Here is an easy and refreshing treat for those last days of summer.
Berry Smoothie Popsicles
(makes about 12 pops)
3/4 c fresh blueberries
1/2 c fresh raspberries
1/4 c sugar ( add more if you like it sweet)
1 c vanilla yogurt
1 T lemon juice
Add all ingredients to a blender and puree.
Pour into popsicle molds and freeze. Eat and enjoy.
I couldn’t wait for the Holiday Pretzel Crisps to come out so I made these today.
Pretzel Crisp Toffee Candy
1 7.2 oz bag Original Pretzel Crisps
1 c unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 c brown sugar
1 c chocolate chips
1 c crushed pecans
Preheat oven to 400. line a baking sheet with a silpat or spray with cooking spray
Lay Pretzel Crisps evenly on the pan.
Melt butter in a small sauce pan with the brown sugar over med high heat
Bring to a boil and boil over med heat for 3 minutes
Pour over Pretzel Crisps and bake for 5 minutes
Remove from oven and scatter chocolate chips and nuts over the top while still warm, slightly pressing them down with a rubber spatula to help them stick.
Refrigerate baking sheet for at least 2 hours or until candy is hard.Break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.
** Other additions, chopped peppermint candy, toasted coconut, chopped peanuts, peanut butter chips, mini M and M’s
Easier than pie dessert, crumbles have all the flavor and none of the work. Try this one with the Summer peaches that are on sale and in stores now.
Peachy Keen Crumble
6 cups ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
3/4 c sugar
1 T vanilla extract
1/4 t salt
4 t corn starch
6 T butter at room temp
1/4 c brown sugar
1 C flour
1/2 t cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375. Mix peaches with sugar, corn starch, vanilla and salt in a 8×8 baking dish. Let sit.
Meanwhile mix butter, sugar, cinnamon and flour in a mixer until it forms a crumbly mixture. Pour on top of peaches.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Cool and serve with ice cream or whipped cream if desired.
This month’s book was a real hoot, laugh out loud funny in fact. A refreshing change from our woman in peril books we often read. This is the memoir of blogger Jenny Lawson, daughter of a taxidermist who lived a bizarre childhood that you could only laugh about. she definitely puts the fun in dysfunctional as she tries to make a life for herself as a mother, wife, friend and now blogger. You can check out her blog here. We had fun with this book club with one of our member even setting a giant chicken (its in the book) on the hostesses doorstep and ringing the bell and hiding. I still don’t know how she found the chicken.
As for food this was a hard one because Jenny can’t cook except for the microwave and that just wouldn’t cut it at our all foodie book club. I decided to make a chocolate chip “loaf” because she tells the story of when she was trying to sell the house she stuck a whole roll of chocolate chip cookie dough in the oven for the smell, and it started on fire. It was good and even better the next day as all crumb cakes are.
Chocolate Chip Crumb Cake Loaf
1 1/4 c flour
1/2 c cake flour
1 stick butter
3/4 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1 c chocolate chips
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c buttermilk
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 T lemon zest
1 c flour
1 c sugar
1/2 stick hard butter
Pre heat oven to 350. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside. Cream softened butter in a mixer, add zest, and slowly add sugar. add in eggs and vanilla and beat until just combined. Add 1/3 flour mixture to mixer, then 1/2 buttermilk, then 1/3 flour, 1/2 buttermilk, and finally lat 1/3 of flour. mix until combined scraping down the sides. Stir in chocolate chips and pour into a greased loaf pan.
Combine the butter flour and sugar for the topping mixing with a fork or your hand until crumbly. Sprinkle on top of the batter and then sprinkle with Chocolate chips. Bake for 40 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean. Sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar if desired.
I apologize about the photos, but we were actually camping. Our family went camping this past weekend at Myakka River State Park, just east of Sarasota, Fl. Packing food that will keep in a cooler for a couple days is always a little tricky, it can be brutally hot here in the afternoon. I made a large batch of chili that we made nachos, chili dogs and quesadillas out of, even considered putting it on our eggs one morning. It was perfect. I also pre baked a bunch of Mojo chicken legs and brought those ( I don’t like to bring any raw meat for fear of cross contamination) They were great for snacks, lunch and dinner, and easy to eat, no utensils needed. But like all good campers we needed to roast marshmallows and make s’mores. I always find that it is hard to keep the chocolate bars from melting in the heat, or if you put them in the cooler they get too hard and won’t melt in the s’mores, so that is where the Nutella comes in. I spread some Nutella on graham crackers and put them on a plate, then as we roasted the marshmallows we put them on top and added a top cracker and pulled the skewers out. Easy and so much less mess than traditional s’mores. I meant to bring bananas to slice and add too but I forgot. Doesn’t matter, they were still delicious. From now on I will be leaving the candy bars at home and bringing the jar of Nutella camping, besides it does double duty on sandwiches, apples and crackers for snacks.
Today I am wearing heels in the kitchen, special occasion? No, but 15 months after knee surgery I still look like a 10 year old trying to walk in her mom’s shoes. I am sick of flats, and flip-flops, I want to wear grown up shoes, after all I love shoes and there are too many pairs of heels to count, in my closet, just collecting dust. Maybe I am over thinking it, so I figured if I put them on while I was busy in the kitchen I would forget about the awkwardness and just walk in them. Well, I think it was slightly helpful, next step mopping and gardening in heels, the neighbors (and my family) may think I am crazy but I am getting back in my shoes!
Oh and I made these delicious cookies today, oatmeal, peanut butter, banana and chocolate chip. So obviously I named them Elvis cookies, thank you, thank very much.
Elvis Cookies: Oatmeal, peanut butter, banana and chocolate chip
1 1/2 c flour
1 c sugar
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 c butter softened
3/4 c peanut butter
2 bananas mashed
1 1/2 c old fashioned oats
1 c mini chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, butter and peanut butter to a large bowl. Beat on low until ingredients are combined and the mixture starts to crumble. Add egg, bananas and oats, mix until it forms a dough, stir in chocolate chips. use a med ice cream scoop or a heaping tablespoon and place dough on cookie sheets.
bake for about 18 minutes or until edges brown and cookies are slightly golden. (my oven is on the slow side so check after 14 minutes)
Let cool and enjoy! Makes about 4 dozen
St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays, that figures since I am German. However, I always feel a little Irish this time of year, I think we all do. So celebrate and make these delicious Mocha Cupcakes with Bailey’s Irish Cream Frosting. This recipe makes about 10 cupcakes, double it if you are having the whole family over of a party.
Irish Coffee Cupcakes
for the mocha cake
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 T instant espresso coffee crystals
1 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
3/4 c milk
1/4 c shortening
Preheat oven to 350
Combine all dry ingredients into a bowl. Add milk, shortening and vanilla, beat on med speed for 2 minutes. Add egg and beat 2 more minutes.
Pour into muffin tins lined with baking cups. (I use an ice cream scoop, so that they are all filled evenly) Bake for about 22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Bailey’s Irish Cream Frosting
1/4 c butter softened
2 1/2 c powdered sugar
1 T Bailey’s Irish Cream
2 T milk
Cream butter on low-med speed until smooth, add 2 c powdered sugar and beat until combined. Add Bailey’s and milk, beat until smooth. Add remaining 1/4 of powdered sugar slowly until frosting is desired consistency.
Frost cup cakes and sprinkle with nutmeg or cinnamon if desired.
It always happens, you can go for weeks with nothing to do, and then you plan something and there are a million things to do on that same date. My husband and I planned our 20th anniversary trip to Iceland so I could see the Northern Lights, a bucket list item for me. It was a gorgeous, awesome, romantic, fun and adventurous trip. Everything I could ever hope for. But at that same time here in my home town was Food and Wine’s Buick Discovery Tour with my Simon LeBon of chefs Hugh Acheson. What, how could I miss Hughnibrow, the funny judge on my favorite show Top Chef? Never fear, I have the greatest best friend in the world. She went, she’s not really a foodie but I think she’s converting, and guess what she got me.
Look he even spelled my name right! She gave me all her recipe cards (equivalent of baseball cards for foodies) from the event, including this delicious Basil Panna Cotta from Hedy Goldsmith. I love Panna Cotta and the addition of basil added a fresh and yummy flavor, I would also like to try it with mint some time. I did not make the Strawberry Consomme, we had some delicious fresh berries in the fridge so I just threw those on top, still tasted fantastic. Here is the recipe, the only thing I changed was the vanilla bean, I did not have one so I just added 1tsp of vanilla extract instead. One thousand Thank Yous to Hugh and my Bestie, I think I will frame my recipe card and put it next to my framed Madison Square Garden Duran Duran ticket.
I bought a bag of the pumpkin spice Hershey’s kisses and liked them but thought these would go great with an oatmeal cookie, and so the idea was born. I made them and even my finicky kids who aren’t crazy about oatmeal cookies devoured them. Shh don’t tell but it’s my new favorite fall breakfast , sweet with a touch of spice.
Oatmeal Cookies with Pumpkin Spice Kisses
1c brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
3/4 c butter
1/4 c water
1 t vanilla
3 cups old fashioned oats
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1 c chopped Hershey’s Pumpkin Spice Kisses
Preheat the oven to 350
In a large mixing bowl combine sugars, butter, water, egg and vanilla, mix on low- med speed until creamed
In a medium bowl combine oats, flour, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon. Slowly add this to the butter mixture, mix until well combined.
Stir in Chopped kisses. ( I refrigerate my dough for about 10 minutes, this keeps your cookies from spreading and becoming too thin while baking) Drop 1 T rounds onto a greased cookie sheet.
Bake for 12-14 minutes. Let cool, store in an air tight container.
This dip is perfect for a Fall, Halloween or Thanksgiving gathering. All the taste of pumpkin pie with out the hassle of baking, and its a finger food so it is perfect for parties.
Creamy Pumpkin Dip
1 8oz brick of cream cheese softened
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 c brown sugar
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 t vanilla
Mix the cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar, spice and vanilla in a mixing bowl with an electric beater until smooth and incorporated. Serve with apples and ginger snaps.
For a pretty and festive presentation, hollow out a small pumpkin or gourd and serve dip inside.