White and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

White chocolate or dark chocolate?  Now, that is a question.  Make everyone on your holiday list happy with this yummy White and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe.

White and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

Cookie swaps are so much fun!  I was really excited to be invited to join my first ever “virtual” cookie swap hosted by Julie Espy from White Lights on Wednesday.  One of the best parts about blogging is being able to meet so many fun people that share my same interests.  Julie is one of those fun people.  She is an Arizona blogger and is hosting her 3rd Annual Christmas Cookie Swap.  So, when she put out the invitation to join her, I jumped at it!

For the swap, Julie paired us up with other bloggers and we traded recipes instead of actual cookies.  I love that!  I was also excited to learn that I had been paired with Krayl Funch from An Appealing Plan.  

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Merry Christmouse Cookies—Easy Christmas Cookie Recipe

These adorable Christmouse Cookies will completely steal the show at every holiday party or cookie swap this year. Pssst… no one has to know that they are one of our easy Christmas cookie recipe.
Christmas Mouse Cookies Recipe


Don’t you love these cute little cookies?  I love baking around the holidays.  Especially cookies.  I love baking all of my family’s favorite cookies and putting them all on a giant tray at the same time.  You know, all at once, together in one place.  Little things make me happy, what can I say?

Most of my boy’s favorite cookies are big, hearty, rustic type cookies like peanut butter and oatmeal raisin and massive chocolate chip cookies with lots of nuts.  Delicious but, not that cute and certainly not pretty little dainty things.  So, I always try to put a surprise cookie on the plate, a cute cut out cookie or one with fancy frosting ( I even made a pink cookie once… once).  Most cute little cookies are just for fun and to make people smile.  But, these cute little cookies are actually good!  They are made out of a firm sugar cookie dough that is shaped like little mice and the ears, eyes and tails are put on after baking while the cookies are still hot.

We were invited to share easy Christmas cookie recipes with several of our fellow bloggers …

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Easy Pumpkin Cupcakes with Toasted Meringue

Yes!  You can make these cupcakes today!  Easy Pumpkin Cupcakes with Toasted Meringue are a delicious treat and no one has to know you made them at the last minute.

Easy Pumpkin Cupcakes with Toasted Meringue


They don’t call me the Queen of Last Minute for nothing.  These cute little cupcakes are made with a cake mix as the starter then, you add pumpkin puree and spices to turn it into a moist, cinnamon-y dessert.  The toasted meringue on top takes the place of frosting and is actually lighter in calories and fat but, who has to know that?

I shared this recipe with a blogging buddy of mine last month.  Candi Elm featured them on her blog, A Day in Candiland  for a cute Halloween treat but, I don’t see why these easy pumpkin cupcakes can’t be served on Thanksgiving or any other seasonal event.  I actually bake with pumpkin all year ’round and the toasted meringue adds a flavor that tastes like s’mores so, why not bake them in the summertime?

Head on over to A Day in Candiland to get the recipe and while we are talking about cupcakes, don’t forget about my Fall Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting Pumpkins (also perfect for Thanksgiving) that I shared on Summer Scraps.

After you get the recipes, come back and enter our fun Snowflake Snack Giveaway.  We have more treats than the Sugar Plum Fairy!  Just use the Rafflecopter at the end of this post to enter.

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Old Fashion Banana Cupcakes with New Fangled Nutella Ganache Recipe

This is not your grandmother’s banana cupcake. These moist, old fashioned banana cupcakes are topped with new fangled Nutella Ganache for a chocolate-y, irresistible icing.
Nutella Ganache on Banana Cupcakes
There are some recipes you just don’t change. Aunt Elee’s banana cake is one of them. This recipe has been in my family longer than I have and yes, I am risking my inheritance sharing with you and everyone on the worldwide web. But shhhh, don’t tell anyone!
I did make a slight change to her recipe when I published it on Mother’s Niche last month. I turned it into cupcakes with a thin, chocolate-y Nutella Ganache instead of the cream cheese icing. I’d call it a taste of our old family heritage mixed with our newest generation (Sophie, I’m talking to you) and their obsession with Nutella or We can just say that it is about time bananas and Nutella collided!
Head over to MothersNiche.com to get the full recipe but, be careful! You will find yourself putting Nutella Ganache on anything that isn’t nailed down.

Then, come on back to Everyday Southwest and enter our Halloween DVD Giveaway filled with old fashioned scary movie fun!

Mill Creek Entertainment Halloween
DVD Collection Giveaway

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The Ultimate Graham Cracker Pie Crust Recipe

Not all graham cracker crusts are created equal.  My Southwest spin on the traditional pie crust has a nutty flavor from toasted pecans and a hint of Mexican cinnamon.  You will find yourself using it in all sorts of desserts or just eating it with a spoon.

Graham Cracker Pie Crust

Trust me when I say this is the best pie crust you have ever eaten.  It’s the base flavor for my amazing Chocolate Pie Recipe as well as any cheesecake or no-bake  pie that I ever make.  I even use it as a topping for warm apple or peach crumbles and the topping for mashed sweet potatoes.  It has been rumored that I once ate so much of this crumb mixture while cooking a fancy holiday dinner that I made myself sick , that I had to stall and think of ways to delay dinner time.  I can’t be sure about that though.

I decided to give this pie crust it’s very own post because I think the way I make this pie crust  is just as important as the ingredients that are in the pie crust.  I leave the graham cracker crumbs large and very coarse so that the crust does not get soggy from the filling.  The texture of the crumbs and pecans add a slight crunch to the creaminess of the chocolate pie.  The hint of Mexican cinnamon leaves everyone wondering what the wonderful flavor is.

This post also gives me a chance to add step by step photos so you can see what I mean about the texture of the crumb….

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Four Different Cookies from One Cream Cheese Dough Recipe

image recipe cream cheese christmas cookies
The turkey leftovers are finally gone and for most foodies that means “Baking Season” has officially begun.  If the truth be told, I’ve been in full cookie production mode for over a week now.  I love having home baked goodies around to send to the neighbors and friends around the holidays.  It gives me a good chance to thank them for all of the beautiful baked breads and fresh veggies from their gardens that they have shared with me throughout the year.

Let me tell you, getting anything (even a mini zucchini) from an Arizona garden is a lot of work.  So,  I like my plates of cookies to be filled with different varieties of flavors and toppings and to look like I have gone to as much trouble as they have.

I shared my “super secret cookie multiplying technique” in a guest post for my friend Deborah  who has just had a brand  new baby boy.  Head on over to her fantastic blog, Taste and Tell, and get all the info on how to change my favorite Holiday Cream Cheese Cookie Dough into as many different shapes and flavors as you can come up with… the possibilities are endless!

image chocolate cream cheese cookies recipe
You can leave a comment for Deborah on the post and get to know her and her newest little one.

But!  Don’t forget to come back and check out all of the baking recipes and fun stuff we have planned for December on Everyday Southwest.

I’ll give you a hint—we are “counting down” for some really fun recipes!

Here are some other great recipes that would make great holiday gifts:

Pumpkin Spice Cranberry Scones by Everyday Southwest

Chocolate Covered Coconut and Almond “Joy to the World” Candy by Everyday Southwest

Candied Cinnamon Roasted Almonds by Barbara Bakes

Reese’s Krispies by  Sweet Basil


We LOVE hearing from you!  So, follow me on twitter and “Like” our fan page  on facebook.  It’s easy to leave us comments on our posts, as well.

—posted by Sandy 

Butternut Squash and Ricotta Empanada Recipe

image butternut squash ricotta cheese empanada recipe
Empanadas filled with butternut squash and ricotta cheese are a great way to put a Southwest spin on my favorite fall vegetable… squash.  If you haven’t eaten squash since you graduated from the tiny little jars of Gerber Baby Food, it’s time to give them a second chance.  These flaky little pastry packages filled with ricotta and parmesan cheeses blended with roasted butternut squash are a fall favorite of mine.

Ok, you’ve got me, just about anything in a flaky little pastry is a favorite of mine.  But, seriously, you’ve got to try these.

Empanadas are a traditional Latin street food and can be stuffed with just about any kind of filling.  Ground beef is one of the most common fillings.  You will also find lots of papas (potato) fillings inside empanadas.  There are even sweet versions of empanadas like pumpkin and apple.  The dough is really what makes an empanada special.  It is a very flaky dough, not a yeast dough like a calzone, but not a pie dough like turn over, either.  It is probably closer to a good Southern biscuit dough, but not exactly….

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Pumpkin Pancakes Recipe with Cajeta de Leche

image La Cajeta on Pumpkin Pancake RecipePumpkin Pancakes with Cajeta de Leche is my Southwest spin on this fall favorite comfort food.

There is something about fall that just says, “Pancakes!”  I know it can’t be just the cold weather, we don’t have any of that around here. No, it must be the pumpkins that spill out of the grocery stores and spring up on the street corners to announce that fall is coming.

Pumpkin pancakes are my family’s favorite pancake recipe and this one dates back to the early days; the days when they were very, very small.  As a young, married couple with two small children, we were always looking for fun ways to make ends meet.  So, “Pancake Night” was born.  Every Monday night, for more years than I care to admit, became the funnest dinnertime of the week.  The kids looked forward to the weekly meal not only because they loved pancakes, but because they got to “help.”  Standing on chairs and kneeling on barstools, they mixed up the batter and gave directions on what shape it should be when I spooned it into the frying pan.

As they grew, the pancakes changed shapes from zoo animals to dinosaurs to sports heros (picture stick figures with blobs of batter for baseball hats or basketballs.  Hey!  I’m a cook, not an artist).  The recipes changed, as well.  We got a little tired of the same ol’ buttermilk pancakes and started experimenting with all kinds of fruits and flavors and even vegetables to throw into the batter.  Pumpkin was the winner, of course, and well… broccoli was not. …

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