Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!!




Hope you all have a very merry Christmas!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Eat to the Beat: Monkey(Wrench) Bread


I loved when Elly at Elly Says Opa did Eat to the Beat back in the day. As someone who loves baking and adores music it was such the perfect combo for me (prior posts here and here) . I was so sad when she stopped doing it. So, needless to say, I was beyond thrilled when Elly announced she was doing a special Eat to the Beat to celebrate her 5 year blog anniversary. I knew I had to participate, the only question was what band or song to honor with a yummy baked good.

The answer? Foo Fighters of course. Besides the fact that the band is awesome, their music is incredible, and Dave Grohl is amazing - the fact is their name is just one letter off from being FooD Fighters. Perfect, no?

I adore the Foo Fighters. Have since they came out. They are such a fun band with awesome rhythms and lyrics and they just seem like they would be so much fun to hang out with. They were also one of the first rock bands I saw in concert when they opened up for the Red Hot Chili Peppers when I saw them in concert. It was awesome.

I decided to make monkey bread in honor of the song Monkey Wrench because it is an amazing song that I love to rock out to while I’m in the kitchen and I’ve never had monkey bread before. I always think it looks really good but I’ve never had the opportunity to make it. So this was the perfect opportunity to change that fact.

This is such an easy thing to make and I think it would be so much fun to make with a kid. Shaking the bag up would be so much fun for a kid I think, I know it was for me! I danced around the kitchen and made funny faces at Doug while he was on the phone while I shook the bag to coat all the biscuit pieces with the yummy cinnamon sugar mixture.

This would be an excellent addition to a holiday brunch or a get together with friends. It is fun to eat as you can pull apart the pieces, it is really tasty, and it takes no time at all to make. Definitely a winner in my book!

So, happy birthday, Elly Says Opa! Thanks for brining back Eat to the Beat for your celebration!!


Monkey (Wrench) Bread

Source: The Pioneer Woman

3 Cans Buttermilk Biscuits (not the flaky kind)

1 Cup Sugar

2 to 3 Teaspoons Cinnamon (your preference)

2 Sticks Butter – melted

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut each biscuit into quarters.

Combine the white sugar and cinnamon together in a gallon zip bag. Shake to mix up.

Place all the biscuit pieces into the bag, close the bag tightly, and shake until all the biscuit pieces are coated in the cinnamon-sugar mixture (dancing optional).

Place the biscuit pieces evenly around a bundt pan.

Melt the sticks of butter and stir in the brown sugar until completely combined.

Pour the brown sugar – butter mixture over the biscuits.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the crust is a deep brown on top. Allow to cool 15-30 minutes and then turn the pan over a plate to remove the bread.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pumpkin Bread



This is one of my favorite recipes and I cannot believe I’ve never blogged this before. I’ve been making this for a few years now – actually from before I even had this blog. That’s how good this recipe is. This pumpkin bread is moist and flavorful. The spices in this are perfect, I think, though you could easily back the amounts off a bit or add a touch more depending on how much spice you like. Even Doug really loves this bread and he isn’t a big pumpkin fan. This would be an awesome item to make and have around over the Thanksgiving weekend. It would be a great small breakfast on Thanksgiving or a yummy treat to stuff in your face after a morning of fighting the crowds for a deal.

The one bad thing about how long I’ve been making this recipe is that I printed it off before I learned about citing. I’ve searched google reader and every blog I could think of and I cannot find the source of this anywhere. So, if you recognize this can you please let me know so I can give proper dues to the original blogger?


Pumpkin Bread

1/2 Cup Oil (vegetable or canola)

1 1/4 Cups Canned Pumpkin (not pie filling)

1 Cup Sugar

1/3 Cup Brown Sugar

2 Eggs

1 1/2 Cups and 1 Tablespoon All-Purpose Flour

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cloves

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bread pan with non-stick spray.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices.

In a separate bowl mix the oil, pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar, and eggs.

Mix the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until well mixed. Pour into the bread pan.

Bake for 40-60 minutes or until top of loaf springs back slightly from light pressure. Cool for 10-20 minutes and remove from pan.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Foodbuzz Tastemaker: Birds Eye Creamy Primavera Risotto

I recently received a package of Birds Eye Creamy Primavera Risotto in the mail as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program. I was excited to try this as I’ve never had risotto but have always wanted to try it.

Even though I’ve never had the dish before I had a good idea of what to expect from all the recipes and descriptions I’ve read. This did not disappoint.


The risotto was very creamy and the vegetables had a great texture. The peas were actually my favorite part and usually frozen peas are no bueno. I also love the fact that there are no preservatives. Plus you’ve got to love a side dish that doesn’t require dirtying any dishes! I think this would go really well with a pork loin or baked chicken though honestly I ate some as a quick dinner when I was on my own one night.

I will definitely be adding this to our freezer when it comes out this fall. Thanks to Foodbuzz and Birds Eye for the opportunity to try this product.

I was given this product free from Bird Eye as part of the Food Tastemaker program however the above views are totally my own.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake


Anyone else drooling yet? Because as soon as I heard the name of this cheesecake I know I was. This was actually one of the two cakes I made for Doug’s birthday (yes, I like that guy so much I made him 2 cakes) and he found the recipe himself – in a Redbook magazine sitting out in the break room at work.


This cheesecake is incredibly delicious. I knew it would be just reading the name and the ingredient list. Peanut butter? Reese’s cups? Oreo crust? How could it not be? Granted, I am a major lover of all things chocolate and peanut butter so of course I loved it. But the other 3 lucky people who got to try this loved it too. And I already know I’ll have to make at least one more of these this year – my peanut butter & chocolate loving dad was pretty sad he didn’t get any. And even though this is a little more labor intensive than any of the other cheesecakes I’ve made I’m cool with making it again – it is totally worth it.

P6090483 The middle of the cheesecake.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake

From Redbook


1 1/2 Cups Oreos – broken up into crumbs

4 Tablespoons Melted Butter


4 – 8 Ounce Cream Cheese packages, at room temperature

1 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter

1 Cup Sugar

4 Eggs, Large at room temperature

1/2 Cup Sour Cream

2 Teaspoons Vanilla

3 Ounces Bittersweet Chocolate, melted

6 Regular Size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, cut into quarters

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 inch springform with cooking spray and cover the bottom of the pan with a double layer of aluminum foil.

Combine the cookie crumbs and the butter and press into the bottom of the pan and 1/2 inch up the side. Bake for 10 minutes and then let cool.

Beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Then add in the sugar until smooth. Reduce the speed of the mixer and ad the eggs 1 at a time until just incorporated. Add the sour cream and vanilla.

Remove 1 1/2 cups of the batter and put in a separate bowl. Add in the chocolate.

Add the peanut butter to the remaining batter in the first bowl and combine until smooth. Remove 1 3/4 cups of this batter to a separate bowl.

Pour the remaining batter from the first bowl over the crust. Then place the quartered peanut butter cups evenly over this layer. Then alternately drop spoonfuls of the peanut butter batter you put in a small bowl and the chocolate batter over the layer of peanut butter cups. Then use a knife to swirl the peanut butter batter and the chocolate batter together until they look marbleized.

Place the springform pan into a larger pan and place in the oven. Then pour enough hot water into the larger pan so that it is 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan.

Bake for 1 hour or until the cheesecake barely jiggles in the center when you lightly shake the pan. Then remove the springform from the bigger pan and remove the aluminum foil. Use a thin knife to run around the edge of the cake to release it from the pan. Let cool completely and then refrigerate at least 6 hours.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sour Cream Pancakes


I love pancakes. I have fond memories of having pancakes on weekend mornings growing up. Everyone would gather round the table in their pajamas to chow down on fresh pancakes and chocolate milk. Of course those pancakes always came from a box and, admittedly, the pancakes I made as a grownup did too. Until recently that is.

It is incredibly easy to make pancakes from scratch. Sadly this is something I had to learn as an adult. And these sour cream pancakes from The Pioneer Woman helped teach me that lesson. When I first got the Pioneer Woman’s cookbook these pancakes jumped out at me but I always put them off in favor of the ease that comes along with the box of pancake mix. But once I finally decided to give these a shot I realized that they really aren’t anymore complicated than my trusty mix. They only require a few more ingredients than the box of mix and have such a light flavor and texture that I no longer thing of the box when I think of pancakes. Instead I now think of these sour cream pancakes….. and then I go check to make sure I have enough syrup.

Edna Mae’s Sour Cream Pancakes

From: The Pioneer Woman Cooks Book

1 Cup Sour Cream

7 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour

2 Tablespoons Sugar

1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

2 Large Eggs

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Combine and sift the dry ingredients. Combine with the sour cream.

In another bowl mix the eggs and vanilla together with a whisk. Pour the eggs/vanilla into the sour cream/dry ingredients mixture. Gently stir until all ingredients are combines

Heat a pan (griddle, cast iron skillet, or frying pan) at medium heat until really hot. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter on pan.

Pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto the pan. This will make about a 4 inch diameter pancake.

Cook the pancake on each side for 1 to 2 minutes. Flip when the pancake starts to bubble and the edges are starting to brown.

Serve with butter and syrup or fruit and whip cream. This makes about 8 pancakes.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bar


So this recipe comes from one of my favorite blogs: Peas and Thank You. I think Mama Pea is hilarious and I’m totally jealous of her awesome looking kitchen and incredible photography skills. Not to mention her adorable daughters. And even though we aren’t vegan her recipe posts still make my mouth water.

These granola bars are her healthy makeover of Quaker granola bars. I love chewy granola bars and go through phases where I' eat them all the time. I also frequently buy them for Doug’s lunch. But I’m trying to watch our intake of HFCS and sadly my beloved granola bars include HFCS. But Mama Pea’s don’t. This makes me very happy.

Mama Pea’s bars are vegan and mine are not. This is because I can’t find vegan versions of two ingredients here. One is vegan butter. I’ve used Earth Balance before and really like it but when I went to make these bars I discovered that I was out and a trip to the store showed that they no longer carry this. Boo! The other ingredient is the chocolate chips. I’ve checked every store in town and no one has vegan chips. Double boo! And I actually got lucky with the brown rice syrup. I can’t get it here but I did finally find it at the food co-op and hour away. Oh and I also cannot find brown rice cereal here so I had to use regular rice cereal. But if you can find all these ingredients you can make these just like Mama Pea.

I thought these bars were incredible and they held up really well. I wrapped them individually in plastic wrap and stored them in a zip lock bag in the fridge since it was really humid here when I made them. They last a week no problem. Definitely give these a try. They are really tasty and come together in no time.


Crispy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

From Peas and Thank You

2 Cups Old-fashioned Oats

2 Cups (Brown) Rice Crispy Cereal

1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1 Cup Brown Rice Syrup

1 Tablespoon Margarine (vegan or regular)

1/4 Cup Sugar

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips (non-dairy optional)

Preheat over to 325 degrees, Spray an 8 x8 pan.

Combine oats, cereal, flour, and baking soda.

In a small saucepan heat brown rice syrup, margarine, sugar, vanilla, and salt slowly over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir constantly. Allow to thicken slightly and then remove from heat. Let cool slightly.

Pour the mixture from the sauce pan over the cereal and oat mixture and stir to evenly cover. Then pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Press the mixture down lightly.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes. The bars will become crispier the longer they bake.

Cool completely before cutting.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Chocolate Cheesecake


This was my first attempt at a chocolate cheesecake. And I’ve now made it twice. It is so rich and delicious, Everyone who tried it loved it. It did crack a little but honestly it is so good no one complained about the imperfection.

This recipe is definitely a keeper. I think it might be incredible with some nice rip strawberries alongside on a warm evening.

Chocolate Cheesecake                               

From Kraft Foods

24 Oreo Cookies – crushed

1/4 Cup Melted Butter

4 – 8 Ounce Packages Cream Cheese – softened

1 Cup Sugar

2 Tablespoons Flour

1 Teaspoon Vanilla

1 Package (8 squares) Semi-Sweet Chocolate – melted and slightly cooled

4 Eggs


Preheat Oven to 325 degrees.

Mix cookie crumbs and butter and press into large springform pan that has been sprayed with no-stick spray.

Beat the cream cheese, flour, sugar, and vanilla. Once well mixed add chocolate and continue mixing. Add eggs 1 at a time mixing each one in completely on low speed. Pour into pan.

Bake for 45 minutes or until center is almost set – check with a light touch. Cool totally and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Baked Maple Cinnamon Donuts


I love donuts. When I was little we had an awesome donut place in my town and I used to love going there with my parents and getting right up to the big glass case filled with donuts to pick what I wanted. Sadly that place closed long ago and the only options for donuts now are at the grocery stores. So now I never pass by a Krispy Kreme when I’m on vacation (when we were on vacation in November I almost did a happy dance when we went into one and I saw the Pumpkin Spice donut – yum). Sadly the nearest location is about 2 hours away, boo.

So of course I had to jump on the homemade donut bandwagon and pick up a pan of my own. I searched for a while for the perfect recipe to break in my pan, and I’m really pleased with the one I picked. This Baked Maple Cinnamon Donut recipe from Sweet Cheeks in the Kitchen is incredible. It is easy to whip up, doesn’t take long to bake, and tastes incredible. I will definitely be making these again. And of course more donut recipes will be finding their way into my kitchen.

Baked Maple Cinnamon Donuts

Seen on Sweet Cheeks in the Kitchen

1 Cup Flour
3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
3/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
Pinch of Salt
1 Egg (lightly beaten)
1 6 Ounce Non-fat Vanilla Yogurt
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
2 1/2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
1 1/2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Sugar
2 Tablespoons Melted Butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray pan with nonstick spray.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl combine the egg, yogurt, oil, and syrup.

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and fold in the wet ingredients until just combined.

Divide the batter evenly into the pan (you can pipe into the pan by putting the batter into a baggie and cut off the tip and then pipe. I got six donuts.

Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. While the donuts are cooking combine the cinnamon and sugar and melt the butter. Allow the donuts to cool for a few minutes on a cooling rack over a pan or towel. Dip each donut into the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat. Eat right away or store in an airtight container.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Whiskey Glazed Carrots


So these definitely do not fall into the category of healthy New Year resolution-fitting recipes but they are definitely tasty. These are another Pioneer Woman recipe and, like pretty much everything else from her I’ve made, these are delicious. And the leftovers are worthy of fighting over who gets the last bite. Make them, now. Then just run a few more minutes on the treadmill, it is totally worth it.

Whiskey Glazed Carrots

From The Pioneer Woman Cooks

1 stick Butter, Divided Into 1 Tablespoon Segments

2 pounds Carrots, Peeled And Cut Into Thick Circles (baby carrots work too!)

½ Cup Jack Daniels Or Other Whiskey

¾ Cup Brown Sugar

½ Teaspoon Salt

Ground Pepper, to taste

Gather all your ingredients (this recipe goes fast once it gets going!). Then melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over high heat. Add carrots in a single layer in the skillet (will do two sets) and cook 60-90 seconds.

Remove all the carrots. Add the whiskey (keep your face back! trust me!). Let cook and evaporate for 30 seconds.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the rest of the butter. Sprinkle the brown sugar in. Stir. Add the carrots. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Remove lid. Add salt and pepper. Cook until glaze is thick and carrots are done. Will take around 5 minutes. Serve immediately (but hope for leftovers!).