Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Rustic Blueberry Apple Galette

This recipe was created on a whim. I just wanted to bake something original but didn't know after looking through my pantry and fridge this is what I came up with. I think it turned out beautiful! 

Pastry dough (I used my homemade pie crust recipe)
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 apple cut into small cubes
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
zest of one lemon
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
pinch of salt

 Pie Crust Recipe
1 cup flour
1/2 cup chilled butter cut up in cubes
 1/4 tsp salt
 1/4-1/3 cup tepid water
 2 tsp white vinegar

Make pie crust and set aside (or store in fridge while you mix fruit mixture)
Combine all the filling ingredients in a medium sized bowl stirring well to make sure all the sugar and cornstarch coats the fruit evenly. Set aside while you roll out pastry dough. Roll out into about a 10 inch circle and place on baking sheet. Pour fruit mixture in the center and fold up the edges of dough. (it's rustic, so it doesn't need to be perfect) Brush edges of dough with an egg wash (one beaten egg, and brushed on) then sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake @ 375 degrees for about 45-50 minutes or until beautiful golden brown! Let rest before slicing.You can substitute whatever fruits you like...wouldn't a Pear Galette be delicious!?

Sneaky Delicious Chocolate Pie

I am a type 1 diabetic and have been for 20 years now. I LOVE to bake sweets and treats of all kinds but I rarely get to eat them. (and feel super guilty when I do) So this recipe is for me!! Zero sugar, low carb, only about 130 calories a slice...and SO silky delicious!! One secret ingredient...don't be scared...TOFU!! But you'll never know it's in there! I made a few changes from the original recipe and you can make whatever changes you like that suits you! 

1 pkg of silken or firm tofu (about 13 oz) I like the firm better for this recipe
2 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp almond milk (any milk will work here)
1/8 tsp salt
10 oz. sugar free chocolate chips (yes! somebody must have made these just for me! and thank you!) you can use regular chocolate chips if you aren't too concerned about it being completely sugar free.
2 tbsp agave nectar, (or sweetener of choice)
Prepared pie crust...I even found a sugar free graham cracker crust! Somebody out there loves me!

Melt the chocolate either over a double broiler or in the microwave. Then throw all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into a prepared pie crust and chill. The longer it sits in the fridge the more it firms up. Can you even taste the tofu??? I didn't think so!!!!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Homemade Cheez-It Crackers

So I've come across a few different recipes for these Cheez-It crackers and thought I should give it a whirl... They are so much better than the kind you buy in a box at the store! Flaky, crispy, and super tasty! A snack that you and your kids will love! There are many different ways you can switch them up too. Here is a basic recipe to start!

1 cup flour
 8 oz. cheddar cheese (you could use a pepper jack cheese, parmesan, or colby jack. This is where you can really have fun with it!)
4 tbsp cold butter
3/4 tsp salt
 1/4 tsp paprika 
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (totally optional. if you want no heat, leave it out!)
Cold water
*Make them Italian & add some Italian herbs & use Parmesan for your cheese* Oh Yeah!!

Combine all ingredients in a food processor, or you can do it by hand with a pastry blender. Mix until crumbly. Add cold water, 1 tbsp at a time until the mixture forms into a dough. (around 2-3 tbsp water) Form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour. I was too impatient to wait an hour so I stuck mine in the freezer for about 20 minutes and it worked like a charm! Divide the dough into 2 pieces and roll each out to about 1/8 inch on a floured surface. Cut into little squares with a sharp knife or dough cutter. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Poke a little hole in the center of each cracker (a chopstick works well) Sprinkle crackers with some coarse salt and bake at 375 degrees for 15-17 minutes or until the edges are browning and centers are puffed. Watch carefully so you don't cross that fine line between golden delicious & burnt. Remove from baking sheet to cool. Scrum-didilly-umptious!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pasteis De Nata


These are a Portugese pastry that I made for my friend Luisa who is from Portugal. They are sinfully delicious! I hope they have the taste that she is looking for! (if you don't want to make the pastry you can just but buy a puff pastry at your local supermarket)


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour , plus more for rolling
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 10 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter , cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 5 -7 tablespoons ice water


  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 egg yolks 
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla 


  1. Make the pastry.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse the flour, salt and sugar to combine.
  3. Add the butter and pulse until the flour resembles coarse, uneven cornmeal, about 10 1-second pulses.
  4. Drizzle 5 tablespoons of the ice water over the mixture.
  5. Pulse several times to work the water into the flour.
  6. Add the remaining water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and continue pulsing until the mixture develops small curds.
  7. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, shape it into a disc and cover with plastic wrap.
  8. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  9. On a lightly floured surface, roll half the dough to 1/16-inch thickness.
  10. Cut out 6 (4 1/2-inch) circles.
  11. (If you don't have a cookie cutter, a wide-mouth jar works well.) Ease the dough circles into a 12-cup (4-ounce capacity) nonstick muffin tin, pressing out any overlapping folds.
  12. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  13. Place the tin in the freezer for 5 minutes.
  14. Remove and trim any overhang with the back of a knife so that the pastry cups are flush with the top of the tins.
  15. Line dough cups with cupcake papers and fill with dried beans or pastry weights.
  16. Bake at 350°F (180°C) for 8 to 10 minutes to set.
  17. Make the custard.
  18. Dissolve the cornstarch in 1/4 cup of the cream in a medium bowl.
  19. Add the remaining cream and sugar, & lemon zest, stir until the mixture is smooth and the sugar dissolves.
  20. Check for sugar granules with a spoon; none should remain.
  21. In a small bowl, blend the yolks with a fork until smooth.
  22. Add the yolks to the cream mixture, stirring gently to combine.
  23. Ladle the egg mixture into the partially baked pastry cups, filling to 2/3 capacity.
  24. Bake in at 350°F (180°C) until the edges of the custard are puffed and middle is still jiggly, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  25. (The custard will continue to cook.) Cool completely in the tin.
  26. The pastéis are best when eaten the same day.

French Dip

 I came up with this recipe about 10 years ago and have been making for my family since. It is one of their most favorites! This is one that I do not follow a recipe for so forgive me if the measurements are not exact. It's always a little of this and a little of that kinda recipe, but I'll do my best!

4-6 pound chuck roast (you can use another type if roast, but I like the chuck)
1 yellow onion
2-3 garlic cloves
1 can cream of mushroom soup+1 can of water
a couple tbsp of beef paste or beef boullion cubes or 1 packet of dry Lipton beefy onion soup mix (I use whatever I have in my pantry for this)
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
2-3 tbsp soy sauce (I like the reduced sodium but I don't think it matters)
 1-2 fresh sprigs of rosemary, don't used dried here.
Any kind of hoagie rolls you like. 
Provolone cheese slices

First generously season roast with salt & pepper. In a large roasting pan brown roast on all sides over med-high heat. Add onion, garlic, soup, water, and beef seasoning. Cover and roast in oven @ 325-350 and cook about 4 1/2 hrs. Or until meat is super tender. Sometimes I will throw in some sliced carrots for the last hour of cooking. YUMM! So once meat is tender carefully remove and place in another roasting pan or any pan large enough and shred or pull the meat. Also take out all the onions and set aside with the meat. (carrots too if you added them) Reserve all the juices in the pan for your Au Jus. Place the reserved juices over the stove and heat over med-low heat. (it's already hot from the oven, we're just heating it enough to dissolve more beef boullion/beef paste) So add more beef boullion 1-2 cubes, or another tbsp of beef paste. Add about 1-2 cups water. Pour in your soy sauce and rosemary sprigs. (for a stronger rosemary flavor you can coarsley chop the rosemary first) Simmer on low about 20 minutes. While it's simmering you can assemble your sandwiches. Slice rolls, fill with meat on one side, cover meat with cheese and butter the other side since we are going to broil the sammys. Broil under your broiler watching closely till golden brown. Usually only takes about 2-3 minutes so don't walk away!! Serve sandwiches with Au Jus sauce for dipping. I like to serve these along with some roasted root vegetables. Hope you enjoy as much as I do!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Pina Colada Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream Frosting

I LOVE coconut! & I LOVE pineapple! Here is a real tropical treat that everybody loves!

Pina Colada Cupcakes
1 box yellow cake mix
1/3 cup veg or canola oil
1/4 cup water

1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
3 eggs
1 tsp coconut extract
1 tsp rum extract
shredded coconut (garnish)

Heat oven to 375 degrees, and fill muffin tin with paper liners.
In a large bowl, beat cake mix, oil, water, 1 tsp rum extract, the pineapple w/juice, & eggs with an electric mixer. Scrape down sides and mix on medium speed for 2 min. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. (makes 24)
Bake 14-19 min, or till toothpick comes out clean. Prepare frosting while cupcakes cool.

Buttercream Frosting

3/4 cup butter softened
1/4 cup shortening ( I like the butter flavored )
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 lbs powdered sugar (for coconut frosting, add 1 tsp rum extract & 1 tsp coconut extract)

Combine all in a mixer alternating the powdered sugar and the milk. Mix to frosting consistency & pipe onto cupcakes. Top each cupcake with shredded coconut.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cinnamon Bun Popcorn...

Do you like Cinnamon Buns? Do you like Popcorn? How about putting the two together?! This is a popcorn treat that you won't be able to resist! Sweet, crunchy, with a hint of warm cinnamon and caramel...Oh me oh my!!

12 cups popped popcorn (carmel seed kernals are the best for this if you can find them)
1 cup pecan halves roughly chopped
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 stick butter (1 cup)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 ounces almond bark; roughly chopped (vanilla is fine)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees- Place popcorn and chopped pecans in a large bowl, set aside. In a 2 liter size microwave safe bowl, combine brown sugar, & cinnamon. Chop butter into chunks (yes chunks is my cooking term here) & place on top of sugar mixture. Pour corn syrup over top of everything. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir to combine. Microwave again for 2 minutes. Stir-and microwave 2 minutes more. Remove from microwave & add vanilla & baking soda; stir to combine. Mixture will foam & rise. Pour caramel mixture over popcorn & pecans. Stir till well coated. Spread evenly on a baking sheet. Bake in oven 30 minutes stirring every 10 minutes. Remove from oven & spread evenly out onto waxed paper on counter space. Melt almond bark & drizzle evenly over popcorn. Allow to dry then break popcorn into chunks. Be careful not to eat it all at's very addicting!! Hope you enjoy my friends!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Roasted Spiced Chick Peas

 I am always seeking out a healthy snack that wont leave me feeling guilty...this is the perfect combination of crunchy, salty, healthy, & most important DELISH!! You're going to want to keep this recipe around for those uncontrollable urges to snack! Watch out...they are addicting!

 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
 1 tsp cinnamon
 1 tsp cumin (curry is yummy too for a more Indian flavor)
 1/2 tsp allspice
 1 tsp salt
 1/2 tsp pepper
 *Note* All of these spices can be switched to your own preference so have fun with it!
 2 cans of garbanzo beans drained, rinsed, & patted dry
 Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium to large bowl combine olive oil and all your spices and seasonings. Toss your rinsed & patted dry garbanzo beans with spice mixture. Spread beans evenly onto a baking sheet pan and roast about 50-55 minutes; stirring the beans about every 15 minutes. Happy snacking!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Super Soft Sugar Cookies with Classic Buttercream Frosting

I am always trying new recipes in search of the very best... I have been making this same recipe for 15 years now because I've yet to find a better one! They are sugar cookie heaven!! This classic butter cream frosting is also the best! It holds up well yet still creamy smooth...perfect for cakes, cupcakes, cookies...whatever! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have for so many years! Happy Baking! Xoxo

1/2 cup butter softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 ½ tsp vanilla
½ cup sour cream
3 ¼ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

  1. Beat butter, sugar, egg, & vanilla with a mixer till light & fluffy
  2. Add sour cream, mix well
  3. Sift together flour, baking soda, & salt. Gradually add to creamed mixture
  4. Beat till combined
  5. Roll out cookie dough on a well floured surface about ¼ inch thick
  6. Cut with cookie cutters & place onto a greased cookie sheet
  7. Bake @ 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Do not overbake.
  8. Cool and frost
Buttercream Frosting-
¾ cup butter softened
¼ cup shortening ( I like butter flavored )
½ cup milk
¼ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp vanilla
2 lbs powdered sugar

Beat all ingredients together and add food coloring of choice. Use for cookies, cakes, & or cupcakes!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Finnish Pulla Bread

I love

to make bread! Especially beautiful breads like this one. Finnish Pulla is a bread commonly made in Finland. It is often served with coffee or tea. However you choose to eat is delicious! I adore the hint of cardamom this bread has. If you don't like this spice, cinnamon would be a great substitute!

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 9 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  1. Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Let cool until lukewarm. 
  2. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Stir in the lukewarm milk, sugar, salt, cardamom, 4 eggs, and enough flour to make a batter (approximately 2 cups). Beat until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add about 3 cups of the flour and beat well; the dough should be smooth and glossy in appearance. Add the melted butter or margarine, and stir well. Beat again until the dough looks glossy. Stir in the remaining flour until the dough is stiff. 
  3. Turn out of bowl onto a floured surface, cover with an inverted mixing bowl, and let rest for 15 minutes. Knead the dough until smooth and satiny. Place in a lightly greased mixing bowl, and turn the dough to grease the top. Cover with a clean dishtowel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch down, and let rise again until almost doubled. 
  4. Turn out again on to a floured surface, and divide into 3 parts. Divide each third into 3 again. Roll each piece into a 12 to 16 inch strip. Braid 3 strips into a loaf. You should get 3 large braided loaves. Lift the braids onto greased baking sheets. Let rise for 20 minutes.
  5. Brush each loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. 
  6. Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes. Check occasionally because the bottom burns easily.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Mango Quinoa Salad

Check out the link above to see me on Studio 5 whipping up this beautiful Quinoa Salad!

  I'm not sure if it's the fresh lime, cilantro, or the sweetness of the mango in this salad that gives it an explosion of flavor...but eating healthy never tasted so GOOD! I love Quinoa!

 3 cups cooked quinoa
 1- 14 ounce can black beans rinsed & drained
 1 medium mango peeled & diced
 6 green onions thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
 1 red bell pepper diced
 1 yellow bell pepper diced
zest of one lime
 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
 4 tbsp olive oil
 1-2 tbsp fresh lime juice 
 1/2 tsp garlic powder
 1 tsp sugar
 kosher salt & fresh cracked black pepper to taste 
 Cook & cool quinoa to room temperature. Combine the first 8 ingredients in a big bowl & toss. In a mason jar or salad shaker combine remaining ingredients for dressing & shake. Pour over salad & toss.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Coconut Banana Bread drizzled with Caramel Coconut Icing... Yes Please!

 Coconut Banana Bread with sweet little bits of White Chocolate & Pecans running through...drizzled with a perfect Coconut Caramel Icing then topped with more Toasted Coconut. This can't be legal!!

 1 cup butter, melted
 1 1/2 cups sugar
 2 eggs
 1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp rum extract
 2 cups mashed bananas (3-4 ripe bananas)
 2-3/4 cups all purpose flour
1-1/4 tsp baking soda
 6 ounces white baking chocolate coarsely chopped (white chocolate chips are fine)
1/2 tsp salt
 1 cup flaked coconut
 1 cup chopped pecans (macadamia nuts would be amazing!)
toasted coconut for sprinkling
 Caramel Coconut Icing
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
 1/2 tsp caramel extract
 1/2 tsp coconut extract
 enough milk to thin (about 2-3 tbsp)

 In a mixing bowl combine melted butter and sugar. Add eggs & extracts, beat on high speed till thickened.
 Stir in mashed bananas. Combine the flour, baking soda, & salt; gradually add to banana mixture. Fold in chocolate, coconut, & pecans. Transfer to two greased 8-in x 4-in loaf pans. Bake @ 350 for 60-70 minutes. Cool for about 10 minutes before removing from pans. Whisk together icing ingredients & drizzle over warm bread & top with toasted coconut. Holy Goodness!!

Coconut Apricot Bars

  • 1 package (16 ounces) white or yellow cake mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves
  • 3/4 cup flaked coconut
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds

  • In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, 2 eggs, butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat until well blended. Fold in dried apricots. Spread into a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan; set aside.
  • In another bowl, beat the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, preserves and remaining vanilla. Add remaining eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Gently spread over cake batter. Sprinkle with coconut and almonds.

  1. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 2 dozen