Monday, November 4, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Chocolate & Peanut Butter just belong together!!
1 box devils food cake mix

1 small chocolate fudge pudding mix (dry)

¼ cup flour

½ cup vegetable oil

1 cup water

4 eggs

1-8 0z. container sour cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine all ingredients in the order given
  3. Put cupcake liners in muffin tin
  4. Fill each liner about 2/3 full
  5. Bake in pre-heated oven for about 25 minutes or until cupcakes spring back when touched
  6. Let cool & frost.
    Peanut Butter Buttercream

    1 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
    1/2 cup softened butter
    2 cups powdered sugar
    1 tsp. vanilla
    2 tbsp. milk or more as needed to thin frosting

    Cream together peanut butter and butter until fluffy. Slowly add sugar and vanilla until combined and there is no more lumps. Add milk as needed to thin frosting until it's smooth enough to easily pipe through a piping bag.
    Frost cupcakes and top with chocolate sprinkles and mini reeses peanut butter cups.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pumpkin Magic Cake

This recipe is one I found on Pinterest and it is ridiculously GOOD. While it bakes the cake separates from the pumpkin filling creating these lovely layers. It is so magically delicious!!! Thank you Pinterest!
 1 box of yellow cake mix PLUS ingredients needed to make (eggs, water, oil)
For the pumpkin filling-
  • 1 (15oz) can Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
 For the frosting-
  • 1 (4 serving size) box vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 8 oz Cool Whip, thawed
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Prepare box of cake mix according to package instructions, then pour into a lightly greased 9"x13" cake pan. DO NOT BAKE. Set aside.
  • In another bowl whisk together the ingredients for the Pumpkin Pie (pumpkin, evaporated milk, cream, eggs, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice), until smooth. Slowly pour the pumpkin pie mixture all over the cake mix.
  • Carefully place cake into the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes or until the center is no longer jiggly, and a toothpick inserted into cake mix comes out clean. NOTE: The cake might be slightly darker than normal, but still tastes great. Let cool to room temperature.
  • Make the frosting: Place the vanilla pudding mix into a large bowl, add the pumpkin pie spice and pour in the cold milk. Whisk until combined and starting to thicken. Gently fold in the Cool Whip until it's completely combined. Spread on top of the cooled cake. Cake can be served now but I prefer it chilled. YUMMY!!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Butternut Squash Mac N Cheese

A healthy twist on a classic favorite!! It makes a perfect side dish to any meal and it's a dish even your kiddos will LOVE. Click on the link above to see my TV segment on this lovely recipe! 
3 cups uncooked whole wheat pasta shells
4 cups 1/2-inch peeled & cubed uncooked butternut squash
1/2 of a minced onion- about 1/3 cup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup milk. divided
3/4 cup freshly grated smoked gouda cheese- fontina cheese would work well too
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup shredded cheddar
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs
fresh chopped herbs for garnish (sage, basil, cilantro, thyme)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare water for pasta and once it comes to a boil, cook pasta according to directions, then drain.
While water is boiling, heat a large cast-iron (or oven-safe) skillet over medium-low heat. Add olive oil, then toss in squash, & onion. Season with salt, pepper and whatever fresh herbs you are using. Add stock and cover skillet, cooking for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until squash is soft and can easily be mashed. Remove cover and reduce heat to low. Mash squash with a potato masher or fork until smooth. Add in 1/2 cup of milk, and all of the cheeses stirring until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes. If mixture is too starchy, add in additional milk , stirring until sauce is the consistency you want. Stir in butter, mixing for a minute or so until incorporated. Taste and season additionally if desired.
Fold pasta into the sauce, so they are all coated. You can top with additional shredded cheese and breadcrumbs and bake for 15 minutes or until golden & bubbly. Serve while hot.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Coconut Lime White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies ~from Our Best Bites

 This recipe comes from Our Best Bites food blog and it is pretty spectacular. These cookies are one of the best things I have ever tasted & I wouldn't change a thing about them... and I don't say that very often! ENJOY!! 
2 cups flour, spooned lightly into measuring cups and leveled with knife
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled until luke warm
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped white chocolate or white chocolate chips
1 cup coconut (toasted or untoasted)
1 cup toasted macadamia nuts; roughly chopped
1 1/2-2 tablespoons grated lime zest (1-2 limes)
Heat oven to 325 degrees.  Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
 With an electric mixer, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Mix in egg, yolk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients & mix until combined.
Add white chocolate chips, coconut, macadamia nuts, and lime zest.  Mix to distribute.
Scoop cookie dough into balls and place on parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake until cookies are set around outer edges, yet centers are still soft and puffy, and appear slightly under-baked, about 9-10 minutes. Cool cookies on cookie sheets for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Banana Protein Cookies

I am always looking for a healthy alternative when it comes to baking. My family loves sugary and indulgent baked desserts, you know... the good stuff. But who doesn't? This recipe is made with zero sugar or flour but is packed with protein, fiber, & all the chewy goodness that satisfies! **Can also be made in Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, or Apple flavored cookies as well... I think Chocolate would be great too!

3 very ripe bananas
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup nut butter- use your favorite!
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt- I use cottage cheese sometimes too
2 eggs
 a pinch of salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. flax seeds
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1 tbsp. chia seeds
2-3 tbsp. sunflower seeds
1 tsp. xanthum gum
2 scoops vanilla protein powder- I've used chocolate too- works great! 
1/2 cup 6 grain oats- any oats will work
2-3 tbsp honey or sweeten to taste with the sweetener of your choice

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl until well blended.
Place heaping tablespoons 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet and bake 18-20 minutes or until dark golden brown. Cool completely and store in an airtight container in fridge for up to 1 week.
**For other varieties- in place of bananas-use 1 1/2 cups of cooked sweet potatoes- canned pumpkin, or shredded apple 
Happy healthy eating! 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Snickerdoodle Bread

I found this recipe on Pinterest but it wasn't Snickerdoodle Bread... it's supposed to be Amish Friendship Bread 
without the questionable, fermented batter you leave on your counter for ten days. After making it I decided it is 
delicious however, it doesn't taste much like the original Friendship bread but more like that of a Snickerdoodle
  Cookie! Call it whatever you like... it is DELISH!!

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 cups buttermilk or 2 cups milk plus 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice

4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

Cinnamon/sugar mixture:

2/3 cups sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Cream together butter, 2 cups of sugar, and eggs. Add milk, flour, and baking soda. Put 1/2 of batter (or a 
little less) into greased loaf pans (1/4 in each pan). Mix in separate bowl the 2/3 c sugar and cinnamon. 
 Sprinkle 3/4 of cinnamon mixture on top of the 1/2 batter in each pan. Add remaining batter to pans;
 sprinkle with last of cinnamon topping. Swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 min. or until 
toothpick tester come clean.

Cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing from pan

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Banana Muffins

 I have been making these Banana Muffins for 15 yrs now and I still make them almost once a week! No bananas ever go to waste in my house.  Of course you can make it in a loaf pan for banana bread too. I believe this recipe came from my Mom who got the recipe from her Mom... it's a keeper!

3 very ripe bananas 
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening
2 eggs
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour 
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp buttermilk- I have actually never used buttermilk because I rarely have it on hand. The perfect substitute is 3 tbsp of milk plus1 tsp of lemon juice OR apple cider vinegar. ( I've used both and either works great!)
extra sugar for sprinkling 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl or stand up mixer combine shortening & sugar and mix until crumbly. Add eggs, one at a time and mix. Add in ripe bananas (I always let the mixer do the mashing but you can mash them ahead of time) add vanilla. Combine dry ingredients; Add dry ingredients alternating with the buttermilk until all ingredients are combined. Line muffin tins with paper liners and fill about 2/3 full. I like to sprinkle each muffin before baking with some sugar. It gives them a wonderful crusty/flaky/sugary muffin top! And I mean that in the BEST way possible! Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. ENJOY!!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Italian Meat Pretzel Pockets

The other night I had a pound of ground beef thawed and no idea what to make with it... somehow I became inspired with this recipe and it's a winner!!! If you didn't want to make the pretzel dough you could still use the meat and cheese and put it in a hamburger bun and have Italian Sloppy Joes... YUMM! 
 Meat Sauce
1 pound ground beef- you could use ground turkey here.
1/2 onion, chopped fine ( green bell pepper chopped would be good too, I didn't have one)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 tsp basil- I used dried, it was all I had
1/2 tsp Italian seasonings
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp chili powder
drizzle of balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

Provolone cheese slices
grated Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan Cheese 

Brown your meat in a large skillet and drain the fat. Add in onion & garlic and season with salt & pepper and saute for 3-5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and all the seasonings except balsamic. Simmer on low for about 8-10 minutes and taste  for seasoning, I add more salt & pepper to the sauce too. Season in layers!! Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and set meat aside.  

Pretzel Dough
This is the same dough I use for my soft pretzel recipe, I made 5 meat pockets and then ended up making 2 soft pretzels with my leftover dough. You could make smaller pockets and get about 10 serving or about 6-7 bigger ones. It's up to you! 
2 ¼ tsp yeast

1 ¼ cups warm water

Pinch of sugar

¼ cup packed brown sugar

3 1/2 cups flour

1 cup water

1 tbsp baking soda

Course salt (optional)

2 tbsp butter, melted (optional)

     In small bowl combine yeast & warm water w/a pinch of sugar

     Let stand for about 5 min while you prepare next step

    In a large bowl, mix brown sugar, 2 cups flour, and yeast mixture. (when its ready)

     Then stir in remaining flour to make a soft dough

    Turn dough onto a well floured surface and knead for about 3 min

    Cover and let rest for 20 min
     Cut dough evenly into 7 pieces.
     With a rolling pin roll out each piece about 6x6 in circle and place 1 slice of provolone in the center of dough then add cooked meat in the center, careful not to add too much so you can still wrap it up. Top the meat with other cheeses. Carefully wrap the meat and cheese by folding the edges of the dough to the center.

    In shallow bowl mix 1 tbsp baking soda w/1 cup water

                      Dip each finished pretzel in water quickly, shaking off excess (this is what gives it a real pretzel flavor!)

  Place on greased baking sheet. Sprinkle w/ extra Parmesan Cheese and

Bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 min or till golden brown. 
ENJOY my friends!!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Strawberry Shortcake

When I think of Summer desserts I think of sweet Strawberry Shortcakes!! This recipe is easy and fast to whip up. And aren't they so charming??
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
3 tbsp butter
1 egg
1 cup heavy cream
Strawberry Sauce-
4 cups fresh sliced strawberries
1/3 cup sugar- use more or less depending on sweetness of strawberries.
zest of 1 lemon
juice of half a lemon- about 2 tbsp
1 tbsp cornstarch
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stir together flour, sugar, salt, & baking powder in a large mixing bowl. cut in butter sill crumbly. Stir in heavy cream & egg. Continue mixing till a dough forms and roll out onto a floured surface about 3/4 in thick and cut into 6 pieces using a 3 inch round cutter. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake about 10 minutes or until lightly golden. Meanwhile in a medium sauce pan combine ingredients for the strawberry sauce over med low heat. Stir to coat the strawberries and cook until thickened and a sauce forms, about 8 minutes. Once shortcakes have cooled slice in half and top bottom half with strawberry sauce and fresh whipped cream then top with the top half of shortcake. Top with more whip cream and dust with powdered sugar. Sensationally sweet!!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Italian "Spring" Bean Salad

Nothing screams Spring like Lemon and Basil-these are a just a few flavors in this fantastical fresh Italian Bean Salad... Perfect for your next barbeque or potluck dinner. YUMM!! 
1 (15 oz) can butter beans, rinsed & drained
1 (15 oz) can great northern beans, rinsed & drained 

 1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, rinsed & drained- *You could use any variety of white beans you like*
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes halved or quartered depending on size of tomatoes.

 1/2 of a small red onion, minced
 3 green onions, sliced thin
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese 

1 cup fresh mozzarella, cubed- (cube it just a little larger than the size of the beans)
3 tbsp fresh chopped basil- add more if you love basil 

1 tsp lemon zest 
salt & pepper to taste
Lemon Vinagrette- 
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 
 1 clove garlic, minced very fine 
1 tsp sugar 
1/2 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper

Combine all the Salad ingredients in a medium serving bowl and toss to combine. In a small bowl or mason jar combine lemon vinagrette ingredients & whisk or shake to emulsify. Pour dressing over the beans & taste to adjust seasonings. The flavors get better over time so dress salad about 2-3 hours before serving. Can also be made a day in advance, just keep covered in fridge. Such bright & fresh spring flavors!!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

All Natural- No sugar- Almond Joy Bars!

Seriously... a dessert that is actually GOOD for you?? YES!! You will never know this is sugar free with it's amazing chocolate/coconut combo... too good to be true!! My last post- Zero Sugar-Chocolate-Coconut-Nut Butter Bites is the chocolate part of this recipe & it works like a sweet charm! But if you're not too concerned about the sugar you could just melt some chocolate chips and spread that over top.

1 cup organic Coconutreat brand coconut oil- you can use any brand but I recommend this, it's the BEST!
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup honey or agave nectar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 batch of the Zero Sugar-Chocolate-Coconut-Nut Butter- or 1 bag chocolate chips melted down in microwave. 

Melt coconut oil in saucepan over med-low heat and stir in shredded coconut, agave (or honey) & vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour in a 8x8 glass baking dish and spread evenly. Place in freezer about 20 minutes or till coconut has hardened. Make chocolate topping while coconut is setting up in freezer. Pour & spread over coconut & freeze till chocolate has set up. 
Chocolate-Coconut-Nut Butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup almond butter or any nut butter
1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and melt together until smooth (can also be done in microwave) Just heat and stir till nice and creamy. Pour over hardened coconut.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Zero sugar-Chocolate-Coconut-Nut Butter Bites

When I found this recipe I never imagined they would be so DE-licious!! They are heaven sent with their silky truffle like texture... YUMM-O! 

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup almond butter or any nut butter
1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and melt together until smooth (can also be done in microwave) Just heat and stir till nice and creamy. Pour about 1 tbsp size dollups in paper lined mini muffin tins. Set in freezer about 10 minutes till hardened. Store in a airtight container in fridge. This made 24 mini bites but could also be made in a regular sized muffin tin. Just add a little more to each tin (you wont get as many though.) Here's to healthy SWEET eating!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Homemade Beef Jerky

This is the perfect on the go snack that is packed with protein, low in carbs, & with no preservatives!! You can switch up the seasonings too... You'll never want store bought again! 

4 lbs london broil beef or 4 lbs flank steaks
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon liquid smoke 
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup Frank's red hot sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar

First place london broil in freezer for about 45 minutes- meat is much easier to slice thinly when cold. 
While it's chilling mix all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Once meat is chilled slice as thin as you can get it- about 1/4 inch thick. Place all the sliced meat in a gallon size ziplock bag and pour marinade over meat. Seal the bag & squish to evenly coat all the meat slices. Refrigerate 4-6 hours. Place tin foil on two cookie sheets and lay the strips of beef all over cookie sheet, but DO NOT overlap. Dry in oven set at lowest setting 150-160 for 3 hours. Flip the meat and dry for another 3 hours. Meat is done when it's dry. I cut my meat really thin so it only took about 2 hrs per side. (4 hrs total) ENJOY!!!
Recipe adapted from

Monday, January 28, 2013

Spinach Artichoke Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

If you like hot artichoke & spinach dip you are going to LOVE this one!! The best part is you can make the filling ahead of time and store it covered in the fridge until you are ready to make dinner...WINNER WINNER Grilled Cheese Dinner!!
Fresh spinach - about 3 cups
1 can artichoke hearts; drained really well & rough chopped(not marinated)
2 cloves garlic; minced
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup cream cheese softened

1/4 cup mayonnaise

 Salt & pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan saute garlic in olive oil for about 2 minutes, add spinach  and saute until spinach  is wilted. Season with a little salt & pepper. Remove from heat & set aside. In a medium bowl combine cream cheese, mayo, mozzarella, parmesan, & chopped artichokes. Taste filling for seasoning. Add in your wilted spinach & garlic, stir to combine. Using your favorite kind of bread, fill with about 2-3 tbsp of the filling, butter the outer pieces of your bread and toast over a skillet till nice and golden brown & cheese is melted to an ooey gooey goodness!

Apple Crumb Pie

I have REALLY been slacking on posting since the holidays but today I've got a special treat that will hopefully make up for it...WARM APPLE PIE. YUMM!!! It's super easy too with only a single bottom crust and a buttery crumbly goodness for the topping... Oh me oh my!!

Pastry for a single crust pie; 9 in- recipe at the bottom for the best pie crust! 
6 cups tart apples diced- you can slice them thinly if you prefer, I like mine diced small
2 tbsp. butter; melted
2 tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp + 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
 1 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Crumb Topping
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sgar
1/4 cup cold butter

In a large bowl combine the first 6 ingredients & toss gently to coat the apples. Pour into a prepared pie crust; set aside while you prepare topping.
In a small mixing bowl, combine cold butter, flour, & sugar. Cut the cold butter into flour/sugar until you get a pea like consistency. Pour crumb topping over apple filling. Bake @ 375 degrees for about 45-50 minutes or until light golden & bubbly. Cool for about and hour or longer. I prefer it at room temperature. ENJOY!!!

  Pie Crust Recipe
1 cup flour
1/2 cup chilled butter cut up in cubes (1/2 cup butter flavored shortening works well too)
 1/4 tsp salt
 1/4-1/3 cup tepid water
 2 tsp white vinegar