Sunday, December 29, 2013

Hummus Cups with Veggies

This appetizer is a simple as you can possibly get! It was a huge hit at my last party!! It took me mere minutes to assemble and every single "cup" was eaten by the end of the night! Oh, and it's a healthy little app, too! SCORE!!! This is going to be my new go-to!! Enjoy!

Pre-made fillo shells (click here for an example)
Your favorite store bought hummus, any flavor
Cherry Tomatoes
Bell Peppers
Any veggie you like!

Fill pre-made shells with a heaping teaspoon of hummus. Fill with cut veggies of your choice. Serve cold.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Lemonade Cookies

My friend, Kim, shared these super yummy, tart yet sweet, cookies with me recently. She brought them to a friend's holiday party and we all wanted to know what fancy bakery she bought them from! We were thrilled to learn that we can make them ourselves AND that they are incredibly simple! Yay for that! The cookie part just melts in your mouth while the lemon icing gives the cookies a pop of flavor. They are hard to resist and impossible to just eat one. A perfect cookie for the holidays and yet, with its refreshing taste, a perfect cookie in the summertime, as well. 

Please note that these are truly called Limoncello cookies and are made with, well, Limoncello! Since I don't drink alcohol and never have any in my house, I made them without the liquor. I have had them both ways and they are equally delicious. So, do as you like!!! Thank you, Kim!!!

1 stick room temp butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 whole egg
4 tablespoons lemon zest (I used two lemons)
1 1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
5 Tbl Limoncello plus 1 Tbl lemon juice
5 Tbl lemon juice (this is what I used)

Preheat oven to 350F
Mix butter, sugar, vanilla and salt with a mixer until fluffy. Combine butter mixture with lemon zest and egg. Add flour slowly and mix until blended (dough will be sticky). Place dough on parchment paper or plastic wrap and form into a 10 to 12" log. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours or longer. If you are short on time throw it in the freezer for 45 minutes. (I froze my cookie "log" for four days before I baked it!!! I took it out of the freezer about an hour and a half before I sliced it- they turned out great).

Slice log into 1/2" thick circles and bake on a silpat or greased cookie sheet for approx 12 to 13 minutes. Let them cool on the cookie sheet before moving them to a cooling rack to ice.

For the icing:
Combine confectioners' sugar, limoncello (if using) and lemon juice. Submerge cookies upside down into icing and then set on a wire rack to harden. I had extra icing so I drizzled it over the top of the already iced cookies! Extra yummy-ness!

One batch made around 15 can easily double the recipe for more!!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies

As a blogger I feel like I am always looking for the latest and greatest recipes to share.....the chocolatiest cookies, the cheesiest bread, the casserole loaded with as many ingredients as humanly possible! In this Pinterest-loving world we live in (and believe me, I am one of those crazy Pinterest lovers) it seems that every recipe is on steroids.  No longer are mere brownies acceptable - heaven forbid! We must now load the humble brownie with cookie dough....AND Oreos....AND caramel....and why not pretzels, too? And you know, my dear readers, I have plenty of posts on this site that contain all of these ingredients- all at once, of course! And often when I make these baked-goods-on-steroids, my children and husband have one and are done. The rest get sent to my husband's office. Not that they aren't delicious, they certainly are......but, it makes me wonder if I need to re-visit my roots every once in awhile and crank out a good 'ol chocolate chip cookie to satisfy the troops. And it seems, this is what they really long for.....not an oatmeal, flax-laden, cinnamon chip filled, pumpkin cookie.....but, a simple chocolate chip cookie.

Now, on the outside, these cookies look as simple as you can get.....but, that secret really did add a bit of pizazz! How can a simple 1/4 cup of cream cheese really give a chocolate chip cookie such....depth???.....but, without changing the basic molecular yummy-ness of what a chocolate chip cookie is all about?! Try this recipe and see for yourself. I don't know if I can go back to making chocolate chip cookies without it! Oh, and the proof? Well, this family of mine who is used to homemade baked treats being offered to them every other day.....the ones who eat one only and tell me to send the rest to dad's office.....well, they ate the whole darn batch (minus a cherished few that I gave to my neighbor and the kids' teachers)....there were none left to share after that.....every one of them gone! And the fun thing is I kept the dough chilled in the fridge for three days and baked them to order.

Thank you to the blog Just A Taste (an awesome blog, by the way!!) for sharing this secret ingredient with the world and opening our eyes to all that the chocolate chip cookie is truly meant to be! Here is the recipe verbatim from Just A Taste:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
1/4 cup cream cheese, at room temp
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, cream cheese, sugar, light brown sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture, beating to combine, then stir in the chocolate chips.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for a minimum of 2 hours and up to 3 days.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats. 
Drop 2- to 3-tablespoon mounds of dough onto the baking sheets, spacing the mounds at least 2 inches apart.
Bake the cookies for 9 to 11 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 2 minutes then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tart & Refreshing Cranberry, Celery, Apple Juice

Every now and then I feel the need to share a juicing recipe so you all don't think I just sit around and eat pumpkin cookies all day long! I've been making this refreshing juice weekly. It makes enough for me to have a nice big glass three days in a row (I store it in an airtight glass container in the fridge and I use a masticating juicer). The tart cranberries, sweet apples and salty celery sticks blend together to make a lip smacking, eye opening breakfast juice that makes me say, "Ahhh!" every time I take a sip! I hope you feel the same way! Enjoy!

12 oz bag of cranberries, rinsed well (about two cups)
8 small apples
1 bunch of celery
lemon, peeled (optional)

Put all the fruit and celery through the juicer. Re-juice the pulp if you have a masticating juicer. Drink within the day or store for a couple of days in an air-tight glass container.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Pasta Salad with Broccoli & Pecans

I love this take on the classic cold broccoli salad. The cranberries and pecans give it a subtle sweetness while the bacon adds a nice salty/savory element. Adding the pasta really amps this typical side dish up to a filling main course.  My husband RAVED while eating - I will definitely make this again! Enjoy!

*This made enough for two adults. It can easily be doubled to accommodate a larger crowd.
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 6 oz cooked bow-tie pasta
  • 2 to 3 heads of fresh broccoli, rinsed and DRIED well
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbl white sugar
  • 3 Tbl red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 4 cooked bacon slices, crumbled
Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans on a cookie sheet for 7 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool.
Cut broccoli florets from the stems and separate florets into small pieces. Whisk together mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar and salt in a large bowl. Add broccoli, cooked pasta, cranberries, pecans and cooked, crumbled bacon. Cover and chill for about 2 or 3 hours.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Chinese Chicken Salad with Sesame Dressing

Oh my goodness, this was good! It was so so so yummy! I was sad when I finished and have been longing for more ever, I'm making this again this week! I'm adding this to my list of favorite salads!!!

Here is the recipe word for word from the blog Foodie Crush (awesome blog, FYI!!):


12 3-inch wonton skins, sliced into 1/4″ strips
1/4 cup canola or corn oil for frying
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 chicken breast, shredded
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted lightly
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 cups cooked fusilli pasta noodles, cooled
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable or grapeseed oil
6 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil (add more to taste if you prefer a strong sesame taste)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt

Heat canola or corn oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When oil starts to shimmer, fry wonton skins in batches of 5-7 strips for 30 seconds each side or until lightly browned, working quickly so they don’t burn. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels until cooled.     


In a large bowl, combine lettuce, chicken breast, green onion, almonds and pasta.
Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk well until sugar dissolves. Dress lettuce mixture with 2-3 tablespoons of sesame dressing and top with sesame seeds and wonton strips and serve.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Cookies

Just as I was obsessed with baking all things apple in September, I am now obsessed with baking all things pumpkin! These cookies are such a fun take on a traditional oatmeal chip cookie. I love the rich, fall flavor the pumpkin pie spice lends to this sweet treat!! I will be making these for Thanksgiving this year. Enjoy!

1 c. butter, room temperature
3/4 c. white sugar    
3/4 c. packed brown sugar    
2 eggs    
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c. canned pumpkin  
2 c. all-purpose flour    
1 1/2 c. rolled oats    
1 tsp baking soda    
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 c. cinnamon chips    
1/2 c. white chocolate chips 
1/2 c. chocolate chips

*Emerald Brand Glazed Pecan Pie Pecans* (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F

Cream butter and sugars in mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla.   Beat in canned pumpkin.  In a separate bowl combine the flour, oats, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Stir dry ingredients into butter/pumpkin mixture. Fold in cinnamon chips, white chocolate chips, and chocolate chips.  Drop onto un-greased baking sheets. If using glazed pecans, gently push several on top of each mound of cookie dough. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.
**These cookies are equally as good with or without the glazed pecans!! You could also use plain pecans if you do not want the cookies to be so sweet.
  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 3/4 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. quick-cooking oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 c. canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 c. cinnamon chips
  • 3/4 c. white chocolate chips
  1. Cream butter and sugars in mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.
  2. In a separate bowl combine the flour, oats, baking soda and cinnamon. Stir this mixture into creamed mixture alternately with pumpkin. Fold in cinnamon and white chocolate chips.
  3. Drop onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 13-15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.

  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 3/4 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. quick-cooking oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 c. canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 c. cinnamon chips
  • 3/4 c. white chocolate chips
  1. Cream butter and sugars in mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.
  2. In a separate bowl combine the flour, oats, baking soda and cinnamon. Stir this mixture into creamed mixture alternately with pumpkin. Fold in cinnamon and white chocolate chips.
  3. Drop onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 13-15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Slow Cooker Cinnamon Apple Tenderloin

This meal is incredibly easy, incredibly flavorful, and even incredibly impressive (and you know it's hard to get "impressive" out of a crock pot meal). My husband loved this savory/sweet pork dish and said to "definitely blog it." I am actually considering serving this at Thanksgiving in an addition to the turkey. I love how I can cook it in the crock pot instead of using precious oven also made my house smell wonderful! Serve this alongside mashed potatoes and a green salad. Enjoy!

1 1/2 to 2 lb pork tenderloin*
1 medium apple, sliced with skin on
3 Tbl pure maple syrup
2 Tbl apple cider
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 onion, sliced

*If you want to serve more people, use a bigger tenderloin. Adjust other ingredients, but, don't make rocket science out of it....just add a dash more spice and a bit more cider, get the gist! It'll all taste good...

Lay pork tenderloin on a cutting board and cut horizontal slits all the way down making little "pockets". Put an apple slice in each "pocket".

Carefully transfer the tenderloin with apples to the bottom of the crock pot. Drizzle with maple syrup and apple cider. In a small bowl combine spices and salt. Sprinkle spice/salt mixture on top of tenderloin. Place onions all around tenderloin.

Cook on High for 4 to 5 hours or until tenderloin is cooked through and tender. Serve with mashed potatoes.  *I think leftovers would taste great on rolls as a sloppy sandwich!!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Vampire Donuts

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Happy Halloween!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


*Donuts (regular-sized; fresh or boxed), vampire teeth (if using boxed donuts, you will need to cut the vampire teeth into two separate pieces otherwise they will split open the donut - trust me on this, I lost a few), candy eyes or chocolate chips for eyes.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Spiced Pumpkin Kiss Cookies

Have you ever had Hershey's Pumpkin Kisses? They are the perfect autumn sweet for anyone who loves pumpkin! They are tasty straight out of the bag, but, even better in these fun thumbprint cookies. I made a batch of these the other day and gave them out to my kids' teachers and friends. Everyone asked for the recipe. So, here ya go! Make them soon because these Kisses only come out in the Fall.

This recipe comes straight from the blog Buttercream Blondie:
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon Bourbon <I used 1 tsp whiskey...I'm sure you could omit this if you want to>
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone
  • 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bag Hershey's Pumpkin Kisses

Preheat oven to 325F
Cream butter and sugars till light and fluffy using a hand-mixer.
Add egg, extract and bourbon.
Mix in mascarpone.
Sift dry ingredients together & mix in until combined.
Scoop cookies using a half ounce cookie scoop and roll.
Chill cookies for at least 30 minutes before baking.
Bake for 12-13 minutes rotating halfway through. While they're baking, unwrap the kisses.
As soon as you remove cookies from oven, place the cookie sheet on a cooling rack and press a pumpkin kiss into the center of each one.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Becca's Mexican Stew

My friend, Becca, is not only cute, funny and a great dancer (yep, we take a hip-hop class together once a week), but, she is also a fabulous cook! I seriously love the name of her blog, Home Beccanomics (she used to be a home economics teacher) and her recipes are every bit as clever as her blog name.  This post highlights her yummy Mexican Stew. Seriously, you had me at Mexican....and then again at stew! Now, take a look at the list of ingredients and you will see the makings of a tasty, healthy soup that includes potatoes, quinoa, spinach and avocado. How can you go wrong!!? I did make two easy changes. I subbed the peas out for a can of garbanzo beans and I used a can of crushed tomatoes instead of diced. No bigs! This stew is great no matter how you look at it! Oh, and oh, oh, oh, two out of my three kids absolutely LOVED this! (And don't worry about the third one....he's one of those "I only like chicken nuggets and mac n' cheese" kind of guys!).

Here is Becca's recipe:

1 onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1 tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
5 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tbsp. paprika
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 lb. baby red skinned potatoes, halved
6 c. chicken broth
1 c. quinoa, rinsed if necessary
2 tomatoes, cored and chopped coarse (or a 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained) <I used crushed>
1 c. frozen corn
1 c. frozen peas <I used a 15 oz can of garbanzo beans, rinsed>
1/2 c. chopped cilantro
3 c. baby spinach, optional
1 avocado, sliced
1/2 c. ricotta salata or feta, for serving

1. Sauté onion and bell pepper in oil in a large pot for five to eight minutes or until softened.

2. Add salt, pepper, garlic, paprika, cumin, chili powder and cayenne and sauté until fragrant, three minutes.

3. Add potatoes and chicken broth, cover with lid, and turn heat to high. When it reaches boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

4. Add quinoa and simmer until tender, 10 minutes longer.

5. Add tomatoes, corn and peas and heat through for several minutes.

6. Turn off heat and stir in cilantro and baby spinach, if using.

7. Ladle stew into bowls and divide avocado and cheese between bowls.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Cabbage Bake with Chicken Sausage & Rice

This was truly comfort food at it's best! Not buyin' it? Does the thought of a giant plate full of steaming hot cabbage make you a bit nervous? Make this for yourself and tell me this isn't just the most delicious, flavorful meal you have eaten so far this Autumn! I promise you will be making this simple, quick meal all season long! Enjoy!

3 raw Italian chicken sausage links, casings removed 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped 1 medium onion, chopped 
4 cloves garlic, minced 1 can (14.5 oz) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained 1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
2 Tbl water
1/2 cup uncooked long grain brown rice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 small head of green cabbage, sliced thin
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cook sausage in a large oven safe pot. Use the back of a spatula or a Mix 'n Chop to chop sausage into small pieces. Once sausage is mostly cooked add bell pepper and onion in the pot. Cook for four or five minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute longer.  Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, 2 Tbl water, uncooked rice, and seasonings. Top with cabbage and shredded cheese. Cover with oven-safe lid and bake for 70 minutes or until the rice is tender. Serve hot! YUM!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Creamy Sauerkraut & Apple Chowder

This soup was inspired by a recipe I saw in Food & Wine magazine. I absolutely love sauerkraut, so I was intrigued.  I replaced the two pork meats the original recipe called for with chicken sausage which is lower in fat, yet sacrifices zero flavor. I also added a tart apple. I love this addition and am really pleased with the end product. I served this soup with open-faced Reuben-inspired sandwiches. This was a hearty, tasty meal that I will definitely be making again. Enjoy!

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large onion, very thinly sliced
1 large tart apple, peeled a cut into thin, bite sized pieces
2 uncooked chicken sausages, removed from casings (I used chicken apple sausage)
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 pound sauerkraut—drained, rinsed and squeezed dry (1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup crème fraîche
1/4 cup snipped chives
Melt the butter in a large soup pot. Add the onion, cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the apple and cook for a minute more. Add the chicken sausage and cook about 5 minutes, using a spatula or a handy dandy Mix 'n Chop to break the sausage into tiny pieces. Stir in the flour. Add the broth and sauerkraut and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Stir in the crème fraîche and chives. Serve in bowls with Reuben-inspired turkey sandwiches (see below).
These sandwiches were whipped up in a few minutes using sauerkraut as my inspiration. Turn oven to broil.  Put rye bread on a foil lined cookie sheet. Place in the pre-heated oven for just a minute or two until the bread is toasted. Remove pan from oven and flip the bread over. I made a little sauce out of creme fraiche and ketchup to mimic Thousand Island dressing. Spread a little sauce on the rye bread.  Next, add a bit of sauerkraut, sliced turkey and shredded cheese (I used Gruyere). Broil until cheese melts, about three minutes. Sprinkle with chopped chives and serve alongside soup.   

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Potato & Pear Salad with Chicken Sausage & Pinenuts

I am CRAZY for this salad.... just CRAZY! I have made it twice in the last week and I already want it again. The dressing is devine and the salad ingredients make for a great savory and sweet mix. I must say, I'm pretty proud of this's a definite must make! Enjoy!!
1 Tbl olive oil
2 cooked chicken and apple sausage links, sliced thin (Applegate's Chicken & Apple Sausage is my fave)
1 medium sized red potato, cut into thin slices/chunks
1 firm pear, cored and cut in thin wedges
Salt & Pepper
1 6oz package of spinach
1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts 

2 Tbl lemon juice
2 Tbl cider vinegar
3 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp Dijon-style mustard
1 tsp tamari OR soy sauce
1 Tbl pure maple syrup
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint (don't leave these out- so yummy!)  


Preheat oven to 375 F. 

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add sliced sausage and cook until browned. Add potatoes and pears; cook until browned on edges. Transfer to a foil lined baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Roast, uncovered, for 15 to 25 minutes or until just tender (this all depends on how thin you slice the potatoes and pears....just bite into a potato to see if it's cooked throughout).

While the potato/sausage/pears are roasting, make the dressing. Whisk together the lemon juice, cider vinegar, olive oil, mustard, soy sauce, and maple syrup. Stir in chopped mint. 

Remove potato mixture from the oven. If you want, let the mixture cool for about 5 minutes then mix with spinach and pine nuts and toss with dressing. I like to put the hot mixture straight on the spinach and pine nuts and then toss with dressing.  The hot mixture ever so slightly wilts the spinach. It's all about, do what you like! **You probably won't use all the the rest for another salad tomorrow! Serve with a nice crusty whole grain bread.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Apple Fritter Bread

It's that time of year picking time! Yesterday the whole family headed on over to the orchard to pick apples (we even picked Honey Crisp!!!) on a beautiful early autumn day. We went a bit crazy (I blame my apple-lovin'-husband for this) and bought three pecks (roughly 30 pounds)!!!! SOOOOOOO........I've already made three of these apple fritter breads and I have my dehydrator filled to the brim with apple slices at this very moment. What's next? I'm thinking at least a couple pies, lots of juicing and I think this is the year I will finally make some apple butter! But first, here is the recipe for this glorious bread.....the recipe comes from Rumbly in my Tumbly.

Now go pick some apples and get baking!!!


1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
*1 apple, grated <this is my own addition - I think it adds moisture to the bread. I did not peel>
1 apple, peeled and chopped, mixed with 1 T granulated sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon <I actually minced my apple- I like little tiny pieces>
1 cup of powdered sugar + 1-3 tablespoons of milk or cream, mixed together to a drizzling consistency

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan.

Mix brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon together in a bowl.

Beat white sugar and butter together in a bowl using an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until incorporated; add vanilla extract.

Combine flour and baking powder together in a bowl; stir into creamed butter mixture. Mix milk into batter until smooth. Pour half the batter into the prepared loaf pan; add half the minced cinnamon sugar apples and half the brown sugar mixture. Lightly pat apple mixture into batter. Pour the remaining batter over apple layer; top with remaining apples and brown sugar mixture. Lightly pat apples into batter; swirl brown sugar mixture through apples using a finger or spoon.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes <PLEASE note that I checked my bread at 40 minutes and it was in no way finished....I ended up baking it for 53 minutes and it was perfect!!>

Let cool for about 15 minutes before drizzling with glaze.  Then, enjoy!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Honey Bear Snack Mix

My daughter and I whipped up this fun little snack this afternoon all the while singing "Teddy Bear's Picnic" as we mixed and stirred. This easy to make mix will be a great after school snack for her two brothers who always get off the bus starving and begging for food!!

**If you have a nut allergy in the home, you can always substitute something else for the peanuts, like pretzels or just omit them all together! 

4 cups of popcorn (I used air-popped. If you don't have an air-popper #1. You should get one <microwave popcorn is not good for you> and #2 Use popcorn that has little to no seasoning as you will be adding butter and spices to the popcorn!)

2 cups plain Cheerios

1 cup Teddy Grahams

1/2 cup honey roasted peanuts (optional)

1 cup mini marshmallows

2 Tbl honey

3 Tbl butter

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 300F

Mix the popcorn, Cheerios & Teddy Grahams in a large bowl. Place honey, butter, salt & cinnamon in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for one minute. Remove from microwave and stir until butter is melted and all the ingredients are smooth and combined. Pour over the popcorn, Cheerios & Teddy Grahams and toss to coat evenly.

Pour coated mixture on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place in the oven for 15 minutes. Give the mixture a nice little stir. Let it sit for about 5 minutes to cool. Then add the peanuts and the marshmallows. Let your little honey bears enjoy this sweet snack!!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Indoor S'mores

OH. MY. GOODNESS!!!!!!!!!! I cannot, cannot, cannot express how easy, fancy-smancy looking and completely DELICIOUS these Indoor S'mores are! My kids went bonkers over these! I am super excited to share this Melissa d'Arabian recipe with you, my s'mores-loving readers. Click on this link to the Food Network website to watch a simple, step-by-step video of Melissa making these treats.

Graham Cracker Crust:

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 5 whole graham crackers) <I used pre-crushed graham crackers>
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar <I omitted the sugar>
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Sprinkle of salt
4 scoops vanilla ice cream <I used chocolate ice cream>
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

Quick Chocolate Sauce:

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons whole milk


For the graham cracker crust: Mix the graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar, cinnamon and a sprinkle of salt together in a bowl. Firmly press the crust into muffin tins to make individual crusts <I used the back of a spoon>
Top each crust with a scoop of vanilla ice cream <I used chocolate>. 

Press the mini marshmallows into the ice cream, covering the scoop completely. You will have 4 s'more "domes" <I got five!!!>. Freeze at least 1 hour.

For the quick chocolate sauce: Immediately before serving, heat the broiler to low. Toss the chocolate chips with the milk in a ramekin or small bowl and microwave 30 seconds, stir until smooth and set aside. Place the s'more domes under the broiler until marshmallows brown, about 30 seconds <mine took closer to 50 seconds>. Watch them constantly as they burn easily. 
Place each s'more on a plate and drizzle with the chocolate sauce.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Broccoli with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

This simple side dish was simple to make and tasted great; definitely a flavorful way to eat your greens!

2 heads of broccoli, rinsed and cut into large florets
3 Tbl oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (I buy the kind that is already julienned; this saves time and is a lot less messy)
2 Tbl sun-dried tomato oil
juice from half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
light sprinkling of fresh Parm (optional)

Fill a large cooking pot with a few inches of water and fit with a steaming basket. Once water is boiling, place the broccoli in the basket and cover with a tight fitting lid. I like my broccoli just barely steamed, so, I only steam it for 5 or 6 minutes. Check it at this time and if you want it cooked more, continue steaming until your desired tenderness.

Remove broccoli from the pan and place in a mixing bowl. Toss broccoli with sun-dried tomatoes, sun-dried tomato oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle lightly with fresh Parm, if desired.  Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

S'more Cookies

This Cuisine at Home recipe was very tasty!!! I'm a huge lover of all things "s'mores" (which includes marshmallows, chocolate, marshmallows, graham crackers and marshmallows)! The kids were all over these cookies!!! They helped me from start to finish (including eating their fair share). I love it when my kids get excited about baking. I will definitely be making these again. Enjoy!

1 cup all-purpose four
3/4 cup fine graham cracker crumbs
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
24 large marshmallows, halved horizontally
48 Hershey's chocolate bar pieces (4 bars)

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In medium sized mixing bowl, combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda, and salt.

In large mixing bowl, use mixer to cream butter, peanut butter, and sugars. Mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla.

Combine flour and butter mixture and mix until well incorporated. Use a tablespoon to scoop out dough onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake cookies 6 minutes. Top each with a marshmallow half and bake until golden brown, about 4 more minutes.

Remove cookies from oven and gently press chocolate piece on top. Let cool 10 minutes before transferring them to a platter (or shoving them in your mouth....I'm just sayin'!).

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Pasta with White Beans and Escarole

Ooh this was yummy! Very easy to prepare; light and refreshing; full of flavor.....what else can I say about this quick and simple weeknight pasta dish?!

Well, actually, there is one thing.... I wasn't able to find escarole at Whole Foods (and if I can't find it at Whole Foods I don't bother trying to find it anywhere else). So, with help from the store's "foodies" I settled on Earthbound Farm Organics Deep Green Blends Zen Mix. It was an Asian greens, spinach and kale mix. It was great! All that to say, if you can't find escarole, other types of strong greens will suffice.

This recipe comes from the pages of Prevention magazine:

2 tsp minced garlic  

1 1/2 cups vegetable stock  

Salt & Pepper to taste 

Prepare 8 oz whole wheat farfalle or other pasta per package directions and drain. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 cups sliced onion and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add 2 tsp minced garlic, and cook 1 minute longer. Transfer to plate. 

To skillet, add 6 cups (7 oz) chopped escarole, 1 3/4 cups cooked or rinsed and drained canned white beans (15 oz can), 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock, and 1/4 cup (1 oz) chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Simmer until escarole is just tender, about 3 minutes. Add pasta, 1/4 tsp red-pepper flakes, and salt and black pepper to taste. Toss until coated and well combined. Serve topped with reserved onion mixture.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Hierloom Tomato Pie

I made this tomato pie recipe for dinner last week. It was delicious, just absolutely, down-right delicious!!!! The flavors were rich and complex. The meal felt fancy (especially for a regular ol' Wednesday evening) and would make quite a statement if served to guests or brought to a party. I used two store bought, pre-made crusts and made two separate tomato pies, each in their own 9" pie pan (the directions call for making one large pie......I liked making two....we ate one and I gave the other away; you could always freeze it). I served this savory pie with a side salad and some good quality wheat bread. Enjoy!

This recipe comes directly from the pages of House Beautiful magazine:


2 pounds mixed heirloom tomatoes, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
1½ teaspoons salt, divided
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, halved, then sliced thin
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup homemade mayonnaise
1 cup fresh basil leaves, firmly packed
3 sprigs fresh parsley
1 medium shallot, peeled
1 green onion
1 cup grated Gruyère cheese, firmly packed
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, firmly packed
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 1 tablespoon for topping
1 to 1½ tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper


1. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, and preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Place the tomato slices on a rack. Salt both sides, using 1½ teaspoons salt total. Let the slices drain for at least an hour to remove excess water.
3. Roll out the pâte brisée or premade crust, and press it into the buttered pan. Poke it all over with a fork, and bake until brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
4. In a heavy skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. When the foaming has subsided, sauté the onions until slightly soft, a couple of minutes, and then add the garlic. Continue to sauté until the onions and garlic are translucent, approximately 10 to 12 minutes total.
5. Place the homemade mayonnaise, basil leaves, parsley, shallot, and green onion in the bowl of a food processor, and blend until the mixture is green and fully mixed, approximately 1 minute.
6. In a large mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise mixture, Gruyère, cheddar, and ½ cup Parmesan, stirring thoroughly.
7. Spread mayonnaise-cheese mixture evenly over the cooled crust.
8. Place sautéed onions and garlic evenly on top of mayonnaise mixture, and arrange the drained tomato slices in a pretty pattern on top of everything.
9. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Parmesan and coarsely ground black pepper, and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.
10. Let pie rest for at least 30 minutes. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold with additional basil mayonnaise.

For the Perfect Homemade Mayonnaise

Yield: 1 cup
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
¾ cup neutral-tasting vegetable oil


1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine all ingredients except the oil.
2. Process ingredients until the yolks are thick and sticky, about 2 minutes.
3. Continue to process, adding the oil slowly in a steady stream through the opening in the top of the processor, making sure it is getting fully incorporated. Once all the oil has been added, the mayonnaise should be thick, luxurious, and fully emulsified.

For the Pâte Brisée

You can buy ready-made crust, but this is my standard, foolproof recipe, the exact quantity for a 9 × 13 baking pan.
2 cups all purpose flour
½  teaspoon salt
½  teaspoon sugar
8  tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
3  tablespoons tasteless vegetable oil
5  tablespoons ice water


1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse all ingredients together until coarse crumbs form. Do not over-process, or the crust will be tough.
2. Pour crumbs out onto a floured surface, and knead a couple of time to bring them together.
3. Roll dough into a ball, and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rest for at least an hour in refrigerator, before rolling out to desired thickness.
4. Prick with a fork, and bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes until golden brown, and let completely cool before filling.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Quinoa with Corn, Scallions & Mint

Over the weekend my husband and I took the kids to an orchard where we picked peaches and corn. I have never plucked an ear of corn off a stalk before.  It was actually hard work which required a lot of elbow grease; those ears were on there pretty tight! We picked a copious amount of corn for a family of five!!! But, the corn is sweet, white, and bursting with flavor, so I'm not too upset about the amount we have (not to mention my children love corn on the cob! Have you ever seen two seven year old boys, both missing their two front teeth, attempt to eat corn on the cob? It's pretty comical, let me tell ya!).

My friend, Gina, shared this Epicurious recipe with me. It is very light, of course yummy, and would make a nice side at a BBQ! Enjoy!!
  • 4 ears corn, shucked
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon mild honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups quinoa (about 10 oz)
  • 4 scallions, chopped <aka green onions>
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
Put corn in a 5- to 6-quart wide pot, then add water to cover and bring to a boil, covered. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Transfer corn with tongs to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, cut kernels off cobs with a large heavy knife.
Meanwhile, whisk together lemon zest and juice, butter, honey, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until combined.
Wash quinoa in 3 changes of cold water in a bowl, draining in a large sieve each time.
Cook quinoa in a 4- to 5-quart pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in sieve, then set sieve over same pot with 1 inch of simmering water (water should not touch bottom of sieve). Cover quinoa with a folded kitchen towel, then cover sieve with a lid (don't worry if lid doesn't fit tightly) and steam until quinoa is tender, fluffy, and dry, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand (still covered) 5 minutes.
Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed, then stir in corn, scallions, mint, and salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Heath(ier) Almond Joy Cookies

I LOVE these cookies; no, seriously, LOVE THEM! I do happen to have a coconut obsession, as well as an almond obsession.....and I do love me some healthy eats! So, when I saw this cookie recipe on My Whole Food Life I was immediately smitten. They are crumbly and yummy and I don't feel quite so guilty eating three of them at once. A glass of milk is recommended. Enjoy!!!

1 1/2 cup oat flour <I found oat flour at Whole Foods>
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut <I used sweetened coconut because it was all I had>
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 egg OR flax egg replacer
1/2 dark chocolate bar roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl. (You can actually grind up some rolled oats to make oat flour). In a saucepan on med heat, combine the almond butter, coconut oil and maple syrup and stir until smooth. Let mixture cool. Once it’s cooled add it to the dry ingredients and also add the vanilla, egg and almond extract. Once everything is well combined, fold in the dark chocolate. Drop cookies onto a greased baking sheet <I pressed my cookie balls into a flat-ish shape because these cookies do not flatten as they bake>. Bake for about 12 minutes. I got about 12 good sized cookies out of my batch. Store them in a jar if they will be eaten quickly. For longer storage, keep them in the fridge or even freeze them.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sunny Green Juice

I think this is my new favorite juice!! I loved it from the first sip to the last and was sad when it was gone (I never shared any of it with my husband....I completely hoarded the entire batch). Spinach has a much milder taste than, this juice tasted like it was just fruit! A delicious, sunny cup of happiness. Enjoy!

3-4 large handfuls of organic spinach
1 organic cucumber
2 organic apples
2 oranges
1 lemon
1 handful of mint
1 small nub of ginger (optional)

Put all the veggies/fruit through the juicer. Re-juice the pulp. Drink within the day or store for up to one day in an air-tight glass container.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Chocolate Oatmeal Cake with Frosting

Okay, so I have to be honest, I never actually tasted this cake (I'm trying not to eat sugar, hence my lack of baking posts recently)....oh boy did it look good, though! The batter looked delectable (I summoned up all of my will power) and the cake smelled incredible as it was baking in the oven. I sent the finished product into my husband's work. I love sending in yummy treats to his office (don't you think a well-fed workplace is just a happier place all-round?) and I have been feeling very bad about neglecting them with goodies (and neglecting to post baking recipes!!!). Anyhow, my husband was told to tell me by the office gals that I needed to post this recipe STAT (which makes me assume this cake must be quite delicious). So, Carol et al., this one is for you!

This recipe comes straight from my newest fave blog Pinch of Yum:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten with fork
  • 1¾ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats*
  • 1¾ cups boiling water
  • 1 12 oz bag chocolate chips, divided (go for the Ghirardelli*)
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ½-3/4 cup chocolate chips (Ghirardelli again, please)
  • ½-3/4 cup mini marshmallows*
  1. Preheat oven to 350. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars. Add the eggs and mix well.
  2. Add flour, soda, salt and cocoa and mix until just incorporated. The batter will be very thick.
  3. Add water to oatmeal and let stand for a few minutes. Once oats are soft, add oats/water mixture to the batter and mix well. Stir in half of the bag of chocolate chips (6 ounces).
  4. Pour into a greased or buttered rectangular 9×13 cake pan. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the rest of the bag of chocolate chips (6 ounces).
  5. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until the surface springs back lightly when touched and your house smells amazing. Do not overbake. Let cool completely.
  6. For the frosting, melt the butter, sugar, and milk in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring to a boil and boil for 30 seconds.
  7. Reduce heat to low and add chocolate chips and marshmallows. Stir or whisk until frosting is smooth. Pour immediately over the cooled cake. The frosting crystallizes almost immediately as it cools so it’s important to get it on the cake while it’s still piping hot. Allow the frosted cake to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Or… not.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Chipotle Sweet Corn Fettuccine

This vegetarian pasta dish had a rich creamy flavor (minus all the cream of a typical Alfredo-type sauce). The fresh corn had a subtle sweetness that paired well with the spicy chipotle (add more if you like it spicy -  I found one pepper to be very mild). I used fresh fettuccine from Whole Foods, too (gosh, do I love their fresh pastas).

I am seriously loving the blog Pinch of Yum from whence this easy to make dinner came. Check her out! She has a ton of vegetarian dishes (which I love) and lots of other yummy recipes, too.


  • 4-6 ears of fresh sweet corn
  • 1 lb. uncooked fettuccine noodles
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup half and half
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup water (the stuff that you boiled the corn in is best)
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt – I used Chobani plain low fat
  • 1 single chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
  • cilantro for serving
  1. Corn: bring a large pot of water to boil. Place the ears of sweet corn in the pot, cover, and remove from heat. Let the ears “cook” for a few minutes before taking them out and letting them cool. (This helps partially cook the corn so it’s not so raw, but this step is optional.)
  2. Corn: Cut the corn off the ears. Place the corn kernels in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat with no oil or butter. Let the corn sit for a few minutes with stirring. Stir once, and let it sit again so that the outside of the corn gets roasty-looking. When the corn is as browned as you want it, remove from the heat.
  3. Pasta: Cook the pasta according to package direction. Keep a little bit of the pasta water.
  4. Sauce: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Add the garlic and saute until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Don’t burn the garlic – it will taste bad. Add the flour and stir for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk, half and half, salt, and corn water until the sauce is smooth. Finally stir in the Greek yogurt and the chipotle pepper. Combine the sauce, pasta, and corn in one large pot. Add extra Greek yogurt or pasta water to get the desired consistency for your sauce. Sprinkle with cilantro for serving. Basil would be nice, too.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sweet Veggie Juice

I can't tell you how proud I am of my MANY friends and family who have recently started juicing!! SO proud! I am inspired by these friends to keep posting new juice recipes. This recipe comes from the book The Healthy Juicer's Bible by Farnoosh Brock. This book has some very interesting recipes that include ingredients I would never think to juice. For example, raw garlic, which this Sweet Veggie Juice contains. It is actually so delicious and brings a great zing to the juice.

One of my BFFs, Gina, who is brand-new to juicing, texted me yesterday and said, "Is it me or is juicing theraputic?" And I responded, "YES!!" And in many ways, it really is. It gives me that same calming feeling that baking does, however, it yields a much healthier product than a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

This veggie juice is deliciously sweet (although, technically, tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers are all fruits- but, since they have a more "savory" flavor and are low in sugar, they are often grouped in the vegetable category). The garlic and ginger give it a great pop! I'm seriously loving this recipe and will be making it often in the future.


4 large carrots
2 tomatoes
1 large cucumber
1 yellow or red bell pepper
1 small chunk of ginger
1 clove of garlic (optional if this makes you nervous)

If you have not bought organic fruits, you need to use a veggie wash to remove the chemicals from the skins. It is also a good idea to remove the waxy skin of a conventional cucumber. So, spend the extra $2 and buy organic! You are worth it!

Put all fruits through the juicer. Re-juice the pulp. Drink juice within the day or store in an air tight, glass container for no longer than 36 hours.