Girl Scout Cookie Recipes

Like many of you, my house has been taken over by boxes upon boxes of Girl Scout Cookies!  Whether you’re the “I’ll take a few cookies with my coffee” or the “I eat them straight out of the cookie sleeve” type of person, I think each of us can appreciate a few of these recipes using our beloved Girl Scout Cookies!

1 copy                                                                              13 copy

Peppermint Chip Cheesecake                            Frozen Raspberry Cheesecake

Thin Mint Brownies

14 copy                                                                            11 copy

Peanut Butter Icebox Dessert                             Zesty Lemon Streusel Bars

Do-Si-Dos Peanut Thai Chicken                        Savannah Smiles Frozen Lemonade Tarts

12 copy                                                                          1 copy

Samoas Trail Mix                                                     Thank You Berry Much Granola

Samoas Dream Cake                                               Berry Much Break Pudding

Samoas Ice Cream Truffles

1 copy                                                                           1 copy

Tagalong Shake                                                        Crunchy Caramel Snack Mix

Chocolate Cookie Pudding

Photo’s & Recipes Courtesy of:  Taste of Home, My Recipes, Cooking, Quick Cooking & Little Brownie Baker


Homemade Laundry Detergent

photo-48 copy 3

Like many of you out there, doing laundry in our home is an endless job.  Having 3 small children who go from school uniform -to- play clothes -to- sports uniforms -to- “oh, my shirt is wet & I need a new one” -to- jammies…and REPEAT over & over again…. can create lots & lots of laundry.

So last year, I decided I was going to make my own laundry detergent.  Not because I’m some hippy who lives off the grid and boycotts all grocery stores, or someone who refuses to support products produced by large companies who support other companies who are up to no good.  I did it because I no longer wanted to spend a small fortune on store bought detergent, it’s super easy, and oh… because I could 🙂

There are many blogs with similar recipes and they are all pretty much the same (Soap, Borax, Washing Soap).  Some are in liquid form & others are powder.  I prefer the powder for the pure fact there is no sticky mess in my laundry room caused by liquid detergent.

I first found this recipe a year ago on Yellow Brick Home via Pinterest.  I waited until now to post it because I wanted to make sure if was GOOD!  Here I am, a year later and still using the same recipe.  It is GOOD!  REALLY GOOD!

Here is what you need:

51m0T8iJh9L._SY355_   51YvfqvwclL._SY355_317GRr2os1L

  • 1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soap ( – 3lbs for $10 – 6 cups worth)
  • 1 cup Team Borax Laundry Booster ( – 4lbs for $11 – 8 cups worth)
  • 1 bar of Fels Naptha ( – about $4 per bar or $1.65 per bar if purchased in a case of 24)

Grate the Fels Naptha (I use the grating tool on my food processor) and mix together with 1 cup Borax & 1 cup washing soap.  Use 1 Tablespoon per washer load (I use an old coffee grind scoop).  This 1 batch will last my family of 5 for 1 1/2 months.

Using the large quantities I purchased on Amazon, I ended up paying about $30 for 6 batches = 7 1/2 months of Laundry Detergent + left over Borax (2 cups) and Fels Naptha (19 bars).  I personally think this is AMAZING!!!

Now the Fels Naptha has a strong smell to it, but it becomes scent free after your washing cycle.  I then use a fabric softener sheet in the dryer to make our clothes smelling nice & fresh.  Other websites will say you can use other bar soaps (I remember DOVE being mentioned), but I’ve never tried it and cannot comment whether it works or not, or if it will/will not leave a soap film on your clothing.

I’d love to chat more about this, but…. I have Laundry to do 🙂

**** UPDATE:  It’s been 6 months and I have finally used up the last of my detergent.  That means 6 batches of the above recipe, which cost about $30.00, lasted 6 months in my household of 5 (2 adults & 3 kids ages 3-8 years old).

Candyland Birthday

How on earth did my baby become 5 years old???  How did my only baby girl grow into this beautiful, funny, silly, soon to be kindergartener???  Regardless, of how it happened, it needed to be celebrated with LOTS & LOTS of candy!!!

Candyland is one of those party themes you can go absolutely crazy with!!!  The internet is just covered with ideas!!!  My suggestion is to pick a few ideas & run wild with it!  No need to do everything 🙂

First was the invitations.  What more says Candyland than a giant Lollipop invite? (Picture to come)

We then had a blast making all of the decorations:  Giant Ice Cream Cones, paper plate candies, balloon lollipops, dum dum lollipop cones & marshmallow/sour rope kabobs.

But of course, my real fun comes with the cake!  The ideas are endless & so much FUN!!!

After all of the fun, the kids left with a basket full of candy & a toothbrush to make their Mommy’s happy 🙂

Happy Party Planning!

Bake Sales

Tis the year, where the kids go back to school & the Bake Sale Fundraisers start to come together.

For those of you who have a secret obsession for the beloved Bake Sale, (or actually hate it but want to support your school), here are some great Bake Sale ideas to help get your creative juices flowing.

*please be reminded your school will LOVE & APPRECIATE anything you donate!  You don’t have to have a “WOW” factor donation to support your school! 🙂

Covered Pretzels:

Pops (Cake, Brownie, Oreo, Marshmellow):

Cupcakes & Cookies with a WOW:

Other Super Cool Ideas:


All Time Favorites:

Wrapping Tips:  Anytime you can add ribbon, flowers or a bow = the better 🙂

Place cupcakes or muffins with icing in a clear, plastic up & wrap with cellophane.  The spoon is a nice touch!

Happy Baking!

Photos Courtesy of: Yahoo ImagesPinterest, flickr

Homemade Taco Seasoning

This is so easy, you’ll never go back to the packaged seasoning again!

Homemade Taco Seasoning

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Mix all spices together until well combined. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in your spice cabinet and use as needed. I normally quadruple the recipe (at least) so I always have some on hand.

Recipe: Courtesy of Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
Photo: by Jen Grove

Artisan Bread

I haven’t posted in over a month, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking up a storm! For the past few weeks, I have been experimenting with a Bread Maker. To my surprise, I am extremely disappointed in the results! All of my breads have been extremely dense & heavy. In my option, the bread maker produced some good bread for toast and nothing else.

So the search continued…. until I came across this recipe on Pinterest. If you are not familiar with Pinterest, you are really missing out on some great ideas. Not just cooking ideas, but all sorts of ideas. It’s a great place to get inspired and discover new blogs.

Not only is this Bread DElICIOUS, but you don’t have to knead it. For those of you who have made bread before, this is a BIG, BIG deal! Delicious Bread that I don’t have to knead… Yes, Please!

Artisan Bread

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cups water
*you will need a cast iron pot with lid/Dutch Oven

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast. Add water and mix until a sticky, mushy mixture forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 – 18 hours. Overnight works great.

Heat oven to 450 degrees. When the oven has reached 450 degrees place a cast iron pot (aka Dutch Oven) with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes. This is what mine looks like:

Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball. You’ll want to flour your hands well as you will be covered in this sticky dough.

Cover with plastic wrap and let set while the pot is heating. Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough. ***WARNING… it’s HOT! No need to spray or oil the pot beforehand!

Cover the pot and return it to the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool. Or enjoy it while it’s hot!

Recipe: Courtesy of Simply So Good via Pinterest
Photo: Courtesy of Jen Grove

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

Thanks to Pinterest, I have come across a handful of really great recipes. This one has to be at the top of my Pinterest Recipe find, as I didn’t alter a thing. It is truly super good just the way it is!

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

2-3 chicken breasts, cooked & chopped {or chopped rotisserie chicken}
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 {4 oz.} can diced green chiles
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. chili powder (gives a good “kick” to the dish. Omit or Reduce, if need be)
1 tsp. cumin
2 {10 oz.} cans green chili enchilada sauce
2/3 cups red enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded cheese {I used colby & monterrey jack}
1 cup sour cream
Penne pasta

Optional toppings:
Green Onions
Black Olives
Sour Cream

Cook chicken, drain, and chop {or chop your rotisserie}. Meanwhile boil pasta according to package and chop the veggies.

Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet and cook onions for about 3-5 minutes. Add garlic & red pepper and cook for another 3-5 minutes.

Add cooked chicken, green chiles, cumin, chili powder, salt, & enchilada sauces. Let sauce simmer for about 8-10 minutes.

Add cheese and stir until the cheese is melted and heated through. Now toss in the sour cream, but whatever you do, DO NOT bring to a boil! Cook on low heat or the sour cream will curdle. Gross. Stir until sour cream is well mixed and heated through.
Drain pasta & return to pot. Pour sauce over pasta and mix well. Serve and garnish with avocado, tomato, green onion, and a dollop of sour cream.

Recipe & Photo: Courtesy of Pearls-Handcuffs-Happy Hour Blog via Pinterest

Homemade Ragù

After years & years of searching for that 1 perfect Homemade pasta sauce, I have finally found the “one’! This Ragù is a total keeper, if not the ONLY red sauce I will make again.

Homemade Ragù

1/2 onion
1 stalk celery, cut into 4 pieces
1 small carrot, cut into 4 pieces
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound ground organic beef
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with oregano
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup stock (water will work too)

Pulse the onion, celery, carrot, garlic and rosemary in a food processor until finely chopped. It’s okay if it turns into a puree vs. chopped.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the chopped vegetables and cook, stirring, until softened and golden, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the beef, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, milk, 1 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes or longer for a thicker sauce.

Pour on top of your favorite cooked pasta. It’s great the next day & freezes well!

Recipe Source: Adapted by Food Network
Photos: by Jen Grove

Spinach/Artichoke Ring

Years ago, my good friend Vicki, made this dish for me after my daughter was born. It was so delicious I begged her for the recipe & have been making it for my family ever since. It’s one of those rare dishes that EVERYONE in the family eats (even the 2 year likes it).

It’s meant to be an appetizer, but we enjoy it as a main dish with a nice salad on the side.

2 tubes Crescent rolls (I use the Big ones)
14 oz artichoke hearts, chopped
4 oz crumbled feta cheese
10 oz Chopped Frozen Spinach, thawed & drained
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup red bell peppers
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1 minced garlic

Preheat oven to 375*F.

In bowl, combine artichokes, spinach, mozzarella cheese, feta cheese, red bell pepper, mayonnaise, garlic and black pepper. Mix well. Set aside.

Unroll the 2 packages of crescent rolls onto work surface. Layer the larger end of the triangles in a circle on a cookie sheet (a round baking stone would be better, but I don’t have one). Smaller points of the crescent triangles will extend off the edge of the cookie sheet (depending on size).

Scoop spinach filling evenly on the wide, over lapping portion of the crescent rolls.

Fold all points of the crescent triangles over the filling & tuck under the bottom layer of the crescent roll.

Brush top of ring with egg white. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Recipe: Courtesy of Friend Vicki (but may have originated for the Pampered Chef)
Photos: by Jen Grove

A New Year calls for a new look …

… for the blog that is.

Although, my blog is still very new it already needs a new look & new focus.

As you all know, I took a 100 hour pastry class at the French Culinary Institute back in August 2011. This blog was originally created to document all that I learned in that class, as well as sharing some of our family favorite recipes. As it turns out, the recipe sharing & party planning portion of the blog has become a big hit & less about my new fancy French pastry knowledge.

With that said, please welcome Grove House Special as the new name of my blog. The content of the blog will be the same as before, but now has a new name & new look.

Thank you all for your continued support & interest in the blog! Your kind words have been my motivation to cook more, eat more & post more in the New Year.

I hope you all had a safe & memorable New Years!
Cheers to what 2012 has in store for all of us.