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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pumpkin Layer Cake

What can I say? I am a total sucker for anything made with pumpkin! I made this cake for a thanksgiving dinner a couple of years ago and it turned out so well that i kept meaning to add it to my collection.

PUMPKIN LAYER CAKE

1 Box  yellow cake mix
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin, divided
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup  oil or unsweetened applesauce- no one  can tell
4 eggs
1-1/2 tsp.  pumpkin pie spice, divided
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup  powdered sugar
1 tub (8 oz.) Whipped cream Topping, thawed
1/4 cup  caramel ice cream topping
1/4 cup barely chopped Pecans

Method:
Heat oven to 350°F.
In the bowl of your mixer- beat cake mix, 1 cup pumpkin, milk, oil, eggs and 1 tsp. spice until well blended. Pour into 2 greased and floured 9-inch round pans.
Bake 28 to 30 min. or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 min. Remove from pans to wire racks; cool completely or freeze.
Beat cream cheese in medium bowl with mixer until creamy. Add sugar, remaining pumpkin and spice; mix well. Gently stir in whipped topping. Cut each cake layer horizontally in half with serrated knife; stack on serving plate, spreading cream cheese filling between layers. (Do not frost top layer.) Drizzle with caramel topping just before serving; top with nuts. Refrigerate leftovers.

Substitute caramel sauce with this
Microwave 10 Kraft Caramels and 1 Tbsp. milk in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until caramels begin to melt. Stir until caramels are completely melted. Drizzle over cake just before serving; top with nuts.

Image from and recipe Adapted from Kraftfoods.com
Luscious- Four Layer  Pumpkin Cake

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fresh Broccoli Salad


Fresh Broccoli Salad
printer friendly version

2-3 heads fresh broccoli
1 red onion
1 lb bacon cooked and crumbled
½ - ¾ cup craisins
½ cup roasted sunflower seeds
1 cup olive oil mayonnaise
½ cup white sugar
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

Method:
Cut the broccoli into bite sized pieces and cut the red onion into thin bite sized slices. Combine broccoli, and onion with the bacon, craisins and sunflower seeds. To prepare the dressing, mix the Mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar until smooth. Pour over the broccoli mixture and let chill prior to serving.  

Friday, August 12, 2011

Perfect Banana Bread


After searching high and low for the best banana bread recipe I came across this one and it has not failed me yet! I like it for the way it comes out every time and I also like that it actually calls for lots of bananas. I hope you like it too!

Perfect Banana Bread

6 Large or 8 Medium Bananas, the riper the better
4 eggs
2 cups white sugar
¾ cups vegetable oil (½ cup unsweetened apple sauce with ¼ cup veg oil)
2 tsp vanilla
4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
Optional mix in’s equalling ¾ cup: chopped walnuts, pecans, crushed pineapple drained, coconut, chocolate chips.

Method:
Grease and flour 2 large loaf pans, set aside. Peel bananas and place in a large bowl or the bowl of your mixer- mash extremely well. Add eggs, sugar, vanilla and oil; Mix until well combined. In a separate bowl mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture all at once to the banana mixture, mix just until incorporated. Fold in optional nuts. DO NOT OVER MIX!!! This causes tunnelling and a tougher texture. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
**This can be made in smaller loaves, however they cook for a shorter period of time depending on the size.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Monkey Bread


Monkey Bread
printer friendly version
1 -3oz box butterscotch pudding mix (not instant)
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
approximately 18 thawed but unrisen dough balls (like Rhodes)
1 ½ cups butter
pecans

Method:
Mix pudding, brown sugar and cinnamon together to make a struesel. If using pecans place one in each bump of a bundt pan. Melt the butter. Dip each roll into butter to coat well and then arrange the rolls in bundt pan. sprinkle struesel mix over each layer of rolls that you lay down. after the rolls are all in the pan drizzle the rest of the butter over the top. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and a towel. Let it rise in a warm place 30 minutes or until doubled in size. remove cover, and bake in an oven 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately invert onto a serving plate. Let it rest 5 minutes, remove pan. Serve while warm

Monday, July 11, 2011

Chewy Low Fat Granola Bars

There are so many ways you can customize these bars that we may put the granola bar company out of business.
Chewy Low Fat Granola Bars
Printer friendly version
Yield: 24 bars

2 cups regular rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup wheat germ
¼ cup rice krispies or puffed rice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey, maple syrup or agave
1 egg, beaten
1 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup of an optional mix in or several that are all equal to a cup
**Ideas: raisins, craisins, mini m&m’s, mini chocolate chips, snipped dried apricots, marshmallows, peanuts, peanut butter chips, coconut, almonds, pecans, trail mix, walnuts, hazelnuts, almost any kind of freeze dried or dehydrated fruits apples, berries, pineapple... the sky is the limit really, use your imagination!

Method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and liberally grease a 9x13 inch baking pan or use parchment (I prefer parchment- this makes lifting them from the pan and cutting them much easier.
In a large bowl, add the oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, rice cereal, cinnamon, allspice, flour, mix in’s and salt. Mix thoroughly. Make a well in the center and set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the honey/maple syrup/agave, egg, applesauce, and vanilla. Then pour the wet ingredients into the well in the center of the oat mixture. Mix everything together until everything is well coated. Then pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan using your hands.

To ensure chewiness leave a 1 inch space at the end of the pan. Don't worry about it spreading. It will cook exactly as where it sits. *If i’m incuding m&m’s in my bars I place a few on top just before baking so that they look good.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven. Do not overcook. Granola bars are done when the edges begin to brown (the center may still appear undone).  ***Cool for five mins, then cut into bars while they are still warm. If you wait to long the bars will be too difficult to cut into bars.
Store in the fridge.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Greek Spinach Bowtie Salad

Greek Spinach Bowtie Salad
printer friendly version



1lb bowtie pasta or the mini bowtie pasta- cooked and cooled
1 bottle of Bernstein’s Four cheese or Cheese Classico Dressing
1 package baby spinach leaves
Cherry tomatoes cut in half- put in as many as you desire
⅔ cup feta cheese crumbled
⅓ cup chopped red  or green onion
½ any color bell pepper
optional- 2-3 avocados chopped in pieces

Method:
Marinate the cooked pasta in ½ the bottle of salad dressing for 4-6 hours. Just before you serve the salad add the remaining ingredients and the remainder of the salad dressing. Toss everything together.

*Main Dish Variation: add Grilled chicken and or bacon.

Muddy Buddies

Muddy Buddies
9 cups corn or rice chex
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Method:
Measure cereal into a large bowl and set aside.
Microwave chocolate chips in one minute increments stirring after each minute. When you can see that the chocolate is starting to melt add the butter and peanut butter. Microwave another 30 seconds to a minute and stir until well combined and entirely melted. Add vanilla and stir to incorporate.

Pour mixture over cereal. Stir gently until cereal is coated. pour into a 2 gallon re-sealable bag and add powdered sugar. Shake the bag until well coated. Store in an airtight container in the fridge! Enjoy!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo
1 1/2 cups seeded and diced Roma tomatoes
1/4 cup diced red or sweet onion
1/2 diced and seeded jalepeno
1 large clove minced garlic
juice of two limes
zest of one lime
2 Tbsp cilantro plus additional cilantro for garnish
salt and pepper to taste

Method:
Toss all the ingredients in a bowl, and season to taste. Enjoy with tortilla chips or as a condiment to almost anything!

Orange Julius

Orange Julius
1 can frozen orange Juice Concentrate
1 cup Milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
12 regular sized ice cubes

Method:
Pour everything into a blender canister and continue blending until frothy. Serve immediately! Enjoy with a straw!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Manti Turkey

Manti Turkey
Printer friendly version
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups 7-Up
8 ounces prepared horseradish
4 tablespoons garlic powder
4 pounds of boneless turkey or chicken pieces

Method:
Mix first five ingredients well in a large bowl. Add the meat, cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for at least twenty-four hours. Cook meat on the outdoor grill. The amounts of marinade ingredients can be adjusted to taste once you have some experience with this recipe. This recipe can be easily doubled.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Limey Avocado Dip

This one's from my college days. Thanks Tiffany!

Limey Avocado Dip
16oz container of fat free cottage cheese
one Juicy Lime
3 medium avocados
salt and pepper to taste

Method:
Mash the avocados. Add the lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. Add the cottage cheese and stir well. If you'd prefer a smoother texture puree the cottage cheese in a blender prior to adding it to the avocado mixture. Serve with tortilla chips or crackers! Enjoy!

**if you leave the seed from one of the avocados in the bowl it slows the browning process.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Easy-Cheesy Queso

Easy-Cheesy Queso
2 1/2 cups medium heat nacho cheese chip dip
2 cups fresh salsa, drain off most of the liquid

Method:
Combine all ingredients and heat in a small crock pot or just microwave until warm! Enjoy with tortilla chips.

Seven Degrees of Bean-hood

Seven Degrees of Bean-hood
Printer Friendly Version
1 Can refried beans
3 medium ripe avocados
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 pkg taco seasoning
1 4oz can green chili's
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 small can sliced olives, drained
1 bunch chopped green onions
8oz shredded cheddar cheese

Layers:
1- spread beans in the bottom of a 9x13 pan or double the recipe for a cookie sheet size.
2- Mix avocados, lime juice, salt and pepper. Spread on top of the bean layer.
3- Mix sour cream and taco seasoning. Spread on top of the avocado layer.
4- sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese on next.
5- sprinkle green chilies and green onions
6- sprinkle on the tomatoes
7- top with the olives
ENJOY! Serve with tortilla chips and just try to stop yourself because this dip is super addicting!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Purple Cow

Purple Cow
1/2 can Purple Grape Juice Concentrate
4 cups Vanilla Ice cream
Milk

Method:
Place Ice cream and grape juice concentrate into the blender and begin to blend. Add milk to thin the mixture. It's done when it's the consistency of a milk shake.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sugar Cookie Bars

Running out of time? Or are you just feeling a bit lazy? These cookie bars will hit the spot and they taste wonderful! Now you don't have to spend all that time rolling and cutting out cookies.
Sugar Cookie Bars
Printer friendly version
1/2 cup softened butter 
1/2 cup margarine
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1Tbsp vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Method:
-In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg. Mix in vanilla.
-In a separate bowl whisk together flour, salt & baking soda. Add to wet mixture and mix just until combined. Spread on a greased, rimmed baking sheet (use a jelly roll pan). The dough will be a lot like cookie dough- heavy & sticky- so it’s best to spray your hands with a little nonstick spray or just rinse them and leave them a little damp and use them to help mold the dough into the pan.
-Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 min, until light golden brown or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool completely before frosting.

Frosting (this is what makes or breaks your cookies-- no pressure!)

8 oz cream cheese
4-5 cups powdered sugar
1tsp vanilla
1/2 cup butter
1/2 tsp almond extract or vanilla
Optional-Food coloring and or Sprinkles

Method:
Whip all ingredients together, frost the cooled bars. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Frozen Lemonade Pie with Berries

Here's an idea-make a few of these and keep them ready in your freezer for those impromptu pot-lucks or BBQ's! They freeze really well and are quite inexpensive to make. I'll add a picture of mine shortly!
Frozen Lemonade Pie 
1 large-size ready made graham cracker pie crust
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk, chilled
1 (12 oz) container Cool Whip, thawed
1 (6 oz) can frozen lemonade or pink lemonade concentrate
1 1/2-2 cups fresh or frozen berries macerated in 1/4 cup sugar (sliced strawberries, raspberries, black berries, blueberries, marion berries etc. if it has berry as part of it's name it will most likely work here.)
-Method- Combine the chilled sweetened condensed milk and Cool Whip together in a large bowl and gently fold until incorporated. 
Add frozen lemonade concentrate and continue to fold until the mixture is well blended, but not "soupy". 
Pour filling into the pie crust and freeze for at least several hours or overnight is even better. Serve berries over the top and fresh whipped cream if desired. Or leave off the extra cream and just have berries with it!
Enjoy!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lemon Meringue Tarts

I adapted this recipe combination for my younger sister's  bridal shower and was really pleased with how they turned out! These cute little tarts were a hit! Her favorite dessert in the whole world is Lemon Meringue Pie so this is my take on that in tart form, because who doesn't love a cute little tasty tart?

Lemon Meringue Tarts
Yield: 36 cupcake sized tarts

Crust:
1 cup Powdered Sugar
1 ½ cups cold unsalted butter cut into small cubes
3 cups flour
½ tsp Almond extract
In the bowl of a food processor combine all ingredients until it forms a dough. Roll dough into tablespoon sized balls. Press tablespoons into a tart pan or cupcake pan to form a crust.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 mins. Cool completely.
Filling:
2 large boxes Lemon Jello Pie filling (8 serving size)
ingredients to make jello according to box directions
Make pudding and allow to cool for 8-10 minutes then spoon into the crust while pudding is still hot.
Meringue:
6 egg whites
12 Tablespoons of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Beat the egg whites until frothy; gradually add sugar. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Add vanilla or other flavoring. Spoon onto pie, spreading to crust edge to seal: while filling is still warm so that the meringue can cook from the bottom too. Bake it at 325° for 10 to 12 minutes, until nicely browned. But watch it carefully because it’s very easy to burn. Allow to cool and serve them the same day.

***If you plan to serve them another day I suggest that you make the crusts and freeze them. Do not fill them until right before you want to serve them because the crust will start to crumble due to the moisture in the lemon filling.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Creamy Cinnamon Syrup


This recipe is an great occasional alternative to regular maple syrup.


Creamy Cinnamon Syrup
2 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup evaporated milk
In a saucepan, combine sugar and cinnamon.  Pour in the corn syrup and water, dissolve sugar completely.  Boil, stirring constantly 2-3 minutes.  Cool 5-7 mins. Stir in the evaporated milk and serve with pancakes, waffles or french toast .  Make sure you refrigerate any leftovers.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Ham and Swiss Quiche

I made this quiche for a play-group at my house a little while back and am just now putting it up on the blog. I guess I'm pretty far behind so stay tuned as I get caught up with things. The quiche turned out super yummy! I actually made it two ways; once as listed below and again with cheddar cheese instead of the swiss because that's what I had on hand. It was fantastic both times. The additional parmesan cheese on top adds a little extra flavor that I really liked! I hope you enjoy it too!

Ham and Swiss Quiche

1- 9" pie pastry
1 cup half and half or whole milk
4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp dry mustard powder
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1-1/2 cups cubed, cooked lean ham
1-1/2 cups shredded Swiss or Havarti cheese
1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare pie crust and set aside. In medium bowl, mix half and half, eggs, mustard, flour, salt, thyme, and pepper and beat until combined.

Layer ham, Swiss cheese, and spinach in prepared pie crust. Pour egg mixture into pie crust and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 40-50 minutes until crust is golden and filling is set.



***You could substitute 1 cup frozen broccoli florets, thawed, stalks trimmed and drained, for the spinach if you'd like.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Simple Creamy Red Potato Salad

I made this the other day for a party and kind of improvised with the ingredients I had on hand! It turned out fantastic so I needed to record it for next time so I wouldn't forget!

Simple Creamy Red Potato Salad

2lbs red potatoes
1 1/4 cups Olive Oil Mayonnaise
2 tbsp Yellow Mustard
1/2 tsp Pepper, Black
1/2 tsp Salt
1Tbsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp white sugar
1/3- 1/2 cup Green Onion
Optional 1/3- 1/2 cup chopped fresh celery.
10 hard boiled eggs peeled and coarsely chopped (we sure love eggs!)

Dice the little red potatoes and place them in a medium saucepan add enough water to cover (add salt for additional flavor). Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until just tender. Drain gently but well; cool slightly.
While your potatoes are cooking- make the dressing! In a large bowl combine mayonnaise, mustard, the 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, sugar, vinegar and green onion stir until well combined.
Add the potatoes and eggs. Stir gently to coat. Place in freezer for about 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Aloha Bread

Aloha Bread

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 1/4 cup mashed bananas
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple, drained
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup coconut

Grease 2 large loaf pans, and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Stir in the eggs one at a time and add bananas. In a separate bowl combine the flower, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, then add to banana mixture. stir to moisten but do not overmix (which will create a coarse texture). Fold in the pineapple, pecans, and coconut;just until incorporated. Pour into prepared pans (about two-thirds full) and bake at 325 degrees for 60 to 80 minutes.
Yields 2 large loaves.

Brown Sugar Fruit Dip

Brown Sugar Fruit Dip
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 c. white sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla


Method: Mix all ingredients until well combined. You need to whip it for quite awhile until it's not so grainy from the sugar.  Serve with a variety of cut-up fresh fruits. We like apples, but it tastes great on almost anything!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Carrot Cake

Easter is next Sunday! Whew I need to get going on easter skirts for my girls and I haven't even begun to think about easter baskets! If you don't try any new recipes this easter season then at least try this one! This Carrot Cake is the most moist and wonderful carrot cake you'll ever try. I believe the secret is the ground up  ingredients that you'll never know are even there, namely the raisins. I have a strong hate for raisins that dates back to my childhood. And the fastest way to ruin any dessert for me is if you add raisins to it! But if you leave the raisins out of this recipe you'll surely ruin it! Try it out and let me know what you think :)  Happy Easter!



2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup sweetened coconut
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup raisins
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil or applesauce
4 large eggs
3 cups peeled and finely grated carrots
1 recipe Cream Cheese Icing

Method
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour two 9-inch round or one 9x13-inch pan.
Stir flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon in a large bowl; set aside. Place sweetened coconut, walnuts, and raisins in a food processor or blender and process until very fine (or chop with knife until very, very fine).
In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar and oil and mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until creamy. Add dry ingredients and mix until well blended. Add ground nut mixture and grated carrots and beat until blended. Divide batter equally into pans and bake 40 to 45 minutes. Allow to cool 10 minutes in the pans before removing and placing on cooling racks.
***When completely cool, frost with Cream Cheese Icing. Makes 12 servings. ENJOY!

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe