Category Archives: Recipes

Mini Pumpkin Scones


One of my favorite things about fall is the reintroduction of Starbucks Pumpkin Scones.  I’m not a huge pumpkin fan but those things are flavorful and spiced just right.  Like pumpkin pie without the baby food like constancy (I’m a texture person).  The bad thing about it not being “pumpkin season” is that it’s not easy to find.  Out of desperation I Googlized the recipe and came across a ‘clone’ recipe and have to say that it is fairly spot on.  I wish I could give credit to whoever made up this recipe but like a lot of my giant pile of printed out recipes (this was before Pinterest) I have no idea where it came from.  A few minor tweaks and you have the perfection seen above.

The best part of this recipe?  You can make a whole batch for the price of one scone at the coffee shop.  Bonus!

I made these pretty small which was a perfect size for a tea party with my 3 year old.  They fit right onto the little plates.  It also makes for a great grab and go snack straight out of the freezer (they freeze beautifully).

Mini Pumpkin Scones
adapted from somewhere on the internet

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
6 Tbs cold butter
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3 Tbs heavy cream
1 large egg

1 cup powdered sugar
4 Tbs heavy cream
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 pinch ginger
1 pinch ground cloves


1.  Preheat oven to 425 deg F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2.  Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large bowl.  Using a fork or food processor, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until all the butter in no longer noticeable.

3.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, cream, and egg.  Mix the wet ingredients in the dry just until incorporated.  Do not over mix.  Form the dough into a ball.

4.  Pat the dough onto a lightly floured surface into a 6″ x 10″ rectangle.  Using a large knife or pizza cutter slice the dough into 1/2″ squares.  Place on the prepared baking sheets.

5.  Bake for 10 -12 minutes or until the scones are light browned.  Place on a wire rack to cool.

6.  Combine the ingredients of the glaze together.  Drizzle the glaze over the scones and allow to dry.

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Filed under Breakfast, Recipes, Scone

Eggplant and Chard Stuffed Shells


I have made a number of recipes out of Deborah Madison’s fabulous book Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone over the years.  My brother is a vegetarian and whenever we get together for Sunday Night Dinner I make sure there is a vegetarian option.  Sometimes it’s just a veggie burger but other times I go out of my way to make sure the main dish is veggie friendly.  Since his birthday was a few weeks ago, I decided to try out another one of Deborah’s recipes in celebration.  This was originally a lasagna recipe but I took a hankering to the shells I saw at the grocery store and modified the recipe to fit.  You could just as easily do stuffed manicotti if you feel like bothering with torn tubes and the subsequent mess.  I’ve determined that they give you extra of those just because of the high failure rate.

As most of the recipes I have tried from the cookbook, this one doesn’t disappoint   The roasting of the eggplant gives it a slight sweetness and the chard really adds a nice depth of flavor.  Even my ‘not so veggie loving’ father-in-law like it.  I had to stop the crowd from devouring the last serving just so I could take this picture.

Eggplant and Chard Stuffed Shells
adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

1 box of Large Stuffed Shells
1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
1 ½ pounds eggplant, sliced ¼-inch thick crosswise
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing on both sides of eggplant slices
2 tablespoons butter
½ onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 ½ pounds green chard (about 2 bunches)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup ricotta
1 egg
¾ cup grated Romano cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup parmesan cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a 9 x 13 baking dish.

2.  Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, turning once halfway through the baking time until the eggplant is lightly browned on both sides. Chop coarsely.

3.  Heat 2 tablespoons oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes. Add chard and ½ teaspoon salt, cook until leaves are wilted, about 5 minutes. Pour wine and cover for about 10 minutes, until the chard becomes tender and the pan is dry. Transfer onto a cutting board and chop finely.

4.  Mix ricotta, chopped chard, 1/3 cup water, egg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.

5.  Spread 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce over the bottom of the pan.

6.  Stuff the shells with the ricotta mixture until fairly full but not overflowing.  Place each shell in the pan on top of the tomato sauce.  You may have a few shells left over.
7.  Spread the remaining sauce over the shells.  Spread the cheeses on top of the sauce. 

8.  Cover the baking dish with foil, tenting above the surface. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until heated through. Remove the foil and bake for 5 to 10 minutes more.

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Dark Chocolate Banana Bread


This bread is not for the faint of heart.  It is rich, dense, and velvety to the extreme.  I had a few ripe bananas sitting on my counter and since I’m not one to waste good food, an immediate baking need was obviously in order.   It just so happened that I also had a chocolate craving (when do I not) so after a little plinking around my Pinterest board, I found a recipe from Joy the Baker that satisfied both needs.  Never one to leave well enough alone, a little modifying was performed and the resulting bread is just short of chocolate heaven.

I’m going on record to say this recipe is healthy as well.  It has a few of the major food groups (fruit, grain, dairy) and is made with dark chocolate.  Antioxidants people!!  I’m fairly sure it cancels out the calories.

Dark Chocolate Banana Bread
adapted from Joy the Baker

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened Dark Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 stick (8 Tbs) unsalted butter, at room temp
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 large or 3 small ripe bananas, mashed (approximately 1 cup)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup dark chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350 deg.

2.  Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan and place it on an insulated baking sheet or stack two regular sheets together.

3.  Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

4.  Beat the butter at medium speed until soft, about a minute.  Add the sugars and beat for 2 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each.

5.  Reduce the mixer to low speed and mix in the bananas.  Add the dry ingredients in three batches, only mixing long enough to incorporate it into the batter.  Add the heavy cream and mix until incorporated.  Stir in the chocolate chips and scrap batter into prepared pan.

6.  Bake for 30 minutes. Cover the bread loosely with foil and continue to bake for another 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Transfer the pan to a rack for 20 minutes before running a knife around the edges of the bread and unmolding it onto a second rack.  Let cool to room temp before slicing.

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Maple Cream Cheese Bacon Wrapped Dates

If you are looking for a quick, easy and absolutely fabulous appetizer for your next party then you have come to the right place.  These things take no time to whip together and are sure to be snatched up faster than a toothpick after a rib eating contest.  I first had a version of these at a Cattlewoman’s horse camp out   Now I neither own a cow or own a horse I can currently ride but I was invited along with a friend who has both.  We talked, we ate, we drank, we ate, they rode, we ate, I meditated in a field of wildflowers by a babbling brook, we ate.  You get the picture. We had a load of food and these were among the best. 
There is something about these things that make them irresistible   Not a date fan you say?  Neither am I in their native form.  But stuff them with maple cream cheese and wrap some bacon around them and they are transformed into something beautiful.  Of course, stuff a lot of things with cream cheese and wrap bacon around them and they will be fabulous.  😉

As a side note, I brought Smore Bars.  They didn’t last very long.
Maple Cream Cheese Stuffed  Bacon Wrapped Dates
4 oz cream cheese, room temp (half a block)
1 Tbs maple syrup
1 (8 oz) package pitted dates
1 lb maple bacon
1. Preheat oven to 400 deg.  Prepare a 9×13 pan by wrinkling up a piece of tin foil then spreading it loosely into the bottom of the pan.  This allows for the bacon grease to sink down into the wrinkles of the foil and away from the cooking bacon.

2.  Mix cream cheese with maple syrup.
3.  Take the bacon out of the package and cut the entire bunch in half.
4.  Using your fingernail, open the date lengthwise to expose the center.  Take a small amount (approximately 1/2 tsp) of cream cheese mixture and stuff it into the date.  Wrap half a piece of bacon around the date and secure with a toothpick.  Place into the prepared pan.

5.  Bake for 40 minutes or until the bacon looks cooked through.  Serve warm.

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Chipotle Chicken Burgers


Sometimes I’m in the mood for a big fat juicy burger.  Ya know the kind that drips all over your hands when you eat it and you choose not to think about just how many calories you are consuming?  Then, sometimes I want the same juiciness but not the load of calories.  Enter the chicken burger.  Chicken burgers are wonderful platforms for different flavor profiles.  Tart apples can add a touch of tangyness. Sundried tomatoes can add a touch of sweet summer.  I added roasted red bell peppers (for juicyness) and a chipotle pepper (for heat).  Want more heat?  Add a second chipotle pepper.  I was feeding a 3 year old so I kept the heat to a slow simmer.

You can usually find ground chicken in the poultry aisle of your grocery store but if you don’t, just take a package of chicken breast up to the meat counter and they can grind it for you (I’ve done this a few times).

I (well my hubby) cooked these on the grill using oiled tinfoil.  You can also cook them on the cooktop using a lightly greased pan.  When raw they are really soft so you may want to make them up and put them directly onto whatever cook surface you are using.  

As far as condiments, we only had the usual hanging around so I didn’t use anything fancy.  However, I think tomato and avocado would be fabulous.  Or maybe some caramelized onions.  Mmmm….

Chipotle Chicken Burgers
adapted from Raleys Something Extra Magazine

2 lbs Ground Chicken Breast
1/2 cup soy cherizo
1/2 cup Roasted Red Bell Pepper, chopped
1/4 cup onion, minced
1 chipotle pepper in adobe, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper

1.  Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix together gently.  Do not over mix.

2.  Lightly oil a large piece of tinfoil (if grilling) or large saucepan (if cooking on the stove top).

2.  Form the mixture into 8 patties and place directly on the tinfoil or pan.  Cook over medium heat until cooked through, approximately 7 minutes each side.  Let rest for a few minutes before serving.

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Salted Caramel Macchiato Candy

I only recently discovered the joy of the Salted Caramel Macchiato at Starbucks (yes, I know I’m a little behind the times).  I love it iced on a hot day.  Decaf because of nursing the little one.  I order it skinny when I’m feeling fat and full fat when I’m feeling skinny.  It’s not a complicated drink but there is something about richness of the caramel and the hidden gems of salt that make me forget just a little bit about the craziness of the day.
The same thing happens when I eat these little nuggets.  They are sweet, silky, with a kiss of coffee and salt.  They are slightly chewy but will not pull out your fillings.  Pure joy.
Salted Caramel Macchiato Candy
adapted from Annie’s Eats
1 cup heavy cream
5 tbsp. unsalted butter
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp espresso powder
1¼ tsp. fleur de sel or kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
1½ cups sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
¼ cup water 

1.  Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper.  Lightly butter the parchment.

2.  In a small saucepan, whisk together the cream, butter, vanilla extract, espresso powder and salt.  Heat over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat and set aside .

3.  In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water.  Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until the sugar is dissolved.  Boil, without stirring until the mixture is a light golden caramel color, swirling the pan every once in a while to prevent burning.

4.  Carefully stir the cream mixture into the sugar mixture.  Stir carefully and constantly as it will boil up.  Clip on a candy thermometer and continue cooking until the mixture registers 248˚ F.  

5.  Remove from the heat and pour into the prepared pan.  Let cool for 30 minutes, then sprinkle with additional salt.  Continue to let sit until completely cooled.  

6.  Cut into 1-inch pieces with a sharp buttered knife or pizza cutter.  Wrap the individual caramels in small pieces of wax paper, about 4-inch squares.

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Shrimp Mocktail


There is one ingredient that you will very rarely find on this blog and that’s shellfish.  See, when I reached college age I discovered that I had developed a shellfish allergy.  It took me a while to figure it out what was causing the rather painful attacks as I had been eating shrimp, crab and clams since I was a little girl and never had a problem.  Some of my favorite memories are of clamming with my family at Dillon Beach.  Running around the sand bar, stomping next to little holes in the sand hoping for a thin fountain of water to shoot up and then watching my dad do all of the digging.  Magic.  The homemade clam chowder after, delicious.

After one awful visit to Bubba Gumps and one experimental nibble on a shrimp soon after, there wasn’t any doubt I was allergic.  It’s to the point that I can’t eat anything with even a hint of oyster sauce and long periods in the ocean will give me a nice set of hives.  


This sucks on a number of levels, not the least was giving up a few things I love like crab and cream cheese wontons and shrimp cocktail.  I rejoice whenever I find a Chinese restaurant that cheaps out and uses the fake crab meat in the wontons.  My stomach has proven that there is apparently not an ounce of real crab in the fake stuff.  

I was reading my Bon Appetite the other day and came across this recipe for a “Poor Man’s Shrimp Cocktail”.  Intrigued, I tried it out for Sunday Night Dinner with my friends and family and the general consensus was that it tastes pretty darn close.  Obviously you have to trick your mind a little (or cut up the cauliflower into shrimp shapes) but dipped in the cocktail sauce it is quite delicious.  It uses a crab boil seasoning (I found this at my local supermarket in the seafood section) as a large part of the flavoring.  The recipe is vegetarian/vegan which was a bonus when my vegetarian brother is over.


Shrimp Mocktail

1 cup dry crab boil seasoning (such as Zatarain’s or Old Bay)
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 yellow onions, quartered
6 garlic cloves
3 lemons, halved crosswise
2 1-pound heads of cauliflower, cored, trimmed into 2″ florets

1.  Combine crab boil, salt, onions, garlic, and 6 quarts water in a large pot. Squeeze juice from lemons into pot and add lemon halves. 
2.  Set pot over high heat and bring liquid to a boil. Cook for 10 minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove onions, garlic, and lemons from broth; discard.
3.  Return liquid to a rolling boil.  Add cauliflower; turn off heat, cover pot tightly, and let stand until cauliflower is crisp-tender, 5–10 minutes.
4.  Drain; spread out cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet and let cool completely.
Cooking Notes: Cauliflower can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Serve with cocktail sauce for dipping.

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Filed under Appetizer, Recipes, Vegetarian

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Banana Bars


One of the best things I have found that has come about in the age of the Internet is the ability to reconnect with people from your past.  As a person who is a few *ahem* years past school age, I had grown out of touch with a number of high school friends.  Not that long ago, most people would only see those that they went to school with every 10 to 15 years at their high school reunion.  Now I’m wondering just what I’m going to talk to people about at my next reunion as we have all been Facebook stalking each other for years.

This recipe came from one of those reconnections to the past.  Erin posted this herself a while back and I knew that I had to try it.  I did make an addition of peanut butter chips simply because peanut butter and banana is a marriage made in heaven.  That mixed with the milk chocolate chips……  

I don’t know which is better, the soft slightly gooey center section or the lightly caramelized edges.

I dare you to eat just one.

Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
slightly adapted from The Flaming Toaster

3/4 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2-3 medium)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter chips

1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Grease a 15x10x1-inch baking pan (jelly roll pan); set aside.

3.  In a medium mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt; beat till combined. Beat in the egg, bananas, and vanilla till combined. Beat in flour till combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

4.  Spread in the prepared baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

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Filed under Chocolate, Dessert, Recipes

Marshmallow & Dark Chocolate Cheesecake Ice Cream


I love homemade ice cream but don’t always have the time and patience to do the egg separating, egg tempering, whisking, blending, cooking that many of the recipes require.  I made a batch of kick butt tin roof the other weekend but it took about an hour to get everything done and that didn’t include the chill time.  Between juggling the baby and the 3 year old, and finding time to do something/anything on the property that hour just isn’t always available. 

This recipe however is wonderfully quick and easy.  It uses chocolate milk as a base which is great for ease of use and it means you have a few extra cups of chocolate milk in the fridge that might just have to be shared between you the toddler that will give you cute puppy eyes as soon as she sees it.  You won’t want it to go to waste.

Those chunks of marshmallow and chocolate you see in the picture are simply chopped Mallowmars (I used the cheaper ValuTime brand and it worked great) which gave me marshmallow, chocolate and graham crackers all in one.  Can’t go wrong there.  Plus, as with the chocolate milk, there is extra.  Bonus!

Don’t worry about getting the cream cheese completely mixed in.  Mine has little pebbles floating throughout (you can see them in the picture above) and I found that it gave a rich cheesecake flavor.  You can use regular cocoa powder as well I liked the depth of flavor the dark chocolate gave the it.

Sure the weather is getting a little cold to think of ice cream but I say so what, just eat it inside by the heater.  Trust me, it’s worth it.

Marshmallow & Dark Chocolate Cheesecake Ice Cream

Adapted from

8-oz. cream cheese, softened2 cups 1% chocolate milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder
2 tsp. vanilla extract
8 Fudge Marshmallow Cookies, coarsely chopped (Both Mallowmars and ValuTime work great)


1. Place cream cheese in a large bowl; slowly whisk in milk until smooth. Whisk in remaining ingredients except cookies; cover and chill until very cold.

2. Whisk mixture again. Pour into the bowl of an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Remove paddle and stir in cookies. May be served immediately or cover and freeze until ready to serve. Best if left at room temperature for 10 minutes to soften before serving.

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Cinnamon Sugar Pullapart Bread


Isn’t this a thing of beauty? Tender gooey flakes of cinnamon and sugar deliciousness draped in a sweet vanilla glaze.

When various versions of this bread started to pop up around the blogospher, I bookmarked one (yes I know bookmarking is old school but this was before I discovered Pintrest), noting to myself to make it soon. A few months later I was planning out the dessert to make for a girls night and I came across the recipe again and knew it would be perfect.

We ate it fresh out of the oven with a glass of sweet dessert wine while watching cheesy romantic comedies. Perfect.

Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread
slightly adapted from Joy the Baker

The Dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) rapid rise yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 Tbs unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
The Filling:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
4 Tbs unsalted butter, melted until browned
1/4 tsp salt
The Glaze:
 1/8 cup whole milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar

1.  In a large mixing bowl whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.  In a separate small bowl, whisk the eggs.

2.  In a small saucepan, melt together milk and butter until butter has just melted. Remove from the heat and add water and vanilla extract. Let mixture stand for a minute or two, or until the mixture registers 115 to 125 degrees F.

3.  Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula. Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter.   Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes. The mixture will be sticky.

4.  Place the dough is a large, greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel.  Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

5.  While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt for the filling.

6.  Melt 2 ounces of butter until browned.

7.  Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.

8.  Deflate the risen dough and knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into the dough. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to a 12 x 20 inch rectangle.

9.  Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter across all of the dough. Sprinkle with all of the sugar and cinnamon mixture.

10.  Slice the dough vertically, into six equal-sized strips. Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the stack into six equal slices once again. You’ll have six stacks of six squares. Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan like a flip-book. Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.

11.  Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Place loaf in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is very golden brown. The top may be lightly browned, but the center may still be raw. A nice, dark, golden brown will ensure that the center is cooked as well.

12.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread and invert onto a clean board. Place a plate on top of the upside down loaf, and carefully invert so it’s right side up. 

13.  Whisk together milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar.  Drizzle over the bread with artistic swirly flourishes.

Due to the layers being exposed to the air, this bread is best the same day.

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Filed under Bread, Breakfast, Dessert, Recipes