Tag Archives: dessert

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Energy Balls {No Bake}

17 Mar

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Energy Bites
These are my new favorite snack and dessert and breakfast. I’ve pretty much been finding any reason to eat them. So much so that we have gone through 2 batches in less than a week. And Saturday night I was having a major sweet craving and just couldn’t get them out of my mind…so I made another batch.
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Energy Bites
They absolutely satisfy your sweet tooth and contain only healthy, all natural ingredients. Major bonus. I’m pretty sure these will become a staple in our refrigerator.
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Energy Bites
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Energy Balls {No Bake}
recipe from Food Doodles
yields approximately 2 dozen small bites

1/2 cup peanut butter (or your favorite nut butter)
1/3 cup honey
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt, if peanut butter is unsalted
1/4 cup cocoa nibs (or chocolate chips)

1. In a small bowl, mix together the peanut butter, honey and vanilla. You may need to microwave the peanut butter a bit so that it’s easier to combine. Stir in the oats, coconut, salt and cocoa nibs. I mixed with my hands.

2. Refrigerate mixture for 30 minutes. Roll into balls and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Energy Bites

Pistachio Puppy Chow {Christmas Tray 2013}

9 Dec

Pistachio Puppy Chow
For some reason this year, almost every treat on my Christmas baking list involves chocolate. Which is weird considering we aren’t big chocolate fans in our house. I was getting desperate to decide on something that at least didn’t involve dark or semi-sweet and then I came across this. Yep, still chocolate but at least it’s white which is Joel’s favorite variety.

Different varieties of puppy chow have been all over the internet and I have saved many of them but I just never got around to making anything but the original until now. I love anything pistachio flavored so this really caught my eye and I thought it would be just perfect to have around for snacking during the Christmas season. Plus, I like to have things beside cookies and bars.
Pistachio Puppy Chow
Another bonus is that this is super easy to throw together. It’s quick enough to make you think you can throw it together while the toddler is supposed to be napping (but then starts screaming for you) and the baby that you put down beside the Christmas tree to talk to the lights starts getting agitated that you don’t feel too bad for letting them be for a couple minutes. They’ll survive, right?

We’re really pretty lucky that any Christmas baking is getting done this year. I’m hoping to get a ton of it done on Saturday so that Joel can take a few big trays to work and we can send some to friends around town. We’ll see how that goes. But in the meantime, we’ll be snacking on this for our sweet fix.
Pistachio Puppy Chow
Pistachio Puppy Chow
recipe from High Heels and Grills

6 cups rice Chex cereal
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 (3.4 oz.) box pistachio pudding mix
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar

1. Melt butter, sweetened condensed milk and white chocolate chips together in a small saucepan. Meanwhile, dump cereal in a large bowl. Once chocolate mixture has melted and is combined, stir in the pudding mix and vanilla.

2. Pour chocolate mixture over cereal and gently stir until it is completely coated. Dump powdered sugar over top and either stir until coated or place lid on bowl and gently shake until coated. Enjoy!

Thanksgiving Roundup

25 Nov

Looking for some last minute additions or recipes for the big day? Here are some yummy breakfast, dessert and side dish recipes that would be perfect for Thanksgiving. I hope that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving spent with family and friends. And who is going out Black Friday shopping? Some new outlets just opened last week about a half hour from our house so that’s what we are doing…wish us luck. Everyone I know that has gone so far has said it was nuts.

Perfect for starting off the day right, Pumpkin Granola. It’s light and healthy and won’t fill you up too much.
Pumpkin Granola

Pumpkin Pie Cashews would be the perfect thing to snack on throughout the day.
Pumpkin Pie Cashews

Share what you are thankful for with these Gratitude Rolls.

These slow cooker mashed potatoes free up that precious stovetop space and still create a creamy, decadent side to that juicy turkey.

Maple Glazed Carrots are a super simple yet delicious addition.
Maple Glazed Carrots

Creamy Cheesy Potatoes are so easy and amazingly delicious!
Creamy Cheesy Potatoes

Brined and Roasted Turkey results with the most juicy and succulent bird ever.

Mini Pecan Pies always grace our Thanksgiving table. They are the perfect little bite that leaves a little room for a second dessert!

Apple Streusel Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze is rustic but delicious.
Apple Streusel Cake

Looking for a rich, dense way to end Thanksgiving? Boom, French Silk Pie.
French Silk Pie

Pioneer Woman’s French Silk Pie

21 Nov

Pioneer Woman
Pioneer Woman
Guess what I did on Monday!?! I met Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman! She came to my hometown for her book tour so my friend Molly and I jumped on the chance to meet her and have our cookbooks signed!
Pioneer Woman
We waited for almost 5 1/2 hours but we finally got to meet her and she was so sweet. I’m not one to wait in line but it was definitely a fun experience and was worth it to meet her.
Pioneer Woman
While we waited, we got to meet that handsome husband of hers and her cute boys. We even got Marlboro Man to sign his picture in the newest cookbook.
Pioneer Woman
So, in honor of meeting Ree I wanted to share one of her recipes that I made recently. Joel absolutely loves French silk pie and in the past, we have always bought one from a local restaurant that he loves for the holidays. Well, I decided that would change this year. I wanted to do a test run before Thanksgiving and I knew exactly where to go for a no-fail recipe that would be delicious. And I totally made the right decision with this recipe. I don’t even like chocolate all that much and I loved this pie. I’m pretty sure I ate more of this than Joel.
French Silk Pie
It was rich, thick, dense and oh so tasty. I love the saltiness that the salted butter lent to the pie. It balanced out the richness of the chocolate and I mean, who doesn’t love the sweet and salty combo?
French Silk Pie
This is definitely gracing our Thanksgiving table and I hope it will be on yours too!
French Silk Pie
French Silk Pie
recipe from The Pioneer Woman

4 ounces, weight unsweetened baking chocolate
1 cup salted butter, Softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 whole eggs
1 prebaked pie shell
Whipped cream

1. In a microwave safe bowl melt unsweetened baking chocolate (about 45 seconds on high). Set aside to cool.

2. In a stand mixer, beat  butter and sugar until fluffy (about 1 to 2 minutes).  When melted chocolate is cooled, drizzle it over the butter/sugar mixture.  Add vanilla extract.  Beat the mixture thoroughly until combined (on a Kitchen Aid mixer, you will be using the whisk attachment).

3. Turn your mixer to a medium speed and over a period of 15 to 20 minutes add in the four eggs, one at a time, leaving about 5 minutes between each egg addition.  Once the pie filling is well mixed, pour it into the baked pie shell.  Smooth out the pie filling and place pie in the refrigerator to chill for at least two hours (preferably longer). Top with homemade whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

White Chocolate Oatmeal Craisin Cookies {Christmas Tray 2013}

11 Nov

White Chocolate Oatmeal Craisin Cookies
Now that it’s November, I think it’s acceptable to start talking Christmas and I’m very excited to be sharing my first treat of the season. My dad loves these kind of cookies so when I came across a recipe in one of my favorite baking cookbooks, I knew it would be a great cookie to whip up and share with you all for your Christmas baking (and take to my parents so that I wouldn’t eat them all).
White Chocolate Oatmeal Craisin Cookies
The original recipe called for cranberries and raisins but I decided to change it up a bit and use craisins instead. The thing that really jumped out at me with this recipe is the use of orange zest. I knew it would be amazing with the tart craisins and it totally is. I love the texture of the oatmeal and the sweet, creaminess of the white chocolate too. They are basically perfect for Christmas. You have to make them, mmkay?
White Chocolate Oatmeal Craisin Cookies
White Chocolate Oatmeal Craisin Cookies
recipe adapted from Best Loved Cookies and Bars

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 1/2 cups craisins
1 Tbsp. orange zest
1 pkg. (12 oz.) white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a mixing bowl then add to creamed mixture. Stir in oats, craisins, orange zest and white chocolate chips.

2. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
White Chocolate Oatmeal Craisin Cookies

The Great Pumpkin Cookies

14 Oct

The Great Pumpkin Cookies
These are one of my favorite cookies of all time. The combination of pumpkin, cinnamon, oats, chocolate chips and pecans screams fall. And they are so soft and chewy, yum. As soon as September hits, the cravings for these start and doesn’t really go away until well past January. Well, if we’re being honest, I could eat these anytime of the year they are so good. But I’m a total pumpkin lover and don’t always stick to pumpkin only in the fall. I think that’s a silly rule.
The Great Pumpkin Cookies
This recipe is from my mom’s best friend, Kathe. She’s kind of the cookie queen in my world (my favorite sugar cookie recipe is from her too). We love to stay up all night baking Christmas cookies together during the holiday season.
The Great Pumpkin Cookies
These yummy cookies are named after “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” because it’s very loved among our families as are these cookies. If you aren’t into oatmeal, be sure to check out some of my other favorite pumpkin cookies here and here.
The Great Pumpkin Cookies
The Great Pumpkin Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup pumpkin
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup quick oats
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine flour, quick oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

2. Add eggs and vanilla to creamed mixture, mix well. 3. Alternate adding dry ingredients and pumpkin until thoroughly combined. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans. Drop onto greased cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes.
The Great Pumpkin Cookies

DIY Vanilla Extract

18 Sep

Did you know that besides saffron, vanilla is the most expensive spice you can buy? Did you know that it’s super easy and cheap to make yourself? Oh, and it tastes so much better than the store bought stuff.
DIY Vanilla Extract
You literally need two ingredients, good quality vanilla beans and vodka. I get my Madagascar vanilla beans from Penzeys Spices and buy them in bulk (15 at a time) so that I always have some on hand and can have several batches of vanilla brewing at a time. As for the vodka, you don’t need to use top shelf but I don’t recommend the cheap stuff either. I used Smirnoff and was happy with the results.

I use the formula of 5 vanilla beans to every cup of vodka so take that into account depending on how much vanilla you want to make. I started with a 2 cup batch in this fun bottle but you could divide it into smaller batches for gift giving or make a huge batch to keep for yourself. A 750 ml bottle of vodka is a little over 3 cups of vodka so if you want to make things really easy, throw all 15 vanilla beans into the bottle and call it good.

To make your vanilla extract, split open the vanilla bean pods and scrape out the beans with the dull side of a knife. Dump the seeds and pods into your vodka, seal the bottle (mason jars work great if you don’t have bottles) and shake shake shake. Store in a cool, dark spot and shake every couple days (I keep mine in my pantry). Now, for the hard part, wait 2 months. As time goes by, the vodka will turn darker and become a rich brown when it is complete.
DIY Vanilla Extract
If you are making small batches, make sure to divide the vanilla beans and vodka between all the bottles (for example, 1/2 cup vodka and 2 1/2 beans per bottle) rather than making a huge batch at once then dividing it when it’s ready. As the vanilla beans sit in the vodka, they continue to deepen the flavor, even after the 2 months, so you always want the beans in with the extract.

Just a little side note, you can also make bourbon vanilla. I chose to go with vodka because it’s more universal and will be delicious in any recipe. From what I have read, bourbon vanilla is better for recipes involving chocolate. I think I will whip up a batch to have on hand for the times I do make chocolate treats. I’ll let you know how it goes. If you do choose to go with bourbon instead, follow the same steps above.
DIY Vanilla Extract
Once you have used up all your vanilla, don’t throw out the vanilla bean pods! Dry them out and throw them in a jar with some sugar to make up some vanilla sugar.

I started my vanilla making adventures quite a few months ago and have just gotten around to sharing the method with you all, sorry. I’ve actually already used about 3/4 of this bottle! But I wanted to make sure to post this now though so that you can whip up your own vanilla extract in time for your holiday baking or gift giving. It truly does give a richer, deeper flavor to baked goods and whipped cream and saves you lots of cash.

I’ve even looked into other DIY extracts (orange, lemon, almond) and am considering making them too so keep your eyes open.

Lemon Coconut Poke Cake

28 Aug

Remember the lemon curd from Monday? Well, this is the reason behind it, Lemon Coconut Poke Cake.

Not only is this cake super easy to make but it tastes absolutely amazing. The flavor combination of lemon and coconut screams summer and was perfect for the high 90s weather that my mom’s birthday brought.Edited-3

The sweetened condensed milk and cream of coconut brought some sweetness to the cake while the lemon curd brought some bright zingy-ness. And who doesn’t love Cool Whip? It’s incredibly moist and almost soggy, but not in a bad way. Like a kicked up tres leches cake, yum! It was just perfect and I foresee it appearing in my future quite often.Edited-1

Lemon Coconut Poke Cake
recipe slightly adapted from Taste and Tell

1 (16.25-oz) white cake mix + required ingredients
1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (15-oz) cream of coconut (usually found with the drink mixers)
2 cups lemon curd
1 (8-oz) container Cool Whip Lite, thawed
2 cups sweetened coconut

1. Mix and bake white cake according to package directions. Remove cake from oven and poke all over with a wooden skewer.

2. Whisk together sweetened condensed milk and cream of coconut together and pour over warm cake. Allow cake to cool on cooling rack.

3. Spread lemon curd over cooled cake. If you are not serving the cake right away, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. To serve, spread Cool Whip over the lemon curd and sprinkle with coconut. Enjoy!

Lemon Curd

26 Aug

I love lemon desserts. Besides pumpkin, it is my favorite flavor for sweets. I have always wanted to make a homemade lemon curd but I just never have known what to do with it. Well, I found the perfect reason when my mom’s 50 birthday rolled around. We ordered a cake from our favorite bakery for after her birthday dinner but I wanted to make something homemade to surprise her with at work. And it was so delish! Don’t you want to know what it is? No worries, I will be sharing it with you this week.

I know lemon is a spring or summer flavor and it’s winding down but my mom feels the same way about lemon as I do so I knew it would be perfect. It all starts with this zippy homemade lemon curd. Although it takes a little bit of time to whip up and you have to allow time to cool, it is so much better than the store-bought version (and a lot cheaper too). Plus, I usually have all the ingredients on hand…can’t really beat that.

Lemon Curd
recipe from Taste and Tell

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 4-6 lemons)
zest from 1 lemon
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup butter, cut into small cubes

1. Fill a small pot with about 1 inch of water and place on the stove over medium heat.

2. In a larger glass bowl, (you’ll want it big enough to sit on top of the pot of water on the stove without the bowl touching the water), combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and eggs.  Whisk well.  Place on the pot on the stove, and start whisking.

3. Whisking the whole time, cook until the mixture starts to thicken and will coat the back of a spoon.  This will take anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes.  Once it has started to thicken, start adding in the butter.  Add the butter, one cube at a time, waiting until one cube is almost melted before adding the next.  Once all the butter has been incorporated, transfer the curd to a jar or container and refrigerate until cool.

Frosted Zucchini Brownies {Gluten and Lactose Free}

23 Aug

Frosted Zucchini Brownies
My zucchini supply is finally starting to wind down, thank goodness. As much as I normally like zucchini, I will be happy to not see it for awhile. I had picked the last few right before we were heading out for Kansas City to visit our new nephew and see the Royals play the Red Sox and I knew I wouldn’t have time to do something with them for dinner but didn’t want them to go to waste. So, I decided I would whip up a baked good to bring along for the weekend.

I’ve mentioned before that our nieces eat gluten and lactose free so that can sometimes make things difficult. A lot of gluten-free recipes I come across use about 50 (exaggerate much?) different kinds of flours that I just don’t want to invest in since it’s only a once and awhile thing for us. But I do always keep a box of gluten-free all-purpose flour around for such occasions. I have had pretty good success switching the gluten-free version for regular flour in most recipes.
Frosted Zucchini Brownies
When I whipped up these brownies, I followed the recipe exactly and the batter was incredibly dry and I just didn’t feel comfortable with it. I decided to mix in an egg and then it was the perfect consistency. And an added bonus was that it made them more dense, rich and cake-like. The zucchini kept them moist and I promise you can’t taste it in the finished product. It’s almost like it melts away in the batter.

This may not be the healthiest way to use up that last bit of zucchini growing in your garden but it is quite delicious and is still a way to sneak in some veggies. You could totally trick your kids or significant others…I tried with Joel but he isn’t a big chocolate fan so he didn’t want them. Darn, I love foolin’ that guy.
Frosted Zucchini Brownies
Frosted Zucchini Brownies
recipe adapted from allrecipes.com

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour (or regular all-purpose flour)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

For the Frosting:
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup vegan margarine (or regular if dairy isn’t a concern)
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup almond milk (or regular)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch baking pan.

2.In a large bowl, mix together the oil, egg, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.

3.Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched. To make the frosting, melt together the 6 tablespoons of cocoa and margarine; set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, blend together the confectioners’ sugar, milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Spread over cooled brownies before cutting into squares.


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