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It’s H-O-T outside and it’s only the middle of summer! So, pack those bags because there’s still plenty of time to head north to beautiful scenery, cooler temperatures, fresh delicious seafood and plan your Alaska Cruise Excursions. When you cruise with Princess Cruises for their 7-Day Voyage of the Glaciers, you’ll have many options to choose from to experience the true beauty of Alaska! These are just a few of the ones we enjoyed.

I know this heat has got you down.

I have been sponsored by Princess Cruises to bring you this post about Alaska cruise excursions, the third in a series sharing our Alaska cruise. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.
**This post contains an affiliate link(s).

The whole country’s feeling it. There have been triple temperatures in the east and that right there stinks!
What makes it even worse is that gosh darn humidity.
I mean, we’ve been experiencing triple temps. here in Phoenix which is definitely to be expected here.
But (altogether now) “it’s a drrryyyyyyy heat”.
Yeah, whatever.
Triple digits are just stinkin’ HOT!

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Things start really warming up here in mid-April.
When it got to be really warm towards the middle of May, Kurt and I were extremely happy we were headed north for an Alaska cruise with Princess Cruises!
This desert girl couldn’t WAIT to see snow and wear a winter jacket!

If you’ve never been on a cruise before, I cannot stress enough that you should seriously put it on your bucket list. And I say start with Alaska!
I have absolutely fallen in love with cruising and Princess Cruises since my trip to the Panama Canal last year with my daughter, Lexi. The food, entertainment, service, and excursions are top notch!
We celebrated her 25th birthday and it was great to spend some mother-daughter quality time together before she moved to Germany last August.

This year, I was excited to go somewhere I’ve heard so very much about, but never in my wildest dreams expected to go – ALASKA!!
If you have Alaska on your bucket list, Princess Cruises 7-Day Voyage of the Glaciers is definitely the way to do it! You’re able to see so much in just a week and really get a feel for life in Alaska.

It was AH-MAZING!!
Kurt, who had never been on a cruise, been skeptical about going on one because of the crowds, dealing with lines, and not wanting to participate in group excursions, absolutely LOVED it!! AND, he actually regretted that we didn’t go on one particular excursion, but more about that a little later.

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  • Once you book your cruise and set up your account, you’ll be able to see in your dashboard on the Princess Cruises website where you can book your excursions for each port.
  • There are A LOT and it can become overwhelming. My suggestion would be to read through them the first time and make a list of ones that really stand out and that you’d like to do. If you’ve dreamed of riding a dog sled or flying in a seaplane then write it down!
  • Then go through the excursions with the person who’ll be going with you with a fine tooth comb. By this I mean be sure to read what you will visit and what you will do.
    • Read the Note for every excursion as well. I cannot stress this enough. In the note it will tell you any age, height, health or weight restrictions. It will tell you the length of the excursion and recommend what you should or shouldn’t wear.  Times for the excursion will also be listed. All of this information is IMPORTANT! I cannot stress it enough. If you don’t think you’ll be able to walk because you have knee trouble then do not go on a hike. If you have a fish allergy, don’t book the seafood feast.
      I would hate for you to book an excursion you have your heart set on only to find out once you’re in the group and ready to go that you aren’t able to for some reason.
      And please, I’m not trying to be rude, it will just save you and the other cruise guests time and energy. I want this to be the experience of a lifetime for you!
  • If you have to make any changes or additions head to the Excursion desk once you board the ship and drop your carry-ons off in your room. I’ve found that it’s the best time to go if I want to change or add an excursion. At this point, guests are boarding and familiarizing themselves with the ship. There will be plenty of time to do that, but you want to book your excursions before they’re sold out.

There are seriously SO many excursions and I wanted to do them all, but unfortunately, we could only do one at each port.
Oh well, we’ll just have to go again! And I would, too in a New York minute!

Our 7-Day Voyage of the Glaciers Alaska Cruise Excursions Icy Strait Point –

At Icy Strait Point in Hoonah excursion our Alaska cruise excursion was the Coastal Exploration by Zodiac.
Growing up in Rhode Island, the Ocean State, both of our families owned boats and we spent a lot of our childhood on Narragansett Bay. Kurt on a power boat and me sailing. And before we moved to Phoenix we owned a boat that we would often take the kids out on. Now living here and being land-locked, we both jumped at the chance to be out on the water once again in a small craft.

I wasn’t sure how chilly it would be. After all, we were going to be on the water in Alaska. But the day turned out to be absolutely glorious, in the low 70’s and WARM by Alaskan standards. The layers that we and others brought we didn’t even need and left them behind.

For the excursion, there was a total of 8 people and we were divided up into two smaller groups of four for each boat. We watched a short video on boating safety and how to captain the boat if we wanted to do so. Then we dressed in the rain gear, rubber boots and life jacket that were provided. We didn’t get very wet while we were on the water, but I sure was happy to be dressed as we were because we did get splashed a little. There was also a bit of water around our feet at the bottom of the boat, so my sneakers would have been soaked.

Our guide was in a boat by himself directing us where to go and stopping occasionally to tell us about Icy Strait Point, the coastline, the wildlife and life in Alaska.
We were able to see some whales and quite a few bald eagles, so that was really exciting!
It was an absolutely beautiful day to be out on the water, lasted about 2 and a half hours, and it was one of the best ways for us to start our Alaska Cruise Excursions. Kurt enjoyed being the captain at one point and it was great to see him in his element once again.

After our boat ride, we met up with Erin from Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts and her friend, Rachel. We did a little shopping and then enjoyed an incredible lunch of unbelievably fresh Alaskan King Crab legs and shrimp from The Crab Station. Kurt also enjoyed their famous Crabby Bloody Mary!

We still had quite a bit of time before we had to board the ship, so the four of us decided to take a walk along the trail. I was just amazed at how stunning it was. The pines were so incredibly tall, it smelled so good and was so peaceful.

Juneau –

From Icy Strait Point, the ship sailed to Juneau.
While browsing the Juneau excursions, there were quite a few helicopter tours and some even landed on the Mendenhall Glacier! But Kurt doesn’t like heights and I’m not exactly pro-helicopter, so we quickly crossed those off our list.

Over the last year, Kurt and I have been doing a date day every Saturday where we enjoy hiking on a different trail. It’s a set time during the week that we look forward to because we’ll be together, go somewhere new and find a new delicious restaurant for lunch after our hike.

Since we’d be in Juneau on a Saturday and we saw the Mendenhall Glacier Guide’s Choice Trail Hike we decided to go for it!
It was about a 5-mile hike with an elevation gain of 400 to 1,000 ft. Sturdy footwear is highly recommended as it can get slippery in some spots and there are some rocks and rough terrain.

The scenery was breathtaking and along the trail, we had a couple different views of Mendenhall Glacier, but Kurt and I were disappointed we didn’t get closer to it. We were actually thinking it might be a hike on the glacier, but nowhere in the description does it say that. The blurb says that you’ll be hiking through the wilderness and be able to see it, not set foot on it.
Note to self: thoroughly READ the excursion description to make sure it’s what you’re wanting.

We did enjoy the exercise. At times it was challenging and there were a couple of older people who became tired as we progressed. If you’re a person who enjoys casual walks around your neighborhood without any elevation change, then this isn’t the excursion for you. There were also some steep stairs along the way.

When we were at the bottom of the trail and had a beautiful view of the glacier I did a live Facebook video. It was a lot of fun to share it with my followers and they really enjoyed seeing it. I think you will, too!

Skagway –

The next port of call on our trip was Skagway. Here, the Alaska cruise excursion we chose was the White Pass Scenic Railway-Luxury Class. I absolutely love traveling by train and thought this would be a fun and relaxing way to enjoy Alaska. I was crossing my fingers like crazy that we’d see some bears, too!

The train is conveniently located just steps away from the ship in port and is very long as it’s a popular excursion. We opted for the Luxury Class tour. This allowed us to sit in the luxury car complete with cushioned swivel chairs, complimentary food, and beverages along with our own private guide. It was pretty spectacular!

The White Pass Railway originally built in 1898, moves through some of the North’s most rugged terrain. It climbs almost 3,000 ft. and travels just into Canada’s Yukon.

The tour lasted about 3.5 hours and was an incredibly relaxing and enjoyable way to see Alaska. It was also raining a bit that day, so we were happy we were in an enclosed excursion rather than hiking.

The train took us up into the mountains where of course, we saw snow! It was beautiful and there was quite a bit of it. There were many waterfalls, rivers and some old train tracks that were used at the time of the gold rush. Our guide told us so many stories about Skagway, the railroad, and the gold rush, that it left me wondering what time was like back then.

Our group of 14 enjoyed a delicious lunch catered by a local restaurant, the Red Onion along with wine and beer. I’ll be sharing one of the appetizers I fell head over heels soon! It was also fun talking to the other passengers about where they were from, excursions they’d enjoyed during the trip and other cruises they were already planning with Princess Cruises.

OH, AND I ALMOST FORGOT!! We actually did see a bear on our trip back down the mountain. It was quick and I was so wishing the train had stopped, but I did see it!

I seriously can’t recommend this excursion enough as I think you’ll really enjoy it!

The next few days we stayed on the ship and viewed the glaciers.
I also did two Facebook lives, one in Glacier Bay and another in College Fjord. It was truly gorgeous, chilly, and an incredible life experience.
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d be seeing glaciers in Alaska. I cannot thank Princess Cruises enough for such a wonderful trip!

Oh yeah, and that Alaska cruise excursion Kurt wished he’d gone on??
Well, turns out he saw pictures from Amanda and Jenn’s helicopter ride and scaling of the Mendenhall Glacier, heard how freaking exciting it was and said to me, “We should’ve done that.”
Oh, well! Lesson learned.

SO… if you’re even thinking about going on a glacier tour with a helicopter ride, just DO IT!! Because seriously, WHEN are you going to have another opportunity to bottle up some glacier water, take a selfie on one and see it from a view that not too many people do? I say, go for it!
You’ll be able to see more of my pictures and read more about our trip in this Easy Chocolate Bear Claws post and this Chimichurri Salmon recipe.

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An easy dinner that comes together in less than 15 minutes, this Chimichurri Salmon is healthy and full of flavor. Inspired by my Alaska cruise in May with Princess Cruises, this recipe is one I’ll definitely be making again and again, especially on a busy weeknight!

When you hear the word “Alaska” what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

I have been sponsored by Princess Cruises to bring you this post, the second in a series sharing our Alaska cruise. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.
**This post contains an affiliate link(s).

I don’t know about you, but when I think of Alaska I think of snow, bears, mountains covered in snow, glaciers, lots of pine trees, more snow, and salmon.
Am I right?

I know there is SO much more to Alaska than those things I mentioned. Kurt and I went on a few shore excursions while we were on our Alaska cruise with Princess Cruises, so we had a taste of what Alaska has to offer, but the whole experience definitely made me want to go back for more!

Here Kurt and I, and Erin from Dinners, Dishes and Desserts, and her friend Rachel are walking on a short trail after our excursion at Icy Strait Point.

Those pine trees were SO tall and it smelled absolutely amazing! Definitely not a smell I’m used to living here in the Arizona desert. LOL

Our time spent here in Icy Strait Point was just one of the many highlights of our One-Way Alaska Cruise. Kurt and I went out in a Zodiac which is an inflatable boat to whale watch and explore the coast. It was breathtaking! Growing up in Rhode Island and spending the majority of our childhoods on boats and the water, hubby and I were in our happy place for sure!

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Tips for making this Chimichurri Salmon
  • Place a rack in the top third of your oven before preheating it.
  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray it with a cooking spray to help prevent the salmon from sticking.
  • Remove the leaves from the parsley and cilantro. To do this, hold each bunch of herbs by the stems and using a sharp knife, gently scrape down. This will pull the majority of the leaves off, leaving a small amount in the middle which you pull off by hand.
  • I didn’t want to go to the trouble of pulling my Cuisinart 12-cup food processor out of the cupboard, so I used the NutriBullet. It was perfect because the recipe makes a little less than a full cup, and it was so much easier to clean, too. A blender would be sufficient as well. Just make sure that you scrape down the sides consistently so that the sauce is a smooth puree.
  • I used rice vinegar which gave the sauce a slightly sweeter taste. Chimichurri recipes typically call for red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar. Each will alter the taste slightly, but not too much. Feel free to experiment and find the best one for your taste!

When we were cruising up the coast of Alaska, I was hoping we’d be able to spot some salmon. I’ve always been fascinated by seeing the salmon swim upstream on TV. Unfortunately, we didn’t because it was early in the season which lasts from May until September.

I REALLY wanted to see a salmon jump out of this waterfall on our Mendenhall Glacier Trail hike. LOL
I knew it wasn’t going to happen, but I kept wishing cause wishing can make it so, right?!

While we were on this trail hike, our guide told us there are three courses to a bear’s diet during the year. When they first come out of hibernation, they like “salad” so they eat a lot of skunk cabbage, dandelion, and other plants.
Then over the next few months, they move on to their “main course” which would be the salmon, etc.
Finally, they finish it off with “dessert” before returning to hibernation, eating the many berries such as blueberries, huckleberries, and salmonberries found in Alaska.
Yes, there is such a thing as a salmonberry and it has nothing to do with the fish. They are similar in look to a raspberry, have lots of seeds, and have a taste between a raspberry and a blackberry.

So, while we didn’t see any salmon on our trip, we did enjoy A LOT of fresh delicious seafood both on and off our ship, the Island Princess. A couple of our favorites were the Alaskan King Crab Legs and the AMAZING Fish Tacos we had in Juneau at Deckhand Dave’s in Juneau. Oh Em GEEEE were they good!
I mean, just look at those babies!

Trust me, when you go on your Alaska cruise and are looking for excursions and things to do in Juneau, one of the things you MUST do is visit Deckhand Dave’s. You won’t be sorry.

So, when we returned home, I still had salmon on the brain and knew I had to pay tribute to Alaska and Princess Cruises with a recipe incorporating that ingredient.

Over the years, I’ve fallen in love with chimichurri and knew it would work well with salmon. This has me excited to use it on some grilled chicken and steak this summer now, too!

When it comes to fish, I also love eating it with a fruit salsa, like this Parmesan Crusted Cod and Berry Salsa. Fruit is a great accompaniment and can add so much more flavor, too. This Brown Sugar Honey Salmon with Caramelized Pineapple is a favorite dinner here at the 365 home. Caramelized pineapple is SOOO good (even on dessert)! One of my favorite salsas though is this one with Grilled Peach, Strawberry & Mango. The combination of flavors is seriously amazing.

Chimichurri Salmon

  • 4 6 ounce salmon fillets
  • 1/2 cup + 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 bunch fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, removed from stems
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, removed from stems and packed
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

So, since I’m loving all things chimichurri, I’ve been searching the interweb for other recipes with it. I came across some that had me drooling, so of course, had to share them with you.

This Skirt Steak Marinade with Chimichurri from Grandbaby Cakes is going to be THE perfect recipe for the grill this summer and I cannot wait to make it. When I saw the picture, I just wanted to reach into my monitor and grab a slice!

Look at these Shrimp Tacos with Avocado-Chimichurri Sauce from RecipeGirl. Lori had a great idea to incorporate avocado into the sauce, making it a thicker and creamy consistency. The taste must be amazing!

Meseidy from The Noshery is a genius. Her Blueberry and Pecan Chicken Salad with Mint Chimichurri is a fantastic option when you are looking for a chicken salad without mayonnaise. I also love the blueberry and mint combination – what a fun and refreshing flavor combination!

When will YOU be booking your Alaska cruise? It is such an amazing experience that I seriously cannot recommend it enough.
It’ll be a great way to escape this summer’s heat, be the perfect vacation without (or even with!) the kids and you’ll see and do things that will leave you with incredible memories!
Hurry on last minute Drop and Go deals from Princess Cruise Lines! **We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
These are links that can take you to a product (or products) that I recommend. I do receive a portion of the sales or credit for my future purchases from any items purchased through those links. Your purchases encourage my baking, cooking and butter habit, and contribute to the life of this blog. I thank you so very much for your support. Let’s keep having fun in the kitchen!!

The post Chimichurri Salmon appeared first on 365 Days of Baking.

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These Chocolate Bear Claws will be a delicious treat to go along with breakfast or brunch this weekend. I enjoyed my very first aboard Princess Cruises during our Alaska cruise last month and knew I had to make them at home!

Every bite of these delicious pastries brings me back to an incredible trip.

I have been sponsored by Princess Cruises to bring you this post, the first in a series sharing our Alaska cruise. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.
**This post contains an affiliate link(s).

Isn’t the world we live in absolutely stunning? No matter where you live, there’s beauty that surrounds you.

Last month, my husband, Kurt and I had the opportunity to go on an Alaska cruise with Princess Cruises. Never in my wildest dreams did I EVER think I’d be going to Alaska!

I mean, I’m from the smallest state in the Union, and on the other of the country! Growing up, I became friends with a girl named Buffy. She had moved to RI from Alaska, so I thought that was super cool, but that was seriously the extent of my knowledge of all things Alaska.

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Of course, I knew it was the biggest state in the county. Googling it just now, I found out that the state of Rhode Island can fit into Alaska 425 times!! Pretty amazing, hunh?
In 2002, we moved a bit closer to it when Kurt and I relocated the family from RI to Arizona. Through the years, we’ve seen some Alaskan license plates, met quite a few people who are from there, and of course, have watched shows TV based out of Alaska.

I’ve seen plenty of pictures and thought it was beautiful, but until you can actually see it in person you have really no idea how incredible it really is.

I mean, I know there are A LOT of trees, mountains (and really BIG mountains), and snow, but the scenery on our Alaska cruise was stunning!
Kurt and I were seriously amazed and loved every minute of the chilly temps. and lush green foliage. Now that we’re desert dwellers, we really appreciate views and experiences such as these!

Also, living here in Phoenix, one doesn’t get to see too much ice any time of year unless it comes out of our freezer.

The cruise we took with Princess Cruises was the 7-Day Voyage of the Glaciers, and it was spectacular! We left from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada sailing up the coast of Canada and stopped at various destinations along the way before we arrived at the end in Whittier, Alaska.

There were many highlights of the trip which I’ll be discussing in posts throughout the next few weeks, but I have to say that seeing the glaciers up close and personal was definitely one of my favorites and Kurt’s as well. It was SO cool to see them calving. That’s when a chunk of the ice breaks off and falls off into the water because of the glacier’s forward motion. I was really hoping we’d be able to see it happen and we did though I wasn’t fast enough with my camera to get pictures of it.

This is a picture of the Mendenhall Glacier. Pretty cool!

I took this picture from a hike that we went on after we arrived in the port of Juneau.
I’ll tell you all about the different excursions we took in my next post.

There are so many things to do when you go on an Alaska cruise. It’s amazing. You won’t be bored and believe me, you’ll eat REALLY well!
Oh, the food!

Everything you eat aboard your Princess cruise is fresh! The bread is baked 24-7. All of the delicious sauces are made from scratch using only the finest ingredients. The steaks are aged and hand cut on board. AND they make homemade ice cream every day! Heck, I don’t even do that at home.

Not only are you not going to go hungry while you’re on the ship but in each port, there are great restaurants where you can experience fresh local seafood unlike any I’ve ever eaten! I’ll be talking about that in an upcoming post as well.

There are many dining options on the ship and one of our favorites was the Horizon Court. Throughout the day they serve the food in a buffet style and offer a variety of cuisines.
One of the many things I enjoyed eating in the mornings at the buffet were the Chocolate Bear Claws. I thought they couldn’t have been a more appropriate pastry especially since there was a chance we might see some actual bears on our trip.

These pastries are super easy to make and a lot of fun to eat. One bite and I’m definitely transported back to Alaska and our cruise!

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How to make Chocolate Bear Claws –
  • Be sure to allow time for the thawing of the pastry dough. It’s not like you can take the dough out of the freezer and put these babies right into the oven. By the time the dough is thawed, your oven should already be preheated to the right temperature, too!
  • I rolled out the dough on a piece of parchment and then slid everything from the counter onto the cookie sheet without any issues. I thought it was easier. Otherwise, a large spatula can help you to transfer them, too.
  • I used semi-sweet chocolate chips as I thought they had the best flavor and the right amount of sweetness, but feel free to use whichever chocolate you prefer.
  • To sprinkle the powdered sugar, I used OXO’s Baker’s Dusting Wand. I LOVE this little baby! It sprinkles just the right amount of sugar every time and I don’t waste it like I used to or make a huge mess in the process. It will make a great stocking stuffer come Christmas time, too!

So if you only use one sheet of the puff pastry for this recipe, here are some more ideas for the second sheet!
I love this Mini Breakfast Quiche idea! They look so delicious and full of flavor, too!
These Puff Pastry Cinnamon Twists are easy but super yummy. The kids will have a great time making these with you.
If you’ve ever had a Kouign Amann then you know how absolutely delicious they are. Oh, man I’m drooling just thinking about them. They’re a bit complicated to make from scratch, but Sommer from A Spicy Perspective has provided us with a Cheater Kouign Amann Recipe. You’ll need two sheets of puff pastry for this recipe, but believe me, it’s definitely worth it!

So, you can make these Chocolate Bear Claws after your Alaska cruise with Princess Cruises and look back on some really great memories, too!

Chocolate Bear Claws

Make breakfast extra special with Easy Chocolate Bear Claws. Using puff pastry and chocolate chips, they’re perfect with your afternoon tea or coffee, too!

  • 1 sheet puff pastry (thawed)
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • powdered sugar (for dusting)
  1. Thaw the pastry dough for no longer than 40 minutes at room temperature and preheat your oven to 400° F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment.

  2. Place a piece of parchment on your work surface and roll the thawed pastry dough into a 10 X 10-inch square. Cut the dough into four 5-inch squares.

  3. Place 2 tablespoons of the chocolate chips into the center of one square, and about a 1/2-inch away from the ends. 

  4. Beat the egg and mix with the 1 tablespoon of water. Brush the top and bottom of the square with the egg wash.

  5. Fold the dough over connecting the two wet sides and gently press together. 

  6. Using a knife, make 5 small slices to create the toes and curve the dough slightly. 

  7. Repeat with remaining dough squares and transfer to prepared baking sheet.

  8. Brush each pastry with the egg wash. Sprinkle with almond slices, and place one sliced almond on each toe.

  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden. 

  10. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

Along with these Chocolate Bear Claws, you’ll need other things to eat for breakfast or brunch… Mixed Berry Scones

Breakfast Parfait Bar

Easy Crepe Recipe

And of course, you’ll need some BACON, too!

**We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
These are links that can take you to a product (or products) that I recommend. I do receive a portion of the sales or credit for my future purchases from any items purchased through those links. Your purchases encourage my baking, cooking and butter habit, and contribute to the life of this blog. I thank you so very much for your support. Let’s keep having fun in the kitchen!!

The post Easy Chocolate Bear Claws appeared first on 365 Days of Baking.

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These Dark Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies are your favorite old fashioned oatmeal cookie made even better! With the addition of dark chocolate chips and chopped fresh cherries, they’re a sure sign that summer’s finally arrived. 

Cherries, cherries, cherries!!


**This post contains an affiliate link(s).
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

When I see them in the store this time of year, I just cannot get enough of them.
Whether I put them in Pound CakeCherry Oatmeal Muffins, or we just eat them as is, they never last long here at the 365 homestead.

We also love oatmeal cookies,  but I wanted to make them with something other than your standard raisins. I mean, those are good and all, but why not use what’s in season and think outside the box (haha, the raisin box! Get it??).
They worked perfectly, too and the use of the dark chocolate just seriously takes your cookie to another level.
For some reason, I feel more sophisticated when I’m eating dark chocolate, too like I’m special and it’s a treat.
Just humor me here, k?

So, RUN, don’t walk to the store to get some fresh cherries and make these cookies.
No joke.
You really do need to make them.

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The dark chocolate chips, the fresh cherries and the greatness of that oatmeal all in one cookie …
*sigh*

And I even give you permission to use more than the amount of dark chocolate chips called for in the recipe. You can barely see them (if at all), but they’re in there!
It may be because I only used a cup. See, when Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard to fetch her poor cookies some chips, the stash had been broken into.

Oh, that lovable son o’ mine.
He loves to open up those bags and just help himself., he does.
Soooooo…when the momma is baking away and doesn’t take inventory of all necessary ingredients, she runs into some …what’s the word I’m looking for?
Hitches, snags, ah, forget it.

Things you’ll need to make these Dark Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies –
    • Parchment, parchment, parchment!
      While you can grease your cookie sheets or put the dough on sheets without preparing them at all, I certainly wouldn’t recommend it. Ask me how I know.
      Use this stuff and you’ll just save yourself a whole heck of a lot of trouble trying to scrape the cookie remnants off.
      Trust me. This Kirkland brand is the only kind I use because it rips perfectly every time and lasts me quite a while.
    • A cherry pitter. This one had the best ratings on Amazon, but THIS ONE looks like a heck of a lot more fun AND you can pit 6 of them at once. Yes, SIX!!
      Admittedly, I don’t have a cherry pitter and dug them all out by hand. Not fun, so you can be sure I’ll be adding one of these babies to my utility drawer pronto. No more red-stained fingers for this lady.
    • Dark Chocolate Chips.
      I used these, but honestly, I don’t care which ones you use. You use the brand you feel most comfortable using. Heck, you can even use semi-sweet or milk chocolate. BUT dark chocolate IS supposed to be better for you. Besides the delicious and good-for-you cherries in these cookies, too eating these are a win-win in my book!

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Want to make more delicious goodies with cherries?
These Healthy Chocolate Cherry Cookies from Well Plated will be the perfect afternoon snack. Give me a couch, a book, a cup of tea and a few of these to snack on and I’m good to go!
Start your summer morning off with this Cherry Coconut Lime Smoothie from Wishes and Dishes. The flavors sound incredible and a smoothie is a great way to get any day going, especially if you need to be out the door in a hurry.
OMG!!! These Rum Soaked Preserved Cherries and Boozy Cherry Molasses seriously has me drooling!! Give me a big bowl of some vanilla ice cream and pour this stuff over it and I’ll be happy for days! Or you could just hand me a spoon. haha

Dark Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

These Dark Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies are your favorite old fashioned oatmeal cookie made even better by the addition of dark chocolate chips and chopped fresh cherries. They’re a sure sign that summer’s finally arrived!

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (melted)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 3/4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup diced fresh cherries
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and prepare two cookie sheets by lining them with parchment.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cardamom, baking soda, and salt together.
  3. Stir in the beaten egg, melted butter, milk and rolled oats.
  4. Mix in chocolate chips.
  5. Fold in cherries, but do not overmix.
  6. Arrange by tablespoonfuls on prepared cookie sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart as they will spread as they bake.

  7. Bake until edges are just slightly golden, about 10-12 minutes.


I rate everything I make on a scale of 1-4 and these Dark Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies earned 3 1/2 rolling pins.
I’ve always loved oatmeal cookies and removing the raisins and substituting them with fresh cherries was a wonderful change.
And of course, chocolate always makes everything better!

Cherries will be gone before you know it, so go get some today!!

If you like these cookies then you’ll LOVE…

Blueberry Cherry Mini Crumb Pies

Cherry Pound Cake

20+ Fresh Cherry Desserts

I give you BIG baking hugs and muffins!!
This post was originally published in July 2014. Updated June 2018.

**These are links that can take you to a product (or products) that I recommend. I do receive a portion of the sales or credit for my future purchases from any items purchased through those links. Your purchases encourage my baking, cooking and butter habit, and contribute to the life of this blog. I thank you so very much for your support. Let’s keep having fun in the kitchen!!

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Need an easy weeknight meal? Love meals that can be made in one pot so there’s little cleanup? Then this One Pot Sausage Linguine is for you! Linguine pasta, sweet Italian sausage, tomato sauce, seasonings and some crushed red pepper make this recipe a family favorite. It’s a meal that will be on your table in less than 30 minutes!

Dinner on your table in just 30 minutes!

Lynne is doing a happy dance!
Don’t you love it when you can do that?
I certainly do, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a weekday or weekend. There are nights I want to make something easy.
So, if I can serve my family a delicious dinner with fresh ingredients I feel good about then it’s a win! Bonus points for sure if I can make it in just one pan so there’s little cleanup, too.

SAVE THIS ONE POT SAUSAGE LINGUINE TO YOUR FAVORITE PINTEREST BOARD!

We’re big pasta eaters over here. My men mainly go for a more (said in my deepest voice) “manly” pasta as I like to call it – the rigatoni or penne-type noodles. I prefer the thin spaghetti, so that would be my choice. I just don’t like the thicker pasta.
Also, I must confess that if you’re going to give me any pasta, the pappardelle is at THE top of my list. A good bolognese with those babies and I’m one HAPPY girl!

There’s just something about those wide noodles that is just so comforting to me. Maybe it’s that Grandma made her Chicken Cacciatore with it, so I’m always transported back to her kitchen whenever I eat them.
Either way, whenever I see that pasta on the menu in a restaurant you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be ordering it!

Change up your One Pot Sausage Linguine –
  • Add more spice to it! I used only 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, but feel free to add more. The rest of my family enjoys a bit more of a kick, so if you’re like them, add 1/2 teaspoon or more even.
  • Switch out the sausage for some chicken by using 1 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Dice the chicken into bite-size pieces and cook through after you saute the onion and garlic, making sure it is no longer pink in the middle.
  • Live dangerously and use yellow cherry tomatoes. HA!
    Yes, you don’t need to go with the standard red ones. OR you could even do a mixture of BOTH! That would be cool, too.
  • If you’d prefer not to use the chicken broth, plain ol’ water is fine, too. I just like the added flavor the broth added to it.

As I said before, one-pot meals are where it’s at.
Ok, maybe not really, but they sure do make life a whole heck of a lot easier. They’re so easy to make, can be put on the table in a flash, save money from buying take-out, AND clean up is a cinch- it’s just one pot!
One pot pasta and one pot recipes were all the rage a few years ago. All the “cool kids” were making them. haha

If you like Alfredo pasta, you’re going to love this One Pot Cajun Chicken Alfredo Pasta! The flavor in this must be amazing and so much better than your standard alfredo sauce.
Spinach and mushrooms are always a great combination and this One-Pot Cream Mushroom Spinach Pasta with Beans is perfect. It’s a hearty weeknight meal that I’m sure is just as delicious the next day!
Like shrimp with your pasta? Make this One Pot Thai Shrimp Pasta. Thai flavoring with noodles is always so delicious and you’ll add even more flavor with the shrimp.

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One Pot Sausage Linguine

It’s One Pot Sausage Linguine for an easy weeknight meal. Pasta, tomatoes, sausage, and more come together quickly, so it’s dinner in less than 30 minutes!

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion (diced, about 2 cups)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 16 ounces sweet Italian Sausage
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 pound linguine
  • 10.5 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat olive oil n a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until fragrant, about 2- 3 minutes.

  2. Add the sausage to the pot and cook until completely browned.

  3. Increase the heat to high and pour in the chicken broth, and sauce. Add the linguine, tomatoes, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Bring to boil. 

  4. Boil uncovered for about 8 minutes and using tongs, rotate the pasta to cook. 

  5. After 8 minutes, add the spinach and basil and cook an additional two minutes or until the liquid has almost completely evaporated. Salt and pepper to taste.

Don’t worry, if one pot meals don’t suit your fancy, I’ve got plenty of other ideas, too!

Want a delicious salad for dinner? I’ve got a Greek Quinoa Chicken Salad that is easily made with a rotisserie chicken and tastes super yummy the next day for lunch, too!

One of THE easiest dinners here on the 365 blog is this Artichoke Tomato Chicken. Seriously. This recipe is on your table in less than a half an hour, too and the combination of cheese, artichoke hearts and tomatoes is really tasty!

Like lasagna but want an easier version? This Skillet Spinach Lasagna is easily made in one pan so you don’t have to go to a lot of trouble making it. Oven ready lasagna noodles are the key to this dish!

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The perfect salad for summer, this Strawberry Spinach Salad is full of flavor and makes use of fresh strawberries. Serve it as a side at your next cookout or add some chicken to it and call it dinner!

I’m posting two salads in a row, people. Who AM I???

My sister-in-law made this incredible salad for us years ago when we were visiting in Massachusetts.
It was so easy to put together and the sweet and sour dressing just made all the flavors in it explode in my mouth.
I loved it and had to have the recipe.
Hence the reason I’m sharing a second salad in two weeks. It’s just too darn good not to!

SAVE THIS STRAWBERRY SPINACH SALAD TO YOUR FAVORITE PINTEREST BOARD!

Besides, it’ll be a great way to use up some of those fresh strawberries you’re going to have once you go strawberry picking!
That is one of the things I miss most about living in Rhode Island, picking strawberries every year at Schartner Farms.
Man, I can smell them now!

When we lived back east, we’d have a 4th of July party every year and I’d always leave one of the boxes of strawberries sitting on the table for everyone to pick at. Strawberries always taste so much better when they’re freshly picked and warm from the sun.
Ok, I have to stop. Now I’m getting homesick. haha

The perfect salad for summer, this Strawberry Spinach Salad is full of flavor and makes use of fresh strawberries. Serve it as a side at your next cookout or add some chicken to it and call it dinner!

When my sister-in-law made it for us, she made it with the spinach and the strawberries. I decided to add a little more color and texture, so thought the mandarin oranges and sliced almonds would be fun to include.

Great Additions for this Strawberry Spinach Salad
  • I love goat cheese and if you do, too, I think it would be delicious in this salad! Also, feta would be tasty as well.
    But I’ve never had feta and goat cheese together, so maybe just use one at a time depending on your preference.
    Next time I make this Strawberry Spinach Salad, I’ll definitely be including some goat cheese!
  • Chicken, chicken, Chicken!!
    Make this a main dish and add some grilled chicken to it! OR make it even easier on yourself and pick up a rotisserie chicken from your favorite grocery store.
  • Add a little more color and flavor with some fresh blueberries. The blue will be a beautiful addition and the antioxidants in those berries can’t be beat!
  • Switch out the sliced almonds for some pecans or walnuts OR even make them. I don’t have a recipe, but you can find candied pecans here. There’s also this recipe that will show you how to make candied walnuts.
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Nowadays, I so prefer spinach salads to any old iceberg salad. They just have so much more flavor and have more nutritional value, too.
Like pineapple and spinach? This Pineapple Spinach Salad has some candied pecans in it, too! I love the feta and pineapple combination. I’ve never had the two together.
Besides adding couscous to your salads you can add quinoa, too! This Spinach and Quinoa with Apple will be delicious all year round, but I’m especially looking forward to it should we go apple picking in the Fall.
Kurt loves to cook a steak so we can have steak salad a couple of times a month during the summer. I’m looking forward to putting him in charge of making this Steak Spinach Salad with Grilled Peaches and Red Onion. I love grilled onions!

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Perfect for summer, this Strawberry Spinach Salad is full of flavor! It makes use of fresh strawberries, spinach, mandarin oranges and sliced almonds. Toss it with the sweet and sour poppy seed dressing and serve it as a side or add chicken to make it a main course. 

Poppy Seed Dressing
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
Salad
  • 9 ounce bag fresh spinach
  • 16 ounces fresh strawberries (sliced)
  • 15 ounces mandarin oranges (drained)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
Poppy Seed Dressing
  1. In a blender, combine the sugar, apple cider vinegar, poppy seeds, onion,  paprika, and Worcestershire sauce. Blend until well combined.

  2. With the blender on low, slowly pour in the canola oil through the opening of the cover. Mix thoroughly.

  3. In a large salad bowl, place spinach, strawberries, drained mandarin oranges, and almonds.

  4. Just before serving, pour dressing over salad and toss to combine. 

I really do love a good salad.
One of my favorites is this Couscous Chicken Salad. I seriously make this all. the. time. I love it served warm, but it’s also super delicious the next day. Everyone I’ve made it for absolutely loves it too and they’re now making their own versions. It’s just that good.

Looking for a great lunch idea on a hot summer’s day? These Avocado Tuna Salad Lettuce Wraps will be great to serve. They’re great for a low-carb lunch option, but feel free to serve it on bread, too.

Another great salad we like to eat as a main course if this Greek Quinoa Chicken Salad. The flavors are amazing! I’ve omitted the olives, but you can most definitely add them for more flavor.

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This Greek Quinoa Chicken Salad is a delicious and easy recipe that’s perfect for a summer lunch or dinner. With rotisserie chicken, quinoa, feta cheese, bell peppers, cucumber, and a lemon vinaigrette, this dish comes together in no time and is just as good cold as it is served warm.

Tomorrow the Mr. and I are headed out to see our son, Cameron who is currently hiking the PCT – Pacific Crest Trail.

He began on March 19th and is now in S. Lake Tahoe at mile 1093. He’s only got 1,557 to go until he finishes up in Canada!
We couldn’t be more proud of him. It’s amazing what he’s done so far and the way it’s changed him. Seriously, if you want your kids to grow up and become more independent have them hike the PCT!

Wait, that sounds as if his dad and I forced him to do it, but that’s quite on the contrary! This was an undertaking he decided to do all on his own. It certainly isn’t for everyone, but it is definitely life changing even for mom and dad. You can read more about his adventure and what it’s been like from my perspective here.
Let’s just put it this way, I cannot WAIT to hug that kid tomorrow!

Save this Greek Quinoa Chicken Salad to your favorite PINTEREST BOARD!

Do you love using rotisserie chickens to make your meals as much as I do? Not only are they delicious, but it just makes it so much easier to put a delicious homemade meal together quickly and with little effort. I used one for this Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Casserole.
You can also use it in one of my most favorite dinner recipes, this Couscous Chicken Salad. This is one salad that is seriously out of this world. I’ve made it so many times and everyone who tries it absolutely loves it. I’m sure you will, too!
If you prefer not to use a rotisserie chicken in either of these recipes, then you can definitely cook the chicken any way you prefer and use that.

This Greek Quinoa Chicken Salad is a delicious recipe and perfect for summer. It’s already been in the triple digits here in Phoenix, so anyway I can make a meal without having to turn on the oven is a huge plus! I certainly don’t want to make it hotter around here than it already is that’s for sure!

ANd the great thing about this dish besides the fact that it’s easy, delicious and will save you money from eating out is that it tastes just as good if not better the next day. We like to eat it right after I mix everything with the warm quinoa. BUT if there are any leftovers (which there might not be!) and the flavors have had a chance to combine, it will be a great way to enjoy it as well.

Tasty Addition Ideas for this Greek Quinoa Chicken Salad
  • I’m not an olive lover, so I know some people will tell me that this really can’t be classified as anything Greek since it doesn’t include them. BUT if you love them, add some kalamata olives or whichever you’d prefer!
  • Add a chopped tomato or two. Make sure they’re nice and red, but not too ripe. They’ll add some more fresh summer flavor to your salad, especially if you use ones that are vine-ripened. Even better if you can pick them from your very own garden! And know that I’m envious. haha
  • Slices of or diced avocado will add some more great flavor and will make this dinner even healthier.
  • The use of the bell peppers, as well as the cucumber, gives it a fresh taste. Kudos to you if you can use some of those tasty veggies n this recipe that you’ll be growing in your garden this summer!

This recipe is slightly adapted from these Greek Quinoa Bowls I found at Peas and Crayons.

I love cooking with quinoa. It’s a great and healthy grain.
We really enjoy eating these Quinoa, Black Bean, and Turkey Stuffed Peppers. The combination of quinoa and black beans makes it a hearty meal. You can substitute ground beef if you’d like, but the turkey is a healthier option.
I also used quinoa here in this unexpected baked good. Not only is it tasty, but it’s a great accompaniment to your morning cup of coffee or afternoon tea!

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Greek Quinoa Chicken Salad

This Greek Quinoa Chicken Salad is a delicious and easy recipe that’s perfect for a summer lunch or dinner. With rotisserie chicken, quinoa, feta cheese, bell peppers, cucumber and a lemon vinaigrette, this dish comes together in no time and is just as good cold as it is served warm. 

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups cooked chicken (shredded or diced)
  • 1 green bell pepper (chopped (about 1 cup))
  • 1 red bell pepper (chopped (about 1 cup))
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 6 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
Dressing
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
Dressing
  1. In a liquid measuring cup, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, oregano, salt, and pepper. Mix with a whisk. 

  2. In a medium saucepan, boil the water. 
    Rinse the cup of quinoa in a fine mesh sieve under cold water until the water runs clear. Drain well.

  3. Add to boiling water. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook until the germs have spiraled out of each grain, about 15 minutes.

  4. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, chopped peppers, cucumber, onion, feta, and parsley. Mix well.

  5. Add the cooked quinoa to the bowl and toss gently. 

  6. Mix dressing well again and pour over salad.
    Toss well to coat. 

Salads are a great option for meals on a hot summer’s day. I mean, when it’s that hot outside and if it’s muggy where you are you certainly don’t want to be slaving over the stove.
This Summer Italian Spaghetti Salad Recipe has such delicious flavor and will come together for you in no time! Pair it with a loaf of fresh garlic bread and a nice glass of wine and you’re ready to entertain your guests!
Fire up the grill and make this Grilled Chicken Summer Salad with Mango. I love the combination of flavors and fruit is always so delicious when paired with meat.
I love sauteeing summer squash and zucchini with some butter and onions. This Raw Summer Squash with Arugula, Feta, and Herbs has me looking forward to eating the squash a different way.

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Breakfast, brunch and even teatime will be that much better when you serve these Mixed Berry Scones. Made with Wholesome Organic Cane Sugar and Fair Trade Certified blueberries and strawberries, these Mixed Berry Scones are not only delicious, they’re beautiful to look at as well. They’ll be a pretty addition to your breakfast table.

Can I just tell you how much I love fresh berries?

I am excited to be partnering with Fair Trade to bring you this recipe. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.

Well, even if you said no, I’m gonna tell you anyway! Ha!
I love frozen strawberries and have great memories of going to my aunts, sitting in front of her big tv nibbling on them with a bowl of powdered sugar. And coughing every time I’d accidentally inhale it. I hate when that happens.

SAVE THIS TO YOUR FAVORITE PINTEREST BOARD!

But there’s just something about fresh strawberries and blueberries that makes me swoon.
Seriously.
I think it may be because the taste is just so incredible and they can be used for SO many recipes, both sweet and savory. Not to mention you can make delicious drinks with them, too.
BOO-YAH!

If you’ve been a frequent visitor to 365 Days of Baking and More then you know that I enjoy promoting Fair Trade products and the farmers associated with them. Buying any product with a Fair Trade label on it will not only benefit your family but will also give back to the people and the families responsible for providing us with such great items.

When you purchase fresh berries at your local market with the Fair Trade symbol on them, such as the ones pictured below, you are helping to pay it forward.

That Fair Trade Certified symbol means that with every purchase you are helping to build communities. YOU are sending children to school, helping farmers improve their farms You’re also helping to protect our environment.
And the symbol’s not just on berries, either. You can find it on all kinds of products, too – food, housewares, linens, clothes and even furniture!
I encourage you to learn more about Fair Trade by visiting them HERE and how you can do your part. Please follow them on social media, too!

Not only did I use Fair Trade Certified berries to make these Mixed Berry Scones, I also used Wholesome Organic Cane Sugar which also has the symbol displayed on all of its’ products. See the person in the lower left on the package? Look for that symbol whenever you do your shopping!

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  • Use Fair Trade Certified fresh blueberries and strawberries, and Wholesome Organic Cane Sugar. When you see a Fair Trade Symbol on these products, you’ll feel great that you’re paying it forward. You’ll not only be helping people live better lives, you’ll also be helping our environment.
  • Leave the blueberries whole, but dice the strawberries. Don’t worry if a few of the blueberries should bread while mixing. Just use a gentle hand and all of the dough will come together quite nicely. If you find the flour isn’t incorporating, mix the dough with your hands a few times before turning onto the floured surface to flatten.
  • Preslice the dough disc into 6 scones. This makes it easier to separate them once they’re ready to eat and it will also help to keep them moister.
  • Store any leftovers in an air-tight container for about 4-5 days (IF they even last that long! haha)

I was never a big fan of scones actually until I made these, and they literally changed my life. And I based this Mixed Berry Scone recipe off of them, too!
As I said earlier, I’ve worked with Fair Trade quite a bit in the past creating recipes using awesome ingredients so that I can do my part in helping others. I look forward to continuing our partnership in the future, too!
Needless to say, the recipes have been delicious. This Easy Tiramisu Poke Cake was definitely my favorite. It was SO easy to make, had just the right amount of coffee flavor and was super moist. Everyone loved it!

My Double Chocolate Coconut Cream Filled Bundt Cake is a VERY close second though. If you or anyone you know loves chocolate and coconut together this cake will blow their minds. It’s So good and will surely satisfy any craving you might have. Man, I could go for a piece right now!

Now that I really enjoy eating scones, I’m always on the lookout for more great recipes.
The flavor combination in this Lemon Blueberry Scones recipe is simply magical. Give me lemons and blueberries any day!
These Fried Scones are definitely not the kind I’m used to seeing at the breakfast table or when we occasionally go to tea. They sure are intriguing and look similar to the doughboys my Grandma used to make when I was growing up, so I’m ALL over them.
You can even enjoy scones with dinner or as an afternoon snack. Who says they can only be eaten at breakfast, brunch or tea? Not me! (Like that rhyme there? haha) I’d love to make these Cheddar Chive Scones and serve them with a chicken dinner or with a meal where they can soak up some gravy. YUM!

Mixed Berry Scones

Breakfast, brunch and even teatime will be that much better when you serve these Mixed Berry Scones. Made with Wholesome Organic Cane Sugar and Fair Trade Certified blueberries and strawberries, these Mixed Berry Scones are not only delicious, they’re beautiful to look at as well and will be made again and again.

  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Wholesome Organic Cane Sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (chilled)
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 large egg (lightly beaten)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup Fair Trade Certified Fresh Strawberries (hulled and diced small)
  • 1/2 cup Fair Trade Certified Fresh Blueberries
  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400° F. 
    Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment.

  2. Sift flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl.

  3. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter and cream cheese until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

  4. Add egg, milk, diced strawberries and blueberries and mix with a rubber spatula until the dough forms a soft ball.

  5. Prepare a clean, flat surface by dusting it with flour and turn the dough out onto it.

  6. Divide the dough in half and pat each into a circle approximately 5 inches in diameter. Cut the dough into 6 wedges and transfer the entire disk of dough to the prepared baking sheet. Preslicing the scones allows for easy separation but keeping the wedges together during baking ensures the scones will be a bit more moist.

  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until tops are lightly golden and firm. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy your Mixed Berry Scones and when you make them, I’d love to see them on social media, so tag @365daysofbaking and use #365daysofbaking, too!

Thanks so much for reading!

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Combine your love of chocolate, cookies and cream, and cheesecake into these delicious single serve desserts. These Chocolate Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes are an easy treat from Jocelyn Brubaker’s cookbook, Cheesecake Love. This is one book that needs to be in every cheesecake lover’s kitchen!

Welcome to May!

*This post contains an affiliate link(s). Please see below.
I was given a copy of Jocelyn Brubaker’s cookbook in exchange for a review. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.

I know we’re already 10 days into the month, but I seriously cannot believe how fast this year is already going! Before you know it, we’ll be sharing recipes for the holidays! haha
Ok, I’ll stop.

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No, but seriously though.
Sunday is Mother’s Day and that’s a special day for a lot of people. It’s also a hard day for many, so we need to be aware of that. Some may be missing their moms, and others their children. If you are one of those people, please know that you are surrounded by many people who love you. If there’s a woman in your life who might be hurting this weekend, please give them an extra squeeze.

For the very first Mother’s Day in 26 years, I’ll be without any of our kids. That is SO weird to say. I suppose that really makes my husband and I empty-nesters then now, hunh?
As you may know, our oldest, Alex is over in Germany working as an au pair. Emma, our middle lives in Philadelphia where she is a full-time nanny. And Cameron, the youngest is on a 5 1/2 month hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. It’s not like I won’t talk to them that day because we all almost talk daily anyway, but it will just be a bit bizarre to not have them physically here.
Maybe I can get Kurt to serve me breakfast in bed? HA! Fat chance. He always says, “you’re not my mother”.
He’s got a point, but I DID birth your three children.
Whatever.

I hope you and your mom and/or children have the chance to make some wonderful memories this weekend and that the day is spent with the ones you love.

If mom (or your daughter) is a cheesecake lover then a great last minute Mother’s Day gift would be a copy of Jocelyn Brubaker’s new cookbook, Cheesecake Love. Jocelyn is the owner and creator of the food blog, Inside BruCrew Life.
If you aren’t already familiar with her blog and recipes, I HIGHLY suggest you head on over and take a visit. You WILL NOT be sorry! Every single one of her recipes makes me want to lick my monitor.
Seriously. Every one.

Buy Jocelyn’s book, Cheesecake Love HERE on Amazon!

In her book, Jocelyn talks about all things cheesecake, of course. But this isn’t a cookbook filled with just recipes, it’s got so much more!
She recommends the best kitchen tools you’ll need to make every recipe. Her basic baking tips are great because who couldn’t use a wee bit of help making THE perfect cheesecake, hunh? And don’t tell me you’ve had one come out of the oven perfectly every single time. Nah, I ain’t falling for that! LOL
Nice try.

Seriously, this book has it all. There are Full-Size Cheesecakes, Cheesecake Cupcakes, and Cheesecake Bars & Bites. For those of you who want that great cheesecake flavor but might not want to turn the oven on, she’s got that covered, too in the No-Bake Cheesecakes chapter, of course! There are Cheesecake Brownies, Cheesecake Pies and even cheesecake for breakfast! Yup, Jocelyn’s got your cheesecake desires covered.

I had such a difficult time deciding because every single recipe just sounded so delicious and those pictures, I was seriously drooling over them! I’ve got my eyes on those Triple Berry Cheesecake Crepes and I know if Cameron were here he’d make them for me for my Mother’s Day breakfast because he loves to make crepes. Actually, they look so good I think I’m going to make them for myself!
Ultimately, after going very slowly through the entire book I decided on the Chocolate Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes, and I’m so glad I did. I loved the serving size and the combination of chocolate and cookies and cream was really just screaming my name. Oh, and of course they were delicious!

How to Make these Chocolate Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes
  • Place a large rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven. Fill halfway with water. The water bath will add moisture to the oven which allows for even baking and can prevent the cheesecakes from cracking.
  • You’ll get a smoother consistency in any cheesecake if your ingredients are all at room temperature. That means your cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs. It is best to leave them out overnight, but things can be left on your kitchen counter for a minimum of two hours.
  • Cool the cheesecakes on a wire rack for about an hour before chilling them completely in the refrigerator. You definitely don’t want the Chocolate Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes warm when you add that delicious mousse on top. It won’t be pretty.

I’m absolutely loving all of the recipes in Jocelyn’s cookbook and I’m not even a cheesecake lover. I’ll eat it, but Kurt is the real cheesecake lover in the family. I’ll definitely be making him one for Father’s Day (even though he’s not my father. HA!).

Jocelyn’s packed this cookbook with a whole lot of delicious recipes besides the Chocolate Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes.
I know it’s probably WAAAAYYYY too early to start thinking about Thanksgiving, but this Apple Cheesecake Pie is going to be so wonderful on our dessert table this year. It looks so good that I could go for a slice right now.
If you’re a chocolate lover or know one, then this Triple Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake recipe has your name all over it. This will satisfy any chocolate craving for sure!

Besides your standard cheesecakes, she’s got other desserts that include cheesecake as well.
If you prefer bar desserts, Aimee from Shugary Sweets made Jocelyn’s Monster Cookie Cheesecake Bars. These will be great with a big glass of cold milk.
These Turtle Cheesecake Cookie Bars seriously have me drooling. I’m absolutely in love with the caramel, chocolate and cheesecake combination. Top it off with those pecans and I’m good to go!

Here on the 365 Days of Baking and More blog, these Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Bars have been quite popular. They’re easy to make, too. Oh, and drizzling them with the white AND semi-sweet chocolate is a MUST!
Ok, not really, but it certainly does kick them up a notch.

If you like lime and sweet dips for dessert then you’ll love this Lime Cheesecake Dip. It was fun to serve for the Superbowl last year, but you can make it any time of year and make the sugar cookies into any shapes you’d like. It will be perfect for next year’s Cinco de Mayo, too! Be sure to pin it so you’ll have it!

One of THE most popular desserts here on the blog that you shouldn’t miss is my Strawberry Cheesecake Dream Bars recipe. It’s a great no-bake dessert and everyone who’s made it love it. Also, if you have trouble finding
Strawberry Creme Instant Pudding you can always use a plain vanilla or even the white chocolate would be delicious.

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Chocolate Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes

Combine your love of chocolate, cookies and cream, and cheesecake into these delicious single serve desserts. Chocolate Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes are an easy treat from Jocelyn Brubaker’s, creator of the blog, Inside BruCrew Life, new cookbook. This is one book that needs to be in every cheesecake lover’s kitchen!

Crust
  • 8 Oreo cookies with filling
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
Cheesecake
  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces bittersweet baking chocolate (melted)
  • 2 large eggs
Mousse
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 8-ounce container Cool Whip (thawed)
  • 7 Oreo cookies with filling
  • 20 mini Oreo cookies with filling
  1. Place a large rimmed baking sheet onto the bottom rack of the oven. Fill halfway with water
    Preheat the oven to 350° F. and line a cupcake pan with paper liners. Line 8 wells of a second cupcake pan with paper liners as well. 

Crust
  1. Place the Oreo cookies into a food processor and pulse until they become fine crumbs.

  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the butter and the cookie crumbs. Evenly distribute the crumb mixture into the cupcake liners. Press the crumbs down firmly.

Cheesecake
  1. In a mixer, beat the cream cheese until creamy. Scrape down the sides and add the sugar. Beat again until smooth.

  2. Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat again until well incorporated.

  3. Pour in the melted chocolate and mix thoroughly.

  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition. Fully incorporate the eggs and be sure to not overbeat the batter.

  5. Evenly distribute the batter over the cookie crusts. Place the cupcake pans on the oven right directly above the tray full of water. 
    Bake for 20 to 22 minutes.

  6. Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack. Cool the cheesecakes in the pan for 10 minutes.

  7. Gently remove the cheesecakes from the pan and place them on the wire rack. Cool for 1 hour and refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until completely chilled.

Mousse
  1. Beat the cream cheese until creamy. Scrape down the sides and add the sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth.

  2. In a food processor, pulse the 7 regular size Oreos until they are crumbs.

  3. With a rubber spatula, gently fold the Cool Whip into the cream cheese mixture. Then gently stir in the cookie crumbs.

  4. Using a piping bag and a 1M icing tip, swirl the mousse onto the top of the cheesecakes. Top each one with a mini Oreo cookie.

*We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
These are links that can take you to a product (or products) that I recommend. I do receive a portion of the sales or credit for my future purchases from any items purchased through those links. Your purchases encourage my baking, cooking and butter habit, and contribute to the life of this blog. I thank you so very much for your support. Let’s keep having fun in the kitchen!!

The post Chocolate Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes appeared first on 365 Days of Baking.

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On Monday, March 19th, our 20-year-old son set out on the adventure of a lifetime. He began hiking the PCT – the Pacific Crest Trail. Beginning in Campo, California at the border of Mexico and ending in Canada, this 2,650 mile trail challenges anyone who hikes it, especially thru-hikers. This is the first in a series of posts about Cameron hiking the PCT from a mother’s perspective.

Admittedly, this is not your typical 365 Days of Baking and More post.

I am pleased to be partnering with Toyota to bring you this sponsored post. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.
*This post also contains an affiliate link(s). Please see below.

Usually, you’ll find me posting recipes, recipes and more recipes with a sprinkling of my own travel here and there. However, today’s post is different. It’s more of an experience/lifestyle/travel blog post and something I’ve been talking about on my Facebook lives so wanted to share with you more in depth here.

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Cameron, our only son and the youngest of three children has always been very active and athletic. Growing up, he played baseball, volleyball, and even a season of junior high basketball. In high school, he ran for both the track and cross country teams.

In hindsight, I seriously think he’s been preparing for this undertaking his whole life.
One day when he was 5 years old, I picked him up from kindergarten. He handed me his backpack and said, “Mom, I’m going to run home!” Needless to say, I was a bit dumbfounded. At the time, we lived over a mile from the school in a developing community with little traffic, so I told him I’d drive slowly along behind him. He was to stay on the sidewalk and I’d let him know when it was ok to cross the street to our house.

Heck, I figured the kid would tire himself out halfway through and jump in the car. Didn’t happen.
That kid ran all the way home and did so for months afterward. I couldn’t believe it and the other kindergarten moms got a kick out of it too.

Fast forward to April 2017, and he and his father hike the Grand Canyon. Actually, they had done one the year before but stopped short of the north rim by 4 miles because was too physically challenging for Cameron. So, with a bit more preparedness and training, they decided to conquer it again and did so successfully completing it in only 22 hours.

Yes, you read that right. With no sleep, Kurt and Cameron hiked from the south rim of the Grand Canyon to the north rim in less than 24 hours. Personally, I thought they were nuts and didn’t get much sleep that night they were gone, but knew it was something they both really wanted to do and do together.

After graduating high school, Cameron had little direction and was working various jobs trying to find one he could be happy with. He was also taking a few community college courses because he was unsure of what he wanted for a career. It didn’t bother us that he didn’t apply to a four-year college; not knowing what to major in, he didn’t want to waste the money.
Yet, in his spare time, he became very interested in screenwriting and film, giving serious thought to pursuing that as a possible career.
I think college can be a great thing for a great many people, but it isn’t for everybody. There are some pretty darn successful and happy people without degrees. But who am I to define success? Mine may not be yours.

Now, in just the five weeks he’s been gone it’s already proven to be FAR more beneficial than any college degree.
THIS is life experience and honestly, you can’t put a price tag on that.

photo credit @cocofeifer on Instagram.

One day he told us he was going to do a solo hike of the Pacific Crest Trail and had been wanting to for a few years. I didn’t even know it existed, having never watched Wild with Reese Witherspoon or read the book. Originally he had a plan to backpack through Europe, but that never came to fruition. However, his planning for the PCT over the past 8 months really took shape – permits applied for; camping gear, food, and supplies bought; and research, research, and more research.

I’m not gonna lie, Kurt and I had our doubts about him going 100 miles nevermind completing the whole 2,650. I mean, this is SO much more than a rim to rim to rim hike and this kid had never even been camping (ok, so blame that one on his mother. haha)! We also thought that the “newness” would wear off – that after a while he’d get tired of it and want to move on to something else as he’s done in the past.

BUT, with every single step he’s taken, he’s grown into a man. A man who is confident, self-assured, relaxed, happy, focused and determined. He’s relying completely on himself. The boy his father and I dropped off in Campo is gone. It’s been quite an amazing transformation. I guess my advice is that if you want your kids to grow up, send them hiking on the PCT.
Of course, I jest, but I am amazed.

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Before Cameron began, the three of us discussed meeting up in about four places along the way so he could have some downtime, a bed to sleep in, a home-cooked meal or two, and hear all his stories. Basically, this momma wasn’t going to let her child go off into the unknown wilderness for 5-6 months without seeing him.

For our first reunion, we joined Cameron in Wrightwood, CA. Thanks to Toyota, Kurt and I were provided with a beautiful Ruby Flare Pearl RAV4 Adventure for our road trip which made the ride that much more enjoyable. Isn’t she purty?? She was comfortable and fun to drive, too!

Wrightwood is a little mountain town at about mile 369 on the Pacific Crest Trail and about an hour and a quarter northwest of Los Angeles. I absolutely LOVED this town with its’ charm and tall pines!

It has a small but very adequately supplied grocery store, a few quaint antique shops, and a fun restaurant called The Yodeler where we watched the Red Sox play. There are a few more restaurants that we weren’t able to eat at, but we did make it to the Grizzly Cafe where Roxie was our waitress. Not only was she a wonderful server, but our breakfasts were truly outstanding! The portions were large and every bite was delicious. Cameron ordered the French Toast and the serving was massive! I was almost doubtful he’d finish, but knew he was a famished hiker. haha

We celebrated his 21st birthday at a Dodgers-Diamondbacks game, and all really enjoyed the 2 1/2 days we were able to spend together. I know it was good for all three of us.

Since then, Cameron’s done really well. He’s had great weather and has made it to about mile 560 in Tehachapi, CA. He’ll hike a bit more into the desert before tackling the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Hiking the PCT – a Mother’s Perspective
  • To say I was nervous about my baby boy doing this is an understatement. We drove by him after we dropped him off at Campo and the tears began to flow. Needless to say, they continued quite sometime after we’d left, too. He was going to be outdoors, fending for himself, battling the elements, and depending on strangers to help him through this. And it freaked me the hell out. Not gonna lie.
  • I had no control over what was going to happen to him. It was completely up to him to make choices about his well-being, live with the consequences and learn from any mistakes. I. Felt. Helpless. And it took me a good week before I could let that go.
  • One thing that I did was to purchase him SPOT 3 Satellite GPS Messenger. This device is a wonderful thing and I highly encourage anyone interested in hiking the PCT to purchase one. With the push of a button, this device can send loved ones coordinates of the hiker’s location should there not be any cell service or dead phone battery. Also, for an additional fee, you can purchase rescue insurance. The device has a rescue button that the user can push should there be a medical emergency and their coordinates will be sent directly to rescue personnel.
    As to cost, there is the original purchase price, the cost to activate the service plus the optional rescue insurance, but for a parent’s peace of mind, I think it’s priceless. Knowing that all my son has to do is to push a button to be rescued and airlifted wherever he is is more than worth it!
  • Overall, I think hiking the PCT was the best decision Cameron ever could have made. He’s become self-reliant, is opening himself up to new experiences, meeting new people and really, really enjoying the whole trip. He’s also faced some physical and mental challenges but is now more grateful for all that he has and all he has been given. He relishes the beauty of nature and is able to see first-hand how generous people can be. And it all makes my heart swell with pride!

In my next post about his hiking the PCT, I’ll tell you about the trail angels, trail magic and give you an update as to how he’s doing!

*These are links that can take you to a product (or products) that I recommend. I do receive a portion of the sales or credit for my future purchases from any items purchased through those links. Your purchases encourage my baking, cooking and butter habit, and contribute to the life of this blog. I thank you so very much for your support. Let’s keep having fun in the kitchen!!

The post Hiking the PCT – a Mother’s Perspective appeared first on 365 Days of Baking.

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