Thursday, September 30, 2010

oatmeal toffee cookies

These cookies ROCK ... they are easy, so yummy and only 90 calories.  I was feeling skeptical when I saw only 1/4 cup of butter and I was almost tempted to increase it but, the point was a light cookie.  I was so surprised (although my picture does not show it) they were thick and golden with a soft center and no crispy edges.  These are definitely going to be a easy go to cookie.  Please try these I want to see if you enjoy these 90 calorie treats as much as I do.

oatmeal toffee cookies
adapted: cooking light

3.4 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/3 cup heath bar bits

Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk. Place sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add vanilla and egg; beat well. Add flour mixture; beat just until combined. Stir in heath bar bits.

Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on 2 baking sheets coated with cooking spray or silpat sheets. Bake at 350° for 11 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on pans 1 minute. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

fall whoopie pies

I am ready to do some fall cooking but, because of the warm weather we have right now I am not quite ready for the apples, pumpkin and cinnamon.  I have had this recipe in my to try file since 2008!  I was asked to bring a dessert to a family dinner and this seemed like a perfect choice to kick off fall because it was both parent and kid friendly.   The cookie is not overly sweet and pairs with the rich and creamy center nicely.  I have an issue with sprinkles and sugar decorations.  I feel the need to buy them all the time so, this was a perfect opportunity to use some of those up and turn these whoopie pies super cute.

fall whoopie pies
adapted: everyday food

Makes 12
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • nonpareils for decoration


  1. Preheat oven to 375. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat 1/2 cup butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg; beat until smooth. With mixer on low, alternately add flour mixture and applesauce, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix just until smooth (do not over mix).
  3. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons, 2 inches apart, onto two baking sheets. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cookie comes out clean, 10 to 14 minutes. With a thin metal spatula, immediately transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, make filling: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat vanilla and remaining 1/2 cup butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually add confectioners sugar, beating until smooth.
  5. Spread bottom of half the cookies with 1 tablespoon filling each; sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing gently so filling oozes out slightly. Sprinkle exposed filling with nonpareils. Let rest 15 minutes to set. (To store cookies, keep in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 2 days.)

Monday, September 27, 2010

spinach artichoke dip

Indian summer has finally arrived and because we never had an actual summer we were eager to enjoy a family barbecue outdoors with friends.  I am trying to eat a bit healthier these days.  The end of summer, trip to Hawaii in November and general health are motivating me.  When I am asked to bring something for a party I tend to browse my favorite blogs.  I get total recipe envy and want to make everything because it looks better in my mind then anything I have in my clippings or numerous cookbooks but, I have told myself I need to work through some of my earmarked recipes.  I have numerous appetizer recipes but, not very many that fall into light or healthy.  I landed on this recipe which is packed with veggies and a lighter spin on the classic spinach artichoke dip.  It was good and definitely tasted better after sitting in the refrigerator for a few hours.  We enjoyed the dip and I probably enjoyed one to many sweet tea cocktails.

spinach artichoke dip
adapted: everyday food
  • 1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts in water, rinsed, drained, and coarsely chopped
  • 4 ounces reduced-fat bar cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons low fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 jar hearts of palm, coarsely chopped 


  1. Place half the artichokes in a food processor; add cream cheese, mayonnaise, Parmesan, lemon juice, garlic, cayenne, and 3 tablespoons water. Process until smooth.
  2. Add scallions, remaining artichokes, and spinach; pulse briefly. Fold in heats of palm with wooden spoon.  Transfer mixture to a serving bowl. 
*Flavors enhance if chilled in refrigerator for a few hours.

Monday, September 20, 2010

blondies with dark roots

I was a blondie with dark roots up until last Friday.  My hair is looking much better.  I really like the make up of a blondie and probably like them better then brownies but, I can't seem to find the exact recipe to nail the blondie.  These are good and are even better the next day.  They are a little cakey then I would like  but, the chocolate and the coconut makes these moist bars taste like a big samoa cookie.  I love samoas so, no complaints from me.  Next time to make it even more samoa like I will just up the coconut and dark chocolate chips and forget the butterscotch.  
blondies with dark roots
adapted: guy fieri
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 1/3 tablespoons ( 1/3 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mist an 8-inch-square glass baking dish with cooking spray. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.
Beat the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy. Add the brown sugar and beat 3 to 4 more minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Fold in the coconut and chips with a wooden spoon.
Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes in the pan before slicing.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

mama's pecan sausage balls

Still yearning to be a southern belle y'all.  Since the chance of me moving to the south is slim to none I have subscribed to Southern Living and continue to cook through my Southern cookbooks.  I continue to see reference to how sausage balls and cheese straws are a must have appetizer in the south.   They apparently fit every occasion so, I thought why not book club.  These were very good warm right out of the oven but, got slightly hard and dry as the night went on.  I think a dip would be a nice touch as well which I may try with the dozen balls in my freezer.

mama's pecan sausage balls
adapted: bon appetit y'all

1 cup pecan halves
10 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening, preferably Crisco, at room temperature
12 ounces raw pork sausage (mild or spicy)

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper.
2. Place the pecans in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse until chopped, but not too finely. Remove to a bowl and set aside. Replace the blade with the grating disc and grate the cheese. Remove to a second bowl and set aside. Switch back to the metal blade.
3. To make the sausage mixture, in the same bowl of the food processor (no need to clean it), combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cayenne pepper. Pulse to combine. Add the shortening and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the grated cheese and the sausage and pulse until well combined.
4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Add the reserved pecans and, using your hands, press the dough together until well combined. (The dough will be very crumbly.)
5. To form the balls, using a small ice cream scoop and your hands, shape the mixture into 1-inch balls and place about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until browned, 15-18 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool. Serve immediately. 

The balls can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. To serve, let the balls come to room temperature. Or to serve warm, reheat in a 350F oven until heated through, 5 to 7 minutes.  Freeze unbaked balls, defrost and cook per guidelines above.

Monday, September 13, 2010

chai cake with honey ginger cream cheese frosting

Spice cake was the flavor of our wedding cake.  I delegated the cake decision to my husband.  At that point in my life I was in over my head in wedding planning and I didn't care about the cake.  I did care about the appearance of the cake and sent him on his tasting with a few pictures torn out of magazines.  Looking back I remember not having any interest in the flavor of the cake.  I hardly ate sweets and I never looked back on weddings and remembered anything about the cake.  How things have changed in 7 years.  Now when I enter the reception I gravitate to the cake.  I look at the detail and wonder what flavor will be contained behind the perfect frosting.  I look forward to the cake cutting and of course the tasting.   Brad went to his tasting and he picked spice cake.  He has added lots of spice to my life over the years and today we are celebrating our 7th anniversary.  Every year I make a spice cake to celebrate.  Every cake I have made from Sky High has been incredible.  There has not been a single flop and if it wasn't for the 3 8 inch layers that make up each of these cakes I would be baking from it more often.  This cake is light and delicate with a tint of brown from the tea.  The spices combine well and balance perfectly to create this warm and spicy cake that is covered in this frosting sweetened by honey and ginger.  Spice cake is one of my favorite cakes and this recipe is making me count the days until or 8th anniversary and reason to make this again.

chai cake with honey ginger cream cheese frosting
Source: Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes
  • 1 1/3 cups of milk
  • 6 chai tea bags (Tazo)
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups of cake flour
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 4  1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter at room temp

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees F. Grease the bottom and sides of 8" round  pans and line with parchment paper. Grease the paper as well.
  2. In a small saucepan bring the milk to a simmer over low med-low heat. Add the tea bags, careful not to let the paper tag fall into the milk. Remove from heat and allow the tea to steep for 5 minutes. Remove the teabags and squeeze out the milk. Let the chai milk cool completely.
  3. In a medium bowl mix the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and 1/3 cup of the chai milk. Whisk together.
  4. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt in the bowl of a mixer. Beat on low for 30 seconds. Add the butter and the remaining chai milk, on med-low speed. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg mixture in three additions scraping the between additions. Divide the batter evenly among the pans.
  5. Bake the cakes for 26-28 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes.Remove cakes from pans and peel off parchment paper. Cool completely.
  6. To assemble the cake place one layer flat side down a serving plate and top with 2/3 cup of icing. Spread to the edge and repeat with second layer. Place third layer on top and spread the remaining ginger cream on top allowing it to drizzle down the sides of the cake like icicles.
Honey Ginger Cream
  • 2 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar
  • 6 ounces of cream cheese at room temp.
  • 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter at room temp.
  • 1/2 cup of honey (any kind as long as liquid)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger
Place all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse to blend together, then scrape the sides of the bowl and pulse until smooth.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

mixed bean salad

Labor Day has come and gone and even though I enjoyed all of the barbecues and cocktails I need to start eating a little healthier.  Seriously Hawaii is right around the corner!  The weather is still nice so we are still using the barbecue but, I may be able to lighten up the sides a bit.  Bean salad is typically boring and soggy but, this one is colorful and has a nice tang from the vinegar and mustard.  It is simple to make and pairs great with pork, chicken or fish.  It is versatile and healthy and 3 out of 4 of the family members ate it. 

mixed bean salad
Adapted: Everyday Food

1/2 pound green beans
1/4 pound yellow wax beans
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano
1 shallot finely chopped
2 tsp grainy dijon mustard
1 can kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
1 can garbanzo beans (rinsed and drained)
salt and pepper

Trim and cut beans.  Cook beans in boiling salted water for approximately 2-3 minutes.  Drain and rinse under cool water.  In a large bowl whisk vinegar - mustard.  Add beans, kidney beans and garbanzo beans.  Toss to combine and add salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

fig cake

I have been enjoying my fig jam.  I served it over brie with crackers and I made a panini with manchengo and jam.  Both were great but, as I work my way through Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey I knew I had to adapted the fig cake to use my jam.  Every recipe I have made thus far has been delectable.  I often have to cut the recipes in half if the treat is just for our family because it would be down right gluttonous to enjoy the entire thing between a family of four.  This cake was good, not great and was an ugly duckling of a cake (my fault).  The good not great may be because I used my own jam, I cut the recipe in half and I under estimated the bake time when converting the recipe.  The cake is the perfect snack cake and a great use of end of summer fruit mixed with the warm spices of the fall.  It tasted like a moist spice cake.  I could not overly detect the fig or ginger flavor.  The flavors all blend nicely to give a deep sweet yet warm and spicy flavor.  

fig cake
adapted: sticky chewy messy gooey

fig jam:

For the Cake:
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling water
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Make the Jam:  
I used my homemade jam but, you can make your own or use store bought.

Position the rack in the middle and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly grease an 8 inch baking tin.

Make the cake:
Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into a small bowl. Set aside. In a large bowl, using a electric mixer set at medium speed beat together the oil, butter and sugar until creamy and combined. Beat in the egg. Beat in the vanilla. Using a spatula, fold in the flour mixture just until combined. Stir in the boiling water, 1 cup of fig jam and walnuts. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and bake until wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, around 35+ mins.

Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

jalapeno sausage cheese and egg braid

I love home delivery.  I love my new farm fresh to you organic fruit and vegetable delivery.  This amazing box of fresh fruits and vegetable arrives at our door.  Carter loves to help me open the box and name each item and put it away.  He has even been more eager to taste new things that "the farmer" brought.  I am making it a weekly challenge to try to make new recipes that include these seasonal and fresh items from my box which will help get the entire family to enjoy the bounty.  This week I took the yellow onion and jalapeno pepper and turned it into this amazing breakfast for dinner delight.  To counter the spicy jalapeno I served it with sliced tomatoes and cantaloupe both from our farm box.  This recipe looks like it took more effort then it actually did and the filling can easily be adjusted to include your favorite combination.

jalapeno sausage cheese and egg braid
adapted: cooking light

  • 1  (13.8-ounce) can refrigerated pizza dough or homemade dough
  • Cooking spray
  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 1/4  cup  chopped yellow onion
  • 4  ounces  chicken sausage with jalapeno peppers, chopped
  • 2  large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2  cup  (2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/4  cup  shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 jalapeno pepper seeded and chopped
  • 1  large egg white, lightly beaten
1. Preheat oven to 425°.
2. Unroll dough onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; pat into a 15 x 10–inch rectangle.
3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sausage; cook 9 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in eggs; cook 1 1/2 minutes or until set. Remove from heat.
4. Sprinkle Monterey Jack lengthwise down center of dough, leaving about a 2 1/2-inch border on each side. Spoon egg mixture evenly over cheese. Sprinkle cheddar over egg mixture; top with jalapeno peppers.
5. Make 2-inch-long diagonal cuts about 1 inch apart on both sides of dough to within 1/2 inch of filling using a sharp knife or kitchen shears. Arrange strips over filling, alternating strips diagonally over filling. Press ends under to seal. Brush with egg white. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut crosswise into slices.
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