Friday, August 31, 2012

Nutty Chocolate–Peanut Butter Chews


3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
1/2 cup natural chunky peanut butter, no sugar added
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate


Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Place oats in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times until they are about half powder and half small flakes. Transfer oats to a large bowl, add flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder, stir to combine, and set aside.

Combine butter, peanut butter, and both sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add egg and vanilla, and beat until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add oat mixture and mix on low speed until dough comes together. Add chocolate and mix on low speed for a few seconds until just incorporated.

Scoop dough by rounded tablespoons onto the parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Bake until the cookies are golden brown at the edges but still soft in the center, about 10 to 13 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

Recipe shared from:

Peanut Butter–Chocolate Fudge


1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (11.5-ounce) package bittersweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Coat an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with butter and set aside.

Combine milk, chocolate chips, and marshmallows in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is melted and smooth, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and mix in peanut butter and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined.
Turn into the prepared baking dish, spread out evenly, and let cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes.

Cover and place in the refrigerator until firm, about 1 hour. Cut into 25 squares and serve.

Recipe shared from:

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting


2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped, seeds reserved (or 1 tablespoonvanilla extract)
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature

Salted Caramel Frosting, see recipe below


Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line 2 (12-well) muffin pans with paper liners. Alternatively, coat the wells with butter; set aside.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to aerate and break up any lumps; set aside.

Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until very light in color, about 3 minutes. Add sugar and vanilla seeds (if you’re using vanilla extract instead, you’ll add it later), and continue beating until the mixture is airy, about 3 minutes.

Scrape down the paddle and the sides of the bowl, turn the mixer to medium speed, and add the egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the milk (and vanilla extract, if you’re using it in place of seeds) and mix until combined (the mixture will look curdled, but it’s not). Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Reduce the speed to low, add the reserved flour mixture, and mix until just combined, about 15 seconds.

Fill the muffin wells about halfway and bake until the cupcakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Set the pans on a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the pans and let cool completely before frosting.

Salted Caramel Frosting


1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 cup powdered sugar


Briefly stir together granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking, without stirring, until mixture turns dark amber in color, about 6 to 7 minutes.

Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring with a wooden spoon until completely smooth. Set aside until cool to the touch, about 25 minutes.

Combine butter and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add powdered sugar, and mix until completely incorporated.

Turn mixer off and scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add caramel. Beat frosting on medium-high speed until airy and thoroughly mixed, about 2 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until stiff, about 45 minutes, before using.

Recipe shared from:

Double Marshmallow Puffed Rice Treats


11 cups miniature marshmallows
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), plus extra for buttering the spatula and dish
8 cups puffed rice cereal, such as Rice Krispies


Coat the bottom of a metal spatula and a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with butter; set aside.
Combine 8 cups of the marshmallows and the butter in a medium pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until melted and smooth, about 8 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in cereal until well coated. Add remaining 3 cups marshmallows and stir just until mixed. Immediately turn mixture into the prepared baking dish and use the buttered spatula to uniformly flatten.

Let set up until room temperature and firm, about 45 minutes. Cut into 15 (2-1/2-inch-by-2-1/2-inch) squares and serve.

Recipe shared from:

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Candy Corn Cookies


1/4 cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1 roll (16.5 oz) refrigerated sugar cookies
1 container vanilla frosting (do not use whipped frosting)
3 tablespoons yellow decorating sugar
1/4 cup orange candy sprinkles


Heat oven to 350°F. Sprinkle work surface with flour. Cut cookie dough lengthwise into 4 quarters. While working with 1 quarter, return remaining dough to refrigerator. Press or roll each quarter of dough into 12x4-inch strip.

With pizza cutter or knife, cut each strip into 6 triangles by making alternating angled cuts across strip. Shape 2 end pieces to form 1 triangle. On ungreased cookie sheets, place cookies 1/2 inch apart.

Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until edges are very light golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 10 minutes.
Spread frosting on cooled cookies. Before frosting dries and working over bowl, spoon yellow sugar onto bottom third of each cookie to coat. Spoon orange candy sprinkles in stripe onto middle of each cookie.

Recipe shared from:

Deliciously Good Caramel Popcorn


1 cup butter
½ cup light corn syrup
2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
8 quarts popped corn


Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.

Combine the butter, corn syrup, brown sugar and salt in a small pan over medium heat. Boil this mixture for five minutes. After you boil the mixture, stir in the baking soda.

Drizzle your caramel mixture over the popped corn. Take your time to make sure that each kernel is covered. You don't want the first third of your popcorn covered in the caramel mixture and nothing else.

Bake this seasoned corn in a pan for one hour, making sure to stir every 15 minutes. Bake the caramel popcorn for 40 to 50 minutes. Once the popcorn turns a dark brown, the popcorn is finished. Spread the corn on wax paper while it dries.

Make sure that you allow the popcorn to cool before breaking it up. Once the caramel popcorn is cool and broken, store it in an airtight container to keep it fresh.

Recipe shared from:

Monday, August 27, 2012

The World's Top 25 Healthiest Foods

World's Top 25 Healthiest Foods

25 Ridiculously Healthy Foods

Pile your plate with these nutrition superstars

The Healthy Superfoods You Need

The following healthy power foods can claim big bragging rights: They can fend off serious diseases like diabetes and cancer and heart problems; fortify your immune system; protect and smooth your skin; and help you lose weight or stay slim. If you're eating most of these healthy foods already, good for you! If not, now's the time to load up your shopping cart and supercharge your health! Special Offer! Fed up with diets? Find out how to melt belly fat fast.

1. Eggs

Egg yolks are home to tons of essential but hard-to-get nutrients, including choline, which is linked to lower rates of breast cancer (one yolk supplies 25% of your daily need) and antioxidants that may help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. Though many of us have shunned whole eggs because of their link to heart disease risk, there’s actually substantial evidence that for most of us, eggs are not harmful but healthy. People with heart disease should limit egg yolks to two a week, but the rest of us can have one whole egg daily; research shows it won’t raise your risk of heart attack or stroke. Make omelets with one whole egg and two whites, and watch cholesterol at other meals. Find out the secret ingredient that's making you fat!
More from Foods That Burn Belly Fat

2. Greek Yogurt

Yogurt is a great way to get calcium, and it’s also rich in immune-boosting bacteria. But next time you hit the yogurt aisle, pick up the Greek kind—compared with regular yogurt, it has twice the protein (and 25% of women over 40 don’t get enough). Look for fat-free varieties like Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt (90 calories and 15 g of protein per 5.3-ounce serving).

3. Fat-Free Milk

Yes, it does a body good: Studies show that calcium isn’t just a bone booster but a fat fighter too. Recent research from the University of Tennessee found that obese people who went on a low-calorie, calcium-rich diet lost 70% more weight than those who ate the least. Vitamin D not only allows your body to absorb calcium, it’s also a super nutrient in its own right. Recent research found that adequate D levels can reduce heart disease risk, ward off certain types of cancer, relieve back pain, and even help prevent depression, but most of us don’t get nearly enough of the 1,000+ IU daily that most experts recommend. A splash of milk in your morning coffee isn’t enough to provide the calcium and vitamin D you need. Use milk instead of water to make your oatmeal, have a glass with breakfast, or stir some chocolate syrup into it for an after-dinner treat.

4. Salmon

Salmon is a rich source of vitamin D and one of the best sources of omega-3s you can find. These essential fatty acids have a wide range of impressive health benefits—from preventing heart disease to smoothing your skin and aiding weight loss to boosting your mood and minimizing the effects of arthritis. Unfortunately, many Americans aren’t reaping these perks because we’re deficient, which some experts believe may be at the root of many of the big health problems today, like obesity, heart disease, and cancer. Omega-3s also slow the rate of digestion, which makes you feel fuller longer, so you eat fewer calories throughout the day. Get More Healthy Salmon Recipes

5. Lean Beef

Lean beef is one of the best-absorbed sources of iron there is. (Too-little iron can cause anemia.) Adding as little as 1 ounce of beef per day can make a big difference in the body’s ability to absorb iron from other sources, says Mary J. Kretsch, PhD, a researcher at the USDA-ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center in Davis, CA. Beef also packs plenty of zinc (even minor deficiencies may impair memory) and B vitamins, which help your body turn food into energy. If you can, splurge on grass-fed. Compared with grain-fed beef, it has twice the concentration of vitamin E, a powerful brain-boosting antioxidant. It’s also high in omega-3 fatty acids. Because this type of beef tends to be lower in overall fat, it can be tough—so marinate it, and use a meat thermometer to avoid overcooking. Get More Healthy Beef Recipes

6. Beans

It’s hard to imagine a more perfect food than beans. One cooked cupful can provide as much as 17 g fiber. They're also loaded with protein and dozens of key nutrients, including a few most women fall short on—calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Studies tie beans to a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and breast and colon cancers. The latest dietary guidelines recommend consuming at least 3 cups of beans a week—3 times the measly 1 cup we usually get. Keep your cupboards stocked with all kinds: black, white, kidney, fat-free refried, etc. Use them in salads, stuffed baked potatoes, and veggie chili or pureed for sandwich spreads.
More from McDonald's 400-Calorie Meals Exposed

7. Nuts

In a nutshell: USDA researchers say that eating 1½ ounces of tree nuts daily can reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Walnuts are rich in omega-3s. Hazelnuts contain arginine, an amino acid that may lower blood pressure. An ounce of almonds has as many heart-healthy polyphenols as a cup of green tea and 1/2 cup of steamed broccoli combined; they may help lower LDL cholesterol as well. The key is moderation, since nuts are high in calories. Keep a jar of chopped nuts in your fridge, and sprinkle a tablespoon on cereal, salads, stir-fries, or yogurt. Or have an ounce as a snack most days of the week.

8. Edamame and Tofu

Soy’s days as a cure-all may be over—some claims, such as help for hot flashes, don’t seem to be panning out—but edamame still has an important place on your plate. Foods such as tofu, soy milk, and edamame help fight heart disease when they replace fatty meats and cheeses, slashing saturated fat intake. Soy also contains heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats, a good amount of fiber, and some important vitamins. Soy’s isoflavones, or plant estrogens, may also help prevent breast cancer. Some researchers believe these bind with estrogen receptors, reducing your exposure to the more powerful effects of your own estrogen, says Prevention advisor Andrew Weil, MD. But stick with whole soy foods rather than processed foods, like patties or chips, made with soy powder. Don’t take soy supplements, which contain high and possibly dangerous amounts of isoflavones.

9. Oatmeal

Fiber-rich oats are even healthier than the FDA thought when it first stamped them with a heart disease-reducing seal 10 years ago. According to new research, they can also cut your risk of type 2 diabetes. When Finnish researchers tracked 4,316 men and women over the course of 10 years, they found that people who ate the highest percentage of cereal fiber were 61% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. To reap the benefits, eat 1/2 cup daily—preferably unsweetened. For a versatile breakfast, top with different combinations of fruit, yogurt, and nuts. You can also use oats to coat fish or chicken or add texture to meatballs.

10. Flaxseed

Flaxseed is the most potent plant source of omega-3 fats. Studies indicate that adding flaxseed to your diet can reduce the development of heart disease by 46%—it helps keep red blood cells from clumping together and forming clots that can block arteries. It may also reduce breast cancer odds. In one study, women who ate 10 g of flaxseed (about 1 rounded tablespoon) every day for 2 months had a 25% improvement in the ratio of breast cancer-protective to breast cancer-promoting chemicals in their blood. Sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons of flaxseed a day on your cereal, salad, or yogurt. Buy it preground, and keep it refrigerated.

11. Olive Oil

Olive oil is full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), which lower "bad" LDL cholesterol and raise "good" HDL cholesterol. It’s rich in antioxidants, which may help reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases, like Alzheimer’s. Look for extra virgin oils for the most antioxidants and flavor. Drizzle small amounts on veggies before roasting; use it to sauté or stir-fry, in dressings and marinades, and to flavor bread at dinner in lieu of a layer of butter or margarine.
More from 7 Grossest Things In Your Food

12. Avocado

These smooth, buttery fruits are a great source of not only MUFAs but other key nutrients as well. One Ohio State University study found that when avocado was added to salads and salsa, it helped increase the absorption of specific carotenoids, plant compounds linked to lower risk of heart disease and macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness. "Avocados are packed with heart-protective compounds, such as soluble fiber, vitamin E, folate, and potassium," says Elizabeth Somer, RD, author of 10 Habits That Mess Up a Woman's Diet. Get Healthy Avocado Recipes But they are a bit high in calories. To avoid weight gain, use avocado in place of another high-fat food or condiment, such as cheese or mayo.

13. Broccoli

Pick any life-threatening disease—cancer, heart disease, you name it—and eating more broccoli and its cruciferous cousins may help you beat it, Johns Hopkins research suggests. Averaging just four weekly servings of veggies like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower slashed the risk of dying from any disease by 26% among 6,100 people studied for 28 years. For maximum disease-fighting benefits, whip out your old veggie steamer. It turns out that steaming broccoli lightly releases the maximum amount of sulforaphane.

14. Spinach

We’ll spare you the Popeye jokes, but spinach has serious health muscles. For one thing, it contains lots of lutein, the sunshine-yellow pigment found in egg yolks. Aside from guarding against age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness, lutein may prevent heart attacks by keeping artery walls clear of cholesterol. Spinach is also rich in iron, which helps deliver oxygen to your cells for energy, and folate, a B vitamin that prevents birth defects. Cook frozen spinach leaves (they provide more iron when cooked than raw) and serve as a side dish with dinner a few times a week.

15. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are our most common source of lycopene, an antioxidant that may protect against heart disease and breast cancer. The only problem with tomatoes is that we generally eat them in the form of sugar-loaded jarred spaghetti sauce or as a thin slice in a sandwich. For a healthier side dish idea, quarter plum tomatoes and coat with olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Roast in a 400°F oven for 20 minutes, and serve with chicken. Get 6 Tasty Tomato Recipes

16. Sweet Potatoes

One of the best ways to get vitamin A—an essential nutrient that protects and maintains eyes, skin, and the linings of our respiratory, urinary, and intestinal tracts—is from foods containing beta-carotene, which your body converts into the vitamin. Beta carotene-rich foods include carrots, squash, kale, and cantaloupe, but sweet potatoes have among the most. A half-cup serving of these sweet spuds delivers only 130 calories but 80% of the DV of vitamin A. Replace tonight’s fries with one medium baked sweet potato (1,096 mcg) and you’re good to go—and then some.
More from 6 Super Smoothies

17. Garlic

Garlic is a flavor essential and a health superstar in its own right. The onion relative contains more than 70 active phytochemicals, including allicin, which studies show may decrease high blood pressure by as much as 30 points. High consumption of garlic lowered rates of ovarian, colorectal, and other cancers, according to a research review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Allicin also fights infection and bacteria. British researchers gave 146 people either a placebo or a garlic extract for 12 weeks; garlic takers were two-thirds less likely to catch a cold. The key to healthier garlic: Crush the cloves, and let them stand for up to 30 minutes before heating them, which activates and preserves the heart-protecting compounds, according to a 2007 study from Argentina.

18. Red Peppers

Citrus fruits get all the credit for vitamin C, but red peppers are actually the best source. Vitamin C may be best known for skin and immunity benefits. Researchers in the United Kingdom looked at vitamin C intake in 4,025 women and found that those who ate more had less wrinkling and dryness. And although getting enough vitamin C won’t prevent you from catching a cold or flu, studies show that it could help you recover faster. Vitamin C has other important credentials too. Finnish researchers found that men with low levels were 2.4 times likelier to have a stroke, and Australian scientists recently discovered that the antioxidant reduces knee pain by protecting your knees against arthritis.

19. Figs

When you think of potassium-rich produce, figs probably don’t come to mind, but you may be surprised to learn that six fresh figs have 891 mg of the blood pressure-lowering mineral, nearly 20% of your daily need—and about double what you’d find in one large banana. In a recent 5-year study from the Netherlands, high-potassium diets were linked with lower rates of death from all causes in healthy adults age 55 and older. Figs are one of the best fruit sources of calcium, with nearly as much per serving (six figs) as 1/2 cup of fat-free milk. Serve by chopping and adding to yogurt, cottage cheese, oatmeal, or green salads. Or enjoy them as a savory snack: Cut a slit in the side and stuff with 1/2 teaspoon of a low-fat version of a soft cheese such as ch√®vre or Brie.

20. Blueberries

Blueberries may very well be the most potent age-defying food—they’re jam-packed with antioxidants. When researchers at Cornell University tested 25 fruits for these potent compounds, they found that tangy-sweet wild blueberries (which are smaller than their cultivated cousins) packed the most absorbable antioxidants. Research shows a diet rich in blueberries can help with memory loss, prevent urinary tract infections, and relieve eyestrain. Add up to 1/2 cup of blueberries to your diet a day for maximum health benefits, recommends Ronald Prior, PhD, adjunct professor of food science at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. This alone provides just about double the amount of antioxidants most Americans get in 1 day.

21. Asian Pears

One large Asian pear has a whopping 10 g of cholesterol-lowering fiber, about 40% of your daily need. People who ate the most fiber had the lowest total and LDL cholesterol levels, according to a recent study of Baltimore adults. The same researchers found that people who ate the most fiber also weighed the least and had the lowest body mass index and waist circumference. Serve by dicing it into a salad of Boston lettuce, crumbled goat cheese, walnuts, and mandarin oranges. Or make it a dessert: Add peeled and cored pears to a saucepan with 1 cup white wine, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, and enough water to cover the pears. Cover and simmer 40 minutes or until pears are soft.

22. Lychee

A French study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that lychee has the second-highest level of heart-healthy polyphenols of all fruits tested—nearly 15% more than the amount found in grapes (cited by many as polyphenol powerhouses). The compounds may also play an important role in the prevention of degenerative diseases such as cancer. Serve by peeling or breaking the outer covering just below the stem; use a knife to remove the black pit. Add to stir-fries or skewer onto chicken kebabs to add a sweet, grapelike flavor.

23. Apples

One of the healthiest fruits you should be eating is one you probably already are: the apple. The Iowa Women’s Health Study, which has been investigating the health habits of 34,000 women for nearly 20 years, named apples as one of only three foods (along with pears and red wine) that are most effective at reducing the risk of death from heart disease among postmenopausal women. Other massive studies have found the fruit to lower risk of lung cancer and type 2 diabetes—and even help women lose weight. In fact, one of the only things that could make an apple unhealthy is mixing it with sugar, flour, and butter and stuffing it into a mile-high pie. Instead, have one as an afternoon snack with a tablespoon of peanut butter, or add slices to sandwiches or salads. Get Healthy Apple Recipes

24. Guava

Native to South America, this tropical fruit is an excellent source of skin-healing vitamin C, with 250% of your RDA per serving. One cup of guava has nearly 5 times as much C as a medium orange (377 mg versus 83 mg)—that’s more than 5 times your daily need. It’s also loaded with lycopene (26% more than a tomato), which may help lower your risk of heart disease. And according to research by microbiologists in Bangladesh, guava can even protect against foodborne pathogens such as Listeria and staph. You can buy guava juice, or simmer chunks in water as you would to make applesauce. Guava also makes a super smoothie: Blend 1/2 banana, 1/2 ripe guava, a handful of strawberries, 1/2 cup soy milk, and a few ice cubes.

25. Dark Chocolate

Thank you, dark chocolate, for making us feel good—not guilty—about dessert. Dark chocolate is filled with flavonoid antioxidants (more than 3 times the amount in milk chocolate) that keep blood platelets from sticking together and may even unclog your arteries.It may also help with weight loss by keeping you feeling full, according to a study from Denmark. Researchers gave 16 participants 100 g of either dark or milk chocolate and 2 hours later offered them pizza. Those who consumed the dark chocolate ate 15% fewer calories than those who had milk chocolate, and they were less interested in fatty, salty, and sugary foods. Try a chocolate with 70% or more cocoa. Two tablespoons of dark chocolate chips with fresh berries as a midafternoon snack or after-dinner dessert should give you some of the heart-healthy benefits without busting your calorie budget.
Published November 2011, Prevention | Updated August 2012

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Easy Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Bites


1 box of your favorite brownie mix
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
48 mini peanut butter cups, unwrapped (Reese's work the best)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2-24 mini-muffin cups.

Prepare boxed brownie mix as directed. Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups (about 1 heaping teaspoon). Bake for 13-15 minutes or until top is set and a toothpick inserted into center comes out slightly wet. After brownies are out of the oven, press a mini peanut butter cup in the center until it is almost flush with the top of the brownie.

When partly melted, use a spreader and smooth out peanut butter cup to coat brownie bite. Top with semi-sweet chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. Cool completely in pan. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from:

Tiramisu Cheesecake Bars


Cookie Base:

1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) sugar cookie mix
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg, slightly beaten


2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules or crystals
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips


6 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup whipping cream
Chocolate curls, if desired


Heat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray. In large bowl, stir cookie base ingredients until soft dough forms. Press dough in bottom of pan. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in another large bowl, beat 2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add milk; beat until well blended. Add coffee, vanilla and eggs; beat until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour over cookie base.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until set. Cool at room temperature 30 minutes. Refrigerate 30 minutes to cool completely.
In small bowl, beat 6 oz cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. Gradually beat in whipping cream; beat about 2 minutes longer or until fluffy. Spread mixture over cooled bars. Sprinkle chocolate curls over topping.
Refrigerate about 2 hours or until chilled. For bars, cut into 9 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.

Recipe shared from:

Bacon Cinnamon Rolls with Bacon & Cream Cheese Frosting


Cinnamon Rolls:

1 can Pillsbury Grands! Cinnamon Rolls (5 count)
5 bacon strips (for cinnamon rolls)
3 bacon strips, crumbled (reserve for frosting)
Bacon & Cream Cheese Frosting: 

1-8 ounce package of cream cheese
1 c. of butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon juice
3 c. of confectioner's sugar
1 tsp. whole milk
1/4 tsp. salt
3 pieces of crumbled bacon (see above)


Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Place bacon strips in skillet and fry for 2-3 minutes until still soft but slightly cooked. Remove bacon and pat dry with paper towels.  Crumble 3 pieces and place in a small bowl.

Remove cream cheese from package and place in a bowl. Allow cream cheese to soften for about 15 minutes outside the refrigerator.

Measure out butter into a measuring cup and allow to soften for 5 minutes.

Combine cream cheese and butter in a large bowl with a hand mixer until the ingredients combine and start to cream.

Slowly add in the confectioner's sugar and beat until smooth and frosty.

Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon of whole milk into the mixing bowl.

Mix in the remaining ingredients until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Mix in crumbled bacon and place in refrigerator.

Cinnamon Rolls:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pop open the can of cinnamon rolls and unroll them into long strips. Lay one strip of bacon on each cinnamon roll strip, then roll them back up. Place each bacon roll in a greased pie pan.

Cook according to package instructions.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  

Frost with bacon and cream cheese frosting and serve. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from:

Chili & Cheese Muffins Cups


Pizza Dough:

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2/3 cup lukewarm water (plus an additional 2 tbsp)

Thick ground Turkey Chili:

2 pounds ground turkey
1 large onion, diced 
1 cup flour 
1-28 ounce can diced tomatoes (remove some juice)
 2-15 ounce cans tomato soup 
1-28 ounce can kidney beans (or two cans)  
3 teaspoons chili powder (or more) 
salt and pepper 
1 dash garlic powder, onion salt, tobasco sauce and liquid smoke (optional) 

1 cup cheddar, grated
1/3 cup green onions, thinly sliced
red chili flakes



Combine meat and onion in a large pan and cook until meat is browned, drain juices. 

Stir in flour and add tomatoes, soup and kidney beans. 

Add seasonings, stir. Bring to boil, then simmer on low for 1 hour stirring occasionally.

Pizza Dough:

Mix 1 cup of flour with all other ingredients.

Gradually add 2nd cup of flour until it forms a ball. Use your hands to form and knead the dough.

Let the dough rest 10-15 minutes in a bowl covered with a dish towel or saran to keep it warm.

Spread out onto floured board and roll out to 1/2 " thick rectangle. Cut into 4x4 " squares and place into sprayed cupcake pans.

Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown. Fill with chili and top with cheese and green onions.

Recipe adapted from:

Savory Bacon Macaroni & Cheese Cupcakes

Pizza Dough


2 cups flour 
1 tablespoon yeast 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 tablespoon sugar 
2/3 cup lukewarm water (plus an additional 2 tbsp) 

Bacon Mac & Cheese


1 pound elbow macaroni
8 strips bacon, reserve 6 tsp for topping
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1-1/2 cups milk
1 cup aged white cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup jack cheese, shredded
4 ounces cream cheese
2 cups breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
green onions, thinly sliced


Mix 1 cup of flour with all other ingredients.

Gradually add 2nd cup of flour until it forms a ball. Use your hands to form and knead the dough.

Let the dough rest 10-15 minutes in a bowl covered with a dish towel or saran to keep it warm. 

Spread out onto floured board and roll out to 1/2 " thick rectangle.  Cut into 4x4 " squares and place into sprayed cupcake pans.

Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside and prepare macaroni and cheese filling.


Boil the macaroni according to the package directions, drain and set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crispy. Set aside the bacon but reserve the drippings. 

Reduce the heat to medium and add and melt two tablespoons of butter to the bacon drippings. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Whisk in the milk until well combined and thick, about two minutes.

Whisk in the jack and cheddar cheeses until combined. Whisk in the cream cheese until smooth. Stir in the reserved bacon and macaroni until well combined. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer.

Meanwhile in a large skillet, combine one tablespoon butter, breadcrumbs and garlic and allow to toast for about 5 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure to stir often as they can quickly go from golden brown to black in a matter or seconds.

Spoon the macaroni into prepared pizza dough cups and sprinkle with bread crumbs, green onions and remaining bacon. 

Recipe adapted from:

Gingered Pears in Phyllo Cups


For the phyllo cups:
6 (13-by-17-inch) phyllo sheets
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), melted

For the pears:
1 pound Bartlett or Anjou pears (about 2 medium)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped candied or crystallized ginger
1/8 teaspoon fine salt
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

For the cream:
3/4 cup very cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream


For the phyllo cups:

Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle.

Arrange a sheet of phyllo on a large cutting board (be sure to cover the remaining phyllo sheets with a slightly damp paper towel or plastic wrap) and brush the top with melted butter.Arrange another sheet on top of the first sheet and repeat, alternating butter and phyllo, until there are 6 layers. Brush the top layer with butter.

Using a sharp knife, cut the phyllo into 12 approximately 4-by-4-inch squares.Fit 1 square snugly into each well of a 12-well muffin pan, gently pressing the phyllo into the bottom and up the sides of each well.

Bake until the dough is lightly browned and crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack. When the cups are cool, remove them from the pan and set aside. The cups can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

For the pears:

Peel, halve, and core the pears. Cut into medium dice (you should have about 2 cups) and set aside.

Melt the butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat until foaming. Sprinkle the brown sugar over top and cook until the mixture is bubbling and the sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes.

Add the reserved pears, ginger, and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is caramelized and the pears have just begun to release their juices and are softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. (The sugar may seize—or become lumpy—at first, but it will redistribute itself.)
Stir in the walnuts and set aside.

For the cream:

Place the cream, brown sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk vigorously until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Add the sour cream and whisk until just incorporated.
To serve, divide the gingered pears and their juices among the phyllo cups and top with the whipped cream. Serve immediately.

Recipe shared from:

Onion, Mushroom, and Goat Cheese Mini Frittatas


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for coating the pan
1 medium yellow onion, medium dice
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
8 ounces cremini mushrooms
4 ounces chèvre (fresh goat cheese)
9 large eggs
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning the onions and mushrooms


Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Generously coat the wells of a 12-well muffin pan with butter; set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and the measured butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat until the oil is shimmering and the butter has melted.

Add the diced onion and cook, stirring rarely, until it is a deep golden brown, adjusting the heat as necessary if it starts to brown too much, about 30 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper, add the thyme, and stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl.
Meanwhile, clean, trim, and slice the mushrooms 1/2 inch thick; set aside. Crumble the goat cheese into pea-sized pieces and set aside.

Return the frying pan to medium heat, add the remaining tablespoon of oil, and heat until shimmering. Add the sliced mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring rarely, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add to the bowl with the onion. Add the goat cheese to the bowl and stir to evenly combine; set aside.

Place the eggs and milk in a large bowl and whisk until the eggs are broken up and evenly combined with the milk, about 1 minute. Add the measured salt and whisk to combine.
Divide the onion-mushroom-cheese mixture evenly among the wells of the prepared muffin pan. Fill each well almost to the top with the egg mixture.

Bake until each frittata is puffed and the center is just set, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan to a wire rack until it’s cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes (the frittatas will deflate). Run a small knife around the perimeter of each well to loosen and remove the frittatas. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe shared from:

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Double Chocolate-Cherry Torte


2 packages (8 oz each) semisweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup butter or margarine
6 eggs
8 oz white chocolate baking squares, coarsely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 cups whipping cream 
4 oz cream cheese (from 8-oz package), softened
1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons amaretto


Heat oven to 400°F. Spray 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. In 3-quart saucepan, melt semisweet chocolate and butter over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth. Cool 30 minutes.
In medium bowl, beat eggs with electric mixer on high speed about 5 minutes or until about triple in volume. Using rubber spatula, fold eggs into cooled chocolate mixture. Pour into springform pan.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until edge is set but center is still soft and jiggles slightly when moved. Cool completely in pan, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Then cover and refrigerate 1 hour 30 minutes.
In medium microwavable bowl, place white chocolate and 2 tablespoons of the whipping cream. Microwave uncovered on High 20 to 40 seconds, stirring after 20 seconds, until chocolate is melted. Stir until well blended. In medium bowl, beat cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. Gradually beat in white chocolate mixture until smooth. Add 1 cup of the pie filling; beat on medium speed until well blended and cherries are broken up.
In chilled medium bowl, beat remaining whipping cream and almond extract on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold in cherry-chocolate mixture until well blended. Spread over semisweet chocolate layer. Refrigerate at least 2 hours but no longer than 48 hours.
In small bowl, stir remaining pie filling and liqueur until well blended. Remove side of pan. Cut torte into wedges; place on individual dessert plates. Top individual servings with cherry sauce.

Recipe shared from:

Peach Pie Pops


1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups chopped peeled peaches (2 large)
2 boxes refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
16 craft sticks (flat wooden sticks with round ends) 
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 tablespoons white sparkling sugar


In 2-quart saucepan, mix granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg with whisk. Add peaches; toss to coat. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sauce is thick and bubbly and coats peaches. Remove from heat. Cool completely.

Meanwhile, heat oven to 450°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with cooking parchment paper. Remove 2 pie crusts from pouches; unroll on floured work surface. Using 3 1/2-inch round cutter, cut out 8 rounds from each crust. Place 8 rounds on each cookie sheet. Gently press 1 craft stick in center of each round. Spoon fruit mixture evenly onto each round to within 1/2 inch of edge. Brush edges with egg.
Remove remaining 2 pie crusts from pouches; unroll on floured work surface. Using 4-inch round cutter, cut out 8 rounds from each crust. Cut each round into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Place half of strips 1/4 inch apart over filling on each round. Weave remaining strips over and under. Seal edges. Brush strips with remaining egg. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar. Bake 10 to 13 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks; cool completely.

Recipe shared from:

Easy Oatmeal Cookie Peach Crisp


1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) oatmeal cookie mix
1/2 cup cold butter
5 cups fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
2 tbsp tapioca
3 tbsp sugar, can adjust to taste


Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, place cookie mix. Cut in butter, using pastry blender or fork, until mixture looks like coarse crumbs.

In a large bowl, add peeled and sliced peaches and combine with sugar and tapioca.

In ungreased 8-inch square baking dish or 2-quart round casserole, place prepared peaches. 

Sprinkle cookie mixture over peaches.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Serve warm or cool.

Recipe adapted from:

Peach Crumble Pie


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon shortening
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water


4 cups quartered peeled peaches (8 to 10 medium)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 egg


1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar 
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened


In medium bowl, mix 1 cup flour and the salt. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost cleans side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary).
Gather pastry into a ball. On lightly floured surface, shape pastry into flattened disk. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate about 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable. (If refrigerated longer, let dough soften slightly before rolling.)
Heat oven to 425°F. On lightly floured surface, roll pastry with floured rolling pin into round 2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch glass pie plate. Fold pastry into quarters; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1 inch from rim of plate. Fold and roll pastry under, even with plate; press edge with tines of fork or flute if desired.

Place peaches in pastry-lined plate. Mix granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg; sprinkle over peaches. In small bowl, beat whipping cream and egg with fork or wire whisk until blended; pour over peaches. In another small bowl, mix topping ingredients with fork until crumbly; sprinkle over peaches.
Cover edge of pastry with 2- to 3-inch-wide strip of foil to prevent excessive browning; remove foil for last 15 minutes of baking. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cool 30 minutes. Serve warm.
Recipe shared from: