Archive for Recipes

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Cookie Bars

Caramelitas232

Last night as I was getting ready for bed, I heard the sound of a snow shovel banging the pavement outside my house.  My first thought was, “I hate winter! Please spring hurry up”! In my neighborhood, people are really go getters when it comes to shoveling.  The last snow flake has barely fallen before people are out there clearing the walks and driveways.  On this particular day, it had only snowed a few inches so I knew that it would not be enough to warrant my neighbor getting out his snow blower and so kindly doing his walk and mine, but that it was too much to ignore, so I would have to shovel.  I can’t really complain too much though as like I said, we have the world’s best neighbors who have been so kind as to use their snow blower to clear our sidewalk and driveway all winter long.  I could never thank them enough, so I always bake them something special just to say thank you.

Just before I got into bed I decided to peek out my window and see which of my neighbors was so motivated that they were shoveling their walk at 10:00 at night.  As I looked out the window, I was shocked (and thrilled) to see that the teenage boy who lives next to me was actually out there shoveling MY driveways. OMG what a fantastic surprise.  I quickly put on my slippers and popped out the doors to say thank you, thank you, thank you to this sweet young man.  He just smiled and said “sure no problem” as if this is something all people do.  As I laid in bed thinking about that kind kid, I knew I had to bake him something really really delicious.  Salted Caramel and Chocolate bars were the perfect thing!

Let me start by saying that I think this may be one of the most delicious and most addictive things I have ever baked.  The best part is that it is actually a really simple recipe too.  People will love you for these and think that they were much harder to make then they actually were.

Here is what you need:

1 c. flour

1.5 c. oats (old-fashioned or quick oats)

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 c. (1 and a 1/2 sticks) melted butter

3/4 c. packed brown sugar

3/4 c. chocolate chips

The caramel decision:

Next you will have a decision to make.  For the caramel sauce, you could easily melt about 30-40 caramel squares in a pan with about 1/2 c. of heavy cream. Then add about 1/2 teaspoon good sea salt once the caramel is melted and smooth.  If you are feeling a bit more adventurous you could make a salted caramel sauce. I had made this a few days ago for another recipe so I had some in my fridge already.  I think for many people making caramel might sound a bit intimidating.  Well let me tell you, if I can do it, you can do it.  The only hard part was not getting distracted and walking away.  You just need to stay with it for the entire 5 minutes or so in order to keep it from burning.  This is such a delicious sauce that I really recommend that you make it.  If you follow the recipe here for salted caramel sauce it will make some extra. You will need about half for this recipe. Put the other half in the fridge in a jar and enjoy on everything (or just by the spoonful as I do).

For the caramel sauce you will need either:

30-40 caramel squares

1/2 c. heavy cream

1/2 tsp. sea salt

OR

1 recipe for Salted Caramel Sauce ( you will only need about half for this recipe)

Here is what you do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flour, oats, baking soda, salt and melted butter.  Spread half of the mixture on the bottom of and 8×8 baking dish and bake for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, remove from oven and evenly pour chocolate chips and caramel sauce over the crust.  Then spread the remaining dough mixture on top.  Then return to the oven and bake for about 15-20 more minutes or until he edges are bubbly and golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool before cutting and removing from the pan.

You may be thinking that this makes a pretty small batch as it is baked in an 8 x 8 pan. Well it does and at first I was tempted to double the recipe.  These are so delicious and irresistible that I was glad I did not double it.  We gave about half to the neighbor kid and then ate the rest at home. I literally could not control myself around these.  Every time I walked into the kitchen, I had just a little piece.  That little piece became half the recipe in no time.  I was glad when they were gone so I could go back to life and stop obsessing over these.  Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Advertisements

Comments (1) »

Decadent and Simple Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

images (2)Last summer we got an ice cream maker and we perfected making frozen yogurt.  There are so many simple and delicious variations on frozen yogurt that we never got bored just making frozen yogurt.  Three of my favorites were nonfat key lime frozen yogurt, blueberry vanilla frozen yogurt and nonfat peach frozen yogurt.

This year I decided that it was time to give good old-fashioned ice cream a try.  Boy am I glad I did.  It is so simple and so delicious.  It is not exactly what I would call “healthy,” but as an occasional treat it is a wonderful indulgence.  I started with a basic recipe and then modified it a bit to make it how I wanted it. Due to the fact that it is strawberry season right now, the strawberries are amazing and brought such sweet and amazing flavor to this ice cream.   I made a double batch which should be for about 8 people, but realistically in our house it is enough for 6 people.

Here is what you need:

2.5 cups whole milk

2 cups light cream

1.5-2 cups sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)

6 tbsp. corn syrup

6 egg yolks

1 tbsp. good vanilla extract

2 quarts strawberries, pureed but leave some chunks

Here is what you do:

In a saucepan, heat the milk and the cream together leaving 1 cup of milk aside in a separate bowl.  You will temper this in later with the eggs. Heat the milk and cream until it begins to bubble around the edges.  Whisk almost constantly while it is getting to this point. DO NOT BOIL.  In a bowl, combine the 1 cup of milk, the sugar, corn syrup, egg yolks and vanilla.  Stir to combine. Once combined, slowly whisk the hot milk and cream into the bowl.  Be careful to do this slowly so do not you do not scramble the eggs.  Once all of the hot milk has been added to the bowl, return the entire mixture to the saucepan and heat until bubbles form around the edges.  Once bubbles form, heat for approximately 5 more minutes, but do not boil.  It will begin to thicken slightly.  You must stir this constantly. Once it coats the back of a spoon it is done.  Next pour the custard into a bowl and add the strawberry puree.  Stir to combine.  Cover the custard and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.  This will take about 4 hours.  The custard must be thoroughly chilled or it will not set up in the ice cream maker.  Once chilled, add to ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions.

This experience showed me that making delicious old fashioned ice cream is simple and only takes a little time.  My family went crazy over this ice cream. I literally found myself taking a bite out of it every time I walked into the kitchen.  This is a treat that is totally worth it.

I would love to hear about your adventures in making homemade ice cream.  What is your favorite flavor to make?

Comments (3) »

Pumpkin Granola Muffins

Due to the fact that we are currently home bound due to getting 40″ of snow in 24 hours two days ago, we have been doing lots of baking.  We just made these for the first time today and boy are they yummy. We LOVE anything pumpkin in our house, so we are always looking for a new recipe that includes vitamin packed pumpkin.  This recipe was adapted from one I saw from Libby’s Pumpkin website.

Here is what you need:

1 c. whole wheat flour 143809lrg

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. allspice

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

3/4 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. packed brown sugar

1/4 c. canola oil

1 can pumpkin

2 eggs

1/2 c. mini chocolate chips

1/ 2 – 1 c. low-fat granola

Here is what you do:  

Preheat the oven to 350. Then beat together the sugar and the oil until well combined.  Next add the pumpkin and the two eggs to the brown sugar and oil. Beat this until very well combined. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, baking powder and baking soda.  If you have it on hand, you could use pumpkin pie spice in place of the nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice.  Add the dry mixture slowly to the wet ingredients and beat slowly to combine.  Finally stir in the chocolate chips.

Once combined, spoon batter into lightly greased mini muffin tins. Fill almost completely. Then top each muffin with about a 1/2 tsp of granola. Press the granola into the batter slightly.  Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

These muffins are a wonderful snack for both kids and adults.  They are healthy and not overly sweet, but the mini chocolate chips made my kids think they were having a dessert.  My kids loved them and begged for another one.  These types of muffins freeze really well too so they are a great snack to pack into the freezer and then throw them in a lunch box for a tasty lunchtime treat.  Hope you enjoy and happy baking!

Leave a comment »

Oatmeal Apple Craisin Muffins

Wow it has been a long time since I have posted something.  I am not entirely sure where the time has gone.  All of the sudden, the summer is behind us and autumn is in full swing.  In fact, there are frost warnings tonight in my area.  Now I have to admit that I am a warm weather gal.  By the end of the winter, I am about ready to jump out of my skin after being “trapped” inside all winter long.

Now with all that being said there are a few things that I actually look forward to as the weather gets chillier and one of those is apples.  My daughters absolutely love apples. They average 2 each everyday. Let’s hope that an apple a day really does keep the doctor away.  Due to our love of apples, I buy them or pick them in large quantities. Especially if I ever want to get any to bake with or turn into applesauce.

Sunday morning my older daughter asked if we could bake something.  Inside I suggested that we make applesauce (recipe coming soon) due to having bought 10 lbs. of apples recently.  She had a blast using the apple slicer, dicer and coring machine. I have to admit that this is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets too.  If you do not already have one, I highly recommend that you pick one up.  Then Sunday afternoon, I picked up another 10 lbs. of apples. We are literally up to our elbows in apples right now.  One thing to keep in mind though is that when making applesauce, it takes a lot of apples to make a sauce.  My 10 lbs. of apples made 6 pints of sauce.

Tonight we made the rest of the applesauce and as I giving it a final stir I got to thinking that maybe I should use a bit of it to make muffins.  I love applesauce muffins. They are moist, delicious and healthy. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Here is what you need:

1 1/2 c. rolled oats

3/4 c. AP flour

3/4 c. whole wheat flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/4 c. applesauce

3/4 c. sugar (I like to use the Truvia sugar blend)

1 egg white

3 tbsp. canola oil

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

3 tbsp. wheat germ (optional, but so tasty)

3/4 c. craisins or raisins

 

Here is what you do:

First preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  The mix all the wet ingredients together and stir just until combined.  Next slowly add the dry ingredients and stir until well combined.  Finally, stir in the craisins.  Line a muffin tin with muffin wrappers or spray with nonstick spray. Then fill each tin almost to the top. Bake for 20 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown.  These are truly delicious.  I love them smeared with a little butter but my kids like them right out of the muffin wrapper. They are a treat for the whole family.

 

What is your favorite apple recipe? Do you like to bake with them or use them in more savory dishes? I would love to hear from you!

 

Comments (4) »

Zucchini and Apple Cobbler

 

If you read the title of this recipe and thought “yuck”, you are not alone.  A couple of months ago, another blog I read posted a recipe for zucchini cobbler and I thought the same thing when I read it. You can check out that recipe here.  After reading the reviews, which were amazing, I decided I needed to give this recipe a try, but make it my own in doing so.  Boy am I glad I did because it is a wonderful dessert!

If you are like many gardeners you have had you fill of zucchini for a while and yet your zucchini plants keep on producing.  That is the problem that I have been  having.  Well problem solved. This recipe will use up a few of those zucchini and you will not even know you are eating it.  I have made this recipe a few times for family and friends and they all raved about it and swore it was not zucchini. It tastes just like apple cobbler!

Here is what you need:

2 medium or 3 small zucchini

2 granny smith apples

2 lemons

1.5 cups sugar (I used Truvia for baking)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1.5 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

6 tbsp butter (cold)

3/4 c. oats ( I prefer steel cut but quick cooking would be fine)

3/4 c. whole wheat flour

Here is what you do:

First peel and dice the zucchini and apples into about a half-inch dice.  Then add the zucchini and apples to a pot and squeeze the juice from both lemons into the pot.  Cover and cook the zucchini and apple mixture for about 10-12 minutes or until they just start to get soft.  Once the zucchini and apples are soft, add 1 tsp of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. of nutmeg and 1 cup of sugar.  Reduce heat and simmer just until the sugar is melted.

In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the sugar, the brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, oats and flour. Cut the very cold butter into the mixture with a pastry cutter (or two knives) until the mixture has formed a large crumble.

Next pour the zucchini and apple mixture into a 2 quart baking dish and cover the top with the oat crumble.  Place the baking dish in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes or until the top of the cobbler is golden brown.  Serve warm topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (or both if you are me).

Hopefully if you are still reading this then I may have  convinced you to try this.  It is truly delicious and I promise that you and everyone you feed it to will not believe that you are eating zucchini!

Have you ever made any unusual desserts before just to find out it was delicious?  Does this recipe sound gross or are you willing to give it a try?  I would love to hear from you!

 

Comments (2) »

Nonfat Key Lime Frozen Yogurt

Key Lime Frozen Yogurt!

I know that I have posted a lot of frozen yogurt recipes recently, but how can I resist. It is just so yummy. This is the easiest frozen yogurt recipe yet and my daughter and I decided it was our favorite.  I wish I could take credit for this recipe, but I can’t.  I saw it a while back on a website (can’t remember which) and the recipe was so simple I remembered it after just reading it once.  That is my kind of recipe.  It is only three ingredients and took less than 5 minutes to whip up and get in the ice cream maker.

Here is what you need:

1 quart (32 oz.) of french vanilla nonfat yogurt

1/2 of a can of nonfat sweetened condensed milk

4 oz. of key lime juice

Here is what you do:

In a bowl mix the yogurt, key lime juice and sweetened condensed milk.  Once combined pour into your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your ice cream maker.  I told you this was easy. No straining the yogurt, nothing to cook or chill.  This was so easy and so incredibly delicious.  It tasted like a frozen slice of key lime pie.  You have to try this!

What is your favorite flavor of frozen yogurt?  Have you ever tried to make your own ice cream or frozen yogurt?

Comments (2) »

Blueberry Vanilla Frozen Yogurt for Your Birthday Breakfast

Two years ago, my family decided that we wanted to start a tradition of having our birthday celebration in the morning.  This meant that instead of eating your cake after dinner, we were going to eat our cake before breakfast on our birthdays.  This has been so much fun.  My daughter was so excited this morning to roll out of bed and hurry downstairs to open her presents and blow out the candles on her blueberry frozen yogurt.  Last year, she had pineapple carrot cake (recipe to come) and this year frozen yogurt. The beauty of this dessert is that it is really quite healthy, so I felt good about it being breakfast.  My daughter felt happy because it was delicious.  I made the yogurt mixture the night before and let it chill in the fridge over night. Then this morning, we poured it into the ice cream makers and in 15 minutes we were eating frozen yogurt.

To make this delicious frozen yogurt, you will need:

1 quart fat-free vanilla frozen yogurt

3 cups of blueberries

1/2 c. of sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/8 c. water

Here is what you do:

Line a mesh strainer with two layers of cheesecloth and add the yogurt. Tie the ends together and place strainer in the fridge over a bowl.  The yogurt will lose a lot of liquid.  Allow it to drain for about 4 hours.  Then discard the liquid in the bowl.  In a medium saucepan, add the  blueberries, sugar and water.  While the mixture is heating up, use a potato masher to mash the blueberries.  We mashed most of the blueberries, but left some big pieces.  It made for great texture in the frozen yogurt.  Heat until it is warm enough that all the sugar has dissolved.  Remove from the heat, add the vanilla extract and allow it to cool for about 30 minutes. When it is cool, stir the blueberry mixture into the yogurt mixture.  You could now refrigerate it for a couple of days if need be. It is best to chill the yogurt mixture for at least 2 hours before adding to your ice cream maker.  When the yogurt mixture is chilled, add to your ice cream maker and follow the manufacture’s instructions.

You could certainly use the yogurt portion of this recipe as a base and add any flavors you like.  We have been picking a lot of blueberries lately and they are our favorite so they were a natural choice for us.  This is a simple, delicious and healthy recipe that the whole family will love.  Thanks for reading!

What is your favorite flavor of frozen yogurt? Have you ever tried to make it?

My little birthday princess!

Comments (2) »

%d bloggers like this: