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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pumpkin Biscoff Cheesecake

It's that time of year where anything pumpkin sounds wonderful to bake.  I always make pumpkin cheesecakes for Thanksgiving.  This year I wanted to experiment with a little Biscoff on the top.  The combination was heavenly!  If you have never had Biscoff you should rush right out and get some!  They sell it at my local Martin's supermarket.  If you live near a Trader Joe's they have their version of Biscoff called Cookie Butter.
Recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen
1 1/2 Cups crushed graham crackers (can use gingersnap cookies, shortbread cookies or any variety)
1/4 Cup pecans (optional)
5 Tbsp melted butter
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
4 8-ounce packages of cream cheese at room temperature
1 1/3 Cups sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 Tbsp juice from a lemon
4 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup Biscoff or cookie butter
1 Cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp (or more if desired) sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
For ingredients to incorporate smoothly, it is important that the cream cheese and eggs are room temperature.  I usually set them out on the counter first thing in the morning. 
Preheat oven to 325 degrees....slow and low for no cracks!
Pulse cookies or graham crackers in food processor along with pecans.  Add melted butter, spices, and sugar and pulse a few additional times.
Arrange two pieces of foil in a cross pattern as seen in this picture.  Spray a 9" Springform pan with cooking spray and then wrap the foil up the edges of the pan.

Pour crumbs into the bottom of the greased pan and bake at 325 for 14 minutes.  It will make your kitchen smell delish!

While the crust is baking prepare the filling.  Beat the cream cheese (which should be pretty soft by now) until smooth.  It is important to scrape down the sides every so often.  Add the sugar, spices, and salt.


 Mix in the pumpkin puree.  Scrape down the bowl and then add the vanilla and lemon juice.  Add eggs one at a time then scrape down the bowl again.  Finally mix in the 1/2 cup heavy cream.  Don't over mix because this can cause the cheesecake to crack.
Making the cheesecake in a water bath is simple and will about guarantee your cheesecake will be crack-free.  I set my springform pan into a large casserole pan.  Pour the batter gently over the crust.  It is o.k. if the crust is still warm.  The batter will almost come to the top of the pan.  Add hot tap water carefully to the pan.  The water should reach about half way up the springform pan. 
Bake at 325 for about 60-70 minutes.  Every oven is different.  Bake them until there is just a little jiggle left in the middle.  The cheesecake will continue to bake as it comes to a cool in the oven so don't over bake.  When there is just a small jiggle left, turn the oven off and open the door just a crack.  I let mine sit in the oven for at least an hour or two.  Then remove from the water bath.  Remove the foil.  You may notice some melted butter or some water that entered the foil.  It won't be a problem.
After the cheesecake has completely cooled, place in the refrigerator overnight.  The next day, melt 1/2 cup of the Biscoff in the microwave for approximately 30 seconds.  It doesn't take long.  Pour over cheesecake and tilt the pan to coat evenly.  Place  cheesecake in the freezer to help remove from the pan.
Let the cheesecake sit in the freezer for at least one hour.  To remove the outer ring, run a small knife around the edge and then release spring.  Run a large knife along the bottom to release from the bottom of the pan.
Chill the beaters and a glass measuring container in the fridge for about 15 minutes.  I use the glass measuring cup to mix directly in.  Add the whipping cream, cinnamon, vanilla, and sugar.  Mix at high speed until fluffy.  Place into a pastry bag with a tip of your choice and decorate as you wish. 
Be Thankful!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Peanut Butter Candy Corn Chocolate Chip Cookies

Have you tried the peanut butter and candy corn combination?  It's pretty tasty.  I made this recipe for homemade Butterfingers that are delish.  I thought that I would add the candy corn to some basic peanut butter cookies and throw in some chocolate chips for good measure.  You can see how some of the candy corn oozes out of the cookies but that just makes it more fun for the kids!  Just make sure you spray your pan with a non-stick spray before baking.
PBCCCC Cookies
1 Cup softened butter
1/2 Cup sugar
3/4 Cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 Cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 Cups all purpose flour
1 Cup chocolate chips (milk or semi-sweet)
11 oz package candy corn
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream together butter and sugars.  Add eggs, peanut butter, and vanilla and mix well.  Add remaining ingredients and mix until incorporated.  Spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray and use a scoop to drop cookies onto the sheet.  Bake for about 9-10 minutes.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Twix Bars

Twix Bars

Here's a delicious recipe for Twix bars.  I do not remember where I got this recipe.  It was before the days of Pinterest when I had to print up recipes from other blogs!  I've changed it a bit and it's a hit at our house. 
Twix Bars
Cookie base:
1 3/4 Cup all purpose flour
1 Cup cold butter
1/2 Cup packed brown sugar
Caramel filling:
3/4 Cup butter
1/2 Cup packed brown sugar
3 Tablespoons corn syrup
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Chocolate top layer:
1 bag 12 oz chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate)
1 Tbsp butter
Place all the cookie base ingredients into a food processor and pulse until they start to mix together.  It will not all blend together but will make small clumps when ready.  Press into a 9 X 13" pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
While the crust is baking, make the caramel filling.  Combine all the caramel ingredients except vanilla in a non-stick pan and heat over medium-high heat.  Stir constantly until it comes to a boil.  The butter will separate but later incorporate into the mix.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 6-8 minutes while constantly stirring.  Great arm workout!  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Pour over the cookie crust and refrigerate until the caramel layer is cold and firm.
Melt the chocolate chips and butter in microwave, or over double boiler, and spread over cooled caramel layer.  I think I might try melting peanut butter chips or making a peanut butter sauce and spread over the caramel and top with chocolate next time!  Or try a layer of white chocolate....

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Zucchini Skillet

Summertime means lots of zucchini and this is a favorite recipe that the whole family can enjoy.  The flavor combinations are reminiscent of pizza! 


1 Tbsp oil (olive, canola, whatever you prefer)
2 medium size zucchini
1/4 C finely diced onion
2 tsp minced garlic
1 diced tomato
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 C shredded mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Slice zucchini and add to skillet. This recipe is for small to average size zucchini so adjust recipe as needed. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add onion, garlic and oregano (I use an Italian mix from Penzey's  spices which is delish!) and cook for a few more minutes until lightly browned.  Add tomato (you can use canned diced tomatoes or even salsa if you don't have a tomato on hand). Bring just to a boil and reduce heat to low.  Simmer 3-5 minutes until zucchini is crisp tender. Sprinkle top with cheese and cover with lid until cheese melts. Serve hot.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Frosted Brownies

If you are having a serious chocolate craving than look no further!  My three year old was upset that I gave away the Mother's Day cake I made and he wanted me to make him something while he took a nap.  I decided to make some brownies and frost them for him since he's my favorite 3 year old.  They didn't last long at our house. 

Frosted Brownies
1 C (2 sticks) butter
1/2 C cocoa
2 C sugar
4 eggs
1 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)

14 Tablespoons butter (1 whole stick and 3/4 of another)
1/4 C cocoa
1/3 C heavy cream (or milk)
1 tsp vanilla
2 C powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt 2 sticks butter in microwave, over double boiler, or in a saucepan.  Add 1/2 C cocoa and mix well.  Set aside to cool.  In a mixing bowl beat sugar and eggs until light colored and fluffy.  Mix in flour, salt, vanilla, and almond extract if using then add the chocolate/butter mixture.  Pour into a greased jelly roll pan (13X18 sheet pan).  Bake for 20 minutes. 

While brownies are baking you can start the frosting.  Melt the butter in a saucepan and add cocoa.  Mix well and remove from heat.  Add the rest of ingredients and then spread over warm brownies.

Sammy couldn't keep his fingers out of them (notice big finger indentation on brownie!) long enough to get a good pic and these were the last two left when I got around to taking pictures. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Our favorite chocolate far!

I have made many different chocolate chip cookies.  This recipe is so easy and it is our favorite.  It is a pretty standard recipe but with more brown than white sugar and it also has cornstarch in it.  This website has some basic info on cornstarch and its uses. 

You could use other candy or varieties of chocolate chips (butterscotch, milk chocolate, peanut butter, etc).  Sometimes I use part whole wheat flour and part all-purpose flour and have had great results.   

**update 3/12/2013 I have since found a new favorite recipe.  The only thing is you have to refrigerate it overnight and usually when the boys want cookies, they don't want to wait.  If you want another AWESOME recipe try this New York Times chocolate chip cookie over at Brown Eyed Baker.

Chocolate Chippers
Recipe adapted from Apple A Day

1 C softened butter
3/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
2 C all-purpose flour
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 package chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream softened butter with sugars until fluffy (I usually let it mix for about 5 minutes....really cream them good!) then add egg and vanilla.  Add remaining ingredients and mix until incorporated.  Use a scoop and drop onto cookie sheets.  Bake for 8-10 minutes and don't over bake.  Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Summer Mango Salsa

So it's not quite summer but we've had some great weather.  I love making salsa and I don't have a specific "recipe".  I usually throw in a little of this and a little of that.  It is really something that you can change up each time and usually have good results.  The best is when you can use your tomatoes and peppers picked from the garden or a local farmer's market.  I like to use a variety of peppers but this recipe I just used jalapenos.

Summer Mango Salsa
3 large tomatoes
1/2 red onion
1 mango
2-3 jalapeno peppers (include seeds for more heat)
juice from one lemon or lime
1 T. vinegar (I used rice wine vinegar)
1 T. oil
1 T. minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Dice the tomatoes, onion, and peppers and add to large bowl.  You can save your seeds from the jalapenos and add more later if needed.  Here is a good video how to cut your mango.  Add the mango to the bowl and add remaining ingredients.  Mix well and add salt and pepper. 

Here are some other add-ins that we like....
sweet corn
black beans
peaches or pineapple instead of mango

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Super Simple English Muffin Bread

This bread is some of the easiest and tastiest bread you can make.  It is especially good toasted.  I have tried a couple of recipes for English Muffin bread and this is my favorite. 

English Muffin Bread
recipe adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
1 1/2 Tbsp. yeast
2 3/4 C. warm water
1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
5 3/4 C. flour (all purpose)
a couple tablespoons corn meal (optional)

Add yeast, warm water, and sugar to mixing bowl and let sit until bubbly.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  This is not typical bread dough and will be very sticky.  Cover bowl and let rise in a warm area until doubled.  Grease two bread pans with butter and then sprinkle corn meal over the butter.  Stir down the dough and pour into the two pans.  Cover and let rise again until doubled.  Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until lightly browned on top.  Brush tops with butter while warm. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Peanut Butter Dog Treats

Happy Birthday Maggie and Oliver!

The sweetie wheaties turned one on March 12th.  There is going to be a birthday bash extravaganza this evening.  Now this is not going to be your "every day dog party".  The invitation states "Formal prom attire is completely appropriate, yet not expected". 

Oliver's mother (my seester) informed me that the dogs are registered at the following stores:  "Doggies r us, grey poopon, LL bone, tommy dogfinger, woof lauren, cirillas, lane bryant for plus size pups, the electrolysis for unwanted doggy * hair, and show dogs in ft wayne. Cash works too." 

Another sister is planning on renting a limo.  This is the biggest event that the thriving metropolis, better known as Silver Lake, has ever seen!  Stay tuned for live updates from the party.  I might open a Twitter account so I can tweet about it all night. 

In honor of this special event, we made some delicious peanut butter dog biscuits that we found here.  My dogs gave them two paws up!

Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits
2 C. whole wheat flour
1 C. rolled oats
1/3 C. creamy peanut butter
1 1/4 C. hot water

1 egg and a couple tablespoons water (for egg wash...not for the dough)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix flour and oats in a bowl then add peanut butter and hot water.  Mix well.  Roll dough out onto floured surface and lightly dust rolling pin with flour and roll the dough out to about 1/4" thickness.  Cut out desired shapes.  Place cut out shapes on a lightly greased cookie sheet.  This dough is easy to work with as long as it is floured.  Continue to roll and cut out shapes until the dough is gone.  Whisk together the egg and water and brush onto the shapes before baking.  Bake for 40 minutes.  According to the website you can store them at room temperature in an air-tight container for one week, store in refrigerator for 3 weeks, or freeze for up to 6 months. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Oatmeal Rolls

These oatmeal rolls are delish.  They remind me of the oatmeal bread that my mom made when I was growing up.  I make these quite frequently and they are easy to make.  Last night I grilled out hamburgers and used these as buns.  They are even good toasted.

Oatmeal Rolls
2 C. water
1 C. quick-cooking oats
3 Tbsp. butter
1 (1/4 oz) pkg. active dry yeast
1/3 C. warm water
1/3 C. packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. whole wheat flour
3 3/4 to 4 1/4 C. all purpose flour

In a saucepan bring 2 C. water to boil.  Add oats and butter and cook while stirring for one minute.  Cool to lukewarm.  In a mixing bowl dissolve yeast in 1/3 cup warm water.  Add cooled oat mixture (don't add if hot because the yeast won't work properly), sugars, salt, whole wheat flour, and 3 cups all purpose flour.  Mix using bread dough hook and add enough flour until it forms a soft dough and sides of bowl are clean.  Continue mixing for a few minutes.  Place in a greased bowl and then turn once so the top of dough is greased.  Cover bowl with plastic that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about one hour.  Punch down dough and let rest 10 minutes.  Shape into 18 balls and place into 2 greased 9" pans.  I usually make 14 larger rolls instead of 18 but you can do whatever floats your boat.  Cover again and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chex Mix

Here's another Pinterest find!  I saw a Chex mix that was called, "better than sex chex mix" and I had to try.  I won't reveal my findings!  I did bring it to a neighborhood party and it was a hit and I noticed a few people did have to go out and have a cigarette after consuming it.  I suggest you just make some for yourself and decide.  I renamed it because this is a kid-friendly blog and I don't want my 3 or 7 year old asking for the "better than sex mix" because that would be just creepy. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chex Mix
recipe adapted from
8 cups Chex cereal (I used chocolate one time and rice another)
6 Tbsp. butter
3/4 C. packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp. corn syrup
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 8oz bag mini Reese's cups
1 C. dry roasted peanuts
1 C. mini marshmallows (I used a chocolate kind)
1 C. chocolate chips (milk or semi-sweet)
1 C. peanut butter chips
2-4 Tbsp. heavy cream (divided)

Line a large cookie sheet with waxed paper and set aside.  Melt butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup over medium heat in a large pot.  Stir until combined and add the baking soda.  It will foam up a little.  Add cereal and stir until evenly coated.  Pour mixture onto cookie sheet and spread out evenly.  Pour bag of mini Reese's over warm cereal mix.  Add nuts and marshmallows.  In that same pan (less dishes=good thing) which is now empty, add 1 cup peanut butter chips and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream.  When melted, drizzle over mix.  Repeat the same steps using the chocolate chips.  Allow mixture to cool and break into pieces.  Try not to eat the whole batch in one sitting!

*you can substitute cereals in this also.  One time I used 4 cups rice Chex and 4 cups Cocoa Puffs.  You can also substitute different flavors of chips...white chocolate, butterscotch, etc.  Use additional ingredients also such as pretzels, M & M's, or whatever is on hand.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Tasty Marinade

This is a great recipe for marinade.  It is wonderful on all meat and poultry.  A friend I used to work with gave me this recipe that has gotten so much use.  Thanks Chuck! 

Tasty Marinade
1 1/2 C. oil (canola or vegetable)
1/4 C. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 C. soy sauce
1/3 C. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 C. wine vinegar
2 1/2 tsp. salt
2 garlic cloves crushed/minced
2 Tbsp. dry mustard
1 Tbsp. black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. parsley flakes

Combine all ingredients.  This makes quite a bit of marinade so you can use half and freeze half or just make a half recipe.  I like to use 1/2 recipe in a ziploc bag with my chicken breasts and let them marinade over night for the most flavor.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Crouton Chicken Parmesan

So I've decided that I'm not going to win any food photography awards from this blog!  But I'm o.k. with that.  If it tastes good that's what is important.  I need to also remember to take pictures before everyone digs in and half the pan is gone.  I'm learning as I go.  This was a dish that I found on Pinterest.  If you aren't on Pinterest you should be!  It's a great way to keep recipes, ideas, and everything organized.  I have about 40 food blogs I regularly follow and this works great to keep recipes that I want to try in a folder (or pin board) and also my favorite recipes I have in a folder.  This recipe came from Food Wishes.  It is a fun blog I just recently found and I enjoy the videos.  I changed up the recipe a bit and you can do it either way.

Use some good seasonings from Penzey's Spices in this recipe for great flavor.  If you haven't tried Penzey's yet you need to you won't be disappointed.  They have the best spices EVER!  I just got my new magazine yesterday and there is a $5 off $10 purchase if you use the coupon code 00002C that expires May 28, 2012

So recommendations for today: try Penzeys and Pinterest :)

Crouton Chicken Parmesan
recipe adapted from Food Wishes
2 split chicken breast (bone-in split chicken breast is what I used)
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 onion
Italian herb mix
garlic salt
olive oil
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 jar (about 23 oz) of your favorite marinara or spaghetti sauce
1 package of garlic flavored croutons (I used Texas Toast Garlic Butter)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
about 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

You will want to start this cooking in the morning in the crock pot.  My favorite grocery store, Martin's, had their bone-in split chicken breast on sale for 87 cents/lb.  That's a great deal so I stocked up.  Cut up the onion and throw it in the crock pot with your chicken broth.  You can use a can, box, or do what I do and use chicken soup base and water.  I put about a teaspoon of the Italian herb mix in.  Put whatever you want in there and let the chicken cook on low for about 6 hours or until finished. 

Preheat oven to 350.  Let the chicken cool and save your juice from the crock pot.  Drizzle olive oil in a casserole dish (mine was a little smaller than 13x9").  Add minced garlic to the bottom of the pan.  When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin, take the meat off, and place in the bottom of the casserole dish.  Pour about 1/2-1 cup of the remaining juice over the chicken.  Sprinkle garlic salt over the chicken and then pour the jar of marinara or sauce over the chicken.  Next, sprinkle about 1 cup of mozzarella and half of the parmesan cheese over the sauce.  Spread bag of croutons over this cheese mix.  I added a little more Italian herb mix too and then top with remaining cheese.  Bake for about 25 minutes or until browned.

While my chicken was baking, I poured my chicken stock from the crock pot through a strainer into a pot to boil my pasta that I was serving along with this.  I use a low carb pasta called Dreamfields Pasta that is delicious. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Liz's Scrumptious Pancakes and Mrs. Momsworth Syrup

Happy National Pancake Week!  To celebrate this special week I am posting the best tasting pancake recipe that I have ever made.  My friend, Liz, shared this recipe with me.  She made them when we were vacationing together and this is a family favorite of theirs and now ours.  They were so delicate and flavorful.  Give them a try with some easy homemade syrup and you will be hooked.

Liz's Pancakes
2 C. flour
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp oil (vegetable, canola, etc)
2 C. buttermilk *(see note below how to make your own)
1 C. plain yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

*if you don't have buttermilk you can simply make your own which is what I always do...just add 1 Tbsp. vinegar or lemon juice per cup of milk in a glass (or non-metal) measuring cup and fill the rest with milk.  Since this recipe calls for 2 cups buttermilk, I added 2 Tbsp. of lemon juice and then enough milk to make 2 cups.  Let this sit for about 5 minutes and then it is ready to use.

Mix all ingredients together.  My batter was quite thin.  I let the batter rest for a bit while I made my syrup.  Grease skillet using a little coconut oil or a non-stick spray.  Pour small amount of batter into pan and flip when you see small bubbles around the edges. 

Mrs. Momsworth buttermilk syrup
1/2 cup (one stick) butter...use real butter...margarine is EVIL not to mention tastes nasty!
1 1/2 Cups sugar
2 Tbsp. corn syrup
3/4 C. buttermilk (see buttermilk note above)
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla

Use a large saucepan because this mix bubbles up.  Melt all ingredients except vanilla in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil stirring regularly for 7 minutes.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  I love to use vanilla bean paste.