September 20, 2015

dried blueberry granola

you know when you've finally made up your mind to do that thing you've been putting off and thus absolutely nothing will stop you from getting it done today?  well, that's what happened this morning.  i've had all the ingredients to make some sort of granola and this morning was the morning.  so nevermind that i had to crush my own cardamom seeds or mix oils--i was making this stuff or else!  i'm glad i did because it really turned out delicious!

as a side note, i've given up trying to trick myself into thinking granola is healthy.  it has some healthy ingredients, but it will never be yummy and low fat.  just deal with it, right?  okay.

i started with this recipe as a base and worked my own thing from there.


5 C oats
1 1/2 C puffed rice cereal
1 1/2 C crisp rice cereal
1/3 C flax seeds
1/3 C sunflower seeds
1/3 C pepitas
3/4 t freshly ground cardamom
3/4 t cinnamon
dash salt
2 C coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 C coconut oil
1/2 C oil
1 C maple syrup
2 t vanilla
2 generous handfuls dried blueberries


toss together all dry ingredients in a large bowl.  melt coconut oil over medium heat, take off heat and whisk in remaining ingredients.  pour over oat mixture and mix til evenly coated.  spread evenly onto two cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.  bake @ 350 for 30 min, mixing once after 15 min.  let cool and add blueberries.  try not to overeat every morning like me!!

September 19, 2015

pumpkin bars

again, another thing you want just like your mom made them growing up.


2 C sugar
4 eggs
1 C oil
1 small can pumpkin
1 t vanilla
2 C flour
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
2 t cinnamon
1 t pumpkin pie spice
1/2 C walnuts or pecans (optional)


cream sugar, eggs and oil, then add all other ingredients in order.  pour into a greased cookie sheet and bake 15-20 @350. 

let cool and frost with the following, whipped til fluffy:

6oz cream cheese, softened
3 T butter, softened
1 1/2T milk
1 t vanilla
3 C powered sugar

frozen mango cream pie

one of my roommates from college made this and i've never forgotten about it--so super yummy!

combine and bake the following @ 375 for 8 min:

1 1/4 C graham cracker crumbs
2 T sugar
3 T butter

puree 3 peeled and chopped mangoes with 1/2C sugar and 1/4 C lime juice.

then, cream 8oz cream cheese (softened) and 3/4 C sugar until smooth.

slowly blend puree into cream cheese mixture and beat well.  then fold in cool whip with a spatula.  pour mixture onto crust, cover and freeze at least 4 hours.

toss together 1 large chopped mango, 2 T sugar and 2 T lime juice and spoon atop the pie before serving.

chocolate caramel brownies

anyone that knows me knows my food weakness in a major way is brownies.  this recipe is the devil i often entertain...thanks to my old college friend, jenny.

if you are interested in making these even more decadent, just top with your favorite french vanilla ice cream, burnt almonds and your favorite fudge.  you're welcome!


1 pkg caramels (about 50 wrapped pieces)
1 C evaporated milk
1 german chocolate cake mix
1/2 C melted margarine
1 C chopped nuts
1 12oz pkg chocolate chips


put caramel and 1/3C evaporated milk in a pan in the oven @ 250 until melted.  mix cake mix (as-is), margarine, remaining milk and nuts together.  spread 1/2 cake mixture in greased 9 x 13 and bake @ 350 for 6 min.  sprinkle chocolate chips, then caramel mixture, then remaining cake mix mixture and bake for 15 min @ 350.

date n' nut candy

after i just wrote in a previous post that i generally like to make healthy stuff, i'm about to post 4 desserts!  this is one from my friend from california, amy.  thanks, amy!

ingredients and directions:

combine 1 1/3 stick butter and 1 stick nucoa brand margarine (or other completely non-dairy margarine) in a pan and melt over medium heat.  add 1 C light karo syrup, 1 C dates (peeled, pitted, chopped then soaked in water and microwaved 30 seconds to separate).  bring to a boil, then add 3 C sugar and 1 1/3 C brown sugar a little at a time.

cook to softball stage and add 4 C chopped pecans.  cook to firmball stage (250 degrees), take off heat and add 1 t vanilla.  pour into a very well greased 9 x 13 and cool--but not all the way!!  cut and roll in wax paper when still warm.


fits in an 8 x 8, double for a 9 x 13.  30 min @ 350.


1 C corn meal
1 C flour
1/4 C sugar
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
1 1/4 C milk
1/3 oil
1 egg, lightly beaten

pomegranate salad

it is not thanksgiving for our family without this jello salad.  don't shrink away because i mentioned the word "jello."  guaranteed, this is not your typical jello sald.  give it a try, you might just like it...


6oz raspberry jello
2 C hot water
1 pkg frozen strawberries, thawed and drained
13oz crushed pineapple, drained
2 apples peeled and chopped (one tart and one sweet is best)
2 bananas, mashed
1/2 C walnuts or pecans, chopped
2 C pomegranate seeds


pour jello packet into a 9 x 13.  pour in hot water and stir until completely dissolved.  add all other ingredients and mix.  let set in the fridge for about 4 hours.

once set, top with the following:

whip these topping ingredients together:

1/2 pt. sour cream
3oz cool whip
1 1/2 oz cream cheese, softened

baked beans

for the most part i try to make healthy stuff (unless, of course, i want an unadulterated cookie or pie), but for baked beans...they're just better with way too much sugar and a bunch of bacon!!

i got this recipe from my mother-in-law.  i prefer the flavor and texture that results from cooking it in the oven, but it can be done in the crock pot as well.  also, add green peppers (and sauté with the onions) if peppers are your thing and you want to add a little kick.


2 large cans pork and beans
1 lb (or a little bit less) bacon, cooked and diced
1 large onion, diced and sautéed til almost done
1 1/2 C ketchup
2 medium cans pineapple tidbits
2 T worchestershire


cook in the crockpot until you're satisfied, or pour into a cookie sheet and bake for 3 hrs @ 250, stirring occasionally.

fruity pasta salad

a good crowd pleaser at a summer bbq.  any small-cut pasta will work except bowtie.


2 C celery, sliced
4 C cooked pasta
4 C apples, diced (a variety is always best)
4 C grapes, halved
1 20oz can pineapple tidbits, drained
2 small cans mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 C (or more) almonds, chopped and toasted
a couple dashes salt

toss together with the following dressing:

blend these dressing ingredients:

1/4 C red wine vinegar
1/4 C sugar
1/2 C miracle whip
1 C light mayo

stuffed chicken breasts

there are so many ways to stuff chicken.  sometimes you just want them the way your mom made them growing up.  this is how my mom made them growing up.  ;>


4 boneless chicken breast pieces
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 C shredded cheddar
2 C crushed rice krispies cereal
1/4 C melted butter


fill each chicken breast with a heaping spoonful of cream of chicken and a small handful of cheese.  roll in butter and into the crushed cereal.  lightly grease an 8 x 8 and place breasts folded in half inside.  sprinkle with remaining cheese and paprika.  bake about 30 min @ 350.

September 17, 2015

chicken with balsamic vinegar

this is something my roomie and i tried for the first time in college and it's stuck around all these years.  something new and different to do to chicken.

chicken breasts are so thick.  this recipe is calling for 3-4 pieces of chicken, so maybe one to two big breasts sliced in half or even thirds to make thinner.


3-4 medium-sized boneless chicken breasts
1 T onions, chopped
4 T balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 C chicken broth
5 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
2 t marjoram
salt and pepper

ingredients for pasta

a little less than a 1/4 C olive oil
a little less than a 1/4 C balsamic vinegar
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T dried parsley
1 t dried basil
1-2 pinches red pepper flakes


cook pasta of choice.  linguini or fettuccini work well.  meanwhile, sauté chicken in about 1 T melted butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper, remove from heat and cover to keep warm.  sauté onions until clear; add vinegar and bring to a boil.  boil about 3 min or til reduced to a glaze, stirring.  add broth and boil til reduced to 1/2 C.  add sun-dried tomatoes and marjoram.  remove from heat and stir in 1 T butter and the chicken.

drain and rinse pasta.  mix pasta ingredients in a bowl and stir into the pasta.  serve chicken and pan drippings over pasta.

homemade almond roca

this is the reason i literally gain at least eight pounds every holiday season!


1 C butter
1 1/3 C sugar
1 T karo syrup
3 T water
1 C finely chopped almonds
18 oz your favorite chocolate, melted (i use milk for this one)


cover a large surface that can get hot with wax paper and generously butter the wax paper.  in a heavy-bottomed pot, melt butter over medium-high.  add sugar, syrup and water.  cook, stirring often until it reaches hard crack. 

pour onto the wax paper and let sit about 3 minutes.  spread half of the chocolate onto the toffee and sprinkle with half of the almonds.  gently flip toffee over and repeat on the other side.  let it completely cool, then crack into pieces and try not to get sick from eating too much of it!!

fondant or pecan log

this is another Christmas chocolates tradition.  my favorites are orange-flavored and chocolate-covered cherries, but the possibilities are endless!  if you've never made fondant before, i suggest either finding a tutor or trying to find a video on youtube.  it's tricky and takes a lot of practice.  it also requires a large surface on which you can pour boiling liquid (like a marble slab) and an extra-wide wooden paddle and a dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot.


4 C sugar*
1 C cream
1/2 C whole milk
2T white karo syrup
2T butter, divided
pinch salt

*if making a pecan log, use 2 1/2 C white sugar and 1 1/2C brown sugar


slather the marble slab with butter.  in heavy-bottomed pot, add sugar, cream, milk, syrup and 1 T butter.  cook over high heat until it boils, stirring constantly, whilst continually wiping the sides of the pot with water (using a basting brush) to keep sugar crystals from building up.  once it boils, turn down to medium and cook until soft ball.

pour a large circle on the outermost edges of the slab and then pour the remaining liquid inside the circle.  dot with the remaining butter and sprinkle with the vanilla.  let sit 5 min.

vigorously whip the candy in a back and forth motion, being careful to include all the candy each time.  continue until it begins to change shape and changes into a soft solid, bright white, creamy ball of yumminess.  chill in the fridge at least 30 min.  then add flavoring/nuts/cover cherries, etc and roll into whatever shapes you choose.  chill again until ready to dip in chocolate.

*if making a pecan log, roll into a log and cover with toasted pecans, wrap with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve.

September 16, 2015

sweet and sour sauce

i use this frequently for a quick stir-fry with my favorite stir-fry veggies and either chicken, shrimp or pork.

ingredients and directions

throw it all together and whisk well:

2T cornstarch
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C vinegar
1/4 C pineapple juice
2 t soy sauce
1/4 C water


this is a classic recipe you can probably find anywhere.  i just want it on my site for quick reference.  fresh pesto is the best pesto!

ingredients and directions

throw the following in a blender and blend til blended :>

4 cloves garlic
1/2 C pine nuts
2 C fresh basil, tightly packed
1/2 C olive oil
1/4 C grated parmesan
3/4 t salt
1/2 t pepper
a couple shakes dried parsley and dried pepper flakes

johansen's favorite stuffed mushrooms

i confess i don't remember who the johansens are, but i know they are a friend of a friend and deserve their name accredited to this delicious appetizer.  gosh, i haven't made these in a while--i might just be grabbing some mushrooms next grocery trip.


8-10 large mushrooms, stems pulled out and finely chopped
1 T butter
1/2 bunch green onion, finely sliced
1/4 t worcestershire
1/2 C bread crumbs, finely ground
1/2 C sharp cheddar, finely grated
salt and pepper to taste
2 T water


sauté stems in melted butter with onions.  let cool then stir in everything else except water.  lightly salt the insides of the mushrooms and fill to overflowing.  place water in a small baking dish then add the mushrooms and bake @ 350 for 20 minutes.

hand-dipped/homemade peanut butter cups

a Christmas chocolates staple at my house.  this recipe has always been too ridiculously large, so i'm finally writing it down reduced appropriately!


3/8 C fine graham cracker crumbs
1 C sifted powdered sugar
1/2 stick butter, softened
1/2 C peanut butter


combine ingredients and roll into marble-sized balls (actually, about a third smaller than a marble would be best).  you can either dip them as balls, or, if you want to be fancy, fill a candy cup with your favorite melted chocolate, drop the ball in and then cover with more chocolate until the candy cup is filled almost to the top.  wait for the chocolate to set before eating (if you can!).

September 15, 2015


many of my old recipes are in a bulky recipe box so i am in the middle of reorganizing them into a more space-efficient format.  i thought that while i was at it, i may as well add some of my favorites to the site.

the recipe probably won't blow your mind, but it's a great thing to do with leftover ham or on a day when you're pressed for time--done in under 30 minutes!  someday when i'm on the ball, i'd love to make this with fresh spaghetti.


1 T butter
3 eggs, beaten
6-7 medium mushrooms
5-7 oz cooked ham, cubed
1/2 C grated parmesan
1/2 lb spaghetti


cook spaghetti.  meanwhile, sauté ham and mushrooms in butter.  drain spaghetti and return it to the hot pot.  pour ham and mushrooms over it, plus the eggs and cheese.  mix vigorously to allow the eggs to cook without letting them get too hot and scramble.

dinners on the go: pizza bread

three kids in soccer makes for a busy fall and the kids are always famished right after school but before, i've started to try out dinner recipes that can be eaten on the go--edible by hand with little or no mess. 

this was one of the first recipes i tried.  it came from  i substituted italian sausage and black olives for the pepperoni.  we made ours into garlic toast the next day by brushing with a little bit of olive oil and sprinkling with garlic salt and broiling til brown.  yum!


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 cup quartered pepperoni slices, about 32 slices
1/2 cup marinara sauce
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
combine everything except the last two ingredients.  place in greased and floured bread pan.  sprinkle with the seasoning and parmesan.  bake @ 350 for 45 minutes.

September 07, 2015

sour cream substitution

i don't always have sour cream lying around and even if i do, i cringe a little when i'm using it because i recognize it isn't the healthiest thing on the planet.  so, my new favorite thing to do is to mix greek yogurt with a little bit of buttermilk.  it works like a charm!  i've used it in stroganoff and tacos and in poppy seed chicken.  no one in my family noticed, either, which is a bonus.