I guess.

Soft-Chocolate-Chip-CookiesBut I will say that I love a good cookie. Move over cake, cookies are where the party is at! In fact, that’s the reason why we had a cookie bar at our wedding instead of serving cake to our guests. I’ll take a cookie over tiramisu, cheesecake, or pie any day. #handsdown

You guys know about my complete lack of talent in the cooking department. Well, I’m no better in the baking department either. In fact, I’m probably much, much worse when it comes to baking (too much room for error with all of the measurements and baking times!) But lucky for me, that husband of mine is exceptional in the kitchen and he makes a mean chocolate chip cookie. Finn-Baking-Cookies

It’s so funny because he often bakes these cookies and brings them to work and his coworkers just naturally assume that his wife baked them! If they only knew…Cookie-Baking-SuppliesFinn has been making his famous chocolate chip cookies ever since we started dating, and they turn out perfectly every.single.time. It’s crazy because even if I try to follow the recipe exactly they simply don’t turn out the same. They’re flat, or burned, or hard. So I asked him to share his secrets with not only me, but with all of you. And that baking hubby of mine happily obliged. Now you may be thinking, “Casey, I know how to make cookies…it isn’t Rocket Science!” That’s great, but when it comes to baking I need all of the help I can get, so I figured some of you out there might get something out of his tips. Plus, it was a nice excuse to get some fresh cookies from my husband, and bonus…it gives you some yummy eye candy on this Friday.

But before we get to his tips, here’s the recipe (a pretty standard chocolate chip cookie one)
Sugar

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips

Steps:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in another bowl until creamy. Add eggs one at a time. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray and drop cookie dough onto sheet. Bake 9 to 11 minutes, transfer to cooling rack when finished.

Salted-Butter-SticksTIP #1

Soft butter is key! I’m usually way too impatient to “thaw” out my butter, and I end up throwing it into the batter straight from the fridge. Apparently, that’s a big no-no. Finn lets his butter rest out on the counter until it gets to room temperature before even starting to bake the cookies. If you’re strapped for time, preheat the oven, and put the butter near the warm oven to get it warm faster. But be sure not to melt the butter, just get it nice and soft.

TIP #2

Don’t skimp on the vanilla. In fact, Finn often adds another dash or 2 to the batter. Gotta love a little extra flavor in there.

TIP #3

When combining the dry ingredients, be sure you really mix them together well. If not, you may get a salty bite in one cookie, some baking soda taste in another. So take the extra minute and combine everything thoroughly as you go.

TIP #4

There’s no such thing as too many chocolate chips. Sure the recipe calls for 2 cups of chocolate chips, but if you’re feeling crazy you can dump a few more into the bowl. I mean everything is better with chocolate, right? And don’t use the hand mixer when it comes time to add the chocolate chips. Instead use a spatula. I can tell you from experience that I’ve burned out a hand mixer (or 2) trying to mix together some thick batter. Oops…

Also if you are taking the cookies to work, be sure to avoid putting nuts in the batter so everyone can enjoy them! Cookie-Dough

TIP #5

Hide the batter from your cookie dough obsessed wife. Okay, perhaps this tip only applies when I’m around, but who doesn’t love cookie dough? I will gladly take my chances with salmonella for a big ol’ scoop of this sugary dough. But seriously, when your batter is done be sure to pop it into the fridge to get it nice and cold before you place on the baking sheet. Finn-BakingBaking-Sheet

TIP #6

Don’t make perfectly round balls when placing the dough on the cookie sheet. No need for an ice cream scoop either. Instead use your nice, clean hands and shape them yourself.

TIP #7

A cooling rack is a must! Once your cookies are out of the oven, let them sit for about 1-2 minute. Then transfer them to a cooling rack and let them cool completely. This will prevent them from getting overcooked on the hot baking sheet. Chocolate-Chip-Cookies-Table

Is your mouthwatering yet?Cookies-TulipsYeah, I’m dying over here too. Give me all the cookies! Cookies for breakfast is a-okay on a Friday. I mean calories don’t count because it’s almost the weekend…right?Eating-Cookies

So go ahead and indulge. I won’t tell anyone! And a big thank you to Finn for sharing his chocolate chip cookie secrets today (& for letting me sneak quite a few spoonfuls of dough while shooting these pictures.)

casey_sig

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4 thoughts on “Tips for Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

  1. Trang

    You. Lucky. Girl. A man that makes delicious treats?!?! I wish I didn’t have a sweet tooth. It would sure make my abs pop more if I didn’t devour ANY sweet dessert treat that is put in front of me. Looking at these cookies makes me want one…and I’m not particularly a fan of chocolate chip cookies (my favorite is white chocolate chunk macadamia nut cookies – yummy!).

    Reply
  2. Zan Turner

    Your hubby sure knows how to prepare cookies. These look so yummy and I love all his tips. I will plan to use them in my next batch! I am always on the hunt for a great chocolate chip cookie, but like you, I lack the patience to wait!!

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4 thoughts on “Tips for Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

  1. Trang

    You. Lucky. Girl. A man that makes delicious treats?!?! I wish I didn’t have a sweet tooth. It would sure make my abs pop more if I didn’t devour ANY sweet dessert treat that is put in front of me. Looking at these cookies makes me want one…and I’m not particularly a fan of chocolate chip cookies (my favorite is white chocolate chunk macadamia nut cookies – yummy!).

    Reply
  2. Zan Turner

    Your hubby sure knows how to prepare cookies. These look so yummy and I love all his tips. I will plan to use them in my next batch! I am always on the hunt for a great chocolate chip cookie, but like you, I lack the patience to wait!!

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Cheesy Breakfast Pizza

Breakfast-Pizza

I feel like every family has a go-to recipe that is a favorite in their household. When you don’t know what to make, or you’re lacking food inspiration…you can easily whip out that go-to recipe.

Today’s post is all about the fan favorite in the O’Halloran household…cheesy breakfast pizza! If you’ve ever been to a sleepover at our house, then you’ve probably had this in the morning. It’s a staple each holiday for breakfast or brunch, and all of my siblings and I have devoured many of these pies in our lifetime. Cheese-Breakfast-PizzaSo why do we love it so much? Well, first of all it’s pretty darn easy to make, and that’s coming from a girl who never ever cooks. Plus, you can prepare it ahead of time and bake it the morning you want to serve it. And coming from a household of picky eaters, you can change up the recipe to fit your family’s needs. My oldest brother loves bacon, my middle brother is a sausage guy, and I don’t do meat at all…so my mom will often make a few different pies to keep us all happy! That woman is seriously a saint.Cheese-EggsBut the best part about this pizza? It’s so darn good, and so darn satisfying. I mean who doesn’t love hash browns, crescent rolls, veggies, meat, and cheese all in one savory dish? Yes, please!

It’s not often that I (the girl who can’t cook) share recipes here on the blog, so you know that this one is very special…

Ingredients:

  • 1 can Crescent Rolls
  • 1 lb sausage or 1 lb bacon or assorted veggies (mushrooms, red and green peppers, onions)
  • 2 cups frozen hash browns (or potatoes O’Brien)
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 T. Parmesan cheese
  • 12″ pizza pan (I typically buy the disposable ones)

Cheesy-Breakfast-CasseroleDirections:

  1. Press rolls onto 12″ pizza pan to make a crust. Spread out evenly over the entire pan, until you have a full pizza crust.
  2. Brown sausage, crumble, and drain. If using bacon, fry until crisp, drain, and crumble. If using veggies, saute in butter for a few minutes and drain.
  3. Layer meat of choice on crust and top with the potatoes and cheese.
  4. At this point you can cover the pizza and put in the freezer if you want to serve it at a later date. When you are ready to use, take the pizza out and combine eggs, milk, salt and pepper in a bowl; mix well.
  5. Pour liquid over layers and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  6. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. If the pizza has been frozen, you will have to cook a little longer. Just make sure the center is cooked through.

Breakfast-FoodsBerriesNow that I’ve made you hungry, it’s time for you to whip up your very own pie this weekend. It will be a satisfying start to your day, and it just may be the new fan favorite in your household.Breakfast-Spreadcasey_sig

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Pot O’ Green Puppy Chow

pot-of-green-puppy-chow-004
Now this is the 5th day of hearing how these 2 Irish gals have a special place in our heart for St. Patrick’s Day.  It’s just one of those holidays that gets us all pumped up to celebrate our heritage and bond with our family.  We both have plans to celebrate our favorite holiday in style, and we believe that any celebration calls for some yummy snacks and cocktails.
We’ve got the drinks covered (beer, obvi…), but we wanted a nice snack that we could serve to our family and friends. This recipe is a bit more “dessert-y” than “snacky” but that’s a-okay with us.  A little chocolate is always necessary for any get together!
Pot o' green puppy chow
This mix is commonly referred to as “puppy chow” or “muddy buddies.” Don’t freak out people, you don’t actually feed your dog this (in fact…absolutely do not do that). Instead it’s just a common term for this delicious dessert!
We added a little St. Patrick’s Day flair to this traditional batch, with some green and white for a nice pop of Irish color!
Ingredients:
-9 cups Chex cereal
-1 cup milk chocolate chips
-1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
-1/4 cup butter
-1 t. vanilla
-1.5 cups powdered sugar
-Sprinkles (optional)
-m&m’s (optional)
Peanut butter chocolate puppy chow

Directions:

Measure cereal in a large bowl and set aside. Microwave the chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter on high for 1 minute. Mix and microwave for another 30 seconds, or until smooth. Add vanilla and mix. Pour mixture over cereal and stir until entirely coated. Pour mixture a baggie or large tupperware and add powdered sugar. Shake well until all pieces are coated. Spread out on wax paper to cool. Add sprinkles or m&m’s to add some color!

Muddy Buddies
Choclate st. patrick's day puppy chow snack
This sweet concoction is seriously delicious and incredibly addicting. I could eat an entire bowl in a heartbeat, but lucky for my waistline I dug deep and found some restraint. However, when Finn saw this snack he immediately poured it into a bowl, added milk, and ate it as cereal. Yikes, that’s pretty intense if you ask me. But…hey he enjoyed it!
puppy chow recipe
If you’ve never made puppy chow before, I definitely recommend it as an easy snack and dessert. It will take you less than 10 minutes to whip up a big batch…but just know that your party guests may devour it in half that time!
Have a happy (and safe) weekend, cheers!
Casey DIY Playbook

 

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2 thoughts on “Pot O’ Green Puppy Chow

  1. Jessie

    Puppy chow! Yum! I swear, it must be a midwest thing though, because so many of my southern friends have no idea what I’m talking about.

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2 thoughts on “Pot O’ Green Puppy Chow

  1. Jessie

    Puppy chow! Yum! I swear, it must be a midwest thing though, because so many of my southern friends have no idea what I’m talking about.

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Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate

Pumpkin-spice-hot-chocolate
Okay, I hope you guys are ready to INDULGE on this gorgeous fall Friday, because we have some chocolatey goodness about to happen up in here. 

Brace yourself for a pumpkin spice hot chocolate recipe that is going to knock your socks off! You guys know about my love for all things pumpkin (evident in this pecan pumpkin butter squares post), so it is only fitting that we add a pumpkin drink to our recipe repertoire.

Starbucks Frappucino Bottles

We even crafted some cute “milk jug” bottles to go along with this yummy drink. We took some Starbucks Frappucino bottles, colorful ribbon, hot glue and in no time at all we had an adorable vessel for our pumpkin-y cocoa.

Fall Ribbons
Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate
This should make about 2 drinks. Also note that this is by no means a healthy drink. But it’s always nice to indulge every now and then. Everything in moderation, right?
Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate
Ingredients:
-1/2 cup milk
-1/3 cup whipping cream
-1/4 milk chocolate chips
-1 t. cocoa powder
-1.5 t. pumpkin puree
-1/4 t. pumpkin pie spice
-whipped cream
Salted Caramels and Hot Chocolate
Directions:
Whisk milk, cream, chocolate chips, and cocoa powder together in a saucepan over medium heat until the chocolate is melted and everything is smooth (about 3-5 minutes). Stir in pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice. Pour into “milk jugs”, top with whipped cream and sprinkle on more pumpkin spice.
sea salt caramels
If you’re feeling extra indulgent (hey, we don’t judge), you can pair this hot cocoa with our favorite sea salt caramels. These are little bites of heaven. Seriously.so.good. (We buy them at Costco.)
Chocolate and pumpkin spice hot chocolate
We hope you enjoy this fall treat and satisfy any chocolate cravings this weekend.
Bridget and Casey DIY Playbook
Tune in next week for our Fall Fantasy Draft…. think fantasy football draft turned DIY.  
 
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Cheers To Our Fans!

mojito

When we started the blog back in March, we really didn’t ever think about page views and site statistics. We were just so thrilled to finally have a fun outlet for our creativity and projects.  Blog stats were just not on our minds! We figured we would at least have a couple readers (hi mom!)..but never really thought we could reach so many of you guys out there!

If you follow us on Instagram (@diyplaybook) you may have noticed our little celebration over the weekend. We hit 100,000 pageviews! Now we know that there are some Hall of Fame blogs out there that average way more hits than that, but for us it was a big milestone!

Cheers to our Fans Mojito

So we wanted to say CHEERS and THANKS to you guys…our #1 fans.  We’ve received so much support and love from friends & family, and even from new friends we’ve made because of DIY Playbook.

Now, we’re two gals that believe in celebrating all the accomplishments in life…big or small.  So this calls for a little celebration, and every par-tay calls for a cocktail!

Minty Mojito Recipe Mojitos

Here’s a recipe for one of our favorite Summer drinks…a refreshing, minty mojito!

Mojito Ingredients

Minty Mojitos
Level: Easy
Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 serving

Lime and mint

Ingredients:
-fresh mint leaves
-1/2 lime (cut into small wedges)
-1 cup ice
-1.5 ounces white rum
-1/2 cup club soda
-2 T. simple syrup

Mojito mint drink in mason jar

Directions:
Mash the mint and lime in a glass. Add the simple syrup and fill the glass with ice. Add the rum and top with club soda. Shake well. Garnish with lime and more mint.

Mojito in mason jar
Mint Mojito Recipe Drink Cheers
We hope you guys enjoy these fabulous mojitos and remember to celebrate your accomplishments (big & small) every single day.
Mint Mojito Recipe Drink Cheers
Cheers!
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3 thoughts on “Cheers To Our Fans!

  1. Amber McIntire

    Mmmm…my favorite drink! I haven’t had one yet this year but it’s been on my mind with Summer rolling in! I’ll have to go make one and celebrate with you!

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3 thoughts on “Cheers To Our Fans!

  1. Amber McIntire

    Mmmm…my favorite drink! I haven’t had one yet this year but it’s been on my mind with Summer rolling in! I’ll have to go make one and celebrate with you!

    Reply

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