Thursday, November 27, 2014

Almost Cheesecake Caramel Apple Crumb Bars

If you wish for one thing this holiday season, let it be this. And you are welcome- I did all the conversions myself, and it turned out great. (original metric recipe here) So great, that by the time I thought 'Oh! I should get a picture of this fantastic dessert I made,' every last morsel had been devoured. It is really that good. And if you happen to have some Honeycrisp apples? ALL THE BETTER! USE THEM! I've since made it a second time... for uh, dinner. But all I could do was snap a hasty phone pic before digging in.

Base and topping:
1 c. quick-cooking oats, ground

1 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

1 large apple, cubed
1 tbl sugar
1 tbl flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 c. Greek yogurt
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 c. flour

Caramel sauce:
Dulce de leche
Some milk

Preheat oven to 350F.

1) Make the base & crumbs: mix together oats, flour, cinnamon, sugar and salt. Add butter. Mix using your fingertips until crumbs form. Press 2/3 of the mixture into a 8x8inch baking dish. Reserve 1/3 for the topping. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

2) Make the filling: First, mix apple cubes with 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon flour and 1 teaspoon cinnamon and set aside. In another bowl, mix together Greek yogurt, sugar, egg and flour. Pour the mixture over the crust. Sprinkle apples on top (do not press!) and sprinkle crumb topping (don't press as well. It will stick together while baking). 

3) Bake at 350F for 25-35 minutes or until set. (closer to 35 mins) Allow to cool, or refrigerate.

4) Make the caramel sauce: Heat up a few tablespoons of the dulce de leche in a small saucepan, add a bit of milk if it's too thick. Make the caramel sauce immediately before serving. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pretzel Bites & Pretzel Dogs

More back to school lunch ideas! Except it was hard for me to save enough of these to pack into lunch the next day- they were to delicious to stop tasting. Next I'm taking it a step further and using the pretzel dough wrapped around a hot dog. The girls are having a fundraiser for school in which they are selling these pretzel dogs 6 for $19. Haaaa- I'll write the school a check straight out and make my own for way cheaper- thanks for the idea though! 


1 c milk
1 pkg active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tbl)
3 tbl packed light brown sugar
8 tbl butter
1 tea fine salt
1/3 c baking soda
2 tbl coarse salt

Warm the milk in a saucepan to about 110 degrees, just a nice temp that doesn't hurt your finger. Pour the milk into a large mixing bowl, sprinkling the yeast on top. Let the yeast soften about 2 mins then stir in the brown sugar & 1 cup flour.

Soften 2 tablespoons of the butter (don't melt it!) and stir it into the mix. Add the remaining 1 1/4 flour & the fine salt to make a sticky dough. Turn it onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 mins. 

Cover the bowl & let it sit for about an hour until doubling in size.

Preheat oven to 450. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray. Dissolve the baking soda into 3 cups of water in a shallow baking dish. Set pan by the prepared baking sheet.

Punch the dough down and turn it onto a floured surface, divide the dough into 6 pieces. 

If you want 6 pretzels, roll out and make a 24-30 in rope. Shape into a pretzel. For bites, stretch and roll out into ropes, then cut into smaller bites. 

Gently dip the pretzel or bite into the soda solution, then arrange on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt.

Bake until golden, 8-10 mins for bites, 10-12 mins for pretzels. While they are baking melt the remaining 6 tbl butter and pour into a shallow dish. Set next to a cooling rack.

After cooking, brush the pretzels with melted butter & let cool.

Pretzel dogs:
Wrap the dough around a hot dog (I used a jumbo beef dog here) and dunk the whole thing in the baking soda mix then line on a baking sheet with parchment paper. (I didn't salt them, and they were plenty salty without the added spice) Bake for about 13 mins, or as the dough is golden, but not burned on the bottom- It's a delicate dance! Brush with butter & let cool slightly before serving. We loved ours dipped in mustard! 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Blueberry or Cranberry Lemon Scones

Guys. This post was eaten up somehow. And I had already deleted the images to make room for more silly videos of my kids doing ridiculous stuff. So I'm scamming my own Instagram feed. Because... HELLO GORGEOUS!

These are the perfect not-too-sweet snack to toss into a lunchbox in the morning. A very not-a-cookie-because-I'm-a-SCONE! kind of treat. The recipe is adapted from one a friend turned me onto here. I've added the lemon, which WOWZA, punches up the volume a million percent. But of course if you don't have a lemon on hand (although this recipe alone should persuade to keep a backup lemon at all times) they are great without it. Same thing with changing out the dried blueberries & cranberries. Different flavors, I love them both, don't make me choose. Just don't use the Ocean Spray dried cranberries. I know too much about the seedy underbelly of that nonsense. I picked some up at Sprouts, but Trader Joes, or even our Smiths has some regular dried fruits for not-all-your-monies. 

To the recipe! 

1 1/2 c. plus 2 tbl flour
1/4 c. sugar
2 tea. baking powder
pinch of salt
1 c. dried fruit (blueberries, cranberries, get creative!)
zest of one lemon (or orange, maybe?)
1 c. heavy cream
2 tbl butter, melted

Preheat your oven to 375. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and stir around. Then add the fruit & zest, and mix, slowly adding the cream until moist. On parchment lined baking sheets, form into balls and flatten the top to accept the brushed on butter. Brush on the butter and sprinkle some sugar on top. (optional, but seriously, you should). Bake for 15-20 mins until golden brown. Enjoy. Try not to eat too many in one sitting. Well, scratch that. Eat the whole batch while no one's looking. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Summer Macaroni Pasta

Oh, no! Have I really devoured all of this pasta salad?! How could this be? I just made it, right? Well, it is so delicious, and I have been eating it for every meal... so perhaps this is a keeper recipe. Yes. For certain. Hurry, let's take a picture before I inhale the last few bites!

Oooooo.... WAIT! I bought some extra ingredients the last time I was wandering the aisles of our grocery store! I could make yet ANOTHER double batch of this gloriousness-in-a-bowl. Let me turn off the television right now and hie to the kitchen! 

BWAHAHA! I AM THE CHAAAAAMPION, my frieeeeeend! And I didn't even have to turn on the oven, further heating up this hot hot house! Just the ticket for a sweaty summer evening. 

Now, here's how you can be as obsessed with a salad like I am. (original recipe here. I basically just double it, because really; You should) I'm guessing you could probably drop anything you happen to have in your fridge in this. I'm thinking about tossing some diced chicken bits for some protein, school lunch season IS just around the corner! 

2 cups small pasta
2 cups tiny broccoli florets
1 cup diced cucumber
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion
1/2 to 1 cup sliced black olives

1 cup mayonnaise
4 tea white wine vinegar (or regular in a pinch) 
1 tea salt
1 tea pepper
1 tea sugar

Boil the pasta until just cooked, toss the broccoli in for 30 seconds, then drain. Mix up the dressing, and coat all the veggies & pasta. Refrigerate overnight for best results. Stir to redistribute dressing, and serve. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Cocoa Pancakes

Sometimes you have One Of Those Weeks. When the pantry is a little... light. But it's summer, so who really wants to tote three kids to the grocery store? Nevermind you're going through some Stuff, and only wanna be eating sweets + carbs. Obviously the only recourse to all that is searching Pinterest for sweet pancakes for dinner.

Who doesn't love a good breakfast for dinner? And breakfast can be tweaked and skewed to be just a HAIR away from dessert, which I FULLY ENDORSE. (Although perhaps I should refrain from using the h-word when talking about food. Ick. Sorry guys) So this recipe. I doubled, and subbed some stuff out for things I had on hand. It turned out really well, I may have eaten... too many.

2 c. flour
6 tbl. baking cocoa
2 tbl. baking powder
4 tbl. sugar (or maybe 3 if you're skiddish on the sugar)
1 tea. salt

2 eggs
2 tea. vanilla extract
2 c. milk
4 tbl. coconut oil

Sift together the dry ingredients, then blend in the wet ones. I usually do all except the coconut oil because the cold milk may make the coconut oil solidify and be clumpy. Bleh. Once it's all smoothed in, then do the coconut oil, and it works much better. Scoop onto a skillet in 1/4 c. portions, it's not a thick mix, and wait for it to bubble in the middle before flipping. Top with butter & powdered sugar. Maybe some berry syrup? It could make for some very delicious concoctions! Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Another Carrot Muffin

Just when I didn't think I could find another carrot muffin recipe that I liked, I found this one.

These are sans glaze because I forgot to pick up cream cheese at the store. YET AGAIN. I'm quite displeased with myself.


1 1/2 c whole wheat flour (or just regular ol' flour if that's what you have around)
3/4 c sugar
1/2 tea salt
2 tea baking powder
1 tea ground cinnamon
1/4 tea ground ginger
1/4 tea ground cloves
1/4 tea nutmeg
1/3 c oil (I used coconut- naturally) 
1 egg
1/3 c milk
1 tea vanilla extract
1/2 c sour cream or greek yogurt
1 1/2 c shredded carrots
Note on the carrots: I usually buy a big bag of whole carrots for other purposes and make muffins with the leftovers, so I send them through a food processor- the consistency can vary with this method, but done really fine the kids don't even notice the carrots!)

4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2 tbl butter, room temperature
2 tbl brown sugar
2 tbl maple syrup
1/2 tea vanilla extract

In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, & spices. In a separate bowl whisk together oil, egg, milk, vanilla, and sour cream. Stir into flour mixture just until evenly combined. Fold in shredded carrots. Spoon evenly into  muffin cups. Bake at 400 for 20 mins. Allow to cool 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
For the glaze: beat together cream cheese, butter, and brown sugar with a wooden spoon or beaters, until smooth. Beat in maple syrup and vanilla until well blended. Once muffins have cooled, dip the tops in the glaze, or spoon the glaze over. Store, covered in the fridge. To freeze: place on a baking sheet in the freezer until frozen, wrap individually in plastic wrap before placing in a large sealable plastic bag to store.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Since dialing back the dairy for Little Man's eczema, I've been reticent to cook. Using milk and butter- it's a staple! But this cookie recipe uses a load of coconut oil instead of all that or yogurt. There is a tad bit of milk, but I'm looking the other way on that one.

After taking them out of the oven, I gleefully downed more than I am admit to. They are DELICIOUS, guys. And since I was making it on the fly, I was none too interested in proper measuring, so my recipe is a bit different, indeed I didn't have any fancy chocolate, just a mostly eaten bag of regular semi-sweet chocolate chips.

1 1/4 c. flour
1 1/4 c. oats (original recipe calls for quick oats, and I'm pretty sure that's not what I have)
1 tea. baking soda
1/4 tea. salt

3/4 c. melted coconut oil
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1-2 tea. vanilla extract (I like my cookies on the less vanilla-d side)
2 tea. milk
1 c. shredded coconut (sweetened is fine- and all I had)
Some chocolate chips- however much you want to use. I probably had 1/2 cup left

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt in an extra bowl. Then set aside.

In a larger bowl blend the coconut oil and brown sugar. Beat in the egg, then vanilla, lastly milk. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients and add in the shredded coconut, then the chocolate. Spoon onto an ungreased sheet, bake for 9-11 minutes. Don't over do it, they should be chewy!

Then enjoy. Your entire house will be filled with the smell of coconut for hours, so enjoy that as well.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Hawaiian Meatballs & Rice

This was a great, semi easy dinner. It made a ton of meatballs, so maybe next time I'll half the recipe, or freeze the remainder. The kids balked at the thought of pineapple (something they are convinced they are allergic to) and did not eat a bite. I ate ALL THE BITES.

1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple in juice
l lb. ground beef
1 c. bbq sauce
2 1/4 c. instant brown rice (I'm going to experiment with half cooked whole rice)
1/4 tea. salt
1/4 tea. pepper
3/4 c. chopped bell pepper (frozen if you can find it- I had to use fresh)

Stir together half the pineapple and 3/4 c. bbq sauce and set aside. Mix remaining pineapple,1/4 c. bbq sauce, and 1/4 c. rice with the beef and season with the salt & pepper. Mash it together until well mixed and shape into meatballs. Place in a large skillet and spoon sauce over meatballs cover and heat to boiling. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Don't roll the balls too much, maybe just once or twice, being careful so they don't crumble apart. It only happened to a couple of them.

Meanwhile prepare remaining 2 c. rice according to package directions, omitting the butter and seasonings, adding the bell peppers.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Pepper Feta Salad

I am not a fan of feta. But let me tell you, if I could ask this salad to be my valentine, I totally would. I got the recipe from my Mom who found it somewhere. (I'll try and find the credits) I could eat it for breakfast, it's a serious temptation as the salad is really the best after marinating overnight. So I make it before bed and have dreams of the crunchy zesty deliciousness all night. It's also easily adaptable.

A major revelation has been finding the Olive Garden salad dressing at our Sam's Club. I love the OG dressing, no matter what you foodies may say, it's the best. I'm sure any dressing would do.

2-3 bell peppers of various colors (red, orange, yellow, etc)
1 cucumber
1 bunch of green onions
3 Roma tomatoes, seeded
6 oz (or less- heh) crumbled feta
Italian dressing

Chop the veggies, tomatoes, and slice the green onions. Drop them into a sealable bowl with the feta and refrigerate overnight. Serve with drizzles of italian dressing. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

One Pot Enchilada Pasta

This was my favorite dish from The Week of Trying One Pot Meals. I could have eaten the entire pot. By myself. Enjoy!

2 tbl. olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 small onion, diced
1 1/4 lb ground beef
1 taco seasoning packet
2 c chicken broth
1 19 oz. can red enchilada sauce
2 1/2 c dry rotini pasta
2 c shredded cheese
green onions, diced
sliced black olives

In a deep skillet or a pasta pot, warm olive oil and saute the onion & garlic. Add in the beef and cook until brown. Drain, then stir in the taco seasoning. Add pasta, broth, and enchilada sauce into the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes. Remove lid and let cook for about 5 more minutes. Take off the heat and stir in 1 c cheese. Add the rest of the cheese to the top and cover to melt. Garnish with green onions & olives. 

One Pot Cheesy Sausage Pasta

I'll be posting a few one pot recipes that we tried last week. Both were big hits. This was my husband's favorite, probably due to Husband's love of sausage. The leftovers are so much better, as the best recipes usually are. I should mention that I used turkey sausage and Husband did not even realize it. So sneaky bonus points for that.

1 tbl olive oil
1 lb Smoked Turkey Sausage, sliced
1 c diced onion
1 tbl minced garlic (about two fresh cloves)
2 c chicken broth
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 c milk or heavy cream (I used whole milk)
8 oz dry pasta (any small pasta will do)
1/2 tea salt and pepper, each
1 c shredded cheese
1/3 cup chopped green onions, for garnish

Heat up the olive oil in a pot, toss in sausage and onions, cook to light brown. Add the garlic for about 30 seconds until aromatic. Add the broth, tomatoes, milk, pasta & salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for about 15 minutes, until pasta is tender. 

Turn off the heat and stir in half the cheese until combined. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top and cover to melt. Top with green onions & Serve. Come to think of it, this would be awesome with some sliced black olives. Black olives for everything!