Category Archives: Sweet Treats

(Oatmeal) “Snackers”

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These are a great snack, a great answer to the “I’m huunnngry.” (Which we all hear or say at any moment of any day!!) I keep mine in the fridge, but they are good at room temp too.

Feel free to add things like coconut, craisins, nuts, sunflower seeds, etc. Things you think about when you think of granola bars, those ingredients would work best.  If you add to many “mix-ins” and your Snackers don’t stay together, just add a bit more peanut butter and bit more honey.

Pulse means pulse. Not puree. I had my son help me the first time and I said ~” hit this button a few times, like “”Bump Bump Bump.”” I thought that was clear :/ Well. He went “Buuummmmp Bummmmmmp Bummmmmmmmmmmmp.” So ours was so very well mixed! But still good.  Always an adventure with kids!

This is the version we like best! 🙂 What is YOUR or YOUR families favorite version?

Oatmeal “Snackers”

2 c. old fashioned oatmeal
1 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. raisins (or craisins)
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
1/4 c. ground flax seed

Pulse the oatmeal, peanut butter, honey and raisins ~ just till combined.  Add the chocolate chips and flax seed and pulse to combine. Chill. When cold, roll into balls AND ENJOY!!!

Recipe adapted from Food Network.

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“Fannie Mae” Fudge & some other Christmas Yummies

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Fudge is a Christmas goodie must ~ at least over here. To be honest, fudge is another one of those recipes that I have messed up on a lot.(THO I have stuck with this recipe for years now because it has worked for me EVERY TIME! High fives!!)  One time I tackled fudge, (it was too late in the day to start something like that) and it was wasn’t  hardening up ~ so in the middle of the night, practically (9 pm), I called up my friend who said “anyone can make this fudge.” Ha. Not me. She couldn’t help me, it just wasn’t going to work. Another recipe I tried ended up to be fudgy looking sand. Not good.

This recipe comes from my Aunt Sheryl, which alone should tell you it is great.  Not sure of the original whereabouts (perhaps food.com?) It is  fun recipe to make with kids. Have them count out the marshmallows, dump in the chocolate and stir (my favorite part is to stir and stir and see the fudge just sorta form……). Don’t forget the licking the bowl clean part! (another favorite of fudge making!)

Some things about this fudge~
* First off, I have no clue what Fannie Mae fudge tastes like, so DOES this taste like it exactly? Not sure!  But I would enjoy hearing what you think of it!!
* Aunt Sher says to use 1 stick butter and 1 stick margarine ~ and well I usually do follow that, cause I like to listen, this year I did not have margarine on hand ~ so I used all butter. It was just as good!! Aunt Sheryl, why do you like to use 1 stick margarine and 1 stick butter?? Does it cut better? Taste better? Just curious, both ways taste GREAT!
* Cutting the fudge, can be tricky. Take your time, don’t rush and pull it cause it will not be pretty then. I use my Pampered Chef paring knife and wipe it off a lot, to keep it clean. I like to cut when right in between cold and room temp.
* You do not need to line your pan with foil, but I like do because then you can lift the fudge out of the pan and put on cutting board and cut. Cut away the slanty/rugged edges and make some nice little squares. (Edge scraps are great to eat by the way.) If you choose to put directly in the pan a with no foil, just be sure to grease the pan.

“Fannie Mae” Fudge 
4 c. sugar
1 stick butter
1 stick margarine
1 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
25 large marshmallows
2 oz. square of unsweetened chocolate
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
12 oz. milk chocolate chips
1 c. nuts, totally optional

In a large pan mix the sugar, butter, margarine and milk. Bring to a boil, be sure to stir it quite often. (Don’t forget about it or you will be in burned trouble.) Boil for 2 minutes. Take off heat and add vanilla. Next add the marshmallows and stir till melted. Then add the chocolates (1 kind at a time). Stirring till it is all melted, it will thicken up as you are stirring, this IS my *favorite part!!! (Add the nuts at this point if you so choose.) Pour into a foil lined (grease the foil) 9″ x 13″ pan. Chill to set. Lift fudge out of pan, cut and ENJOY!!!!

Here are a few more Christmas goodies!!

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Oreo Balls! I am sure you have heard of these before and even made them. Funny thing, Aunt Sher also shared this recipe with me! Another fun one for the kids, have them roll the balls (you should perhaps dip, as the Oreo balls will melt if they linger to long in the melted chocolate!) and sprinkle with sprinkles. ((Aren’t sprinkles fun? One of my favorite things for sure!Three cheers for sprinkles!!))

Oreo Balls
14-15 oz. pkg. Oreos
6 oz. softened cream cheese
almond bark
sprinkles

Crush the Oreos finely and mix with the cream cheese. Chill. Roll into balls. Chill. Dip in melted almond bark, I melt in double boiler. Start with 6 cubes maybe, may need more or it may be too much. Never can tell with these things. When balls are still wet, not set, sprinkle with sprinkles!!!! Let set, either on counter or fridge.

Or you can dip in melted chocolate. You can also top with crushed candy canes, not sprinkles. Use your imagination and have fun!!

ENJOY!!!

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Peppermint Chex Mix you say? Yep! You should try it! Melt some almond bark add some crushed candy canes and pour over some Chex cereal (start with a little, you can always add more). Stir well, then pour onto a wax lined cookie sheet and let set till hardened, break up and eat!

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Did you melt too much almond bark?? Did you crush too many candy canes?? Have no fear!! Make Peppermint Bark!  My mom makes this most every year, so it has special memories for me. Melt your almond bark, stir in your crushed candy canes and pour out onto a waxed lined cookie sheet (as thick or thin as you like) and let set to harden and break up. Enjoy! Yum!

What is your favorite goodie to make during the Christmas season?? What is your favorite to EAT!!! :)(My answers ~ To make, Fudge. To eat,  Peanut Butter Balls.) I would enjoy hearing from you all!! 🙂

PLEASE CHECK OUT THE UPDATE ON THE OVERNIGHT PIZZA DOUGH / CHICAGO STYLE PIZZA POST! THANK YOU FOR READING!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Because it is fall, because it is chilly, because the boys need a snack for after school, because a friend is coming over, because I am hungry. Those are ALL good reasons to make muffins, right??? OK, good.  I am sure you too can find a reason to make muffins today!!

~ Recipe halves well or just freeze the leftover muffins for later snackin’.
~ I used half coconut oil and half applesauce, for the oil in the recipe. A hint about coconut oil ~ this time of year the stuff is hard and needs to be melted to add to recipes. BUT if you add melted coconut oil to cold milk/eggs/applesauce or whatever you are making, it  will just harden right back up and coat your bowl in coconut yumminess, that will defeat the purpose of oil in your baked goods as it just stays in your bowl…..SO a simple solution….dadadaaaa ~ MELT the coconut oil and the applesauce together, not to boiling or anything, just till coconut oil is melted (then let set a few minutes, so it is not too hot to add to recipe). Then slowly add to bowl, while mixing. That should help!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins (yield 24 muffins)

4 eggs
1 1/2 c. sugar
15 oz. can of pumpkin
1 1/2 c. oil (I used 3/4 c. applesauce + 3/4 c. coconut oil)
1 tsp. vanilla
3 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. chocolate chips

Beat the eggs, sugar, pumpkin,  oil (or applesauce/ coconut oil mixture) and vanilla till smooth. Combine the dry ingredients and mix into the pumpkin mixture, till all combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips. Scoop into paper lined muffins tins (24). Bake @ 350º for 18-22 minutes till tests done with a toothpick.

Enjoy!!

Recipe adapted from Prized Recipes to Cook and Savor, Vol. II.

Caramel Sauce

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Seriously. S.e.r.i.o.u.s.l.y. I really don’t want to tell you that you HAVE to make this caramel sauce, because you DON’T have to. But maybe you should. Caramel sauce has been something  I have tried and tried and tried to make. I have kinda succeeded, sorta failed, totally flopped and mostly failed my way through making caramel for a few years now. Seriously, I had given up. BUT what made me try just one. more. time (……well, two more times, more on that in a minute…….) was that fact that Aldi did not have a jar of caramel sauce. They had about 10 bijillion hot fudge sauces in the same place were there was SUPPOSED to be hot fudge AND caramel. No caramel. So I was “forced” to buy some heavy whipping cream and try again, cause I  someone “needed” caramel.  Thanks Aldi.

So here I am. Me, tho one who thinks if the weather man says it will be 70º I dress for 70º……colder or hotter, I will not change. I wanna believe he is right. The one who thinks if you tell me to boil the sugar for 5-7 minutes that it will take 5-7 minutes and it will be done. Period. The one who is blistfully ignorant to the fact that things may not always go as planned.  I guess I am gullible? Is that the right word? I try and tell my self not to be, but self just does not listen.  Anyway. Precisely 15 minutes before we were to get the kids to bed, I started. making. caramel. The girl said that in “15 minutes” you will have caramel sauce. I thought it to be true. Well……..

I heated up the sugar. 15 minutes later I was still stirring this dark brown nearly burned sugar…..thinking “those hard chunks of sugar are sure to melt away any second now.” A few minutes later my son comes to me and says it smells like burned marshmallows in the house. To which I simply said “it is the caramel I am making.” The face he gave me said it all. He had his doubts. I thought, “butter will heal this.” Cause butter is butter and it is good. Well, the butter melted. The sugar did not. It was so so hard. No caramel in sight. My pan was ruined. The pan was about to go in the garbage. But then I thought better. I filled it with water and boiled it and boiled it till the hard chunks of sugar melted off. My husband, noting that crazy boiling pot on the stove, asked if it was going to boil over. I mumbled “No, maybe, thanks, just making caramel”……..under my breath. I didn’t look at his face. We got the kids to bed and back at it I went. Cause I had to…….you know?

Round 2. I opted to add a bit of water to the sugar. I was giddy. I was pumped. Pretty sure I jumped up and down and twiddled my fingers together a time or two. BECAUSE. Before my very eyes, caramel was happening!!!! That sugar/water mixture got to a lovely caramel color, I took it off the heat and added the butter. (PS. I was able to save the butter from the above said calamity. As soon as I saw the sugar NOT melting but instead turning into a ball of rock hard, teeth ruining candy, I poured the butter off. To precious to throw away and it was fine. Just fine. Just melted.) Stirred that butter around and added the heavy cream. Well, the caramel went crazy on me at that point. BOILING like mad ~ mind you, it was OFF the heat and on the counter. Oh no, I have ruined it again. I stirred and stirred and…..there it was. Caramel. It looked good. Did it taste good? I wonder.  The vanilla and salt went in next. I did not taste yet, surprising myself with my wise choice as to not burn my tongue clear off. Oh……the suspence…….

It cooled a bit. I tasted it. It was caramel. Legit caramel. I put it in my jar and left it there on the counter. To look at a bit. Husband came into kitchen. I happily said,  “Look!!!!! Caramel.” Well, he had been the recipient of my crunchy caramel or my rock hard caramel a few to many times and the house still smelled of burnt marshmallows. So I am sure he had his doubts. He said “good” or something simple like that. Then he noticed my lovely burning fall candle, commented on the flavor (Cinnamon Vanilla). I said “thanks, that was from you.” He said “that was nice of me.” (If you know him you can appreciate this whole conversation. He is a very to the point kinda guy.)

I thought about the caramel. I actually dreamed about. Food nerds have dreams about food sometimes.  First thing in the morning I opened it up. I looked good. But was it hard? Too hard?? The spoon went right in. It was just the right caramel consistency. It worked. It was yummy.

We had the caramel a day or so later on ice cream.  I think the kids expected it to turn to candy when it hit the ice cream. It HAS happened. But noppers. It did not. Success.

Some tips about this caramel making ~

~ Have the heavy whipping cream be room temp, don’t forget this.
~ Have the butter be melted, don’t forget this.
~ Don’t leave the sugar/water mixture, just hang out by it, stirring. Laundry can wait.
~ That is all I can think of.  Just learn from my mistakes. If you burn the sugar, no worries, just add water to the nearly ruined saucepan and boil it off.

Are you thinking ~ didn’t she already share a caramel recipe?” Well, yes, thanks for asking. I did.  Right here. I have made that one a good number of times, it works half the time.  Not sure why. So this is now my new favorite one. 🙂

PLEASE let me know if you try this or any thoughts you may have concerning caramel or any food. 

PS. It’s fall! High fives alllll around! WAHOO!!!!

Caramel Sauce 
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. water
1 stick of BUTTER, melted
3/4 c. heavy whipping cream, room temp
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix together the sugar and water, bring to a boil.  Boil and stir till a caramel color. (Watch as it will go from caramel color to burned useless sugar in a few seconds flat! This is not a thing to time, as all stove tops cook differently, just watch carefully and use your best judgement. I have burned a batch or two. Sadly. Just stick by it, you will be fine.)
Take off heat, put the butter in the sugar mixture and stir till combined. Then add the heavy whipping cream, it will bubble up on you just be brave and keep stirring till all combined. Add the salt and vanilla. Do not eat right away or you will burn you tongue so very bad. When warm, serve over ice cream. Or store in fridge and heat in microwave till warm. Also very good by itself on a spoon.
ENJOY!!!

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

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Yummy sweets. A little something sweet is a must after a meal, in my opinion! This bar is a combo of my favorite things, peanut butter and chocolate. Spoonful of peanut butter topped with chocolate chips anyone?

Enjoy this bar!!!! (I hid mine in the back of my fridge…….Sorta like sneaking snacks in the pantry when no one is looking, I know. I am sure you have done it too!)

I am going to also add here that this will be my last post for a while. For a number of reasons I am going to be done for a while. Not saying I will never come back to it…….ya never know.  So, thank you all for reading and commenting and having as much fun with this as I have. Thank you.

food 1116Get the recipe here for these yummy bars!

Snow Ice Cream II & Brownie Batter Dip

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So when you are on snow day #2!!!! 🙂 and your windows look like this…..

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WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO but make Snow Ice Cream??!?!!? Well, perhaps you remember LAST years adventures in Snow Ice Cream Making……. This year we took a simpler route. My sister-in-law told me about this and it took EVERYTHING in me NOT to make it at 9:30 last night. I was tough. I waiting till after breakfast this morning. (Kids could help eat and make then!!) We all so very  much enjoyed it.

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The best part it is is that you probably have ALL the ingredients in your house!! Just wait for a fresh snow fall and WAALLLAAAA Snow Ice Cream!!! Enjoy!!!! (We sure did! Kids (& I) voted this batch EVEN better than last years!!!!)

Grab the recipe here!! (And let me know if you try it!!!)

I am a snacker.   My kids are snackers. Sometimes it is a challenge to come up with new and unique snacks ~ something fun, you know? I saw this recipe from Chef in Training and I knew I must try it! I mean, batter (and dough) is like my favorite thing. I tell myself NOT TO EAT it, there are eggs in it. Don’t do it. Don’t. But I ALWAYS do. I cannot help it. So, something that is called “Brownie Batter” seemed like a good choice for me  them to snack on.

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It was really good, tho not really brownie batterish, more like brownie puddingish. Anywho, we dipped graham crackers in and we all enjoyed it! It stays good in the fridge for 3-4 days too!!! Happy Snacking!!!

Brownie Batter Dip  

18. 4 oz. box of brownie mix, dry
2 c. PLAIN yogurt (low-fat or fat-free)
8 oz. low-fat cool whip, thawed
mini chocolate chips, for top, opt.

Mix brownie mix and yogurt, fold in thawed Cool Whip. Top with chocolate chips and use graham crackers as dippers! ENJOY!!!

Recipe adapted from Chef in Training.

Gingerbread Train (A Story, NOT a Recipe!) & Peanut Butter Balls

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I tend to look at things, like the picture on a box, and assume that it will turn out just the same as the picture shows. I tend to be blissfully ignorant to the fact that things do not always turn out just so……

The box should read ~ “Your Gingerbread Whatever will NOT end up looking like the one of the box, but, OH, you WILL have fun making it!”

To set the scene. I have been wanting to make a gingerbread house for years. Why I never did? Not sure. This year, however ~ I was going TO DO IT. There my mom and I stood in front of a ginger bread “do it yourself” display. We, because we are deliriously ignorant, went for the train (with upteenmillion sides) as opposed to the house (with 4, count ’em, 4 sides). I, ever so giddily, put it in the cart ~ unknown as to the adventures that were undoubtedly coming.

Now, days later, we begin. Not even 2 seconds in. CRASH. Yep, crash…… There went a rather large, important piece. “Oh of course! And why wouldn’t that happen?!”  Was uttered by someone (or should I say, practically shouted by someone?)…no names dropped here…..tears flowed. Hugs given. Moving on……..

What to do with the 10’s of thousands of little gross  candies given?? Oh, yes, a cup. Good idea. How many times did this cup tip you wonder?

There is my mom. Tettering 2 kids on her lap, cause she cannot say “no”. There I am. Busy with EVERYthing under the sun (other than gingerbreading…. clearing I am avoiding the whole messy practically stressful thing…..sorry mom.) There are kids. With blue mouths, “did you eat any candy” we say, “no” they say…..uhhh huhhh.

After much debate on what to put where……we have a train that resembles a train. (Can we please have directions that are clearer? I am a girl. I like directions. Explicit directions that do not get you confused and send you around the block and right back PAST the place were you JUST left your husband and he is  WATCHING you drive by like a complete
dip ….oh, sorry ~ back to gingerbreading…….)

Suddenly, the train falls. (For the 3rd…maybe 4th time.) I put my camara down and swoop in to “fix” it. It is about that time that we look at each other, really, with sheer enjoyment cause the kids are having a hoot of a time. I think we then wonder why we both thought this thing would be a breeze. Extra candy goes in “mounds of snow” ~ good idea mom. Then there is more picture-taking, so we can remember these moments.

Now comes another debate. Who keeps the thing? (Though I am just kindly trying to send it her way…..maybe she was trying to do the same to me?)  That lovely train answered that for us, by tipping over.  No “frosting glue” can help it anymore. The kids all get a train wall to eat, and well…..here is the rest of it, ready to enjoy for another day!  AT LEAST we caught it is all its beauty in a photo or 10.

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Have you ever made a gingerbread anything? Will you ever do it again? I have a gingerbread house just sitting in the pantry ready to go, will it be easier???

So here we are, about a week later. Ready to give it ago….again.

Somehow I have forgotten the chaos of that other said day. I ONCE again think that the picture will turn just the same as the box.  That the frosting bag will behave and that the candy will stay put…….

Well. SUCCESS. Did you know it IS important to glue the walls together then walk away for 15 minutes so they have time to set up?!?!?!? (Mom, HOW did we miss that one??!?) Did you know that the imperfections make these things/moments so special? It was a family effort ~ a new tradition has unfolded. Candy still got dumped, frosting still leaked, smiles were STILL there. What fun.

Now on our counter is this gingerbread house. Though a few/most pieces of candy have been snatched…..that is another fun part of gingerbreading, SNEAKING candy!

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IF you COULD only pick one Christmas Cookie to make this holiday season, what would YOU choose to make???

The recipe below is my answer to that question, cannot wait to hear yours!

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I grew up eating Peanut Butter Balls one way, my husband grew up eating Peanut Butter Balls a different way. Both ways are good, but I wanted to mesh it into one recipe ~ that will be the recipe MY kids will request from me some day!  (Here is for hoping they DO request a recipe or two of mine……right now their only requests are Frozen Pizza *humph* and Candy. MAYBE some day they will say, “mom, can you make those cookies, you know the ones with the _____ and ____ with ____ sprinkled on top!” OR maybe they will say “can you make brussels sprouts tonight?” ~ oh,  have I gone tooo far?)

Peanut Butter Balls 
2 sticks softened butter
2 c. peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 lb. powdered sugar (+ 1/2 c. or so if more is needed)
1 sleeve of graham crackers crushed
1 1/2 – 2 (12 oz. pkgs.) of semi-sweet chocolate
1 TB. shortening

Beat the butter, peanut butter and vanilla till smooth. Add the powdered sugar, beat till smooth. Add the crushed graham crackers, mixing till well combined. (May need to add a touch more powdered sugar if it seems like it needs it.) Chill (it will set a bit more as it chills). Till nice and cold. Roll into balls. I make sorta large ones with my Pampered Chef Cookie Scoop, but make the size you like. Freeze. When frozen (it is just easier to dip when they are frozen) then melt your chocolate and shortening in a double boiler, when it is nice and smooth and melted, you can dip your balls in.  Place on waxed paper to cool. My preference is to eat these out of the fridge, though they are also good at room temp. Enjoy!!!

This recipe is a mesh from Mom and Mom’s recipes!