Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Chocolate Gingerbread Truffles

I found the recipe for these cookies at and noticed that they lacked eggs.  The cookies were soooo delicious with extra ginger, molasses, and chocolate that I thought, "Why not cookie dough truffles?"  And that is exactly what I did.  I took out the baking soda and chocolate chunks, rolled them into balls, and after some refridgeration I dipped them in chocolate.  Our favorite is the white chocolate, it just kind of balances the cookie dough out.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1 1/2 tsp boiling water
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
Favorite dipping chocolate - I use Bada Bing Bada Boom

In bowl beat the butter and the grated ginger until light and fluffy.  Add brown sugar, boiling water and molasses; mix until combined.  Add in flour, cocoa, and spices mixing until just combined.  Roll into 1/2"-3/4" balls and place in fridge for 30 min.  Remove and dip in chocolate. 

Go ahead and try one, though I'm not sure you can stop at just one.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Caramel Cashew Bars

You  know, it would probably help my weight loss goal if I stopped making all these sweets.  But where's the fun in that?  So with that in mind I bring you these bars.

These are a perfect mix of salty and sweet, crunchy and gooey.  They have taken me 4 tries to get down, not that the family is complaining, but I'm done and here they are for your eating pleasure.

12 Tbsp butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
3 cup flour

Cut together until crumbly.  Press into bottom of 9X13" pan that has been lined with foil and greased.  Bake at 350*F for 20 min.  Remove from oven. Top with 2 cups chopped salted cashews.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup water
4 Tbsp butter, cut into cubes
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 Tbsp salt
1/2 tsp maple extract

In saucepan, mix the sugar, water and syrup on low until sugar is dissolved.  Crank up the heat to high and bring to 315*F  Remove from heat and add in the butter; stir until melted.  Now stir in the cream, careful it may bubble lots.  Add in salt and maple extract.

Pour caramel over nuts making sure all are covered.  Gently sprinkle 2 cups mini-marshmallows on top and gently press into caramel so they stick.  Turn oven to broil and when ready carefully brown the marshmallow tops.  Decorate top with 3oz good dark chocolate that has been melted.  When all is cooled and the chocolate has hardened use a greased knife to cut into squares and enjoy.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cranberry Apple Salad

This little salad is a Thanksgiving tradition.  It is very simple in nature and just adds a little zing to the table.  Plan ahead though because this does need some fridge time.

12 oz bag cranberries, fresh or frozen, chopped
2 cup sugar
2 cup grated apples, I leave the peels on
2 cup mini-marshmallows
8oz cool whip

In a bowl with a lid stir the cranberries and sugar; place in fridge for 12-16 hours.  Add the grated apples and marshmallows.  Return to fridge for 2 more hours or until ready to serve.  Just before serving stir in the cool whip.

Ceddar Herb Biscuits

If you are a fan of Red Lobster biscuits, then you will love these.  I'm not sure I've ever been to Red Lobster before, so I had no idea what all the hullabaloo was about when people would rave about the biscuits.  It just so happens that on Black Friday instead of going shopping Doug and I went to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and afterwards had dinner at said restaurant.  Yummm!  I love a good fish dish and the ones we had were, but the biscuits were also superb.  I remembered that I had seen a copycat recipe for the biscuits and decided to make them at home.  They were good, but not great so of course I had to play around.  These biscuits were born and one I will repeat. 

2 1/2 cup flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1/2 cup shortening
2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme

In bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.  Cut in the butter and the shortening with pastry blender or fork.  Pour in buttermilk and stir just until moistened.  Do not over stir or this will make for hard biscuits.  Gently fold in the cheese.  Drop onto greased baking sheet and cook at 450*F for 12-15 min.  (I used my large cookie scoop to shape biscuits)  When fresh out of the oven, mix the melted butter with the remaining garlic powder and thyme and brush tops of biscuits.  Enjoy!

Take 5 or more

I made a version of these for a friend over the spring and she fell in love.  She also said they were similar to a Take 5 bar, I've never had one so I have to take her word for it.  However, whatever the name I'm not sure you can stop taking at 5.  These may seem hard to make at first glance but really they are easy and so delicious.  Try one or 5 today :)

Pretzels - I like the square shaped ones
Favorite dipping chocolate, I use Chocoley Bada Bing Bada Boom Enrobing
Caramels - homemade or store bought (Peter's)
2 cups sugar
2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup butter
2 cups heavy cream, split
In saucepan, stir together, on medium-high heat, the sugar; syrup; butter; and 1 cup heavy cream.  After 5 mins wash down sides with a pastry brush and a little water.  Place candy thermometer in pan and boil until 244*F is reached.  Stir in last cup of heavy cream.  Be careful it will boil furiously.  Return to a boil and bring to 241*F.  Pour into foil lined and greased 9X13" pan.  Cool.

Peanut butter Fudge:
1 cup butter
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp maple extract
1 lb powdered sugar

In saucepan, melt the butter and the peanut butter.  Remove from heat and stir in the extract and powdered sugar.  Pour into a foil lined and greased 8" square pan.  Cool.

Make the caramel and fudge the morning you wish to make these candies.  In the evening (I made my caramel at 8am and put the candies together at 7pm) get everything together and start making the candies.

Cut your fudge and caramels into squares the same size or slightly smaller than your pretzel.  On a foil covered baking sheet lay out the pretzels, top with fudge piece and top that with caramel.  The easiest way to do the caramel is to flatten it so that it is thin and will cover the fudge, lay it over the fudge and gently press it into the pretzel so it "holds" together for dipping.  I do the whole pan this way and then dip so the chocolate doesn't harden on me.  Melt your chocolate according to package directions and dip.  Let harden completely and eat or store if you must :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Normally I'm not a fan of "cake" type cookies.  They just seem non-cookieish to me.  However, these pumpkin cookies are divine.  After eating too many dozen to count I had to ask my friend for her recipe.  I amped it up just a tish but the heart of the cookie is still there: PUMPKIN.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
15 oz pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream together the sugar and the butter.  Add the pumpkin, vanilla, and the egg; mix until blended.  Add the flours, spices, baking powder and baking soda; mix until blended.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Drop by rounded tablespoon on to cookie sheet.  Bake at 350* for 12-15 min until done and lightly golden brown.
I used homemade pumpkin puree for these cookies, if you use pumpkin from the can your cookies will be a darker orange in color.  If you choose to make your own puree, make sure you place it in cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer and let it sit for a couple of hours to get rid of the excess water, otherwise it will be too runny.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pumpkin Enchiladas

I'm not sure why, but these are sooooo very good to me.  To everyone else they are good and they like them, but to me they are song worthy.  I love the smokey flavor with the melted cheese and creamy sauce.  Recently, I made these for a church function and everyone was shocked that there was pumpkin and asked for the recipe. 
Adapted from:

1 onion diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 diced poblano or anaheim pepper
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cup chicken cooked and diced (see footnote)
1-4oz can green chilies, mild
1-15oz can pumpkin puree or fresh pumpkin puree
1 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
dash of black pepper or to taste
10 oz queso fresco, crumbled
10 flour tortilla
1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

In skillet saute the onions, garlic, and peppers until soft and tender.  Add in the chicken, chilies and 5oz of queso fresco.  In bowl mix pumpkin, milk, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper.  Put 1/2 cup of pumpkin in with chicken and stir until all mixed together.  Coat bottom on 9X13" baking dish with about 1/3 cup of pumpkin mix.  Now assemble your enchilada.  Take one tortilla, spoon in the chicken mix and roll up; placing in prepared pan.  Continue until all tortillas and mix are gone.  Spread remaining pumpkin on top of tortillas and sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake at 400* for 20-25 min.  Top with green onions and cilantro when removed from oven.  Enjoy!

Footnote:  A rotisserie chicken or home roasted chicken adds a depth of flavor that adds to the dish.  I put some chicken breasts and thighs in my crock pot with the following seasonings: 1 diced onion, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp dried rosemary (crushed slightly to bring out flavor), and 1/2 tsp chipolte powder.  Cook until done and then shred or dice for use.
If you choose to make your own puree, make sure you place it in cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer and let it sit for a couple of hours to get rid of the excess water, otherwise it will be too runny.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Eggnog and Pumpkin.  These are two flavors of fall/winter in my house.  Summer has hardly started to loosen her grip on us when my boys start asking if eggnog is in the stores yet.  When the stuff hits the shelves in early October I'm sickened but the children and husband are in heaven.  Pumpkin just screams fall and is always in abundance in our food at this time of year.  I've made numerous batches of Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins and then there is the Pumpkin Soup and all sorts of pumpkiny treats.  I started these rolls by just thinking of eggnog and somehow pumpkin entered in.  After two tries a success was born and boy are they yummy.  They are even still good after three days.  This makes a double batch (24 rolls).

3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups eggnog, warmed (no hotter than 115*F)
3 tablespoons yeast
3/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 Egg, beaten
6 cups flour, plus more if needed
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 can sweetened condensed milk
 Mix first 8 ingredients as you would for bread.  Let rise until double.  When bread is doubled, in a medium bowl, mix the brown sugar; pumpkin; and cinnamon.  Split dough in half and roll one half into a rectangle as you would for cinnamon rolls (approx. 12"X20").  Spread 1/2 of the butter on dough.  Sprinkle with 1/2 of the pumpkin mix and spread it out to cover dough.  Roll it up and cut into 12 rolls.  Place in greased 9X13" pan and let raise 20min.  Repeat with remaining dough and pumpkin.  Bake at 350*F for 15-20 or until golden brown and done.  Pour 1/2 can of sweetened condensed milk over each pan of rolls and let cool or just eat.  Store any leftovers in the fridge.

If you choose to make your own puree, make sure you place it in cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer and let it sit for a couple of hours to get rid of the excess water, otherwise it will be too runny.

Curried Chicken Salad

Today I have a luncheon/playdate and was asked to bring an awesome salad.  An awesome salad?  What in the world would that be?  I've been racking my brain trying to think of a new salad I could make that would be awesome.  I've hit gold!  This curried salad boasts crunchy and soft, sweet and savory.  With the warmth of curry, the crunch of celery, the sweetness of grapes, and the creamy softness of butternut squash your whole mouth gets a new sensation with every bite.  In essence it is fall food perfection.  I hope you take the time to try this salad, you may just find it to be awesome.

1 cup sliced celery
1 cup grapes, halved or quartered depending on size
1 cup toasted sliced almonds
2 cup roasted butternut squash, cubed
3 cup diced rotisserie chicken
1 cup light miracle whip
2 tsp curry powder
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp lime juice

Put celery, grapes, squash, chicken and 3/4 cup of almonds in bowl.  In separate bowl combine miracle whip, curry, honey and lime juice.  Pour dressing over chicken mixture and stir to coat.  Garnish with remaining almonds.  Serve as is or with crackers or as a sandwich.
For the chicken I just used chicken I roasted at home, but you can use what you like.
Linked to

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pumpkin Butterfinger Crunch Cake

2 Cups Chopped Butterfinger Bars, set aside
1 1/4 Cup Sugar
1 1/2 sticks of Softened Butter
1 16 oz can Solid Pack Pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
2 1/2 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Fat Free Sour Cream
1 Tablespoon Pure Vanilla
1 Tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 1/4 Teaspoons Baking Powder
3/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
4 Large Eggs

Cream Cheese Frosting
3 – 8 oz packs Cream cheese
16 oz Marscapone (or Cream Cheese)*
2 sticks Softened Butter
1 lb powdered Sugar
1 Tablespoon Pure Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350*.  Grease 2- 9" round cake pans.  Beat sugar and butter for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy, scrapping down the bowl frequently.  Add in pumpkin and all the rest of the ingredients, except the eggs. Mix just until blended.  Add in the eggs, one at a time just until blended.  Divide batter equally into your 2 prepared cake pans, smooth it out and make it as even as possible in the pan. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow pans to cool about 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a wire racks and allow to completely cool. 
When cool prepare the frosting.  First beat the cream cheese and marscapone together with the butter.  Add the extract and sugar.  Beat until fluffy.
Cut cakes in half so you will have 4 layers.  Spread frosting on bottom layer then top with cake and repeat until all layers are set.  Spread frosting on the outside of the cake.  Then take your chopped butterfinger and top cake and sides.
Not a cake for the faint of heart.

If you choose to make your own puree, make sure you place it in cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer and let it sit for a couple of hours to get rid of the excess water, otherwise it will be too runny.

Pumpkin Pull Apart Bread

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup eggnog
 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups bread flour

1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
3 Tbsp unsalted butter

Buttered Rum Glaze
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp eggnog
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon rum extract

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, brown 2 tablespoons of butter, letting it bubble up and turn a dark golden brown but being careful not to allow it burn (turn black) about 2-3 minutes. Once browned, remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the eggnog.  Pour into your bread making bowl. Add the yeast and 1/4 cup of sugar and allow to proof about 10 minutes. Then add the pumpkin, salt, and 1 cup of flour. Stir until combined then add the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time and knead for 6 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic and just slightly sticky. If the dough is too moist, add extra flour 1 tablespoon at a time.
Cover with a clean towel. Allow to rise in a warm place for 60-90 minutes or until doubled in size.
While dough is rising, brown another 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix well.  Making sure sugar evenly absorbs the butter. Set aside. Next, grease and flour a 9×5 loaf pan and set aside.
When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and flip out onto a clean floured surface and knead with hands for 1-2 minutes. Roll dough into a 20×12 inch rectangle.  Evenly sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar mixture and press into dough with palms of the hand. Cut the rectangle into 6 strips. Lay strips on top of each other and cut each strip into 6 even squares (cut in half then each half into thirds). Stack strips vertically into the loaf pan. Cover the pan with a clean towel and let rise for 30-45 minutes.
In the meantime preheat an oven to 350 degrees. After rising in the pan bake for 30-40 minutes or until top is a very deep golden brown.
To prepare the glaze, heat the butter, eggnog, and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to boil then immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rum and powdered sugar.  Drizzle over the bread.  Pull apart and enjoy!

If you choose to make your own puree, make sure you place it in cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer and let it sit for a couple of hours to get rid of the excess water, otherwise it will be too runny.

Creamy Chicken Pesto

This dish was from my sister.  It is super easy and delicious.  My children did not complain once about eating this meal and really that is saying something.

1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup prepared pesto
1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
1 lb uncooked noodles

Cook noodles according to directions.  Meanwhile, while the noodles cook, cook the chicken in fry pan seasoning with salt and pepper.  Drain the noodles.  Return to pan and stir in soup, milk and pesto.  Add in the cooked chicken and there you have dinner.
Talk about an easy meal.  For the noodles use ones that can hold onto the sauce.  I used big macaroni noodles, but penne or the like would work just as well.

Just typing this makes me want to eat some.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Rose Jelly

One good thing about our current location is the abundance of wild roses.  I love the smell of wild rose and they are pretty to look at.  I've thought over the years about using the rose hips in something.  I knew you could or least thought I did because while shopping in the asian stores I would see rose water and such things.  They use roses to make those, don't they? 
This year was the year of trying.  After hours on the internet (to which my children with complain about) I found a jelly recipe I thought I would try and also a candy one.  The candy is delicious, but in my book a pain to make.  It was just awkward to scoop out the seeds and hairy things out of the rose hips.  Maybe you have bigger rose hips than me and it would be easy, but for me it was too time consuming to make.  After the scooping though the rest is a breeze.
The jelly I used on my breakfast this morning and yummm!  This was very easy to make and will be made again so long as I have access to roses.  Surprisingly the taste is not that of roses as one might think.  I've read that it is like hibiscus, but that is a taste I'm unfamiliar with.  The jelly and candy does of a familiar taste, but one I am unable to name at the moment.  Anyway, who really cares?  It's good and that's all you need to know.

2 quarts rose hips
1 1/2 quarts water
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 package SureJell pectin
1/4 teaspoon butter
3 1/2 cups sugar
6 (8-ounce) canning jars and fresh lids

1.  Rinse the rose hips thoroughly. Cut off the scraggly ends and discard.
2.  Place rose hips in a large pot. Add 1 1/2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook until rose hips are soft and mashable.
3.  Use a potato masher to mash up the rose hips into a rough purée. Set up a jelly bag, or a large very fine mesh strainer, or 4 layers of cheesecloth over a bowl or large pot. Transfer the rose hip mixture into the jelly bag/strainer/cheesecloth. Let strain into the bowl for at least an hour. Squeeze the jelly bag or cheesecloth to get more remaining juice out.
4.  Measure the juice. You will need 3 cups of juice for this recipe, so if you have less than 3 cups, add more water to the mixture (you can also add some boiling water to the jelly bag if you still have it set up, allowing more liquid to drain out).
5.  Place 3 cups of the rose hip juice in a large, wide pot. Add the lemon juice and pectin. Bring to a boil, dissolving all of the pectin. Add the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the butter. Bring to a hard boil (one that you can not reduce by stirring). The mixture will bubble up considerably. Boil for exactly one minute. Then remove from heat and pour off into prepared canning jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace from the rim.
6.  If any jelly falls on the rim as your pour it into the jars, wipe the rim with a damp paper towel. Place sterilized lids on jars and rings to secure.  To process, place the jars on a rack in a large, tall stock pot. Cover with an inch of water and bring to a rolling boil for 10 minutes. Then turn off the heat, remove the jars from the water, and let cool. As the jars cool you should hear a popping sound as the lids seal. The lids should seal; if not, store in the refrigerator.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cookies

I saw this recipe at and knew I needed to make them.  First of I thought of my sister Erin who has celiac disease, but really it was all about me and the chocolate.  I found I didn't need as many egg whites as the site used and I split the chocolate chip amount in half and added white chips.

2/3 cup dark cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3-4 egg whites (I used 3)
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350*.  Whisk together sugar, cocoa and salt.  Whisk in egg whites and vanilla until just moistened.  The batter should be thick like fudge brownies.  Stir in chips.  Scoop by tablespoon onto greased baking pans.  Bake for 12-14 min until tops are glossy and cookie is slightly cracked.  Cool completely on sheet.

Pumpkin Soup and Graveyard Dessert

Traditions.  They are what make events memorable and holidays top the list of events.  I'm big on holidays.  Starting with the New Year, through Valentines and St. Patrick's, breezing through Easter and 4th of July, all the way through to Christmas.  For most holidays cookie making and decorating are traditions as well as decorations, but for Halloween there is also the dinner.  Once a year, much to Doug's dismay, I make Pumpkin Soup with Graveyard for dessert.  Not sure why I call it a soup, but I have since my mom made it for us, but it's more of a casserole of sorts.  The fun of this soup is that it is cooked in a pumpkin and when serving you scrape the cooked pumpkin in with the rest.
Fresh out of the oven

1 small pumpkin (about 7-8lbs)
1 chopped onion
1 lb hamburger
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cup cooked rice
8oz can sliced water chestnuts (optional) - I don't like them so I don't use them :)

Prepare pumpkin by washing the outside and scooping out the inside.  Save the seeds for roasting later.
Brown the hamburger, seasoning with salt and pepper.  Add onion and saute till meat is done and onion is soft.  Drain off extra grease if any.  Add everything else, but the pumpkin and simmer for 10 min.  Pour into pumpkin and bake on some sort of sheet or pan at 350* for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until pumpkin is cooked through.
Ready to serve before scraping pumpkin in.

I scraped the pumpkin before serving that way it was already done just be careful not to go through the outer skin.  You can have everyone scrape as they dish up if you want.
Then there was dessert...

1 package of Oreo cookies
3 Tbsp butter, melted
8oz cream cheese softened
7 oz marshmallow cream
12 oz cool whip
2 - 4oz packages chocolate pudding
3 1/2 cup milk - 2% or whole
Candies and cookies to decorate graveyard

In food processor make 2 rows of cookies into crumbs.  Mix in butter.  Pour into 9X13" baking pan and bake for 10min at 350*.  Cool completely.
When crust is cool; beat together cream cheese, marshmallow cream and 8oz of cool whip.  Carefully spread into pan.  In separate bowl make pudding with milk.  Let the pudding set up a little the pour on top of cream cheese.  Top with remaining cool whip.  Make crumbs out of remaining row of cookies and sprinkle on top of cool whip to make "dirt".  Now decorate.  The decorating is totally subjective and changes each year for me depending on what I have in my pantry.  Be creative and enjoy!

As a side note, I have made the pumpkin soup occasionally through the month of October and November just because Doug likes it.  However, I used frozen pumpkin or any squash and just stirred it in the pan with the rice and rest to heat it through.

Chocolate Caramel Apple Cookies

I saw a recipe for caramel apple cookies and wanted to try it out.  However, the recipe was very time consuming and not what I wanted to deal with.  So, I thought I could make my own recipe and after one tweaking got these bad boys.  And yes they are bad because it isn't easy to stop at one or two or even three.

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/4 tsp rum extract
2 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 8oz bag Heath toffee bits
1 cup diced apples - you want these bigger 1/4" to 3/8"

Cream butter and sugars until fluffy.  Add egg, yolk, vanilla, and rum extract; mix well.  Scrape down sides if needed and add dry ingrediants.  Stir in toffee bits and apple pieces.  Place generous tablespoon on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 325*  for 12-15 min or until lightly golden around edges.  Cool for a min or two then remove from pan to cookie rack and finish cooling.

Note:  I left the peel on the apples but feel free to peel first if that is you desire.  Also use good baking apples so they hold their shape and don't turn to mush. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pumpkin Cornbread

What goes better with chili than cornbread?  Nothing in my book.  While searching around for pupmkin recipes I stumbled on this one at  I made it, loved, and I'm pretty sure I didn't change anything from the original (which usually I do).  This is a sweet cornbread with butter and honey not required, but definately worth it if you do.  Yummmm!

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup cornmeal
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree (either canned or homemade)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup oil
1Tbsp molasses

Preheat oven to 400*.  Grease a 9" square pan.
In bowl beat eggs lightly.  Whisk in pupmkin, molasses and brown sugar.  Stir in dry ingredients.  Don't overmix it.  Pour into pan and bake for 30 min or until done.

Buroch - Dinner in a Roll

This is a recipe from my youth.  My mom would make these "dinner in a roll" for dinner and I at least loved them.  Now I make them for my family.  Doug loves them and my picky children are learning to love.  I serve these with a salad and some fruit for dinner.  You could also serve them with a soup or just take one for lunch at work and heat to eat.  These rolls freeze well for longer storage since they make so many.  I've also made just the filling and stored it in the freezer until I was ready.  When baking day comes, I thaw the meat while I make the rolls.  If you like a little sauce with your roll, I reccommend chili sauce.  Now this isn't the hot asian chili sauce, this is the sweet/tart chili sauce you can find in the condiment aisle usually or just can your own like I do.


3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk, scalded and cooled slightly
3 tablespoons yeast
3/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup butter
1 Egg, beaten
8 cups flour, plus more if needed
1 1/2 pounds hamburger
1/2 onion , chopped
3 cups cabbage, shredded
1. Mix first 8 ingredients as you would for bread. Let rise until double.

2. Meanwhile brown hamburger with the onion. Skim off any fat. Add the cabbage and give it a quick stir fry until crisp tender. Remove from heat.

3. Divide dough into 24 wads of dough.  Form each wad into 5in circles and place 2-3 Tablespoons of meat mixture in the middle.

Fold up sides to form a ball. Place on greased baking sheet.  Let rise for 15 min.

Bake at 400* for 15 min. Top with melted butter when fresh out of the oven.

This makes for large sandwich rolls.  If you prefer smaller rolls then make them according to your desire; just know that baking times may vary.

This recipe is linked to

Friday, October 14, 2011

Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins

Dark chocolate and pumpkin together.  What could be healthier? Or tastier?  Not much in my book.  I can feel good while eating these muffins and enjoy them too.  I stumbled on the original recipe at Giving Up On Perfect; tweaked it a tad and decided that these were moist chocolatey goodness with some pumpkin benefits thrown in.

1 cup pumpkin puree
6oz fat free vanilla yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp each of nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350*F.  Grease muffin tin or line with cupcake liners.
Mix together the pumpkin, vanilla, and yogurt.  Add dry ingredients and mix til blended.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Spoon into prepared muffin tin. (My batch made 12 regular muffins plus 12 mini ones)  Bake 12-15min for mini muffins and 25min for regular muffins.

Linked up to

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pear Cobbler Muffins

These are right up there with the best muffins ever!  At AFewShortCuts I found a recipe for Peach Cobbler Mufffins that looked really good.  One problem though, I didn't have any peaches.  I did have pears though and combining those pears with a choice to make these a little better for you I came up with this recipe.

3 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 cups peeled, cored, and chopped pears (about 3)
7 oz flavored yogurt

Preheat oven to 375*.  Lightly grease or line 24 muffin tins.
Mix together the oil, eggs, sugar and yogurt.  Add flour, soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Mix until well incorporated (may be thick).  Stir in the pears.  Spoon into prepared tins.  Sprinkle with streusel topping.  Bake for 20-25 min or until done.

Streusel Topping
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup flour
2/3 cup finely chopped nuts, optional (called for pecans I used pinenuts)
4 Tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp cinnamon

Mix all together.  Sprinkle 1 Tbsp on muffins before baking.

Enjoy.  They didn't last long in my house.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Chicken and Bean Quesadillas

Adapted from Clean Eating magazine

8 oz boneless chicken breast
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 small to med mango, diced
1/4 cup chopped onion
3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1/2 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and minced
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 can beans (black would be traditional but I used kidney)
3/4 cup shredded cheese (whatever you like)
1/2 cup sour cream

Season chicken with grill seasonings.  Grill, broil or fry chicken until cooked.  Let cool and when cool enough to hand shred it.
In medium bowl combine; tomatoes, mangoes, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice and 1/4 tsp salt.  Set aside.  This will be your salsa.
In another medium bowl slightly mash beans with remaining lemon juice and salt.  Stir in chicken, cheese and sour cream. 
Spread chicken on half a tortilla and fold over.  Now you can either bake these in an oven at 400* for about 15min making sure you spray with cooking spray and turn halfway through or use a grill pan to cook or just a fry pan.   I used the fry pan and cooked with cooking spray until warm and golden brown.  Serve with salsa and a nice salad for a complete and easy dinner or lunch.

Thai Peanut Noodles with Shrimp

Adapted from Clean Eating magazine

1/3 cup light coconut milk
1/3 cup tomato juice
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp fish sauce
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp honey
1/4 +/- crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp Maggi seasoning
1 lb medium raw shelled and deveined shrimp
8oz rice noodles or fettuccine noodles
2 cup thinly sliced cabbage
2 green onions white part thinly sliced, greens bigger pieces for garnish
3 Tbsp chopped peanuts 

In large serving bowl, whisk coconut milk, tomato juice, peanut butter, fish sauce, lime juice, honey, red pepper flakes and Maggi seasoning.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add shrimp and cook till done 1-3 min.  Remove shrimp to bowl with coconut mix, return water to boil and cook noodles according to directions.  Drain noodles well.  Add noodles, cabbage, and green onion whites to shrimp; toss to coat.  Top with peanuts and green onion greens.

We had ours with cucumbers and mangoes

Apple Cobbler?

Looks like it.  Smells like it.  Tastes like it.  So, it should be it,'s not.  This is zucchini cobbler!  If you ever have too much zucchini and are tired of breads and chocolate cake (like that would ever happen) you can make this fake out cobbler.  To make the zucchini look apple like you first peel them, second scoop out the middle part with the seeds, and third slice.  For this batch I didn't care because I could make my kids eat it anyway so you can see the green peel.  However, a couple of days later, when I made it again for a get together dinner, I did and no one knew until I told them.  Very handy to have just in case you have picky eaters and you want to slip in some veggies.  My poor brother-in-law probably wanted to cut me out of the family when I told him.  Hahaha

8 cups slice zucchini or summer squash about 3lbs
2/3 cup lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

4 cup flour
2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2-1 cup coconut depending on taste

In large saucepan combine zucchini and lemon juice; cook for 15-20 min or until tender.  Add sugar and spices.  Simmer for 1 min.  Remove from heat.
For the crust combine the flour and sugar; cut in butter.  Stir 1/2 cup into zucchini mix.  Add coconut to remaining crust mix.  Press 1/2 into greased 9X13" pan.  Spread zucchini mix on top.  Crumble remaining crust mix over top.  Sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar mix; optional.
Bake at 375* for 35-40 min or until golden and bubbly.

Homemade Oreos

So I couldn't tease you with pictures of us eating these goodies and then not share the recipe.  Just be forewarned that these are not for the faint of heart and you will definitely need to add a little extra running to your daily exercise routine.  That said make these puppies and start running!

Lex sure savored hers

2 devils food cake mix with pudding
1 1/2 cup shortening
4 eggs
1 lb powdered sugar
8 oz cream cheese
1 stick butter or margarine
1 tsp vanilla

Combine cake mix with shortening and eggs.  Should be pretty thick.  Form into small balls and bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 8min at 350*.  I use my small scoop from Pampered Chef to form the balls; about 1 1/2 tsp or so worth of dough.  Cool completely.
When cooled combine remaining ingredients together and spread between cooled cookies and sandwich together.  Store in fridge if they last that long.

This was a recipe from my sorority days at college.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Greens and Beans on Toast

When I first saw this recipe I thought, "Yum, except...."  I wasn't really hip on the anchovy paste or the raisins, but I was surprised.  This is a yummy fall food.  So, don't be put off by the anchovy paste or raisins in this recipe.  The taste of the paste is subtle and balanced by the sweetness of the raisins.
Adapted from Clean Eating magazine.

1Tbsp olive oil
2oz anchovy paste
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2-2 cup water
6oz kale, washed and chopped
1 can white beans
1 can kidney beans
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 loaf french bread, sliced and toasted

In large sauce pan or stock pot, heat oil on medium heat.  Add anchovy paste and garlic, stirring until golden.  Add water 1 1/2 cup water, kale, beans, raisins, and nuts and cook until kale is tender and wilted. 3-5 min.  Add up to 1/2 more water if needed or if you want more of a soupy consistency.  Remove from heat.  Place 2 slices of toast in bowl.  Top with kale mixture with juices.  Garnish with cheese.

Guacamole Fettucine

Mexico meets Italy and falls in love.  That is what this dish is.  Your favorites from tacos: guacamole and beef strips; served with noodles.

1 lb fettucini
2 avocados, peeled and pitted
Juice of 1 lime
5.3oz plain greek yogurt
1/4 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1lb sirloin beef, trimmed of fat and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1/2 lb roma tomato, diced
1/4 cup minced cilantro for garnish

Cook fettucini according to package.
Meanwhile smash avocados in medium bowl.  Add lime juice, yogurt, salt, and 1 garlic clove.  Set aside.
In large fry pan; saute beef for 2 min, season with salt and pepper, add remaining garlic and cook for 5 more minutes or until beef is done.
Place fettucine in large serving bowl and toss with avocado mixture.  Top with beef, tomatoes and cilantro.
Serves 8
Just add a roll and fruit and dinner is done.

Raspberry Blondies

Raspberries baked in a soft coconut/almond bar = soft and chewy heaven.  I've made these twice now and both times the pan was gone before bed.   As it was the first time I didn't get a pic so that is why (along with over cooking) I made the second batch and I almost didn't get one then.

1 stick butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup coconut
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup frozen raspberries

Preheat oven to 350*.  Line a 8" pan with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.
In small bowl sift flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
In medium saucepan melt butter over low heat.  Stir in brown sugar until moistened.  Let cool slightly and whisk in egg and flavorings.  Stir in flour until just combined.  Stir in coconut.  Scrape batter into prepared pan.  Scatter berries over top.  Bake for 30 min or until set (mine took 35-40min)  Cool on rack.  When ready to cut left blondies out of pan and cut into 16 squares.

Orginal recipe found in All You magazine and then adapted.

Little side note:  Even over cooked these are still delicious.  Yes the first batch I forgot to reset the timer after the initial 30 min and they were over cooked.  I was surprised at how good they were and had to make a second batch to see if they were still good baked normally and they were.  So don't fret if you forget them for 5-10 extra min.

Zucchini Casserole

Late summer comfort food at it's best.  And it's a good way to use up zucchini that is delicious, but not sweet.

1 1/2lb zucchini
1lb hamburger
1 onion
oregano, salt, pepper, and other italian style spices to taste
1 cup instant rice
16 oz cottege cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2cup shredded cheese
Slice zucchini into microwave bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and cook for 5-10 min.  You're looking for half cooked or so.

Meanwhile, in large fry pan, brown the hamburger and onion; seasoning to taste.  When completely cooked drain off fat if there is any and stir in the rice.

Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine cottege cheese and cream of soup.  Set aside.
Now it is time to layer it all together.  Get out your 9X13" pan and start layering.
First is the zucchini, topped with hamburger mix, topped with cottege cheese mix, and finally topped with the grated cheese.

Bake at 350* for 30 min.  This serves 8-12 depending on how hungry you are or on how much you like it.
 This could also be made lighter by using fat free cottege cheese and cream of mushroom soup.  You can also use 2% cheese, but I wouldn't do the fat free because it doesn't melt as nice.  I like to use the 7% fat or lower hamburger so I don't have to drain the fat.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Potato Crust Pizza with roasted peppers and zucchini

This was dinner last night.  It was amazingly good and good for you coming in at only 361 cal for 1/4 of the pizza.  It was so good in fact that my six year old wanted more and was bummed that dad was taking the leftovers to work for lunch.  I found the original recipe in the July issue of Clean Eating magazine.  Originally it called for eggplant instead of zucchini, but since I hate eggplant and have a lot of zukes I swapped ingredients.  I also added some fresh basil to the herb mix. 

1lb red peppers or one jar roasted red peppers
1lb zucchini washed and cut into 1/2" slices
1 1/2 lbs potatoes, scrubbed well
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 Tbsp sliced fresh basil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Roast the red peppers in 475* oven for 15-20 min.  Place in bowl covered with plastic wrap or just in a gallon Ziploc bag.  Set aside until cool enough to handle.  Peel and slice peppers into strips or just use a jar of roasted red peppers and slice them.
Meanwhile, line baking sheet with foil.  Spray with cooking spray and place zucchini slices on.  Roast in oven for 15 min at 375*.  Meanwhile, shred potatoes and place directly in bowl of cold water to prevent browning.  Spray a baking pan with cooking spray.  Squeeze water out of potatoes and place on kitchen towel.  Twist and squeeze remaining water out of potatoes.  Spread on sprayed pan to 1/8" thick; make sure all the potatoes are connected to make your crust.  Bake at 375* for 20 min.  Remove from oven sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste; and top with peppers, zucchini, herbs and cheese.  Bake for 20 min until golden brown.
Slice and eat.  We had ours with salad and melon.