Friday, December 20, 2013

Eggnog Rice Krispy Treats

I've been on kind of a rice krisy treat kick lately. I feel like plain RKT's (rice krispy treats) are a bit like a blank canvas. They are fine just as they are but open to lots and lots of variations. For me it just isn't the Christmas season until I get my first glass of eggnog. while shopping for some cake decorating supplies a few days ago, I found some eggnog flavored candy melts made by Wilton. I bought them, not really knowing how I would use them. i decided to make Eggnog flavored RKT's using the candy melts as an icing for the treats. These RKT's really taste like eggnog which makes them perfect  for the holiday season.

Eggnog Rice Krispy Treats
3 tablespoons butter
1 10 ounce bag mini marshmallows
1 1/2 teaspoons rum or rum extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
6 cups rice krispy cereal
1 cup white chocolate chips

1 bag Wilton Eggnog Candy Melts

Spray an 8x8 pan with non-stick cooking spray. I like my rice krispy treats to be thick. You can also use a 9x13 inch pan, your treats will just be a little thinner.

In a large pot, melt butter and stir in the marshmallows over medium low heat until marshmallows are melted completely. Remove from heat. Stir in run extract, salt,   and nutmeg. Pour in cereal and stir to coat in marshmallow. Stir in the white chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan and press down well with buttered fingers. Melt the Wilton eggnog candy melts according the package instrutions, With an off set spatula or knife spread the melted eggnog candies over the top. Top with sprinkles , if desired. Cool to room temperature, about 20-30 minutes. Cut into bars and serve.
Bag them up and give them as Christmas gifts!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Making Plans for the Future

Can you believe the New Year is just around the corner? As a younger person I never really thought much about the New Year beyond how/where to celebrate with friends and family. As I’ve gotten older, I find myself looking at the New Year, less as just a time to celebrate and more as a time to take stock and reevaluate my life and goals for the future. What do I want my future to look like and how can I make those things happen? The New Year is just a natural time to consider making changes to ensure a good future. It’s a great time to really think about the things I’m doing now and how they will affect the future I hope to build. Is how I’m living my life now working toward my plans for the future? How do I want to Get Old? Get Old is an initiative developed by Pfizer to challenge people of all ages to rethink what it means to Get Old and take a more active role in their health and quality of life at every age.
For me, and I would imagine a whole lot of other people, this includes planning for maintaining good mental and physical health in the future. Sure good genes play a role in our health as we age but taking charge of how we live our lives can make a huge difference in future health and well-being. Being mentally and physically strong as I get older is important to me so this year I’m resolving to take simple steps help ensure both as I age.
My New Year’s resolutions usually include some vague plan to lose a little weight, get more exercise and eat better. I've found I have better success when I’m accountable to someone. This past year I've done pretty well sticking to my exercise goals from last year by meeting my friend every morning to walk. We motivate each other by having a plan to meet and walk our neighborhood first thing every day. Having that accountability to has made a huge difference in me actually sticking to my goal to get more exercise. My goal for this year is to continue this and also add in some workout classes. I've found I need really need the accountability and motivation of an organized workout plan. I don’t stick with it otherwise.
Another big resolution for me this year is eating better. I know this is one of those resolutions that everyone makes but this is something that has been really difficult for me since Hubs has taken a job that keeps him away from home for long stretches of time. Eating alone, I tend to just do whatever is most convenient, which is usually not the healthiest choice.  One of my concrete plans to reach this goal is to eat breakfast every day. That may sound easy for some but I almost NEVER eat breakfast even though I’m well aware that it’s “the most important meal of the day!” So I’m resolving to eat breakfast every day. I’m planning to try to eat things like this Apple Pie Oatmeal. It can be made make ahead and is so easy, I’ll have no excuse for not sticking with my resolution!
I have found that when I stick to both of these goals I feel better not only physically but mentally as well. Another resolution I’m making toward mental “fitness” is continuing to pursue my passion for cake decorating by building up my small business and striving to learn new techniques and methods to take my skill set to the next level.

These are just a few of the things that come to mind for me as I think about resolutions and goals for the upcoming New Year. What are you doing to Get Old well?  Tell us at and join the conversation on and   I am participating in a sponsored campaign hosted by Pfizer and Get Old. I received compensation for this post. All opinions stated are my own. Get Old is a registered trademark of Pfizer Inc.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Fudgy Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Chip Cookies

This is a rich chocolate cookie that has a wonderful fudge like texture inside. The cookies are great even without the glaze icing but they are extra special with the icing and extra peppermint crunch on top. Chocolate and peppermint are the perfect Christmas time combo which makes this fudgy peppermint cookie perfect for Christmas cookie exchanges!They are festive looking and oh so delicious.
Fudgy Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cookies
Yeilds: 3 1/2 to 4 dozen cookies
METHOD:1 stick butter
12 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups (packed) brown sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon espresso powder or coffee extract
1 cup Andes peppermint crunch baking chips

Chocolate Glaze Icing
 2 cups confectioners' sugar
 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
 2 tablespoon butter, softened
 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
 4 tablespoons milk

For the cookies:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, eggs and vanilla at low speed until smooth, 2 minutes. Mix in the cooled chocolate mixture just until blended. With the mixer running, slowly add in the flour mixture. Mixing on low speed until just combined. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour. 
Position a rack in the upper third of the oven; preheat to 325 degrees . Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment or a silicon baking mat. Using a tablespoon, scoop the dough and roll between your palms to form 1-inch balls. Arrange balls 2 inches apart on each cookie sheet, flattening the tops slightly. Bake until the tops of the cookies crack, about 12 minutes. Don't over bake. You want the cookies to be soft and fudgy!

For the Chocolate Icing:
In a small bowl, combine butter with sugar and cocoa.
Add vanilla. Add milk gradually until smooth.

Just add a glass of milk

Saturday, December 7, 2013

I don't mind getting older...

as long as the cakes keep getting bigger!
It’s that time of the year again, time for holiday celebrations, family gatherings, and lots of food. It also brings about the ending of another year. If you’re like me you are probably wondering how in the world an entire year went so quickly. The older I get, the faster time seems to fly. Life gets busier and busier. It becomes filled with responsibilities, jobs, family, and time seems to shift into warp speed. I've realized I'm now staring middle age square in the face. What?! How did that happen?
Pfizer has asked me to participate in their Get Old campaign and discuss what getting older and having a happy future means to me. Growing older is inevitable fact of life. A privilege denied to many, as the saying goes. As I've gotten older, I've started to think more about the future than I did as a younger person. I certainly put more thought now into what I eat and trying to get enough exercise and sleep than I used to. Staying healthy has definitely become much more important to me as the years go by. While good health plays a large part in planning for the future, I also find it equally important to keep learning new things as well. For me, having a creative outlet and new challenges to conquer are just as important as good health to my future happiness.
Blogging is one of my creative outlets. It’s wonderful having a place to share ideas, the things that excite me, and connecting with people I might never have met otherwise.  I've learned so much through blogging. Everything from taking better photos to what SEO means. Yeah, I had to google it too!
Anyway, it was through blogging that I discovered that my real passion in life is cake decorating. One of the things I enjoy most about cake decorating is that there’s always something new to learn. There is always some new technique for decorating a cake or a new cake recipe to make. It helps me keep current on popular styles and pop culture trends. Did you know that ombre cakes are a huge trend in wedding cakes or that the Ninja turtles have made a comeback?  With some cakes I get asked to make, I receive very specific and detailed directions on what the client wants. However, I'd say at least half of the cakes I do I get little or almost no direction at all. For example, one recent order went like this; I know I want purple and something to do with art. Okay... time to get creative!

 Every cake I do brings me a new set of challenges. With each new cake I decorate I feel I'm learning to become a better cake designer. It's what keeps me excited and wanting to push myself even more.
 I truly believe you’re never too old to learn something new or to push yourself to try something you've never done before. There’s no stopping the forward march of time. However that doesn't mean you have to stop learning or trying new things.  I believe that a large part of a happy future can be found in allowing a place for creativity of some form in your life no matter what your age. 
  • Get Old is an initiative developed by Pfizer  to challenge people of all ages to rethink what it means to Get Old and take a more active role in their health and quality of life at every age.  Whether it’s through watching what you eat, physical exercise, spending time with family and friends or participating in an activity you’re passionate about -- each of us has the power to decide for ourselves how we want to Get Old. It’s not just about living longer, but living better.

I am participating in a sponsored campaign hosted by Pfizer and Get Old. I received compensation for this post. All opinions stated are my own. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cranberry Mousse Salad

Ok I'll let you in on a little family secret. We love jello salads. It's a shocking revelation, I know. We are the family that takes great pride in making most everything we eat from scratch, but yet there it is,a jello salad. We love our jiggly, sweet, gelatinous, with no redeeming qualities "salads". There is always at least one jello salad at every family gathering. Some of them are reserved for certain holidays only. Christmas jello (yes that's it's official name) for example, is only served once a year at Christmas. It's a big deal, just ask anyone in my family about the year mom forgot to make it. Not good!
It was fine when were all young, living at home, eating our jello salads amongst those of like minds, but now we've added husbands to the mix.Over the years, there have been a few raised eyebrows and confused looks on some of their faces at the presence of the jello salads at almost every family get together.If any of them are brave enough to question the presence of the jello they get an earful. Likely from everyone of us! Hubs once commented, "wow you guys really like your jello!" Yes. Yes we do! It's delicious, fun to eat, and oh so pretty, What's not to love?!
This one is really delicious and may have to become our Thanksgiving jello salad! 

I made these sugared cranberries to decorate my salad.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Turkey Cake Tutorial

I got this wild brainstorm the other night to make a Turkey Cake. It occurred to me that the petal icing effect that I used on this cake would make cute "feathers" for the turkey. I knew I just had to try it to see if it would work. I think it turned out pretty cute and is fairly easy. It doesn't require any special equipment and would be a fun project for older children. How cute would this cake be for Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Five Cranberry Condiments for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Time to start planning the menu for your Thanksgiving meal. Don't forget to plan for your Turkey Day condiments! Cranberry sauces and relishes are one of my favorite parts of the Thanksgiving table. Here are five of my favorite cranberry condiments that I think are the perfect accompaniment to your Thanksgiving feast. These are some of the cranberry sauces etc. that I've made over the past few years. New this year is the orange cranberry butter recipe. I think it's fabulous on any yeast roll or muffin!
Cranberry-Orange  Butter
Cranberry-Orange Butter
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
2 teaspoons orange zest,( about the zest from one orange)
In a food processor or a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and orange zest. Add the cranberry sauce, mix until well incorporated.
** If you want a sweeter butter and 2 tablespoons of confectioners sugar and combine well. 

Jellied Cranberry Sauce with Apples
Cranberry Rum Relish
Cranberry Salsa
Cranberry Chutney
Here are a few other Cranberry condiments from around the web:

Linked to

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Baked Brie with Plum Preserves and Spiced Pecans

Walkers Shortbread sent me the most amazing box full of goodies. This time not only did they send me a large selection of their fantasic cookies, for this shipment Walkers Shortbread partnered with Bonne Maman. Bonne Maman is the creator of gourmet, all-natural, preserves and jellies produced in France. Their preserves and jellies are made without the use of preservatives, artificial coloring, or high fructose corn syrup. I have been a long time fan of Bonne Maman's wonderful products. I adore the little jars, with their iconic red gingham lids that the preserves come in almost as much as I love the preserves and jellies themselves. So cute and delicious!! Anyway I was so excited about all the great products Walkers sent in this box. 

The theme for this shipment is Festive Recipes for Autumn and Holiday Entertaining. Walkers Shortbread included their Highland Oatcakes in this box. The oatcakes are a savory oat cracker, and like all Walkers products are made from all-natural ingredients. I had never tried Walkers oatcakes before. They have now become my go-to cracker for any cheese platter. The oatcakes have a wonderful nutty flavor from the oats that pairs beautifully with cheeses. 

The holiday season is busy so I decided to share this really simple but beautiful and delicious baked brie recipe. It takes very few ingredients and can be put together in matter of minutes. Perfect for the busy holiday season! 
Make the spiced pecans ahead of time and store them in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks. Try not to eat all of the spiced pecans beforehand (it will be really tempting!) and you can throw this baked brie together in under 15 minutes! 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sticky Bun Pumpkin Muffins

Have you heard about the Cronut crazy? A bakery in New York came up with the idea to blend a croissant and a doughnut into to one delicious new pastry. A doughnut and croissant in one! Sounds crazy good, doesn't it? The method they use to make the Cronut is top secret and I read it was even being patented. The real Cronuts are only sold at this one bakery and people apparently will wait in line for hours just to nab one of these hybrid pastries. I live in Alabama, so I'm not able to get my hands on a Cronut unless I hop on a plane. Not a very convenient option for pastry buying. Hopefully the Cronut is still around the next time I make it to New York. Until then I've found another cross bred pastry hybrid that has made me all but forget my lust for the Cronut.

This muffin is the best of both sticky buns and pumpkin muffins. That sticky topping that makes a sticky bun a sticky bun, tops a super moist pumpkin spiced muffin. How good does that sound? Uh huh, pretty amazing. Best of all they take no time at all to make, in your own kitchen. No need to jump on a plane or wait in an hours long line.  Go make a batch. You'll thank me. Who knows you may just have people lining up at your door hoping to get one of these muffins!

Sticky Bun Pumpkin Muffins
2 cups pecan halves and pieces
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup water
1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs 

Preheat oven to 350°. Place  pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan and bake about 8 minutes or until nuts are lightly toasted, stirring halfway through.

In a medium bowl, stir together melted butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Lightly grease 2 12-cup muffins tins. Spoon 1 teaspoonful butter mixture into each cup and add 5-6 toasted pecans on top of the brown sugar mixture. (Overfilling the muffin tins with the brown sugar mixture will cause the muffins to overflow when baking. So a nice rounded teaspoon full is plenty of topping!)

In a large bowl, whisk together together flour, sugar, spices, baking soda, salt. Make a well in center of the dry mixture. In another bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, water, oil, and the eggs. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring  just until moistened.

Spoon batter over the pecan mixture in the muffin cups , filling three-fourths full. Place an aluminum foil-lined cookie sheet on lower oven rack to catch any overflow.

 Bake at 350° on for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Invert pan immediately onto a cookie sheet. Remove muffins, and arrange muffins on a wire rack. Spoon any topping remaining in muffin cups over muffins. Let cool 5 minutes.

Part sticky bun, part pumpkin muffin....the best of both in one delicious muffin!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Cinnamon Chip Hot Chocolate Mix

I woke up this morning and there was a definite nip in the air. For those of you that don't live in the very deep South, you have probably had several weeks of such weather already this season. As soon as there's even a slight chill in the air, I start to crave hot chocolate. I stumbled on this recipe while searching for recipes to use the cinnamon chips I'd just bought. Have you tried cinnamon chips yet? If not go get some right away! A word of warning though, if you are like me and lack self restraint, buy them at you own risk. It's hard to resist just eating those little guys right from the one sitting. Really! For a cinnamon lover like myself they are down right addictive. I catch myself grabbing a handful every time I walk near the kitchen. Anyway, I found this recipe for cinnamon hot chocolate mix and had to give it a try. Luckily I didn't need an entire bag of chips to make this recipe, as let's just say the bag wasn't quite full anymore. 
I'm so glad I made this hot chocolate. It's fantastic. Rich cocoa with a cinnamon kick makes this the perfect beverage for a cool Fall day.

The recipe is for a dry hot chocolate mix. You make the mix up and keep it in an airtight container. All that's needed is a cup of boiling water and you can have a rich cinnamon-y mug of cocoa anytime! 
This hot chocolate could also serve as a hostess or teachers gift. Double or triple the recipe and divide the hot chocolate mix into mason jars. Tie the jars with a cute ribbon, add a tag or label with instructions and it's gift giving ready!      

Monday, September 30, 2013

Halloween PEEPS S'mores Trifle

My mail, probably yours as well, consists of bills, junk, a few magazines, more junk, maybe something I ordered, and more bills. Every once in a while something unexpected and fun comes along with the usual daily mail. It's the hope that there might be something fun and exciting in the day's mail that makes me keep an eye out for the mail delivery truck. A couple of days ago I received a box full of Halloween PEEPS in the mail. Now that's what I call fun mail! The nice folks at PEEPS sent me a few of their Halloween themed PEEPS to try. Thanks PEEPS!
In case, if you didn't already know, PEEPS are not just for Easter anymore. Nope they've gone multi-holiday! There are now Halloween and Christmas PEEPS, in addition to the traditional Easter PEEP. No more waiting and entire year for PEEPS to return! 
Anyway, I wanted to use my PEEPS in a fun Halloween-ish dessert. With PEEPS being super fun marshmallow treat, I immediately thought of doing s'mores. PEEPS and s'mores, are a perfect match, but I didn't want to melt my  PEEPS, I mean look at how cute they are! So I decided to layer the PEEPS in a s'mores trifle. How cute and yummy is that? PEEPS, chocolate, whipped cream...Happy Halloween!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Apple Cranberry Crisp with Ginger Cookie Crumble

Yeah it's almost officially Autumn! Walkers Shortbread has sent me some cookies to use in Fall Fruit themed desserts. Since apple crisp is one my favorite Fall time desserts I decided I'd incorporate Walkers Stem Ginger Shortbread Cookies  into the crumb topping of an apple cranberry crisp. The buttery ginger-y cookies make this crumble topping really delicious. After I cooked the crisp I served the crisp topped with ice cream and crumbled a couple more the stem ginger cookies over the top. Delicious! I think the Stem Ginger Shortbread Cookies will be a regular addition to my apple crisps in the future!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Scones

To most,I would imagine, the day after Labor Day has no real significance. Yes it means back to school or work and maybe the vague sense of a slight shift in the universe, indicating summers imminent end. Nothing really changes. It was still 90 degrees here in Alabama that day. Still the same summertime weather as the days leading up to the day after Labor Day. Only now it's after Labor Day and we all know what that means... Right? The much anticipated return of Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes!! Of course I had to have one, in spite of the very summer-like temps and humidity. I've been craving that pumpkin spiced drink since it went away last year and it was BACK! Ok so maybe I broke a sweat and had to turn up the air in my car just so I could drink it, but whatever...totally worth it! Anyway as you might have guessed my love for pumpkin and spice runs deep.
While I was getting my PSL from Starbucks, I saw that they also sell pumpkin spice scones. I guess I've been living under a rock or something but I've never had a pumpkin scone. I did not buy one of those but did come home and look to see if I could find a recipe to make them. Apparently I was living under a rock. How had I missed these scones? Eaten along with a cup of hot coffee, it's quite possibly my new Fall obsession! 
I usually change a few things here and there in recipes that I make. I didn't change much on this one with one MAJOR exception: The original recipe said that the spiced glaze frosting was "optional"...umm I had to change that to mandatory!!  

Pumpkin Spice Scones
SOURCE: Tasty Kitchen


2 cups all purpose flour 
1/3 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoons ground ginger 
1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 stick unsalted butter, frozen
 ½ cups pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling
 ½ cups heavy cream 
 1 cup powdered sugar 
½ teaspoons cinnamon 
¼ teaspoons ground ginger  
2 teaspoons corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla 
heavy cream, just enough to thin the icing to a honey like consistency 
½ cups toasted, chopped pecans 

In a small bowl, mix the pumpkin and cream, keep in the fridge until you use it. In a large bowl mix together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and  nutmeg. Add the frozen butter by grating it with a cheese grater over the flour mixture. Work quickly so the butter doesn't have time to soften. Quickly mix butter curls into the flour mixture with a fork. Pour the pumpkin and cream into the flour/butter mixture. Fold with a wooden spoon just until flour is moistened well.Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured board and gently knead over a couple of times. Pat the dough into a circle about 1 inch thick. Cut the circle into 8 sections, like you would to slice a pie. Separate scones and place onto a cookie sheet. Put the scones in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
Bake at 400ºF for about 25 minutes or until just firm and golden around the edges. Let cool to room temperature. 
While the scones cool; Mix together the powdered sugar, cinnamon, ginger powder, corn syrup, and vanilla. Add heavy cream in small amounts at a time, stirring until icing reaches the consistency of honey. Use a large spoon to drizzle the icing over the cooled scones. Immediately sprinkle the toasted pecans over the tops.Store scones in an air-tight container.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Jalapeno Pepper Jelly

Pepper jellies are a Southern staple food item. Most often served with cream cheese and crackers, this condiment has soo many other tasty uses. It's a fantastic way to jazz up a plain ole grilled cheese or turkey sandwich. It makes a deliciously zippy dipping sauce for chicken fingers, fried chicken even fried shrimp. I often add a bit to my favorite BBQ sauce to add a little extra zing. Last year I even used some to make these pepper jelly thumbprint cookies, which are surprisingly good!
I did a lot of canning this summer but this recipe was by far the easiest one I made. Everything can be chopped in the food processor, so getting it prepped is a snap! The whole process start to finish only took me about 30 minutes. I can't say that about most of the other things I canned this summer. If you've never canned, this recipe would be a great place to start!

*One quick note: I made three batches of this jelly this year. Be sure to use the Certo brand liquid fruit pectin for this recipe. The second batch I made I used another brand and my jelly never set..not sure why. Made it again using Certo, no problems!
I've yet to find a use for the second batch which is pretty much a jalapeno syrup. Hubs said he was willing to try it on waffles...hmmm maybe I just came up with a new twist on chicken and waffles!

Jalapeno Pepper Jelly
Source: (slightly adapted)
Yields: 6-7 half pints

1 lg. red bell pepper
1 lg. green bell pepper
10 medium-sized jalapenos, leave some of the seeds in or all of the seeds depending on how spicy you want it.
1 1/2 c. white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
6 c. sugar
1 pouch Certo* liquid fruit pectin

In food processor, finely chop peppers. Put in large pot with vinegar, salt and sugar. Boil for 10 minutes stirring often. Add Certo* pouch and boil 1 more minute. Fill canning jars. Process in a water bath for 10 minutes. (here's a link to a great youtube video for the water-bath method) Start your time when the water reaches a rolling boil.
Wait a couple of days before opening jars to allow jelly time to gel.

This pepper jelly doesn't have any added food dyes, many are colored bright red or green. I thought the natural color of this jelly was gorgeous, studded with the flecks of red and green pepper, who needs any food coloring?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Chocolate Espresso Mousse

Hello lover..oh excuse me,..but this mousse has stolen my heart! I've yet to find a chocolate that's too dark or too rich for me and this mousse fits into both of those categories. It's dark, silky, and completely luscious. (I like throwing in the word luscious whenever possible, I mean, how often can you really use it?? Try it. I dare you! there you go word of the day.) (You're welcome!)Anyhoo... If chocolate is your addiction, this mousse is sure to satisfy. The espresso and Kahlua in this mousse just serve to deepen the chocolate's (luscious) flavor. Also this mousse is really quick and easy it is to make. It only takes a few ingredients, all of which I almost always have on hand! So don't wait until your throwing a fancy dinner party to make it. Whip up a batch, top it with a dollop of whipped cream and some sprinkles, to up the fun factor, and enjoy this oh so luscious dessert any time!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Peanut Butter and Vanilla Greek Yogurt Dip

So I can't believe it but school starts NEXT week! Where did this summer go? It seems to gone by in record speed this year. Anyway, Walkers Shortbread send me another box of cookies. This time I got to sample a variety of their cookies in mini bite-sized form! They come in small resealable bags, so convenient to grab and go. These cookies are the perfectly sized for lunch on the go. Great for busy moms needing an easy, delicious school lunch snack that the kiddos will love.
The mini's are wonderful, just like all of Walkers Shortbread cookies. These are sized just right for easy mouth pop-ability! The newest addition to the minis line, and my personal favorite, are the crunchy oatmeal cookies. Made with ingredients like; whole wheat flour, butter and oats, these cookies are a treat you can feel good about giving to your family.

School lunches can get monotonous. So here's an easy, very healthy vanilla Greek yogurt and peanut butter dip that will jazz up any lunch box. This dip is a perfect accompaniment for apple slices, a banana, or a handful of Walkers crunchy oatmeal mini cookies!

Ok this one is sooo easy, you can let the kids make it...I say that makes this dip perfect for school lunches!

Peanut Butter and Vanilla Greek Yogurt Dip

1 5-6 ounce container of vanilla Greek yogurt, about a half a cup ( I used the Oikos 0% fat vanilla from the four pack)
1 tablespoon or so,  natural peanut butter (the kind you have to stir)
1 teaspoon honey (if you are not using a natural peanut butter you probably won't need any extra sweetness)

Mix it all together and start dipping

All ready for back to school! My sweet friend at Beatrice and Lulu makes the cute lunch bags in this post!
Walkers is once again offering a great deal for Half Baked readers. Order any two Walkers mini cookies and get one free!  Just go to the Walkers site here and use the promo code: HBBSCHOOL when you check out. This offer is only good until August 16th, so don't miss out! 
Leave a comment on this post and one lucky reader will win all four flavors of the Walkers Shortbread Minis! 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Pimento Cheese

Believe it or not this was my first time ever making pimento cheese. Pretty incredible considering it's a staple item for almost any Southern gathering, particularly those involving tea sandwiches. From showers to ladies luncheons to church picnics, pimento cheese, usually in sandwich form, is guaranteed to make an appearance. I have to confess though, that I just never really cared for pimento all. However, Hubs loves it. He asks for it all the time and I always find a reason not  to make it. Somehow pimento cheese came up recently in conversation (we talk about food a lot!) and once again Hubs said how much he loved the stuff. I just happened to have all the necessary ingredients on hand,so I thought I'd surprise him with some homemade pimento cheese. To find a recipe I thought I'd start right at the top and consult the godfather of Southern foods, Chef Frank Stitt. I'll admit that if my first experience with pimento cheese was this pimento cheese, it wouldn't have taken me so long to make it.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

This little figgy... dipped in chocolate!
I'm so happy that the figs at the farm are finally ripe! I've picked quite a few and plan to make most of them into preserves and chutney, but I have been eating my fair share of them fresh. There are endless ways to use fresh figs. In a salad drizzled with a balsamic vinaigrette is one of my all-time favorite ways to enjoy fresh figs but they are also the perfect dessert fruit. So this little figgy got dipped into a dark bittersweet chocolate. I sprinkled the freshly dipped figs with just a tiny dash of sea salt. These chocolate covered figs are quite fine on their own but paired with a bowl of rich vanilla ice cream, and you've got a match made in figgy heaven!

Chocolate Dipped Figs
Melt about 1/2 a cup of high quality bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips, in the microwave at 50 percent power for 1 1/2-2  minutes, stopping to check and stir chocolate mixture a couple of time. Once mixture is melted, dip the figs that you have dried with a paper towel into the chocolate. Once fruit is covered in chocolate, set them on a piece of parchment paper. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Refrigerate figs until chocolate covering is firm, before serving.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Rustic Tomato and Cheese Tart

This tart is a twist on the traditional tomato pie.  It's a wonderful combo of two classic southern favorites, biscuits and tomato pie. In place of the traditional pastry crust, buttermilk biscuits make up the crust of this free form tart. It's everything you love about both dishes in one amazing tart! 
Really ripe summer tomatoes are what make this tart so fantastic. Heirloom variety tomatoes are the perfect tomato for this tart but any just picked tomatoes from your local farmers market will do!
This tart is perfect for a brunch or lunch. Just serve it with a green salad for a complete summertime meal!