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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

♥ Almond Macaroon Brownie Bars ♥

  1. Brownies
  2. 1 box (1 lb 2.4 oz) Betty Crocker® Original Supreme Premium brownie mix
  3. Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on brownie mix box (for cakelike brownies)
  4. Filling
  5. 3 cups flaked coconut
  6. 1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  7. 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  8. 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
  9. Drizzle
  10. 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  11. 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
  1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Spray bottom only of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray. Make brownie batter as directed on brownie mix box for cakelike brownies. Spread batter in pan. Bake 26 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from side of pan comes out almost clean.
  2. Meanwhile, in large bowl, mix filling ingredients. Remove brownies from oven. Carefully spoon and spread filling evenly over brownies. Bake 15 minutes longer (filling will not brown). Cool completely, about 1 hour.
  3. In small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips and 1/2 teaspoon oil on High 30 to 40 seconds, stirring every 10 seconds, until chips are melted. Spoon into resealable food-storage plastic bag; seal bag. Cut small tip from corner of bag; drizzle chocolate over filling. For bars, cut 8 rows by 6 rows.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

♥ Gramma's Chocolate Chess Pie ♥

1 pie crust
1/2 cup butter, melted (1 stick)
2 1oz squares unsweetened chocolate baking squares
1 5oz can evaporated milk (2/3 cup)
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt

option pecan topping:
1 1/2 cup pecan halves and pieces
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 35
2. Melt butter and chocolate squares in 30 second intervals in microwave safe bowl.  Stir after each 30 seconds until smooth.
3. Whisk evaporated milk, eggs, and vanilla together. Add to chocolate mixture.
4. Stir together granulated sugar, flour, and salt, then add to chocolate mixture whisking until smooth.
5. Press pie shell into 9" pie plate.  Prick bottom with form.
6. Pour filling into pie shell and bake for 45 minutes (maybe 50 depending on your oven).

For pecan topping:
1. Bake pie for only 40 minutes.  Remove from oven.
2. Stir together pecans, light brown sugar, corn syrup and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Sprinkle over pie. 
3. Bake an additional 10 minutes.

Let cool at least one hour before serving. Top with whipped cream.
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Saturday, November 30, 2013

♥ Peanut Butter Cake ♥

  • For the Frosting:
  • 1 cup natural, unsweetened peanut butter
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
  • up to ½ cup heavy cream
  • For the Cake:
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup natural, unsweetened peanut butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add the peanut butter, oil, and brown sugar. Beat until combined and creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat just until combined.
  4. Alternately add the flour and buttermilk to the wet mixture, beating just until combined. Be careful not to over-beat or the cake will be dense and dry. A few small lumps of flour is fine.
  5. Grease a 9X3 inch round baking pan (I use Magic Line pans)
  6. Pour the batter into the pan.
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out moist (not wet with batter but moist. If the toothpick is dry, the cake is over-baked and will be dry).
  8. Let the cake sit in the pan for 5 minutes, then invert the cake onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. In the meantime, to make the frosting, place the peanut butter and butter in a large mixing bowl. Beat until smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, continuing to beat. Add the heavy cream until a smooth and spreadable consistency is reached.
  10. Cut the cooled cake in half horizontally. Frost the bottom half of the cake and down the sides. Place the top layer of the cake, upside down, on top of the bottom layer. Frost the top layer and down the sides.
To cut back on calories (and save yourself some work), bake the cake in a 9X13 square cake pan as a sheet cake and make half the amount of frosting to go on top. Also, for a more moist and goopey version, prepare the sheet cake. In a small saucepan bring ¼ cup honey, ¼ cup brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of butter to a boil. Remove from heat. Poke some holes throughout the sheet cake and drizzle the honey glaze evenly over it. Allow to cool completely and then frost (remember, half the recipe amount for the frosting). Note, I haven’t actually tried this version, merely conceptualized it in my mind, but I think it would work ;) Note: For chocolate frosting, add a couple of tablespoons of good quality cocoa powder.
*Variation: Add Nutella to the frosting
*Another variation: Pour some chocolate ganache over it for ultra decadence!

Friday, November 29, 2013

♥ Lemon Blackberry Cake ♥

3 cup(s) cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
1 teaspoon(s) salt
1/2 teaspoon(s) baking soda
1 cup(s) butter, softened
2 1/2 cup(s) sugar
5 eggs
1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
1/4 cup(s) lemon juice
2 tablespoon(s) lemon juice
3/4 cup(s) buttermilk
Blackberry-Cassis Jam
Lemon Buttercream frosting

1. Make the batter: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using a small brush, lightly coat two 9-inch cake pans with softened butter or vegetable-oil cooking spray. Dust with flour and tap out any excess. Set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda and set aside. In a large bowl using a mixer set at medium speed, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending each thoroughly before adding the next. Scrape down sides and beat in vanilla extract. Reduce mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture by thirds, alternating with the lemon juice and buttermilk and ending with the dry ingredients.

2. Bake the cake: Divide the batter equally between the pans and spread evenly. Bake on the middle rack of the oven until the tops spring back when lightly touched and a tester inserted in the center of each cake layer comes out clean -- 20 to 30 minutes. Cool in the cake pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Using a knife, loosen the cake layers from the sides of the pans and invert the layers onto the wire rack to cool completely.

3. Frost the cake: Use a serrated knife to trim the cake layers to make them level, if necessary. Line the edges of a cake plate with 3-inch-wide strips of waxed or parchment paper and place a cake layer on top. Use a pastry bag or a plastic zip-top bag with a corner cut off to pipe a 1/2-inch-thick ring of Lemon Buttercream around the edge of the cake layer. Spread 1 1/2 cups Blackberry-Cassis Jam inside the buttercream ring and top with the second layer. Place 1 cup of Lemon Buttercream on top of the cake and cover the entire cake with a thin coating of icing. Chill for at least 1 hour. Remove cake from refrigerator and frost with remaining icing. Remove paper strips and serve at room temperature. Store refrigerated for up to 4 days.

Blackberry-Cassis Jam
5 cup(s) fresh or frozen blackberries
1 cup(s) cassis
2 tablespoon(s) cassis
1/2 cup(s) sugar
2 tablespoon(s) fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon(s) lemon zest
2 tablespoon(s) cornstarch

1. Make the jam: In a medium nonreactive saucepan, combine blackberries, 1 cup cassis, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest and cook over medium-low heat until berries begin to soften -- about 10 minutes.

2. Use a slotted spoon to remove only the berries. Place them in a medium bowl, lightly mash them, and strain the resulting liquid back into the saucepan. Set the strained berries aside. Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining 2 tablespoons of cassis and stir the mixture into the hot berry juice.

3. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, and cook, stirring often to avoid burning, until the liquid thickens and is reduced to half its original volume -- about 2 cups.

4. Stir the reserved blackberries into the liquid. Remove from heat and cool completely.

Lemon Buttercream:
1/2 cup(s) (about 3 large eggs) egg whites
1 cup(s) granulated sugar

1 pound(s) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon(s) finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon(s) fresh lemon juice

1. Make the frosting: In a large stainless-steel bowl placed over a pot filled with 1 inch of simmering water, place the egg whites and sugar. Use a whisk to beat the mixture until it is very hot to the touch (about 160 degrees F). Remove from heat and, using a mixer set on high speed, immediately begin whipping the mixture until it is cool, thick, and glossy and has tripled in volume -- about 5 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to medium and add the butter -- about a quarter cup at a time -- allowing 5 to 10 seconds in between each addition. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice and continue to beat until smooth and fluffy.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

♥ Gluten-Free Pumpkin Fudge ♥

  • 1 c. pumpkin puree (I’ve also used butternut squash puree with great results!)
  • 4 T. coconut oil, melted
  • 6 Medjool dates
  • 1 t. pie spice
  • ¼ t. sea salt
  • 1-2 T. water
  1. Process the dates until a paste forms.
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients and process until well combined.
  3. Only add water as needed to make it spreadable.
  4. Scrape the batter into a small glass dish (I used a 7 x 5 inch Pyrex dish).
  5. Freeze until hardened.
  6. Cut and enjoy!
Makes 12 pieces.

Monday, November 25, 2013

♥ 'Mounds Bar’ Chocolate Coconut Cake♥

  • 1 cup boiling-hot water
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • Rounded 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature for 30 minutes

Make cake layers:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 2 (9- by 2-inch) round cake pans and line bottom of each with a round of wax paper. Butter paper and dust pans with flour, knocking out excess. 

Whisk together hot water and cocoa powder in a bowl until smooth, then whisk in milk and vanilla.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in another bowl. 

Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low and add flour and cocoa mixtures alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture (batter may look curdled). 

Divide batter between cake pans, smoothing tops. Bake until a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean and edges of cake begin to pull away from sides of pans, 25 to 35 minutes total. Cool layers in pans on racks 10 minutes, then invert onto racks, removing wax paper, and cool completely. 

Coconut Vanilla Frosting
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
1 can coconut milk, reduced until thickened (use 1/3 cup)
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch of salt
1 3/4 cups sweetened coconut flakes
 Assemble the cake:
(1) Blend butter, sugar, coconut milk, vanilla and salt with an electric mixer until smooth.  Add more milk if too thick to taste.
(2) Frost bottom layer of cake, adding 1/2 cup of coconut flakes spread evenly on top.  Then add top layer.
(3) Frost top layer and sides of cake.  Sprinkle remaining coconut flakes on top and along sides.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

♥ Browned Butter Pecan Pie ♥

~~Recipe from

Nothing beats a homemade pecan pie at the holidays! I haven't made one in years, but this might just be the year for another one.


1/2 cup butter (do not use margarine)
1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, beaten
1 Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crust, softened as directed on box
1 1/4 cups pecan halves 
  • In 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, stirring frequently. Cook 2 to 5 minutes, stirring often, until butter stops foaming and browned bits form at bottom of pan. Stir in sugar and corn syrup. Cook over low heat 15 to 18 minutes, stirring frequently, until sugar is dissolved. Cool 1 hour. Add vanilla bean paste, salt and eggs; beat with wire whisk until well blended. 
  • 2 Heat oven to 325°F. Place pie crust in 9-inch glass pie plate as directed on box for One-Crust Filled Pie. Pour filling into crust-lined plate. Arrange pecan halves in concentric circles on top of filling. With fork, gently press pecans into filling to glaze, keeping pecans in circular pattern.
  • 3 Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until filling is set and crust is golden brown. Cover crust edge with strips of foil after 40 minutes to prevent excessive browning. Cool completely on cooling rack, 3 to 4 hours, before slicing.
  •  Makes 1 pie. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

♥ Gluten-Free: Fudge Brownies ♥


(makes one 8×8 pan)

1/3 C white rice flour (or your favorite gluten free all purpose flour.
 1/3 C white sugar
1/3 C brown sugar
1/4 C cornstarch
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 C unsweetened applesauce
1/4 C oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
optional: 1/3 C dairy-free chocolate chips (I love Enjoy Life Foods Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips)

Preheat oven to 350 F and grease an 8×8 inch square baking dish. In a medium size bowl, mix together the rice flour, cornstarch, sugars, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt, making sure to get rid of any lumps.

Now add the applesauce, oil, and vanilla and stir until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips then spread batter in the prepared pan. Bake for about 30 minutes or so…I like them a little under cooked and gooey :) Let cool before cutting.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

♥ Butterfinger Cake ♥

1 box yellow cake mix, plus ingredients to make the cake
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 jar Smucker's caramel ice cream topping
1 (8oz) tub Cool-Whip
4 regular sized Butterfinger candy bars, crushed

Bake cake in a 9x13-inch pan according to direction on the package.

While cake is baking, mix milk and caramel topping until well blended. When the cake is done and while it's still hot, poke holes in it with a fork or straw. Pour milk mixture over the cake. Allow cake to cool completely.

Sprinkle two candy bars over cake. Spread Cool Whip over the top, then sprinkle the remaining candy bars on top. Chill.

Tip: I like to freeze the butterfingers and crush them right in the wrapper.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

♥ Banana Pecan Cake with Caramel Frosting ♥

original recipe from from          
1 cup toasted pecan pieces (my addition)
1 1/2 cups bananas, mashed, ripe
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 1/8 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 275°.

Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan.

In a small bowl, mix mashed banana with the lemon juice; set aside. 
In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream 3/4 cup butter and 2 1/8 cups sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in eggs, one at a time, then stir in 2 tsp vanilla.
Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk.

Stir in banana mixture and ( toasted pecan pieces if using )

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for one hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. 
Remove from oven and place directly into the freezer for 45 minutes. This will make the cake very moist.
Caramel Frosting
(from Paula Deen)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream, plus more as necessary
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 (16-ounce) box confectioners’ sugar

Melt butter in small saucepan. Add brown sugar and 1/3 cup cream. Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Transfer to a large bowl.

Using a handheld electric mixer, beat in confectioners' sugar a little at a time until smooth. If frosting is too thick, add 1 tablespoon heavy cream at a time until consistency is right.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

♥ Gluten-Free & Vegan: Pop-Tarts ♥

One of the things I miss being gluten-free are pop tarts. Really! I know it sounds crazy but when you suddenly can't have something, it becomes important to find a substitute. :) Granted I only ate them once or twice a year, but what  a treat when I found this recipe. Can you buy gluten-free pop tarts? Absolutely! But the price is unbelievable! And sometimes the ingredients can be scary. Yikes. I really want to give this recipe a try one weekend.

  • 160g (1+1/3 cup) Oat Flour (plus ~1/2 cup for rolling)
  • 160g (1 cup) Brown Rice Flour
  • 13g (2 tbs) Ground Flax-seed
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 168g (~3/4 cup) Non-Hydrogenated Vegetable Shortening*, soft (I used Spectrum Organics)
  • 112g (1/3 cup) Agave Nectar
  • 1 tsp Butter Extract
  • Filling:
  • ~10 tbs 100% Fruit Spread (I like strawberry and blackberry)
  • Icing:
  • 1/2 cup Powdered Erythritol
  • 1 tbs Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Rainbow Sprinkles
    For the Dough:
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the oat flour, brown rice flour, flax and salt.
  2. Dump the shortening into the center of the bowl and drizzle in the agave and butter extract. Fold together until a dough forms (the dough should be too dry or too moist, you should able to form it into a ball without it sticking to the bowl)
  3. Tape a large square of parchment paper onto your counter (I used packing tape around all sides) and knead dough with some extra oat flour (I used ~1/4 cup). Flatten the dough into a disc, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  4. For the Pop Tarts:
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Break off 1/4 of the disc (put the rest back in the fridge), dust the parchment sheet and dough with some oat flour and roll to 1/8" thickness. Use a pizza cutter to cut into rectangles, then use a thin/sharp pie server to transfer rectangles to the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Add the fruit spread to the dough rectangles, leaving 1/2" border, then top with another dough rectangle.
  8. Press on the edges with your fingers to seal the pop tart and use a toothpick to poke holes into the surface (you can kind of see the holes in the post photos).
  9. Bake for ~12-16 minutes (depends on the size of your pop tarts), or until the edges have browned slightly. Slide the parchment paper off the pan and onto a wire cooling rack. Continue doing this until all the dough is used up.
  10. Add icing and sprinkles!
*You can probably use 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce in place of 1/4 cup of the shortening if you want a lower fat recipe. I have made this dough with applesauce before with good results, but I haven't tried it yet with this Pop Tart recipe. I'm sure it will work out fine!

This recipe is: low sugar, gluten free, vegan!

Makes about 5 poptarts.

Friday, November 15, 2013

♥ Brownie Cherry Cheesecake ♥

  • 1 8-ounce package of brownie mix or 1-2/3 cup brownie mix
  • 4 eggs, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 21-ounce can Cherry Pie Filling
  • COOL WHIP whipped topping, thawed
  • chocolate syrup
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together brownie mix, one egg and oil until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until brownie is just set. (will not be completely done at this point)
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until well combined and smooth. Add in the remaining 3 eggs on low speed and set the mixture aside.
  4. Carefully spoon 1/2 can (1 cup) of pie filling into the center of brownie, leave a 2-inch brownie border along sides of pan.
  5. Dollop cream cheese mixture over surface; carefully spread to edges of pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until center is set, but jiggles when the pan is lightly tapped.
  6. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 1 hour.
  7. Cover and chill at least 4 hours before serving.
  8. Top cheesecake with remaining cherry pie filling. Garnish with COOL WHIP and chocolate syrup. if desired.
~~From: TidyMom.Net~~

Thursday, November 14, 2013

♥ Better than Pumpkin Cake ♥

  • 1 yellow cake mix
  • 1 16 oz. can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tub of whipped topping
  • 3 Heath Candy Bars (crumbled)
  • Caramel topping for drizzle
  1. Heat oven to 350*.
  2. Mix box of yellow cake mix & can of pumpkin puree together along with the pumpkin pie spice and vanilla. Do not add the ingredients on the back of the cake mix box. You only need to add the pumpkin, spice & vanilla. Bake for 25-30 minutes in a 9x13 inch baking cake dish. Depending on your oven. (check to make sure the center is cooked)
  3. Once cake is finished baking, allow to cool for about 5 minutes, and then poke holes with a wooden spoon all over the top of the cake.
  4. Pour the entire can of sweetened condensed milk over the cake & allow to cool.
  5. Once cake is completely cooled, add the whip cream & crumbled Heath Candy Bars. (I recommend the actual candy bars instead of the already crumbled Heath packaged kind.)
  6. Drizzle caramel topping over the cake or the individual slices when ready to serve.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

♥ Easy Harvest Apple Spice Cake ♥

  • 1 box spice cake mix (I use Duncan Hines)
  • A dash or two of allspice
  • freshly ground nutmeg (a few grates on a microplane grater; I don’t measure, but less than ⅛ of a tsp.)
  • ⅓ cup homemade apple butter (I do a heaping ⅓ cup :) )
  • 1 (20 to 21 oz.) can apple pie filling
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ cup cinnamon chips ( I use Prepared Pantry which are very small chips)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9 x 13-in. pan with Baker’s Joy (or grease and flour pan).
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add cake mix, allspice, nutmeg, apple butter, apple pie filling, and eggs. Mix on medium-low speed until combined thoroughly. The mixer will chop up the apples a bit for you. Add the cinnamon chips and mix just until combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 30-35 minutes (I follow bake time on the box for this size pan. Adjust accordingly depending on your pan size and oven) or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  3. Cool completely then frost. Enjoy! ♥
  4. Cream Cheese Frosting: With a hand mixer, mix 1 (8 ounce) package softened cream cheese, ½ cup softened & unsalted butter, 1.5 to 2 cups powdered sugar (adjust to your desired taste & texture), 1 tsp. vanilla, and 1 Tbsp. heavy cream (start with 1 and adjust to your desired taste & texture) until smooth. Spread over cooled cake.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

♥ Strawberry Pretzel Salad ♥

  • 2 cups pretzels, crushed
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup crushed pecans, divided
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 8 ounces whipped topping
  • 6 ounces strawberry flavored gelatin
  • 1 1/2 cups water, boiled
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) fresh strawberries, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together the crushed pretzels, melted butter, sugar, and 1/4 cup crushed pecans. Press into the bottom of a greased 9 x 13-inch pan and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
  3. Make gelatin by boiling 1 1/2 cups water and pouring into a small mixing bowl. Add the gelatin and stir until dissolved. Add one cup of ice cubes and mix until ice is melted. Stir in chopped strawberries. Place in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes until partially set.
  4. In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar until fluffy. Fold in the whipped topping.
  5. Spread the whipped cream mixture evenly over the cooled pretzel crust. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup crushed pecans.
  6. Spread the partially set strawberry gelatin over the top of the whipped cream mixture. Cover and place in the refrigerator to set for approximately 1 hour or until set.
  7. Garnish with whipped topping, pecans, and sliced strawberries (optional).
Serves 15.
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup pecan pieces
  • ½ cup corn syrup (light)
  • 1 teaspoon butter (plus extra for greasing)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  1. *see notes below*
  2. Grease a rimmed baking sheet with butter, or line with parchment paper.
  3. Mix the sugar and corn syrup in a bowl and microwave for 4 minutes
  4. Carefully remove & stir in the pecans, microwave 4 minutes
  5. Stir in butter and vanilla, microwave 1 minute
  6. Stir in baking soda until foamy and pour on greased rimmed pan.
  7. Allow to cool on a rack.
  8. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.
Use a good sized bowl to allow expansion as ingredients cook. Mixture coming from microwave will be EXTREMELY HOT use caution when handing.
- See more at:

Sunday, November 10, 2013

♥ Chocolate Tea Time Cake ♥

  • ½ cup unsalted butter (8 Tbsp.), room temperature
  • 1 and ⅓ cups sugar
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. espresso powder
  • ⅔ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder (I use Ramstadt-Breda Rich Dark Cocoa-Holland)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1¼ cups flour
  • ¾ cup milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer), beat together the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, baking powder, espresso powder, and cocoa. The mixture will seem a bit grainy/sandy. Add the eggs one at a time being sure to fully mix each egg in before adding the next. Add half of the flour and mix on low speed until combined. Add the milk and mix until combined. Add the rest of the flour, mixing just until combined.
  2. Pour batter into the loaf pan and bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Check loaf at the 55 minute mark and every 5 minutes after to avoid drying out the cake. Once cooked, loosen the edges of the cake with a knife or thin spatula. After 10 minutes of cooling time, remove loaf from the pan and cool on a wire rack. Wrap cooled loaf in plastic wrap and store at room temperature. Slice and enjoy after it sits several hours, preferably overnight or more.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

♥ Gluten-free & Dairy-free: Peanut butter brownie balls ♥

  1. -3/4C almonds
  2. -1T cocoa powder
  3. -12 pitted dates
  4. -2T all-natural peanut butter
  1. 1. Place almonds in a small food process or and process for about 30 seconds or until your almonds are finely chopped like almond meal. Set aside.
  2. 2. Next, process the pitted dates until they become like a paste.
  3. 3. Then, add the rest of the ingredients, including the almond meal, and pulse for an additional minute.
  4. 4. Form dough in to balls and eat! If it is having trouble sticking, add a tablespoon or 2 of honey.

Monday, November 4, 2013

♥ Apple Scones with Spiced Maple Butter ♥

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice or ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup finely chopped tart apple, such as Braeburn, Jonagold or Jonathan
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon whipping cream
  • 16 -18 thin slices of unpeeled apple, such as Braeburn, Jonagold or Jonathan
  • Coarse sugar or granulated sugar
  • Spiced Maple Butter or honey


  1. Line an extra-large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil; set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, the 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, apple pie spice and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in cold butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the 1 cup finely chopped apple. Make a well in center of flour mixture.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the 2 eggs and 3/4 cup whipping cream. Using a fork, stir egg mixture into flour mixture; stir until just moistened. Dough will be thick. Using a 1/4-cup ice cream scoop or measuring cup, scoop dough into mounds and place on prepared baking sheet. Don't flatten.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the egg yolk and 1 tablespoon whipping cream. Brush some of the mixture over the top of the dough mounds. Place an apple slice on top of each dough mound, pressing down until about 1-inch thick. Brush with remaining egg yolk/whipping cream mixture; sprinkle with additional sugar.
  4. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 15 to 17 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheet on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove scones from baking sheet. Cool slightly. Serve warm with Spiced Maple Butter. Makes 15 scones.

Spiced Maple Butter


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or mild honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon apple pie spice or ground cinnamon


  1. In a small mixing bowl beat butter, maple syrup and apple pie spice with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Cover and chill for up to 1 week. Serve at room temperature. Makes 3/4 cup.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

♥ Gluten-free: Pumpkin Cake Bars ♥


1/4 c pumpkin puree
2 tbsp honey
1 egg
1/2 c almond flour
1/8 t salt
1/8 t nutmeg
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 350 & grease an 8x4 pan with butter.
2. Mix pumpkin, honey, & egg until well blended.
3. Add dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
4. Pour batter into greased pan and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Serves 4.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 8x4 pan well with butter.
  2. Mix pumpkin puree, syrup and egg until well mixed.
  3. Add dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Pour the batter into a greased pan and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.
You can double the recipe for 8 serving and bake in a 8x8 pan. It will take closer to 30-40 minutes to bake.
- See more at:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 8x4 pan well with butter.
  2. Mix pumpkin puree, syrup and egg until well mixed.
  3. Add dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Pour the batter into a greased pan and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.
You can double the recipe for 8 serving and bake in a 8x8 pan. It will take closer to 30-40 minutes to bake.
- See more at:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 8x4 pan well with butter.
  2. Mix pumpkin puree, syrup and egg until well mixed.
  3. Add dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Pour the batter into a greased pan and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.
You can double the recipe for 8 serving and bake in a 8x8 pan. It will take closer to 30-40 minutes to bake.
- See more at:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 8x4 pan well with butter.
  2. Mix pumpkin puree, syrup and egg until well mixed.
  3. Add dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Pour the batter into a greased pan and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.
You can double the recipe for 8 serving and bake in a 8x8 pan. It will take closer to 30-40 minutes to bake.
- See more at:

Thursday, October 31, 2013

♥ Wishing you.....! ♥

♥ Cheesecake Pumpkin Muffins ♥



  1. In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin and oil. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups one-third full.
  2. For filling, beat the cream cheese, sugar, egg and flour until smooth. Drop by tablespoonfuls into center of each muffin. Top with remaining batter.
  3. For topping, in a small bowl, combine the pecans, brown sugar and sour cream; spoon over batter. Bake at 400° for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the muffin comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers.  Yield: 2 dozen. ~~Country Woman Christmas Annual  2009~~

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

♥ Gluten-free: Peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies ♥

  • 1 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter (not natural)
  • 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats (gluten-free)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. In small bowl mix together the oats and baking soda; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl beat peanut butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth, about 3 minutes. Mix in dry ingredients with a wooden spoon, then gently fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Roll cookies into 2 inch dough balls and place onto cookie sheet 2 inches apart, then BARELY flatten the top of the cookie with your hand. The dough should be pretty sticky so if you find this method annoying, simply use a cookie scoop to drop the cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheet. The cookies may not be as round in shape and perhaps a bit thicker, but that’s okay, they will still be delicious.
  5. Bake cookies for 9-11 minutes and remove when edges barely begin to turn a golden brown. The cookies may look a little underdone, but they will continue to cook once you remove them from the oven. Cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookie dough. Makes 16-20 cookies.
You can use less sugar or less chocolate chips to save calories — I have tried using 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips and they turned out great! Feel free to substitute almond butter or another nut butter in replace of peanut butter. These cookies disappear quick so I recommend doubling the recipe!
~~The Ambitious

Monday, October 28, 2013

♥ I'm back! ♥

Hello dear tea friends!

I must apologize for disappearing out of sight for the last 2 months. I have been very sick and it's taken a toll on me getting back to health. I let both my blogs go as I was also emotionally tired as well and felt like maybe they needed a break. Perhaps a bit of fresh air is just what they needed. :)

You may notice that I will start sharing alot more gluten-free recipes in addition to the old stand-bys. I found out I have a wheat allergy so I am slowly learning to adapt to this way of life. I never realized just how frustrating it was for people who cannot consume the gluten foods--and I have discovered it's in almost everything we eat! What a nightmare!

So here we go...just in time for the holidays! I'm glad to be back! :)


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

♥ Sinless Vegan & Gluten-Free Chocolate Raspberry Tart ♥


for the crust:
  • 2 cups raw nuts (I used half and half of almonds and cashews) *
  • 1 cup dates, pitted
  • a pinch of maldon salt
for the chocolate filling:
  • 1 cup dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 6 tbsp cacao powder
  • 4 tbsp all-natural peanut butter (or any other kind of nut butter)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • unsweetened plant-based milk (or water), until desired consistency
for the final layer:
  • roughly 2 cups fresh raspberries
  • grated and/or melted dark sugar-free vegan chocolate (optional)
serving suggestions:
  • whipped coconut cream (see recipe below)

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place all the ingredients for the crust, except the dates, in a food processor and pulse it until you have a coarse meal. Add in the dates and process until you have a sticky dough. Press this firmly into the bottom of either a tart or pie pan lined with parchment, before punching holes all around the bottom using a fork. You get the most aesthetically pleasing result by using a tart pan, but taste-wise either works perfectly. Bake for about 10-20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove the crust from the oven and set it aside to cool.

2. While the crust is baking, go ahead and make the chocolate filling. This is done simply by placing all the ingredients into a food processor and run until you have a smooth and creamy paste. Start with using 1 cup of milk and add more as you go along. I ended up using about 1 1/2 cup, but you might need slightly more or less. The texture should be similar to Nutella! Pour the filling over crust, flatten with a spatula and transfer the pie to the refrigerator. Leave it for at least 2 hours, preferably over-night, allowing it to set properly.

3. Once the chocolate filling has set, remove the tart from the refrigerator. Start by picking out all the best-looking raspberries that are roughly the same size. Arrange them as close together as you possibly can on top of the chocolate filling. To achieve the best result, start in the middle and work your way towards the edges, working in circles.

 4. Now simply garnish with whatever you wish. I chose to melt some sugar-free vegan dark chocolate and drizzle it on top of the raspberries, as well as adding a dash of grated chocolate on top. I served it with some whipped coconut cream, which tasted heavenly.

Makes 1--9"pie.

Whipped Coconut Cream

makes 2 cups
  • 1 can of full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • a pinch of maldon salt

1. Place the coconut milk in the fridge and allow it to sit overnight. Take it out the following day and resume to the second step.

 2. Open the can and scoop out the hardened coconut mass that has gathered on the top into a bowl. The coconut water that remains can be used in any recipe that calls for plant-based milk so there is no need to throw this out.

 3. Grab either an electric or manual hand mixer and start whisking the mass until you have a smooth cream. I used an electric hand mixer and it took less than 1 minute from start to finish. It will probably take slightly longer if you use a manual hand mixer but it is far from un-doable. Serve immediately.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

♥ Spiced Peach-Carrot Bread ♥


  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped fresh, ripe peaches 
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated carrots
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk 
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Cool 15 minutes.
  2. Stir together flour and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl; add peaches, next 4 ingredients, and toasted pecans, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon batter into a lightly greased 9- x 5-inch loaf pan.
  3. 3. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 5 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 1 hour).

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

♥ Zucchini Chocolate Cake with Orange Glaze Recipe ♥


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup fat-free milk
  • 3 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • GLAZE:
  • 1-1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Coat a 10-in. fluted tube pan with cooking spray and sprinkle with flour.
  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in applesauce and vanilla.
  • Combine the flour, baking cocoa, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and soda; add to the creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Fold in the zucchini, walnuts and orange peel.
  • Transfer to prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  • Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • In a small bowl, combine glaze ingredients. Drizzle over cake. Yield: 16 servings.
~~ Healthy Cooking, Aug/Sept 2011~~