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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Candy Slugs

For the Slime

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 package of "Invisible" Kool-aid (I couldn't find this so I used raspberry flavoring)

For the Slugs

  • 1 packet of Knox gelatin
  • 1/3 cup cold water, for gelatin
  • 1/3 cup water, for candy (her recipe called for 1/4 cup but I felt it was too dry)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 packet of Kool-aid (any color/flavor you prefer) (I would use 1/2 the packet)
  • Candy eyes

For the Slime
Prepare a few baking sheets for the candy by spraying them lightly with a non-stick spray.
In a saucepan combine sugar, syrup, and water and bring to a boil on medium heat. While stirring it frequently let it boil until it reaches hard crack stage. (300* on a candy thermometer) When it has reached this stage pull it off of the heat and quickly stir in your kool-aid packet or flavoring.
Working quickly, (it hardens fast!) scoop a large spoonful onto the pan and drag it out about 4" this creates your slug trail. Continue this process until you have used all your candy or filled your sheets.

For the Slugs
In a mixing bowl sprinkle gelatin over 1/3 cup cold water. Allow gelatin to soften.
In a small saucepan, combine 1/3 cup water and sugar, and stir over medium-high heat until sugar is dissolved. Boil sugar until temperature reaches the soft-ball stage (238 degrees). Remove candy from heat and quickly stir in your Kool-aid. Pour the candy into the softened gelatin. Using an electric mixer, beat on high (as if you were making whipped cream) until soft peaks form and the marshmallow mixture holds shape, 8 to 10 minutes.

Transfer marshmallow mixture to a large ziplock bag and cut about 1/4" off of one corner. (It has to be used immediately)

Pipe your marshmallow directly onto the "slime", starting at the tail. Make sure the body is fat. You might want to practice but you'll get the hang of it quickly!
Let the slugs cool/set for about 30 minutes and then place eyes on the top. They will stick.
There you have it! Slimy Candy Slugs!

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Boozy Butterscotch Frosting

Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 12 cupcakes

24 pretzel twists
6 ounces chocolate, (milk, dark or semi-sweet)
Butterscotch Sauce
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon scotch or whisky (optional)
Peanut Butter-Butterscotch Cupcakes
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk
1/4-1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips (may use peanut butter chips)
Butterscotch Frosting
2 sticks butter, softened
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butterscotch sauce

To make the butterscotch sauce. Melt the butter in a small sauce pot. Add the brown sugar, heavy cream and salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium. Boil for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and scotch, if using. Set a side to cool until ready to make the frosting.
Melt chocolate in the microwave on 30 second intervals, stirring between each, until smooth.
You may also use a double broiler. Dip each pretzel in chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. Place on wax paper lined cookie sheets and chill in the freezer until firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake tin with liners.
Mix the canola oil and peanut butter together in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add brown sugar, sugar and eggs and beat together until fluffy. Add vanilla.
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Add half of the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Once mixed, add remaining dry ingredients. Add the milk and mix well. Fold in butterscotch chips.
Remove the chocolate covered pretzels from the freezer and place 1 or 2 in the bottom of each cupcake tin. Pour the batter into cupcake tins right over the chocolate covered pretzels and fill 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350. Let cool, then frost.

While the cupcakes bake, make the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat together the butter and powdered sugar until smooth and fluffy. Beat in the 1/2 cup butterscotch sauce until completely combined.

To assemble, pipe the fristing onto the cooled cupcakes. Garnish each cupcake with the chocolate covered pretzels. Then when ready to serve, generously drizzle cupcakes with the remaining butterscotch sauce. If your kitchen is hot keep the chocolate covered pretzels in the fridge until ready to eat. If you have a cool kitchen they will probably be fine on the counter.

Chopped Kale Salad with Bleu Cheese & Bacon

1 1/2 bunches kale
1 1/3 cups red cabbage
1 large carrot
1 large Fuji apple
3 ounces bleu cheese, crumbled
5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries
freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons natural peanut butter

Wash and dry kale, then tear into small bite-size pieces, discarding thick stems. Add to a large bowl and set aside.

Wash and dry cabbage, carrot, and apple, then shred. I used my food processor but a grater would also work. Add to kale, along with bleu cheese, bacon, almonds, and cranberries.

Whisk together balsamic, olive oil, maple syrup, and peanut butter until smooth to make dressing, then drizzle half over the salad. Toss to combine, and add more dressing as desired. I used about 3/4 of the total dressing made. Season with black pepper to taste, and serve immediately.

Time: 20 minutes.

Yield: 10-12 side salads, 3-4 meal size salads.

Linked up with: Tuesday Talent Show.

Weight Watchers Peanut ButterCool Whip Treat ONLY 1 Points+

Prep time 10 mins
Total time 10 mins

Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12


  • 3 Tablespoons Peanut Butter
  • 1 small tub Cool Whip Fat Free
  • Hershey’s Sugar Free Chocolate Syrup

Mix the Cool Whip and Peanut Butter together
Spoon into 12 lined cupcake tins
Drizzle with chocolate syrup and freeze
Each cup is worth approximately 1 point+. Y
You can also skip the syrup and save a few calories.

WordPress Recipe Plugin by EasyRecipe

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

Yield: Eight 4-inch pancakes
Prep Time: 25 min
Cook Time: 10 min

An absolutely decadent morning treat...

*NOTE: This recipe has been revised (2/18/12) from its original publication. I've tried the current version many times with great success. Just follow all the tips and you'll get it right!

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, just melted (not boiling)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2-ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil

Prepare the cinnamon filling: In a medium bowl, stir together the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Scoop the filling into a quart-sized heavy zip baggie and set it aside (see *Tips below).

Prepare the glaze: In a small pan, heat the butter over low heat until melted. Turn off the heat and whisk in the cream cheese until it is almost smooth. Sift the powdered sugar into the pan, stir and add in vanilla extract. Set the pan aside while you make the pancakes.

Prepare the pancake batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk in the milk, egg and oil, just until the batter is moistened (a few small lumps are fine).

Cook the pancakes: Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-heat and spray with nonstick spray. Use an ice cream scoop (or 1/3 cup measuring cup) to add the batter to the pan. Use the bottom of the scoop or cup to spread the batter into a circle (about 4-inches in diameter). Reduce the heat to medium low. Snip the corner of your baggie of cinnamon filling and squeeze the filling into the open corner. When your pancake begins to form bubbles, add the filling. Starting at the center of the pancake, squeeze the filling on top of the pancake batter in a swirl (just as you see in a regular cinnamon roll). Cook the pancake 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bubbles begin popping on top of the pancake and it's golden brown on the bottom. Slide a thin, wide metal spatula underneath the pancake and gently but quickly flip it over. Cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until the other side is golden as well. When you flip the pancake onto a plate, you will see that the cinnamon filling has created a crater-swirl of cinnamon. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, and repeat with the remaining pancake batter and cinnamon filling. Re-warm the glaze briefly, if needed. Serve pancakes topped with a drizzle of glaze.

*Quick and easy tip: Use a boxed pancake mix as the base for this recipe.
*Tips for the cinnamon filling: Before swirling, open up the baggie again and give it a good stir to re-incorporate any butter that may have separated from the sugar. You want the mixture to thicken a bit- it's best when it's similar to the squeezing texture of a tube of toothpaste, which will happen if you leave it at room temperature for several minutes. Don't try to use the filling for the pancake swirl unless it has thickened as it will be too runny to make a solid swirl.

*Keep the heat low or your pancakes might cook up too quickly. Don't flip them until you see those bubbles starting to pop on top. Flip them with a wide spatula so you can grasp the whole thing without batter and filling dripping all over the place!

*I wrote a very detailed post on how to get the cinnamon filling *just right* on my Gingerbread- Cinnamon Roll Pancakes Post. Check it out before you attempt these!

*If you're trying to justify your intake of decadent cinnamon rolls, you can make this a tad bit healthier by using half whole-wheat flour and low fat cream cheese, or enjoy the pancakes without glaze.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Fried Green Tomatoes

  • 6 medium green tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 C yellow corn meal
  • 1/2 C flour
  • 2 t fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 C oil (the book says olive oil, I used canola to no ill effects)

Soak the tomato slices in the milk in a shallow dish for a few minutes.  While the tomatoes are soaking, combine the dry ingredients (corn meal through cayenne) in another shallow dish -- I always use pie plates for this.  Dip the tomatoes in the dry mixture, and place them on wax paper or a tray to set.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.

In batches, add the tomatoes to the heated oil, and cook for 2 minutes on each side.  Be sure not to add too many at once -- you don't want them to be crowded.  Transfer to a paper towel to drain.  Serve hot.  We like to dip ours in ranch dressing.

{Note: Links to are affiliate links.  Thanks for your support!}

Orange Green Tea Slushie

  • 2 cups cold green tea
  • 16 frozen orange juice cubes
  • 2 tablespoons agave

Pour all ingredients in a blender and blend until slushy.  Spoon into glasses and serve.  Makes 2 servings.

Tropical Granola

  • 3 cups quick oats
  • 1-1/2 cup macadamia nuts, lightly salted
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar (or honey)
  • 6 oz pineapple juice
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup flaxseeed meal (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried mango
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried pineapple

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Spray large baking sheet with non-stick spray or line with parchment paper.
2. In large bowl, combine oats, macadamia nuts, coconut, agave nectar, pineapple juice, canola oil, salt, and flaxseed meal. Stir to combine.
3. Pour mixture onto prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to ensure even browning. Remove from oven and stir in dried mango and pineapple. Cool completely.

If you like this recipe you might also enjoy:

Turkey Taco Biscuit Cups #PillsburyBiscuits


  • 2 large cans of Pillsbury Grands! Homestyle biscuits
  • 1 zucchini, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 2 packages of lower sodium taco seasoning
  • ⅔ cup water
  • ½ cup shredded Mexican blend cheese

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Press each biscuit with the palm of your hand to make a 5½ inch round circle. Just eyeball it :) Push the circle into ungreased muffin cups. Do this for all 12 muffins cups. Reserve any leftover biscuits for later use.
In a large skillet, brown the ground turkey. Add onion and zucchini and cook for 1-2 minutes. Drain if necessary {I use 99% fat free turkey so I rarely need to drain it}.
Add taco seasoning and water to the skillet and simmer for 5 minutes.
Spoon meat mixture into prepared biscuit cups. Top with cheese. Bake in 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes until biscuits are lightly browned.

Coconut Crusted Stuffed French Toast

Serving Size: 6 slices


  • 6 1-inch thick slices of French Bread
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbs cream of coconut
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tbs cream of coconut
  • 1 1/2 cup of coconut flakes
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil for cooking

Preheat a saute pan on medium heat.
Slice the French bread slices in the middle but not all the way through.
In a small bowl, mix cream cheese and 1 tbs of cream of coconut until well combined.
Place coconut flakes in another shallow, wide bowl.
In a shallow, wide bowl, whisk eggs, 1 tbs of cream of coconut, vanilla and sugar until smooth.
Spread the cream cheese mixture in the middle of the bread slices.
Dip the bread in egg mixture and then into coconut flakes. Press the flakes lightly.
Cook the French toast on medium heat for about 3-5 minutes on each side. (If the coconut is toasting too fast, you may need to lower the heat a little bit.)

Recipe from Lyuba @

Friday, August 29, 2014

Teriyaki Kabobs


  • 2 lbs meat, cut bite sized
  • ½ jar teriyaki sauce
  • 1 sm bag baby sweet peppers
  • 1 onion, halved then quartered
  • 1 fresh pineapple, cored and cubed
  • 1 pkg baby bella mushrooms
  • metal or bamboo skewers (soak bamboo skewers in water)

Place the meat in a gallon sized plastic zippy bag. Add the sauce. Seal and shake to coat.
Allow to marninate for 15-30 minutes. (The more time, the better)
Skewer the meat, alternating with the veggies until all the skewers are full.
Grill over medium-heat until meat is done to your liking.
Serve with a salad and rice, or your favorite summer side dishes.

Thumbprint Cookies with Rose Petal Jelly

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon rose water
  • 1/4 cup Rose Petal Jelly

Sift together the flour, cornstarch and salt; set aside.  In a medium bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth and creamy.  Add powdered sugar and rose water; beat until combined.  Add the flour mixture and beat until combined.  Cover and chill dough about an hour.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Roll dough into 1 1/4" balls.  Arrange on parchment lined baking sheet.  Use thumb to make indentations in each cookie.  Bake 12 minutes.  Open oven door and spoon jelly into each cookie.  Bake an additional 2 minutes to set.  Cool 1 minute on baking sheet.  Remove and cool completely on wired racks.  Makes 24 cookies.

Tomato-Basil Chicken Fettuccine

  • 8 oz uncooked fettuccine
  • 2 teaspoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped (3/4 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped (2 1/2 cups)- I used grape tomatoes
  • 3 cups cubed cooked chicken or turkey breast
  • 4 TBSP olive oil, divided- flavored oils like garlic or basil are amazing!
  • 3 TBSP chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper sauce {optional}

Cook and drain fettuccine as directed on package. Lightly toss with olive oil and cover to keep warm.

While the pasta is cooling, heat 2 TBSP oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onion and garlic in oil, stirring occasionally, until onion is crisp-tender. Stir in remaining ingredients {including remaining oil} except fettuccine; reduce heat to medium.

Cover; cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until mixture is hot and tomatoes are soft. Serve over fettuccine.

Tropical Frozen Parfait with Fruttare

2 Fruttare Bananas and milk bars
2 Fruttare Mango bars
1 small mango
2 pineapple circles
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup coconut cream
Coconut flakes for topping

Coconut Whipped Cream: Place your metal bowl from the electric mixer and the whisk attachment (or a regular metal bowl and the beaters) in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.
Make sure that your heavy whipping cream and cream of coconut are both cold.
Add the heavy whipping cream and cream of coconut in the cold mixing bowl. Starting at low speed, start whisking, gradually raise to speed to high. Beat until stiff peaks appear (don't walk away far.) Keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Chop your mango and pineapple unto small chunks.
Chop the fruit bars into small chunks. (Work fast)
Layer fruit, then frozen fruit bars, then some coconut whipped cram. Repeat the layers and top it off with some coconut flakes.

Recipe from Lyuba @

Tropical Smoothie

1 cup Frozen Pineapple
1 cup Frozen Mango Chunks*
1 cup Coconut Milk (plain or vanilla)
1-2 Ripe Bananas (sliced)
1-2 Tb Honey (optional)
1 tsp Vanilla Paste (optional)
1 cup Chobani Greek Yogurt**

Place all ingredients into blender and blend until completely smooth.
If using an immersion blender allow the frozen fruit to thaw slightly before blending.

*I use Trader Joe's brand frozen pineapple and mango.
**Use plain, pineapple, vanilla or mango flavored Greek yogurt.
This recipe yields approximately 4 servings.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Aloha Milkshake

Toasted Coconut:
1 bag    Sweetened Flaked Coconut (roughly 2 cups)

Toasted Coconut and Pineapple Ice Cream (ice cream base adapted from Alton Brown’s recipe here) :
2 Cups   Half and Half
1 Cup    Heavy Whipping Cream
1 Cup minus 2 Tbls   Granulated Sugar
1 tsp   Vanilla Extract
1 Cup   Toasted Coconut
1/2 Cup   Pureed Fresh Pineapple
1/3 Cup    Fresh Pineapple Juice

Whipped Cream:
2 Cup    Heavy Whipping Cream
2 Tbls    Powdered Sugar

Milkshake Assembly, makes 1 large or 2 little:

1 Cup      Toasted Coconut and Pineapple Ice Cream
1/2 Cup     Milk, 2 %
1/2 Cup     Whipped cream, plus more for topping
Toasted Coconut
Pineapple Garnish

Toasted Coconut:

You can do this is batches or all together whichever you feel most comfortable with. Place the coconut in a dry saute pan over medium low heat. Every minute or so stir or flip pan to let the coconut toast evenly. When most of it is a light golden brown color it is done!

Apple Cranberry Pecan Muffins

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups peeled, chopped apple (Cortland, McIntosh or your favorite baking apple)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In your Kitchen Aid Mixer combine all of the dry ingredients except for the apples, cranberries and pecans.
Mix lightly to combine.
Add the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and butter and stir just until combined.
Fold in the apples, cranberries and pecans.
Scoop the muffin batter into paper lined muffin tins and fill about 3/4 full.
Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted into the muffin comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.
Makes 18 muffins.

* If you would like to freeze these muffins, let them cool completely before storing in an airtight container and placing in the freezer.

Apple Pie Frozen Yogurt


  • 32 ounces fat free plain yogurt
  • 1 package instant sugar free vanilla pudding
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used skim)
  • 2 tablespoons of cinnamon +1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon of apple butter
  • 1/4 cup honey + 1 tablespoon of honey (divided)
  • 2 apples
  • 1 ounce chopped walnuts (optional)

How to Make:
In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, vanilla pudding packet, 1/4 cup milk, 2 tbs cinnamon, nutmeg, apple butter, and 1/4 cup honey. Continue to mix until all ingredients are well incorporated.
Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.
As soon as your mixture is in the ice cream maker, chop two apples and cook them over low heat on the stove with 1 tbs of honey and 1 tsp of cinnamon and 1 ounce of chopped walnuts. Cook for about 5 minutes and then set in the fridge.
Right before the yogurt is ready to come out of the ice cream maker, pour the apple mixture into ice cream maker. Let spin an additional minute or two. Scoop mix into freezer and freeze for an additional hour before serving. If freezing the yogurt longer, let thaw on the counter for ten minutes prior to serving.

Slow Cooker Honey BBQ Drumsticks

Yield: 8 drumsticks (3-4 Servings)
Course: EntréeSkill Level: Easy

ONLY 3 simple ingredients to create this delicious meal! It is so simple yet tastes like you have been working in the kitchen all day long!

8 drumsticks skin removed if desired
1 (18 oz.) bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce I love Sweet Baby Ray's
1/4 cup honey

Spray slow cooker with cooking spray.
Place drumsticks inside. Evenly distribute them as best as possible.
In a medium bowl, combine BBQ sauce and honey. Pour evenly over drumsticks.
Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or until done.

Soft & Gooey Marshmallow Popcorn

  • 8 quarts popcorn (air popped or about 4 bags of butter flavored microwave popcorn)
  • 1 (16oz) package mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks--use salted if using air popped popcorn, or use unsalted if using butter flavored microwave popcorn)
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Pop corn and place in an EXTRA LARGE bowl; remove any un-popped kernels.  Add marshmallows to popcorn.  Toss lightly.

Bring the butter, sugar and corn syrup to a boil.  Turn down the heat and let simmer for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Do NOT overcook or it will be hard instead of gooey and soft.  Add vanilla (careful, it bubbles up.)  Pour over popcorn/marshmallow mixture and stir well to coat.  *Best served warm, but will stay soft even when cooled down.  Keep leftovers covered.

Makes 32 servings.

*For extra gooey popcorn, you can leave the marshmallows on top of the popcorn before mixing, so when you pour the hot buttery mixture on top & then mix it in, more of the marshmallows will have melted.  I like the chunks of mallows in the popcorn though.  Just have fun with it!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

These bars are full of the flavors of fall. Caramel, apples, and they're well-spiced with warm, comforting fall spices. The soft yet dense apple cheesecake layer tops a crisp, brown sugar-graham cracker crust, while gooey, salted caramel drenches the top. The apples retain some texture while baking, and are a great contrast to the soft, smooth cream cheese. The buttery, brown sugar crust caramelizes while baking, and complements the caramel sauce that's swirled in. The bars are fast and easy to make, can be made in one bowl. Much faster and simpler than making a whole cheesecake, and taste just as impressive.

YIELD: one 8x8 pan, 9 to 12 squares
PREP TIME: 15 minutes
COOK TIME: 45 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour, plus cooling time


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste


  • 1 large egg
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature and very soft (light is okay, micro for 10-15 seconds if you forgot to set it out to soften)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses (light, mild, or medium molasses; not blackstrap)
  • 1 tablesoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup small diced apple pieces (I used 1 medium-large, unpeeled Fuji apple; use your favorite) about 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce, divided (I use Trader Joe's or make homemade salted caramel. Don't use ice cream sauce that's made with corn syrup as the first ingredient because it's too thin; thicker is better)

1. Preheat over to 350F. Line an 8x8-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.

2. Crust - In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.

3. Add all remaining crust ingredients and mix with a fork to combine.

4. Turn loose crumbs out into prepared pan and using a spatula, pack mixture firmly into pan in an even, smooth, flat layer; set pan aside.

5. Cheesecake - In the same mixing bowl (no need to wash it), combine egg, cream cheese, sugar, molasses, vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, and whisk until very smooth and combined, or beat with an electric mixer until smooth and satiny. The softer the cream cheese is, the easier the mixture comes together.

6. Add the cornstarch and mix to just incorporate.

7. Fold in the apples.

8. Pour mixture over crust, smoothing lightly with spatula and dispersing apple pieces evenly.

9. Drizzle about 1/4 cup caramel sauce over batter to create swirls. To create the marbled pattern shown, drizzle caramel over batter in 5 wide, evenly spaced, parallel lines, each spanning the length of the pan. Like 5 rows of long train tracks. Rotate pan 90-degrees. With a toothpick, starting at the top of the pan, "draw" 5 evenly spaced lines through the caramel. You're dragging the toothpick perpendicularly through the first set of lines to create the marbling.

10. Bake for about 45 to 48 minutes, or until center is set with very little jiggle; some looseness and a very slight jiggle is okay, but there should not be sloshing in the center. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out mostly clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. Allow bars to cool in pan for about 1 hour before lifting out with foil overhang and slicing. I prefer to serve these bars chilled. Cover pan with foil to prevent fridge smells, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight, or until chilled before slicing and serving.

11. Before slicing, drizzle about 1/4 cup caramel sauce over top; or add extra caramel to each piece individually prior to serving. Bars will keep airtight in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

  • 1 head lettuce (I like boston, bibb, romaine etc)
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. rice vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp. chili garlic sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 Tbsp. canola oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup cashews, coarsely chopped
  • 6 oz cooked shrimp, cut into small cubes
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 medium red pepper, seeded and diced
  • 3 green onions, the white and green, sliced
  • 1/8 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots

Divide the lettuce into leaves and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the chicken broth, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, chili garlic sauce, and cornstarch. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, bell pepper, green onions, and carrots. Stir fry until tender-crisp, about 2 minutes.

Add the shrimp then the soy-sauce mixture and stir-fry until the shrimp is thoroughly coated, about 1 minute. Toss in the cilantro and cashews.

Spoon the shrimp mixture evenly onto lettuce leaves.

Sticky Wings

recipe from Slow Cooker Revolution

  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (or gluten free tamari)
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 4 pounds chicken wings or drummettes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • green onions, thinly sliced for garnish

Combine 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce/tamari. ginger, garlic, and cayenne pepper in the slow cooker. 

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours or on high for 2 hours.

Preheat the broiler. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with foil and top with a wire rack. Transfer chicken to the prepared baking sheet and discard the braising liquid.

Combine the remaining sugar, water, tomato paste, remaining soy sauce/tamari and a pinch of cayenne (optional) in a bowl to create the glaze. Brush the chicken with the mixture and broil the chicken until lightly charred and crisp, about 10-15 minutes. Flip the chicken over and brush with the remaining mixture and continue to broil until charred and crisp on the second side, about 5-10 minutes. 

Serve hot and garnish with green onions if desired.

Stove Top Flatbread Pizza Margherita

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 1 personal pizza

1 thin flatbread
1 small-medium ball fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
3-5 medium to large basil leaves, chopped
1/3 Roma tomato, diced
1/2 clove garlic, minced
Small palm-full red onion, diced
1-2 tbsp olive oil

1. Heat pan over medium heat.  Add olive oil and lay flatbread in pan, face down.  Allow to crisp slightly for 1-2 minutes, but do not allow to brown (the flatbread will continue to cook once flipped).

2. Flip flatbread.  The top should be slightly oiled from being face down in the pan.  If it is not, drizzle a tiny amount of oil over the top of the flat bread.  Add onion and garlic, then mozzarella, and finish with tomatoes and basil.  Cover and continue to cook approximately 2-3 minutes until bottom is crispy and the cheese has melted.  Serve immediately.


4–5 lb. Boston shoul­der pork roast – bone in (best suc­cess with this cut of pork)

Dry R:ub
2 Tbl. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. dry red pep­per flakes
2 tsp. cumin
1 ½ tsp. roasted gar­lic seasoning
1 tsp. salt

In a fry pan pour in a bit of oil, bring to heat and brown the pork roast on all sides. This step is optional, but brings out the best flavor.

Mix the dry rub ingre­di­ents together in a small bowl.  Place the browned pork roast in the crock pot and mix the dry rub ingre­di­ents together and rub over the roast.

Add in 1/4 cup water and cook on low from 8pm till 9am. (The juices from the pork will release, but it will appear dry when you first start to cook it.)

In the morn­ing DRAIN off MOST of the liq­uid and add:

2 cans coke (12 oz. each), not diet
2 tsp. chicken bouil­lon granules
1 Tbl. gar­lic, minced or chopped
2 med. to large onions, chopped

Con­tinue to cook on low from 9am till 4pm.  It will appear like this:

t 4pm drain off the liq­uid into a fry pan, cook over high heat, reduc­ing by about 1/3. Put back in crock pot and con­tinue with the brown sugar below. This step thick­ens and inten­si­fies the liq­uid and fla­vor. If you do this and then don’t have as much liq­uid as you would like, add in very strong chicken bouil­lon and water.) While liq­uid is reduc­ing, shred pork, dis­card­ing bone and fat and put back into the crock pot.

To the shred­ded meat, add in the reduced sauce/liquid and 2/3 cup brown sugar. Cook on low for 1 — 2 hours. 

Now to put it together!

Serve shred­ded pork in tor­tillas or as a salad with the following:
 1 box pre­pared Rice a Roni “Chicken and Gar­lic” fla­vor, except use 1/8 – ¼ cup less water than direc­tions call for on the box.
1 can drained and rinsed red, black or pinto beans
Shred­ded Lettuce
Shred­ded Mon­terey Jack cheese
Tomatillo Sauce — recipe below:

1/2 pint (1 cup) buttermilkDSC_1598
1 cup real may­on­naise (can use light)
1 8oz cream cheese (can use light)
1 pkg. (3 Tbl.) Hid­den Val­ley Ranch Dressing
1 tsp. roasted gar­lic seasoning
1/2 tsp. Mon­treal steak seasoning
6 –8 fresh tomatil­los, husk & rinse
2 cups cilantro (1 medium to large bunch – rinse and use leaves and not too many stems)
1/2 tsp. Texas Cham­pagne (Tabasco sauce)

Com­bine all ingre­di­ents in a food proces­sor and mix until very well blended. Chill at least 1 hour before serv­ing. This makes quite a bit.

Tomatil­los are found in the pro­duce sec­tion and come in a husk, as shown at the top of the bowl.

Peel back the husk and check the tomatil­los for bruises, dark spots, shriv­eled or wrin­kled areas or any bad spots.

After husk is removed, rinse with water, but they will still have a bit of a waxy feel to them.  Use whole, or cut into halves or quar­ters.  Do not remove seeds or outer layer; just pop the whole tomatillo into the food proces­sor or blender with all the other ingredients.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Seasoned Lemon Marinade for steak


  • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon group black pepper
  • 6 4-ounce steaks


  1. Whisk all of the ingredients, except the steak, together in a small bowl.
  2. Pour into a gallon size zipper bag and add steaks.
  3. Seal bag and carefully knead and shake to coat the steaks.
  4. Allow to marinate for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature the last half hour.
  5. Heat grill to high and sear the steaks, cooking for about 5 minutes.
  6. Turn steaks once, using tongs to avoid piercing meat.Sear the second side and cook for 6-8 minutes, until steaks reach desired doneness.
  7. Let rest 5-15 minutes before serving.

Charlene@ A Pinch of Joy

Slow Cooker Stuffed Peppers


  • 6-8 large bell peppers
  • 1 lb. 80 % lean ground beef, uncooked
  • 1 cup instant brown rice, uncooked
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 15 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. seasoned salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded plus more for topping
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1/2 tsp. salt


  1. Wash your peppers well and set aside.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the beef, rice, 1/2 of the crushed tomatoes, egg, seasoned salt, black pepper, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, Mozzarella cheese and onion and mix well.
  3. Cut the tops off of the peppers and scrape out the membranes and seeds.
  4. Stuff the peppers and arrange in the slow cooker.
  5. In the mixing bowl, combine the other half of the crushed tomatoes, the beef broth and 1/2 tsp. salt.
  6. Pour in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  7. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 9 hours.
  8. During the last 5 minutes, top with Mozzarella cheese if desired and cover until melted.
  9. Serve warm with a fresh salad and crusty bread.

Serves 6-8.

* This recipe can be doubled if you want to fill your larger slow cooker to feed a larger group of people.

Strawberry & Nutella Smoothies


  • 12 ounces milk
  • 2 heaping tablespoons Nutella
  • 4 strawberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup ice – crushed


  1. Pour milk and Nutella into your blender. Pulse to combine.
  2. Add strawberries and ice. Pulse until smooth.
  3. Add cocoa powder to taste. Pulse to combine.
  4. Serve immediately.

We topped our smoothies with whipped cream to create something a big more decadent, but they taste great straight from the blender too! Speaking of blenders, mine is not pictured here because it is in sad, sad shape. We actually bought a new blender for my husband for Father’s Day (like I said, he loves smoothies!) but it’s still in the box and it seemed like he should get to use it first.

Strawberry Banana Buttermilk Ice Pop


  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 banana
  • 10 medium strawberries, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon homemade vanilla extract


  1. Add all the ingredients and 5 strawberries to a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Slice the remaining strawberries and divide among your ice pop molds.
  4. Pour contents of blender into ice pop molds and freeze.