Monday, November 30, 2009

French Toast Casserole

Well last Friday was my turn to pick the  ROTW. Seeing that the upcoming Saturday, the 28th, was going to be National French Toast Day, I decided to pick a baked french toast casserole by Paula Deen. My original plan was to make this and post this on Saturday, but I forgot that both of my kids would be at Grandmas's that day. There was really no reason to make this just for myself(husband doesn't eat this kind of stuff) so, I decided to wait until today. My first impression of the casserole was that it was very good. The top was especially delicious, crisp and sweet. My second impression was.... I remembered that I'm not a huge fan of the moist bread in french toast casseroles. It tastes good, I just don't really care for the texture that much. I also am not a big fan of bread puddings for that reason. That being said...if you like french toast casseroles, this recipe would make a really good and easy addition to Christmas morning.


* 1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
* 8 large eggs
* 2 cups half-and-half
* 1 cup milk
* 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* Dash salt
* Praline Topping, recipe follows
* Maple syrup


Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. (Use any extra bread for garlic toast or bread crumbs). Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.
Praline Topping:

* 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter(I used salted,softened)
* 1 cup packed light brown sugar
* 1 cup chopped pecans(I left these out per my daughters request)
* 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Makes enough for Baked French Toast Casserole.
Recipe courtesy of Paula Deen

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Caramel Pecan Bars

We have posted this recipe as a "tart" before, but I thought I would show how they turn out as a bar. I made these for Thanksgiving yesterday and they were a huge hit. This is such an easy recipe to make.  To me, these are even better than a traditional pecan pie. I have a pretty hard time keeping my hands off of them and was even eating them for breakfast last time I made them....and lunch...and dinner...sigh.


3 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup butter, cubed(I prefer salted butter in this recipe)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
2/3 cup butter(I prefer salted)
3 tablespoons whipping cream
1. Arrange pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted. Cool on a wire rack 15 minutes or until completely cool.

2. Pulse flour, powdered sugar, and 3/4 cup butter in a food processor 5 to 6 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal. Pat mixture evenly on bottom and up sides of a lightly greased 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom.

3. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack 15 minutes or until completely cool.

4. Bring brown sugar, honey, 2/3 cup butter, and whipping cream to a boil in a 3-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in toasted pecans, and spoon hot filling into prepared crust.

5. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Cool on a wire rack 30 minutes or until completely cool.

Caramel-Pecan Bars: Prepare recipe as directed, pressing crumb mixture evenly on bottom and 3/4 inch up sides of a lightly greased heavy-duty aluminum foil-lined 13- x 9-inch pan. When completely cool, using the aluminum foil as handles, carefully lift the tart from the pan, and transfer to a serving tray. Cut into squares.

*recipe provided by Living, NOVEMBER 2007
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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Today instead of sharing another recipe that I love, I thought I would share about what I love most of all and the reasons I am so thankful.

I am thankful for my mom and dad. I could not have asked for 2 more perfect  parents. They are both such a wonderful Godly example of what a parent should be. I am thankful for my Husband of 13 years who has always been a great support, a loving dad and a constant provider for our family. I am thankful my beautiful daughter who is one of  the brightest, most courageous little girls I know. Her strength while dealing with the daily struggles that diabetes brings amazes me. How can someone so young be so strong? I am thankful for my amazing little boy. He has more energy in one day than I have all year! I love watching him grow and change every day. I am thankful for all of my friends. I feel so blessed to have each of them in my life. I'm thankful for Kim and this little blog that we get to work on together. I love the ideas that she brings here. She is such a great blogging buddy! Most of all I am thankful to God for his mercy and grace and the life He has given me! I am thankful that He sent His Son to die for my sins!

I hope everyone has a Very Happy Thanksgiving! Pin It

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Parfait

I absolutely looove pumpkin pie. Especially  covered in cool whip! Well in honor of National Parfait Day, November 25th,  I made a pumpkin pie parfait. When I  found out that Parfait Day was coming up, my first thought was, parfaits aren't very fallish. When I think of a parfait I think of flavors like strawberry or raspberry. Something that would make a nice summertime treat. Well that doesn't really work for fall so off I went to find a parfait made with another fruit, pumpkin. I only tried one recipe and in my opinion it's perfect. The parfait tastes  like a bite of pumpkin pie smothered in cool whip. The gingersnaps give this recipe a delicious "crust". Another great thing about this recipe is that you can lighten it up by using sugar free pudding and light cool whip, making it a much healthier alternative to pumpkin pie.


  • 3/4 cup cold milk(I used 2%)
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix(I used sugar free)
  • 2 cups whipped topping
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup chopped pecans(I left the pecans out this time, although I do love pecans) (If I were to use them I would probably toast them first)
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed gingersnaps
  • additional whipped topping


  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat milk and pudding mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Stir in THE whipped topping, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice; mix well. Fold in pecans.
  2. Spoon half of the mixture into parfait glasses; top with half of the gingersnap crumbs. Repeat layers. Top with additional whipped topping. 
Original recipe courtesy of  Lorraine Dorocha

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Chocolate Frosting

Sometimes when we are baking, especially if there are two parts to a recipe, we find one part to be perfect and the other to be, well... unsalvageable. This is the case in the recipe I am about to post. I am posting the wonderful, rich, delicious part of the recipe-the frosting-so that the next time you are making a chocolate cake, even from the box, you will have a fantastic, homemade frosting to go on it. There is nothing better than making a box cake your own by adding homemade touches. You will love this frosting so much you might find that you don't even need the cake.
Chocolate Frosting
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 tbl butter, at room temp

Put the chocolate chips and the heavy cream in a microwave safe bowl, cook for 1-2 min, stiring every 30 seconds until chips are melted (cover bowl loosely with a paper towel). Add the vanilla and let cool. When mixture is cool, add butter and mix with an electric mixer until thick. Spread on cake of your choice.

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Deviled Eggs

Another holiday favorite in our family are these deviled eggs. They are so simple to make, taste great, and make the perfect little appetizer for your Thanksgiving dinner. I made them last night with my son Nathan, when we were finished he laid them all out on a plate waiting for his daddy to come home and eat them (they are his favorite). But, daddy was running late and I guess Nathan just couldn't wait, so when I went to cover the eggs and put them in the refrigerator there were 5 empty eggs on the plate, nicely put back as if we wouldn't notice and would still want to eat them. Nathan had sucked the inside out of the egg whites, licked the whites clean and put them back on the plate. He is thoughtful like that sometimes.
A nice thing to remember about deviled eggs is that you don't have to put the yolk in a piping bag to put back into their whites, a spoon works just fine. Now if you want them to look professional or more elegant then you will need at least a plastic zipperbag, cut the corner off, to pipe the filling into the egg whites.

Deviled Eggs
8 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut lengthwise
¼ cup Mayonnaise
1-2 Tbl prepared mustard (like Heinz)
1/8 teaspoon salt (optional) if you salted the water you may not want to add salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Paprika for garnish
Dill for garnish (optional)

Pop out (remove) the egg yolks to a small bowl and mash with a fork. Add mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Fill the empty egg white shells with the mixture and sprinkle lightly with paprika and for a little color, dill looks beautiful too

Cover lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to one day before serving

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sweet Potato Cranberry Casserole

My favorite Thanksgiving side dish is sweet potatoes. My all time favorite sweet potato recipe is the one my mom use to make for Thanksgiving dinner. I believe it originally came out of one her old church cookbooks. This recipe uses canned sweet potatoes although I'm sure you can use fresh sweet potatoes if you sweeten them first.


All of the amounts will vary depending on the size dish you want to serve

1-4  29oz size cans of sweet potatoes in syrup, drained (I used 1 can for a 1.5 quart casserole dish, but I have used as many as 4 when I'm using a deep baking pan.)
Fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained (about 3/4 cup for 1.5 quart dish)
1 jar of orange marmalade (about 1/2 cup for 1.5 quart dish)
1 bag of mini marshmallows (1/4 of bag for 1.5 quart dish)
Chopped pecans (1/2 cup for 1.5 quart dish)

Put the sweet potatoes in a greased dish/pan of your choice. I used a 1.5 quart casserole dish this time. It made enough for 3-4 people. Usually if I'm bringing this recipe to a Thanksgiving dinner I use a deep 9X13 pan. I also like using disposable foil pans, as the marshmallows get baked onto the sides of the pan. Sprinkle cranberries over the top then sprinkle the pecans over the top. Now, dot the casserole with orange marmalade. Bake covered at 350 for 30 minutes. Pull casserole out, cover with marshmallows. Put back in the oven and bake until marshmallows are golden brown. You can also broil if you prefer, but KEEP AN EYE on the marshmallows, they brown VERY FAST this way. Pin It

Tangy Green Beans

Here is another recipe that my mom made for Thanksgiving Dinner. It has become a traditional recipe for our family. Bacon and Italian dressing really add a lot of flavor to these green beans. This is one of those recipes that doesn't really depend on exact ingredient measurements. You can make adjustments as desired.

Fresh green beans, rinsed with ends cut off (amount will depend on how many servings you wish to make)
1/2 onion
1/4 - 1/3 lb of bacon, cut into 1in. pieces
Italian Dressing (1/2 bottle to whole bottle)
2 T. Butter

Fry bacon in a medium to large size pot.  After a couple of minutes add the onion. Cook for a few more minutes until onions are tender. Bacon does not have to be completely cooked(mine was still tender). Add green beans. Fill pot with water, covering 3/4 of green beans. Add butter and dressing(amount of dressing depends on the amount of green beans) Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Pin It

Mom's Stuffing/Dressing

This is the stuffing recipe my mom has made for as long as I can remember. The smell and taste bring me lots of wonderful memories of  Thanksgiving. I have yet to try a stuffing that I like better. The original recipe comes from Betty Crocker, but my mom has made a few little changes to it. Tonight was the first time I have ever made it and it was very simple to make. We always make our stuffing outside of the bird, instead of in it. That is how I prefer it, but you could also use this recipe to stuff your Turkey.


1.5 cups chopped celery with leaves
3/4 cups butter
1/4 - 1/2 cup chicken broth
9 cups of soft bread cut into little cubes(I used an inexpensive white loaf)
1 teas. salt
1/2 teas. ground sage(I used rubbed sage and it worked fine)
1/2 teas. thyme
1/4 teas. pepper

Melt the butter in a large stock pot. Add celery and saute until tender. Add spices and broth, stir. Add bread cubes and mix it all together. Once completely mixed pour into a  9X13 pan. Bake covered with foil at 375 for 30 minutes. Pin It
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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sticky Pecan Upside-Down Baby Cakes

My favorite nut in the whole world is the pecan. This recipe is buttery, carmel-y and beautiful to present after dinner. The cake is light, giving the perfect base to the pecan sauce. The only thing I think that might make it even better would be a little Grand Mariner added to the sauce in place of orange peel (or maybe with them). Yum.

Non-Stick spray for baking
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup honey
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp finely shredded orange peel
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup cooking oil
1 8 ounce sour cream
2 tsp vanilla
1. preheat oven to 350〫Lightly coat twelve 3 1/2" (jumbo) muffin tins with nonstick spray for baking: set aside
2. In medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter and honey. Cook and stir over medium heat about 2 minutes or until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in pecans and orange peel; set aside.

3. In medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt; set aside..
4. In a large bowl, combine eggs, and granulated sugar. Beat with electric mixer until mixture is thick and lemon-color. Add oil, sour cream and vanilla. Beat until combined. Gradually add flour mixture, beat on low speed until smooth (do not over beat)
5. Place 2 TBL of pecan mixture in the bottom of each muffin cup. Spoon a heaping 1/3 cup of batter into each cup.
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the enters comes out clean. Cool in muffin pans on wire rack for 5 minutes. Using a sharp knife loosen edges of cakes from sides of muffin cups. Invert cakes onto wire rack. Spoon any pecan mixture remaining in the muffin cakes onto cakes. Serve warm or cool.
Recipe Courtesy of BHG
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Friday, November 20, 2009

Peanut Butter Fudge

November 20th is National Peanut Butter Fudge Day. Yum! I have never made peanut butter fudge before, or any other kind of fudge for that matter. I found a great recipe by Alton Brown over on the Food Network website. What a delicious and easy recipe. It only has 4 ingredients and you make it in the microwave! I did not make any changes to the ingredients. It's perfect as is. I also think that melted chocolate chips spread on the top would taste very good. Like a Reese's cup.

Did you know?

  • Americans on the West Coast prefer chunky peanut butter, whereas those in the East Coast like it creamy
  • The reason peanut butter sticks to your mouth is that its high protein content absorbs moisture
  • 96% of people, when making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, put the peanut butter on before the jelly
  • Adults actually consume more peanut butter than kids
  • 1 cup butter, plus more for greasing pan (I used unsalted butter)
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 pound powdered sugar(1 16oz box)


Microwave butter and peanut butter for 2 minutes on high. Stir and microwave on high for 2 more minutes. (I used a 1.5 qt. casserole dish with lid to prevent splattering.)Add vanilla and powdered sugar to peanut butter mixture and stir to combine with a wooden spoon.(I mixed mine in a Kitchen Aid mixer until it looked smooth. It will not look creamy while you are mixing it)

Pour into a buttered 8 by 8-inch pan lined with waxed paper.(I didn't have any wax paper. I just sprayed my pan with cooking spray.) Place a second piece of waxed paper on the surface of the fudge and refrigerate until cool. Cut into 1-inch pieces and store in an airtight container for up to a week.(A pizza cutter works great for cutting this.)

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

From Let's Eat!

I have always loved pumpkin pie. The taste, the texture, all of it. Especially topped with a huge scoop of cool whip. The second recipe for this weeks rotw is another Paula Deen recipe, Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake. It is a rather boring looking recipe especially baked in a 9X13 pan, but it is by far one of the best dessert recipes I have ever tried. The crust is rich and buttery. The top(filling) has the texture of a pumpkin pie. The taste is very similar to a pumpkin pie, but richer and sweeter. This is also a simple recipe to make. In my opinion this recipe tastes best refrigerated. This cake is a must have recipe for the holiday season!


1 18 1/4-ounce package yellow cake mix
1 egg
8 tablespoons butter, melted

1 15-ounce can of pumpkin
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 16-ounce box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make the cake, combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Pat the mixture into a lightly greased 13x9-inch baking pan.

Prepare filling:
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter and beat together.

Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well.

Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to over bake as the center should be a little gooey.

Serve with fresh whipped cream.(or Amber's favorite, cool whip) Pin It

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Trying Baklava...

When I saw that is was Baklava Day (11/17) I thought that would be a great challenge for me to do, mostly because I had no idea what Baklava was and also because I have never cooked with Phyllo dough. Why, you might ask? Well, to make a long story short, it is not on the diet. But, what is so great about this time of year is that we can allow ourselves just a little splurge now and then to remember why we love food so much. Plus, I just had to make this recipe so that I can bring it to you. So what is Baklava? "Baklava is a type of Greek pastry traditionally made with phyllo dough, honey, nuts, and orange essence. Many other Middle Eastern nations have pastries which are very similar, thanks to a long running tradition of sweet desserts which feature flaky, delicate pastry. While baklava was originally considered a food for the wealthy, today it can be found in many pastry shops and Greek specialty stores all over the world." So maybe this Thanksgiving, splurge a little and try a new cuisine, even if it is not on the diet especially if it is sweet, warm, buttery, nutty Baklava (fun to say huh?)

** Notes :Phyllo dough is usually found in the freezer or refrigeration section of your local supermarket. It is fairly easy to use but does dry out very very quickly. Read the directions to keep moist. Also, go slow with the butter, you cannot brush the butter on quickly or you will be fighting the dough.


  • 1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough
  • 1 pound chopped nuts
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup honey


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F(175 degrees C). Butter the bottoms and sides of a 9x13 inch pan.
  2. Chop nuts and toss with cinnamon. Set aside. Unroll phyllo dough. Cut whole stack in half to fit pan. Cover phyllo with a dampened cloth to keep from drying out as you work. Place two sheets of dough in pan, butter thoroughly. Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered. Sprinkle 2 - 3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top. Top with two sheets of dough, butter, nuts, layering as you go. The top layer should be about 6 - 8 sheets deep.
  3. Using a sharp knife cut into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan. You may cut into 4 long rows the make diagonal cuts. Bake for about 50 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp.
  4. Make sauce while baklava is baking. Boil sugar and water until sugar is melted. Add vanilla and honey. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
  5. Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon sauce over it. Let cool. Serve in cupcake papers. This freezes well. Leave it uncovered as it gets soggy if it is wrapped up.

definition courtesy of
recipe courtesy of
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Sweet Potato Bake

I can't imagine having a Thanksgiving  or Christmas dinner without a sweet potato dish on the side. I have been making the same sweet potato dish for years(recipe to come soon). I love my stand by recipe, but I thought it would be fun to try out a new recipe. Who better to go to for Thanksgiving comfort food, then Paula Deen. One of the recipes I picked for this week's rotw was Paula Deen's Sweet Potato Bake. It was such a wonderful recipe! It is so sweet and delicious, it could almost substitute for a dessert. It looks like now I might be making two sweet potato recipes during the holidays!


3 cups mashed sweet potatoes(I used 3 fresh, boiled them and then mashed them)
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup heavy cream, half and half, or whole milk

1 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped

Mix together with fork; sprinkle over top of casserole.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix all ingredients together except for cream. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add cream;mix well. Pour into greased casserole dish ( 1 1/2 quarts). Add topping. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of Paula Deen Pin It

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pumpkin Bread

November 17th is Homemade Bread Day. I absolutely love bread...white, wheat, sourdough, french and of course quick breads like banana bread and apple bread. In recognition of homemade bread day I decided to make pumpkin bread. This was my first time making pumpkin bread and I have definitely found a keeper. If I could take the essence of fall, pour it in a pan and make a bread out of it...this is what it would taste like. This was such a good recipe. I made a couple of changes to the original. My changes are in parentheses.


* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 1/4 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans(I used pecans)
* 1/2 cup raisins(I omitted the raisins)
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1 1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
* 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger(I used 1/4 teaspoon)
* 3 large eggs
* 1 3/4 cups Mashed Pumpkin
* 3/4 cup vegetable oil(I used 3/8 cup oil & 3/8 cup natural applesauce)


1. Preheat oven to 350° (325° convection).

2. In a large bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, nuts, raisins, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, cloves, allspice, and ginger until well blended.

3. In another bowl, whisk together eggs, Mashed Pumpkin, and oil until well blended.

4. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture and stir just until well blended. Pour equally into two oiled 8 1/2- by 4 1/2-inch loaf pans (with 2 2/3-cup capacity each).

5. Bake until bread pulls from pan sides and a wooden skewer inserted in center of thickest part comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Let bread cool in pans on a rack for about 15 minutes. Cut around outside edges of bread and invert onto racks. Cool thoroughly.

Original recipe courtesy of  Sunset Magazine, October 2005 Pin It

Monday, November 16, 2009

While looking for a chocolate chip cookie replacement I found this recipe and tried it yesterday afternoon. The recipe was good. The bars were beautiful and chewy and chocolaty and would make a wonderful presentation for a Thanksgiving/Christmas party or potluck. What I thought was really great about this recipe, and why I am posting it here, was that I had left over dough to which I added some chocolate chips and made cookies. They were delicious. This might be the most perfect oatmeal cookie base I have ever made at home. What a great find!

chocolate revel bars
Makes: 60 bars
Prep: 30 minutes
Bake: 25 minutes

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate pieces
1 14-ounce can (1 1/4 cups) sweetened condensed milk or low-fat sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
2 teaspoons vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the butter. In a large mixing bowl beat the remaining butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the brown sugar and baking soda. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Stir in the rolled oats.
2. For filling, in a medium saucepan combine the reserved 2 tablespoons butter, the chocolate pieces, and sweetened condensed milk. Cook over low heat until chocolate melts, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in the nuts and 2 teaspoons vanilla.
3. Press two-thirds (about 3 1/3 cups) of the rolled oats mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Spread filling evenly over the oats mixture. Dot remaining rolled oats mixture on filling (see photo, below).
4. Bake for about 25 minutes or until top is lightly browned (chocolate filling will still look moist). Cool pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes 60 bars.
Peanut Butter-Chocolate Revel Bars: Prepare as above, except substitute 1/2 cup peanut butter for the 2 tablespoons butter when making the chocolate filling and substitute peanuts for the walnuts or pecans.
Whole Wheat-Chocolate Revel Bars: Prepare as above, except reduce the all-purpose flour to 1 1/2 cups and add 1 cup whole wheat flour.
*Courtesy of Nicole Faber for BHG
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Toffee Crackle Cookies

My son Nathan is 4 and loves to cook. He picked out his own apron, it is black and grey, and every time I go into the kitchen to cook he gets it and has me put it on him, even if he is only going to go back into the living room to watch Sponge Bob. Someone is cooking therefore he needs his apron. I am now on the lookout for recipes that are kid friendly and yet still teach measurements.

Nathan and his friend Logan wanted to cook the other day and I had come upon this recipe in BHG special edition Christmas Baking magazine and thought I would let them try it. They completed the entire recipe by themselves with just a little help from me to keep them safe. They were so proud of themselves that they ran over to Logan's house to share their masterpiece with his family. What a great day for both of them. What is great about this recipe is that is doesn't rise, therefore they really cannot screw it up and it is delicious.

Toffee Crackle Cookies
prep: 25 minutes Bake: 20 minutes per batch Oven: 300〫

1 Cup Butter, softened
1 Cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cup AP flour
1 cup chocolate covered toffee pieces
granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 300〫. In a large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 minutes. Add brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Stir in toffee pieces.

Shape dough into 1 1/4" balls. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Dip bottom of a glass into granulated sugar and flatten each ball to about 1/4" thickness.

Bake about 20 minutes or until edges are firm but not brown. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.
* Recipe provided by Greg Luna for BHG
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National Raisin Bran Day

So I read today that it is national Raisin Bran day, have you ever heard of such a thing? How did Kellogg get a day named after a food they produce? I am fascinated now. I thought it only appropriate that I should make and post a recipe in honor of today. There are an amazing amount of recipes out there that have raisin brand as an ingredient but this one looked extra yummy-well as yummy as a recipe with raisin brand can be.

Bran Jam Muffins

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12


1 1/3cups all-purpose flour
1/2teaspoon baking soda
1/4teaspoon salt
1/2teaspoon cinnamon
1/2teaspoon nutmeg
1/3cup margarine softened
1/3cup sugar
1 cupRaisin Bran
1/2 cupmilk soured with 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cupstrawberry jam
1. Stir together flour, soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.

2. In large-size mixing bowl beat margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg; beat well. Mix in cereal. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk; beat well after each addition. Gently fold jam into batter. Do not beat. Portion batter evenly into paper-lined 2 1/2-inch muffin-pan cups.

3. Bake at 400° F about 20 minutes or until tests done. Serve warm.
Calories 180; Fat 6g; Cholesterol 15mg; Carbs 29g; Dietary Fiber 1; Protein 3
*Kellogg and Kellogg Raisin Brand are registered trademarks (haven't figured out how to put that little R in there, anyone know?)
* Recipe courtesy of
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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Chip Beef Dip

This recipe is another holiday favorite of our house. I am not sure where my mom got the recipe but we make it every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is easy, people love it, and you can prepare it up to one day before your event. It presents itself in a Hawaiian bread bowl and what can be better than bringing your dish in a bowl that can be eaten.

Ingredients:Preheat oven to 325〫

1 large jar dried beef, chopped
1 16 ounce Sour Cream
2 Blocks of Cream Cheese, softened
1 bunch of green onions, sliced thin
1 large Kings Hawaiian bowl, top removed (set aside), hollow out bread filling (leave on the foil bottom)*
Wheat Thins or cracker of your choosing

Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a mixer.

If you are making the day before then transfer the mixture to covered bowl and refrigerate.

If you are making to eat immediately then spoon mixture straight into the prepared bread bowl and cover with removed bread top. Cover bread with foil to keep from browning too quickly, place in center rack in oven and cook for 1 - 1 1/2 hour or until hot, stirring every thirty minutes and recovering with foil cover.

If you make this the day before, remove from refrigerator and bring to room temp before putting mixture into prepared bowl. You may go straight from refrigerator to bread bowl** but the cooking time does increase. In that case, scoop mixture from covered bowl to prepared bread bowl
Remove from oven when hot, serve immediately with Wheat thins, crackers, or veggies.

* Best way to remove to is to cut off the top of the bread bowl as you would do a pumpkin/jackolatern - cut top middle out and at an angle
** If you are not going to immediately add mixture to the bread bowl do not prepare the bread bowl until you are ready to use it.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

ROTW 11/13/09 Sweet Potato Bake & Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

We thought that we would give everyone 2 Thanksgiving recipe ideas for the ROTW, this week and next! Come back and let us know what you thought of the recipe, including any changes that you made. Hopefully you will find a new delicious recipe for your Thanksgiving Day family get-together, to share with your relatives... even the cranky ones!

Sweet Potato Bake


3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup heavy cream, half and half, or whole milk

1 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
Mix together with fork; sprinkle over top of casserole.


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix all ingredients together except for cream. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add cream;mix well. Pour into greased casserole dish ( 1 1/2 quarts). Add topping. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake


1 18 1/4-ounce package yellow cake mix
1 egg
8 tablespoons butter, melted

1 15-ounce can of pumpkin
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 16-ounce box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To make the cake, combine all of the ingredients and mix well.  Pat the mixture into a lightly greased 13x9-inch baking pan. 
Prepare filling:
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth.  Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter and beat together. 
Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well. 
Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes.  Make sure not to over bake as the center should be a little gooey.
Serve with fresh whipped cream.

Recipes Courtesy of Paula Deen

Sweet Potato Bake

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Is It a Yam or a Sweet Potato?

What are you making to go with your turkey this Thanksgiving? Whipped sweet potatoes covered in toasted marshmallows? How about some candied yams? What's the difference between the two? I've heard it said that the way you tell the difference between a yam and a sweet potato is the color. Go down the canned good aisle of your grocery store during the holidays and you'll see some cans labeled "yams" and some labeled "sweet potatoes". What is a girl to do? Is it all part of some greater conspiracy? Well....I doubt that, but here are some facts to clear it all up for you.

Yams are closely related to lilies and grasses. Native to Africa and Asia, yams vary in size from that of a small potato to a record 130 pounds (as of 1999). There are over 600 varieties of yams and 95% of these crops are grown in Africa. Compared to sweet potatoes, yams are starchier and drier. 

Sweet Potatoes
The many varieties of sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are members of the morning glory family, Convolvulacea. The skin color can range from white to yellow, red, purple or brown. The flesh also ranges in color from white to yellow, orange, or orange-red. Sweet potato varieties are classified as either ‘firm’ or ‘soft’. When cooked, those in the ‘firm’ category remain firm, while ‘soft’ varieties become soft and moist. It is the ‘soft’ varieties that are often labeled as yams in the United States.

Why the confusion?
In the United States, firm varieties of sweet potatoes were produced before soft varieties. When soft varieties were first grown commercially, there was a need to differentiate between the two. African slaves had already been calling the ‘soft’ sweet potatoes ‘yams’ because they resembled the yams in Africa. Thus, ‘soft’ sweet potatoes were referred to as ‘yams’ to distinguish them from the ‘firm’ varieties.
Today the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires labels with the term ‘yam’ to be accompanied by the term ‘sweet potato.’ Unless you specifically search for yams, which are usually found in an international market, you are probably eating sweet potatoes!

Facts courtesy of The Library of Congress

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

ROTW- Carmel Pecan Tart

This might be my favorite thing to do all week. It is exciting to know there is a new recipe that I just have to try and when the recipe changes on Friday morning it is like opening a present. This weeks ROTW (Recipe of the Week) was so great, it took one of my favorite pies and made it even better. It is like a yummy warm piece of pecan pie without that super sweet gooey part and it was so easy to make. The only changes I would make are to cut the amount of pecans by 1 cup and make the crust thinner. The thicker crust takes away from the pecans and the sauce and those two elements (pecans and sauce) should not have to compete for your love. This recipe has found a permanent place in the dessert section of my family recipe book.

Side note: I decided to have a piece cold, straight from the fridge and I have to say it is even better cold. It would be perfect to make the day before, refrigerate and then cut up for a tea party, birthday party or shower of any kind. You will get rave reviews with this recipe.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Spinach Balls ala Rosemary

One of the most wonderful things about the holiday season is the sharing of family recipes. As a child there is a sense of peace and happiness watching someone create what will become a family tradition, especially when it has to do with food. I love to ask my friends (or better yet taste/eat) what foods remind them most of the holidays. I have a friend that makes the best dill sauce on homemade dumplings and pork. I have begged and pleaded and offered my first born in a futile attempt to get that recipe. And while she will not share it, I thought in the coming weeks I would share some of our family recipes and give you a taste of the foods that make our holidays special. This recipe was handed down from my grandma, on a recipe card, and is written in her own handwriting. Isn't that such a wonderful gift to give someone? When she is gone I will still have her beautiful writings to remind me of her.

Spinach Balls ala Rosemary

These are the perfect, quick appetizer for when a friend just drops by to say hi. They go from freezer to oven and are ready in about 20 min (less preheat time).


  • 1 box favorite seasoned stuffing mix
  • 2 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed,squeeze out excess moisture
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 6 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 bunch chopped green onions
  • 1 tsp salt (optional)
  • Directions
  • In a large bowl add thawed, drained spinach, eggs, stuffing, melted butter, cheese, green onions and salt. The mixture will be loose, form into 1" balls and place on a plate that will fit into the freezer. Freeze balls until solid. You can transfer balls once they are frozen to a large freezer bag for use later.
  • To Cook:
  • Preheat oven to 400〬 Remove from freezer, place on a cookie sheet (DO NOT THAW). Bake for 20 min or until light brown.

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