Friday, January 31, 2014

Homemade Chocolate Fudge

Do you want to know how to make fudge that is gooey, chocolaty, and delicious? This recipe will make one big batch to satisfy your fudge cravings for days.

chocolate fudge (1)
Chocolate Fudge
2 cups mini marshmallows
1 ½ cups chocolate chips
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 ½ cups sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp butter

Combine the butter, salt, sugar, and evaporated milk into a large pot over medium high heat. Stir often until the mixture starts to boil. Once boiling, stir constantly for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the marshmallows and chocolate chips until everything is well mixed. Line an 8”X8” pan with tin foil. Pour the fudge into it and refrigerate until cooled, about 2 hours.
chocolate fudge (2)

This fudge is simple too good to keep for yourself. I like to cut it into squares and pack it up in cute tin boxes to share. It holds up best in the fridge, but can be kept at room temperature for a week.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Eggs in Purgatory

Eggs and tomato sauce are just natural companions. Served together they create a wonderfully savory breakfast treat. With the invention of  notomato sauce, I was able to enjoy this delicious flavor combination for the first time.

Baked Eggs in (No)Tomato Sauce (4)
Some people call this dish eggs in purgatory. Whatever your name for it is, you will be sure to enjoy it. (Carson sends her message of approval too.)

Baked Eggs in (No)Tomato Sauce (8)

Baked Eggs in (No)Tomato Sauce
serves 1
2 eggs
1 cup notomato or tomato sauce
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
¼ tsp Italian seasonings
dash of dried oregano
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 425. Mix the sauce with the Italian seasonings. Put the sauce into a ramekin and break the eggs on top, careful not to pop the yolk. Sprinkle the cheese, oregano, salt, and pepper over the top. Bake for 18 minutes, or until the egg whites have set.

It seems like all I ever make anymore are thank you cards. This is one I made for my dad to give someone at work. I think it is still sitting on our counter. Oh well, at least Harp and I got some quality crafting time in. It's one of the things I miss most while I am away. Card making just isn't the same without her.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Chocolate Doughnuts

I have been putting my new doughnut pan to good use. My first baked doughnut creations were the maple cinnamon doughnuts. Once I had a taste of those and knew how good baked doughnuts could be, I knew I needed more. And, thus, the chocolate buttermilk doughnut was born.

chocolate buttermilk doughnuts (6)
Chocolate doughnuts are a favorite of many. You can feel good about indulging in these baked ones whenever you want. Their chocolaty goodness will leave you wanting just one more.
chocolate buttermilk doughnuts (3)
Baked Chocolate Buttermilk Doughnuts
makes 6
¾ cup flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup sugar
2 tbsp melted butter
¼ cup applesauce
1 egg
2 tbsp buttermilk
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Preheat your oven to 350, and oil a doughnut pan. Mix together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, beat the egg, butter, butter milk, apple cider vinegar, and applesauce together. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Spoon into the doughnut pan and bake for 8 minutes, or until the doughnuts spring back when poked.
chocolate buttermilk doughnuts (5)
Plain or glazed, these doughnuts are the way to go. 
chocolate buttermilk doughnuts (9)

Chocolate makes everything better.

Monday, January 27, 2014

An Assortment of Oatmeals

There is nothing better than sitting down to a steaming bowl of fresh oatmeal on a cold, dreary day like today. I invite you to partake with me in the oatmeal munching with one of these three delicious recipes for sweet and tasty oats.

For a large appetite or to split between two people, this first recipe is sure to be a big hit. Chocolate oatmeal is swirled with strawberry jam to create a classic combination. You will have trouble deciding if you are eating breakfast or dessert.

Chocolate Strawberry Jam Oatmeal
serves 1-2
1 cup quick cooking oatmeal
1 cup milk
1 cup water
3 tbsp. cocoa powder
3 tbsp. strawberry jam
honey or maple syrup, to taste

In a small pot, bring the oats, milk, and water to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and whisk in the cocoa powder. Cook until all the liquid has been absorbed. Add in honey or maple syrup as desired and stir in your jam.


Next up on the list is an oatmeal perfect for just one. I used my cinnamon maple almond butter to create a perfectly dreamy bowl of oats.

Cinnamon Maple Almond Butter Oatmeal
serves 1
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup water
2 tbsp. cinnamon maple almond butter
1 ripe banana (1/2 mashed and 1/2 sliced)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. chocolate chips

Bring the water and oats to a boil in a small pot. Mash up half of the banana and stir it in. Bring the heat on the stove down to medium low and simmer the oats for 1-2 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed. Stir in the cinnamon and maple almond butter. Top with maple syrup, chocolate chips, and banana slices.


Last but not least is the most dessert like of the bunch. It is perfect for a smaller breakfast or quick snack. You will think you are eating a bowl of cookie dough, but secretly it is oatmeal.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Oatmeal
serves 1
1/4 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1 tsp butter
1 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
dash of salt
1 tbsp. chocolate chips

Combine the oats, milk, and water into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 90 seconds, stir, and microwave another 30 to 60 seconds, or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the butter, vanilla, salt, and brown sugar. Allow it to cool for a couple of minutes and then sprinkle on your chocolate chips.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Flavored Almond Butters

I give so much attention on this blog to peanut butter that I am beginning to feel a little guilty. There are so many other great nut butters out there just waiting to be devoured that it is unfair to never even mention them. Today I am going to take the time to let almond butter have a chance in the spotlight. Both of these nut butters are simple decadent spread on a piece of toast or paired with apple slices. Everyone in my family (except my dad) is obsessed with the maple almond butter. Warm it up slightly before serving because it gets kind of hard when refrigerated. Other than that, there are no complaints!

Cinnamon Maple Almond Butter

Cinnamon Maple Almond Butter
2 cups oil roasted salted almonds
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon

Use a food processor to grind the almonds up into a paste. Add in the cinnamon and syrup. Process until smooth and creamy. Using an ice cream maker (mine is from Cuisinart), pour the cooled cream and egg mixture into the frozen ice cream maker’s attachment bowl. Let the machine run for 20 minutes.

almond joy butter (6)
Almond Joy Butter
4 ounces oil roasted almonds
1 cup dried, shredded coconut
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup cocoa powder
1-2 tbsp oil (as needed)

Combine the syrup, cocoa powder, almond, and coconut into a food processor. Run until creamy. If the mixture is not coming together into a nut butter like consistency, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of peanut, vegetable, or canola oil. Keep refrigerated in a sealed container.


I had to get this card in before all my card making becomes overwhelmed with Valentines cards. I thought it was quite punny. :)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Taco cups!

I was in the mood for tacos, but I didn't want my taco in the traditional shell. What was my other option?
baked chicken taco cups (1)
Taco cups!

baked chicken taco cups (3)
Making the tortilla into a little bowl is a fun and easy way to jazz up your standard taco. All you have to do is flip a muffin pan over, press in a corn tortilla, and bake until crispy. The result? Taco perfection.
baked chicken taco cups (7)

Baked Chicken Taco Cups
serves 2 (4 taco cups)
4- 6” corn tortillas
½ cup notomato sauce (You can use regular tomato sauce too.)
½ cup chopped chicken, cooked
1 egg
¼ cup diced onions
¼ cup diced baby bella mushrooms
¼ cup mozzarella cheese
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp ground cumin
dash of cayenne pepper powder
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, cook the mushrooms and onions with a little oil in a pan over medium heat until lightly browned. Allow them to cool. Mix the seasonings with the notomato sauce, and whisk in the egg. Stir the chicken, mushrooms, and onions into the sauce. Layer the tortillas with damp paper towels on a plate and microwave for 20 seconds to make the tortillas pliable. Quickly flip a muffin pan over, and spray the bottom with oil. Place the tortillas between the muffin cups to form little bowls. (See the picture.) Divide the filling between the four bowls, and top each with about a tablespoon of cheese. Bake for 18 minutes, and then let the taco cups sit for 5 minutes before carefully removing from the pan.

Friday, January 24, 2014

National Peanut Butter Day!

The most wonderful day of the year has sneaked up on me. It's national peanut butter day! Have you ever heard of a more incredibly awesome day in your entire life? I will help you celebrate by sharing some delicious peanut butter recipes. Click here to get my homemade peanut butter recipe so you can get started.

peanut butter cheesecake pie (7)

First off is a peanut butter packed pie that is sure to be a big hit with all your peanut butter loving friends. You can use any pie crust that you want, but I chose my three grain vanilla pie crust .
peanut butter cheesecake pie (11)
Peanut Butter Cheesecake Pie
three grain vanilla pie crust dough
1 egg
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup sugar
½ cup peanut butter
8 ounces cream cheese
2 cups milk

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Roll out the pie crust dough. Spray a pie pan generously with oil, and press the prepared crust into it. Prick the crust all over with a fork, and put weights into it. Bake for 10 minutes, remove, and increase the oven’s temperature to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, pour the milk into a saucepan and simmer on low until half of the milk has evaporated. Microwave the cream cheese for about 40 seconds, or until softened. Blend together the cup of milk, sugar, cornstarch, butter, and cream cheese until it is liquefied. Melt the peanut butter in the microwave, and stir it into the cream cheese mixture. Pour the filling into the pie crust, and bake another 15 minutes. Allow the pie to cool before refrigerating it for at least two hours.
peanut butter cinnamon rolls (2)

These cute mini cinnamon rolls are as delicious as they are adorable. They are the perfect two-bite treat to cure your PB cravings. The best part is that they require no rising time, so you can enjoy them right away.

peanut butter cinnamon rolls (3)

Mini No Rise Double Peanut Butter Cinnamon Rolls
makes 8 mini cinnamon rolls
½ cup peanut flour
2 tbsp sugar
2/3 cup oatmeal, blended into a flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
¼ cup milk
¼ cup peanut butter
1 tsp cinnamon

Mix together the oat flour, peanut flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Add in the milk and oil. Sprinkle cinnamon onto a clean work surface, and roll out the dough into an 8”X6” rectangle. Spread the peanut butter onto it, and roll it up lengthwise. Cut the log into 8- 1” rolls. Arrange them onto a small baking stone, and bake in an oven preheated to 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

secret ingredient peanut butter muffins (2)

Peanut butter is not the only healthy ingredient packed into these delicious muffins, but you would never know it. But shh; it's a secret.

secret ingredient peanut butter muffins (3)

Secret Ingredient Peanut Butter Muffins
makes 1 dozen muffins
2 cups oats
½ cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 eggs
½ cup milk
½ cup kidney beans
½ cup applesauce
½ cup peanut butter
¼ cup coconut oil

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and oil a 12 hole muffin pan. Blend the oats into a flour. Mix them together with the salt, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Blend the beans, eggs, oil, milk, apple cider vinegar, and applesauce together. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, finally stirring in the peanut butter. Divide the batter between the muffin holes. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the muffins sit for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Last Gifts of Christmas

Other than a fudge recipe I have yet to share, here are the last of the gifts that I made this year for Christmas. The first is a kind of hippyish skirt I made for Harper's dolls out of two bandanas. I thought that the resulting skirt screamed flower child. I'm sure Harper's new nature loving doll, Saige, will love them.

Carson is addicted to these little Gerber baby snacks called puffs. She can be screaming her head off, and just the mention of them will make her stop mid scream. She goes around saying "puff puff", and can eat a ton of them. (My dad and Harper can put away quite a few too.) I wanted to recreate her beloved snack as a treat she could take on the long car trip we took after Christmas. My result wasn't quite like actual puffs, but she loved them. My mom even said they tasted good, and she abhors puffs.

homemade baby puffs
Homemade Baby Puffs
¾ cup multi grain baby cereal
1/3 cup orange juice
1 egg yolk
½ tsp baking powder
½ tbsp. oil

Mix all the ingredients together. Use an easy accent decorator or another icing piper to make little dots of the dough. Bake on a stone at 325 for 10-12 minutes. Allow the puffs to cool before sealing them in a container.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Maple Buttermilk Breakfasts

On my very first day home from college I was starving, so I scavenged the fridge. To my delight, I found buttermilk and real maple syrup, two luxuries I never buy for myself but absolutely adore. That night I had my fill of fluffy and delicious maple buttermilk pancakes. They were to die for.

maple buttermilk pancake waffle (3)

I love to add an extra swirl of maple syrup right before scooping the batter out on the pancake pan. Delish!
Fluffy Maple Buttermilk Pancakes/ Waffles
makes 16 pancakes or 8 waffles
1 cup flour
1 cup quick rolled oats
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ cups buttermilk
1 ripe banana, mashed
2 eggs
¼ cup butter, softened
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Mix the flour, oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar together. Set aside. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, butter, buttermilk, banana, maple syrup, and apple cider vinegar together.

To make pancakes, preheat a nonstick pancake pan to medium low heat so that when you pour a drop of water on it, the water “dances” until it evaporates. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together and scoop out a few tablespoons at a time onto the pancake pan. Cook until the top gets bubbly and dry, and then flip and cook the other side until lightly browned. Adjust the temperature of the stove as you make all the pancakes to ensure that the pan does not get too hot.

To make waffles, mix the wet and dry ingredients together. Preheat your waffle iron and follow the instructions it gives you to make waffles. Mine made about 8.

Serve your pancakes or waffles with a pat of butter and a warm drizzle of maple syrup.

maple buttermilk pancake waffle (5)
I loved the pancakes so much that I had to experiment with making them into muffins. You have to make these ASAP. It will be love at first bite.
maple buttermilk muffin
Maple Buttermilk Muffins
makes 12
1 cup flour
1 cup quick rolled oats
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup applesauce
2 eggs
¼ cup butter, softened
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a 12 holed muffin pan with oil. Mix the flour, oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar together. Set aside. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, butter, buttermilk, applesauce, maple syrup, and apple cider vinegar together. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, and divide the batter between the muffin cups. Bake for 22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the muffins sit in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Carson's First Christmas Scrapbook

For Christmas one of Carson's gifts from me was an empty Christmas scrapbook. I wanted to make her a first Christmas scrapbook filled with pictures of her first Christmas home with her family. I went the easy way and used a premade scrapbook from Hallmark that I just had to fill with pictures and slap on some stickers.

I just love this first picture of Carson. She is in her little ballerina pig outfit, and is actually smiling at the camera. The two times we have taken her to get her pictures taken, she will not smile at all. As soon as the camera is off she says, "cheese balls" and smiles. For once I managed to get a good picture.
Here were the pictures we were supposed to use for our Christmas cards. Syd didn't like her smile, so we ended up doing a collage of pictures throughout the year. I thought they were cute, especially the one with Harp and Carson in the basket.


 Christmas morning brings back happy memories of standing at the top of the stairs waiting to see what Santa brought. Carson looks a little less than thrilled in the second picture. She wasn't too sure about the rocking horse at first, but now she loves it.

Aren't the little snowman and penguin on the scrapbook pages adorable? I almost always think homemade is the best, but this premade scrapbook was just too cute.
Carson sure was spoiled with gifts this year. We had to make up for the Christmas she missed back in China, right?

The pictures easily slipped into these snow globes, creating a no fuss page.
We went to Georgia to see some friends and some of our friends from Pennsylvania came to see us. Both sets deemed worthy enough to go in the scrapbook. We had another one of Harper's China sisters visit us from PA too, but we did not manage to get a picture of all three of the little girls.

That picture of Harp and Carson kissing is just too cute. I guess it got them both on the nice list because by the amount of screaming and fighting that goes on at our house I would have thought that they would not make the cut.
I also included our trip down south to see our family and friends. This is my dad's side of the family that we met up with in South Carolina. The sticker says "Grandmas are sweeter than sugar cookies."
Next came my mom's parents. I actually managed to get a picture of Carson with both my grandma and papa. And she is actually smiling. Score!
This picture is actually from a week or so after Christmas, but it was just too cute to pass up.

All the talk of Christmas might put you back into the holiday treat mode. This oatmeal will satisfy your cravings in a healthy and delicious way that will keep you satisfied and going for the rest of the day.
Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter and Banana Baked Oatmeal (7)

Because every day should be National Peanut Butter Lover's Day. I don't need a holiday as an excuse to devour a big bowl of this.
Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter and Banana Baked Oatmeal (6)
Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter and Banana Baked Oatmeal
serves 1-2
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/3 cup milk
1 ripe banana
2 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp chocolate chips
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp baking powder
dash of salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and oil a large ramekin. Mash up the banana. Stir in the oats, milk, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add in the chocolate chips, and pour the mixture into the ramekin. Swirl in the peanut butter. (It helps to microwave it a bit so that it is a little melty.) Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Monday, January 20, 2014

National Cheese Lovers Day

Today is a national holiday celebrating the lovers of something very near and dear to my heart. (Well maybe not as dear as peanut butter, but it comes pretty close.) Happy National Cheese Lovers Day to all of you fellow cheese lovers! I hope you use this fantastic occasion to partake in some cheese loving.

What is your favorite cheese? I mine is probably chevre, but recently I have developed a love for feta. Nothing beats the cheese I had in Europe, though. My mom and I actually got to go on a tour of a cheese making farm in the Netherlands. That gouda was to die for. I have made quite a few homemade cheeses like paneer, halloumi, quark, farmer's cheese, kajmak, labneh, laban, and ricotta. A ton of my recipes also involve some type of cheese whether it be creamy chevre or deliciously aged parmesan. I think you can consider me a cheese lover. Here are a few recipes featuring different types of cheese.

feta and veggie omelet

Feta and Veggie Omelet
1 egg
3 egg whites
1 tbsp water
dash of crushed red pepper
dash of salt
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
½ cup mixture of chopped broccoli, bell pepper, onion, and asparagus
Sauté the vegetables in a little oil over medium heat. Set aside to cool. Whisk the water, egg, and egg whites together along with the salt and crushed red pepper. Preheat a 10” skillet over medium heat. Spread about a teaspoon of oil around in the bottom of the pan. Pour in the egg mixture, cover, and cook until set. Top one half with the vegetables and feta. Fold in half and serve.

raspberry cream cheese muffins (3)

Raspberry Cream Cheese Muffins
makes 1 dozen
1 cup flour
½ cup oat flour
½ cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
4 oz cream cheese
1 egg
½ cup milk
¼ cup applesauce
1 tsp lemon juice
½ c. raspberries

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and oil a 12 hole muffin pan. Mix together all the dry ingredients. Stir in the cream cheese, bananas, oil, eggs, milk, and lemon juice until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Divide the batter between the 12 muffin holes. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the muffins to sit in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.

raspberry cream cheese muffins (1)

 This isn't really a recipe at all, but more of a appetizer/ snack suggestion. Its simplicity seems to make its deliciousness even better. I just spread some goat cheese onto a cracker and topped it with some fig preserves. It was love at first bite. (How can you go wrong with goat cheese?)

Enjoy your cheese!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Frozen Yogurt Two Ways

I have been having some more fun with my new ice cream machine. This time I decided to try my hand at frozen yogurt. The results were creamy and delicious. In my opinion, it is even better than the ice cream. (A lot easier too.) I'm not sure how well it keeps in the freezer, because all of mine was gone the first day. I can't get enough of this stuff.

peanut butter frozen yogurt (2)
Considering my absolute love devotion to peanut butter, it was automatically my first flavor to try out. I used Greek yogurt which led to a thicker and creamier product. I am in love.

peanut butter frozen yogurt (5)
Peanut Butter Frozen Yogurt
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1 cup milk
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup PB2
¼ cup honey
1/3 cup peanut butter
Blend the yogurt, milk, PB2, sugar, and honey together until well mixed. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Using an ice cream machine (mine is Cuisinart), pour the mixture into the frozen attachment bowl for the machine. Run the machine for 10-12 minutes. Drop tablespoons of the peanut butter into the ice cream, and run the machine for another minute or so. Put in a sealed container and freeze for 1-2 hours.

Banana Frozen Yogurt (2)

I had to stop myself from eating all of the banana yogurt mixture before mixing it through the machine. Just to make it even better, I squished some of it between two cookies for an amazing ice cream sandwich. It's perfect for when you're in a chocolaty banana fix, but don't want to have 20 ice cream sandwiches sitting in your freezer.
Banana Frozen Yogurt
makes 1 quart
1 cup milk
1 ½ cups Greek yogurt
2 large ripe bananas, about 1 cup mashed
½ cup sugar

Blend all the ingredients together until creamy. Chill until cold, about one hour. Using an ice cream maker (mine is from Cuisinart), pour the cooled yogurt mixture into the frozen ice cream maker’s attachment bowl. Let the machine run for 20 minutes. Serve immediately for soft serve, or pour into a sealed container and freeze for 3 hours for normal ice cream. You may need to let it thaw on the counter for 10 minutes before scooping out and serving.

Chocolate Banana Ice Cream Sandwich for One (1)
Chocolate Banana Ice Cream Sandwich for One
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp sugar
dash of salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 tsp well beaten egg
1 tbsp butter
1-2 tsp milk, if needed
2-3 tbsp banana ice cream

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Mix all the ingredients together until well blended. Divide the dough in half and roll it out about 1 cm thick. Use a biscuit cutter to cut them into two perfect circles. Bake for 8 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool completely before scooping about 2-3 tablespoons of banana ice cream into the middle of one of them. Spread out the ice cream, top with the other cookie, and wrap the sandwich up in tin foil. Freeze until solid, about 1 hour.