Thursday, March 31, 2011

Candy Bar Peanut Butter Cookies

I made these delicious cookies for an upcoming bake sale this weekend. I'm on a Relay for Life team - Baker's Dozen - in honor of our 5-yr old grandson, Caden, who is in his second year of treatments for leukemia.  He's doing well, and is such a source of joy in our lives, so I thought I'd share his sweet preschool picture in this post.  We're raising $$ to honor him.  What a darlin!



Caden has a GREAT sense of humor and makes us laugh so much.  His big sisters, Charlie & Chloe, adore him and often talk about the funny things he says and does.

(We have lots of redheads in our family - my husband is a redhead and we both have siblings with red hair, and 3 of our 8 grandchildren are redheads.)  So we're partial to them!

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

These cookies are fabulous and very versatile!

I first made them for a church cookie exchange a few years ago and decided they were yummy enough for me to add them to my cookbook.


(This is a picture of the divider from my cookbook - I love REAL pictures!)

The cookies are versatile because you can add any kind of candies you have.

I cleaned out my pantry. A few weeks ago, I had used some Buy One, Get One Free coupons for candies, then sorta forgot about them and they got lost in the bottom of my pantry, right under those unopened chocolate chips.  

When I found them again, I knew they would be the perfect thing to make for the upcoming bake sale.

I chopped one medium sized snickers bar, several peanut butter cups, some leftover Reese's pieces, and lots of chocolate kisses and candy bars.

Give them a try!  They're easy enough with a peanut butter cookie base.  They freeze nicely too.


CANDY BAR PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES
(From The Better Baker)

38-40 mini chocolate bars
1 c. butter or margarine, softened
1-1/2 c. white sugar
2/3 c. creamy or crunchy peanut butter
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2-1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350. Remove wrappers from candy; cut each into 6 - 8 pieces.  In large bowl, beat butter, sugar and peanut butter until creamy.  Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Combine and stir flour, baking soda, and salt; add to butter mixture, blending well.  Stir in chocolate bar pieces.  Drop by teaspoonsful onto ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake 12 - 14 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove to wire rack to cool.  Yield: 5 - 6 dozen

Linked to Melt in Your Mouth Monday
              Sweets for a Saturday
              Recipe of the Week

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A 'Grand' Family Picture & Easy Creamed Chicken Sandwiches

I must start off by sharing a group picture of me and my precious 'grands' that I got to enjoy time with last week!


From left to right - Claira, Nana, Baby Sam, Kaity

What good memories we made together!

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Have you ever enjoyed a creamed chicken sandwich?

If not, you've really missed out!

 I used my sis-in-love, Vicki's, recipe here...and thank her kindly for sharing her awesome recipes with me. 

I've been told it is a dish known mostly in this area of the country...the Midwest.

I grew up on them...and yes, I did grow up here in Ohio.

I never really thought about it much when we lived in other parts of the country, so I can't say for sure, but I'd love to hear from you if you are familiar with this delicious throw-together-quickly sandwich.

After I made a batch, and before I typed up this post, I enjoyed these sandwiches at a baby shower.

A friend there mentioned how her grandma always made the most perfect creamed chicken sandwiches when she was growing up, and she never got her recipe before she passed! I told her to be watching my blog for my recipe.

After that, I received a call and was asked to make them for a funeral dinner.

This quick and easy dish has been served at graduation open houses and birthday parties. 

I used my sis-in-love, Vicki's, recipe here...and thank her kindly for sharing her awesome recipes with me. 



So give them a try and enjoy!

I don't really have a recipe, but this is what I do...they are definitely Easy Peasy to make!

Open a can (13 ozs) of chicken breast (98% fat free if desired)
and pour, broth and all, into a medium saucepan.

I pour chicken broth over it just enough to cover...

Add some onion flakes and maybe 1/2 tsp. dry chicken base (if you have it on hand).. and some fresh ground pepper....

Then crush a few (5 or more?) saltine crackers and add to the
chicken.  Allow time for it to absorb the broth.

(It's also delicious with Ritz crackers)



Serve in buns and enjoy.

(If you think your chicken mixture is too dry, just add more broth.
It's best moist)

Really!  That's all there is to it!



Friday, March 25, 2011

Slow Cooker Chocolate Pudding Cake


This is a delicious and versatile recipe that can be found in my cookbook - Recipes & Recollections from The Better Baker.  

My hubby is diabetic so I do lots of low sugar desserts in our house.

But this can be made sugar-full as well - you choose.

I was anxious to try the new sugar free cake mixes (thank you Pillsbury!) and so I chose this recipe and made it sugar free.

It was soooo good!

We enjoyed it with some tasty sugar free vanilla ice cream, but I didn't want to cover up
the moistness of the cake, so I took a picture before I added the ice cream.


It really was moist and gooey - something my taste buds adore!!



These are the simple ingredients I used.

It's always good to remember that when baking with Splenda, your baking time will be shortened.  This recipe (using sugar sweetened items) calls for baking in slow cooker for 4 - 6 hrs.  I baked this for only 3.

Hershey's has sugar free chocolate chips available that are very tasty.  But I would recommend if you're not use to eating totally sugar free, use some sugar in this recipe as the sugar free products can tend to make you..um...er...'toot-y'!

You could use 50% reduced sugar cake mix, along with the other ingredients that contain sugar.   Hoping you 'get the picture'.

Another change I made was instead of using 3/4 c. oil, I used 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce and 1/4 c. oil.  Applesauce is a much healthier alternative to oil.

SLOW COOKER CHOCOLATE PUDDING CAKE
(From halfmysize.com and The Better Baker)

1 - 18 ozs. box chocolate cake mix
1- 3 ozs. box instant chocolate pudding
2 c. sour cream (I used lite)
4 eggs
1 c. water
3/4 c. canola oil
(I used 1/4 c. oil + 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce)
1/2 c. toffee bits, optional
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

In a large bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients.  Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Stir in toffee and chocolate chips.  Pour into 5-qt. slow cooker that has been sprayed with cooking spray. (Or use one of those nifty liners).  Cover and cook on low for 4 - 5 hours; center will be soft.  Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.  Yield: 8 - 10 servings

Try it...I think you'll like it!







Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup 'n' a Laugh

OK - I lied...'Laugh' is first!  *-*

This is going to be a slower blogging week for me...posting AND reading.  I am going to be at my daughter's enjoying and spoiling our new grandson, Samuel Gregory Taylor, born March 3rd.  And his big sisters too. And doing lots of cooking. 

Gonna be IN MY ELEMENT for sure! 

I have a few ready posts, but because the pace of my busy life picks up when I return home, I'm wanting to save them for later....hope you'll stay with me til I get back into the blogging swing next week.

BUT FIRST....I must share a very funny story about our daughter Deb's oldest daughter, Claira.  She is truly our Shirley Temple - even her cousins see Claira when we watch a S.T. movie. We just never know what's going to come out of her mouth.  She's 5 going on 15. (Or maybe 50?!)  What an entertainer. With that vivacious and effervescent personality.

Deb called me to say they were driving down the road and Claira blurts out..."I sure am glad Nana (me) isn't dead"...."Well, yeh, so am I" was mom's reply.  Then Claira proclaims, "I would TOTALLY FREAK OUT if one of your parents died!"  

WHHHAAAAATTTT????

We have no clue what could have possibly triggered her thread of thinking, but I do know we will laugh for the rest of our lives to remember this hilarious proclamation.

How thankful I am to know she feels that way.  We live hours away from each other and don't get to be together but every couple of months or so.

I'm really looking forward to some bonding time, as well as reading time, together this week. 

Grandkids really do make life GRAND!

Here's Claira's school picture this year - you can see that twinkle in her eye can't you?  She's sooo much like her mama at this age. Smarter than smart.


All right...onto the recipe part of my post....

While hubby and I were both recovering from colds a while back, I made this tasty soup....though I don't really have a written recipe.

Soon after, I came across this delicious version at
Cooking with K, so please be sure to check out her recipe too. 
She adds some herbs and spices to add to the rich flavor.

This is a picture of MY soup =)


I simply put 3 large chicken breasts in my dutch oven, covered with a mixture of chicken broth and water and let them simmer for 45 minutes - 1 hour.

Then I strained it - keeping the broth - cool, rinse and dice up the chicken.

I sauteed some chopped onion, celery and carrots and a touch of garlic.
(good for colds!)

 Place the chicken and broth back in the pot and add the sauteed veggies.

(At this point, I like to add a tsp. or two of a chicken base, but it isn't necessary.  If using the base, omit any salt).

(I normally have the dry kind, but had purchased this not realizing it was a moist base and needs to be refrigerated.  It's delicious just the same.)

Bring broth to a boil and add the noodles.  I dumped them in without measuring...probably about 1-1/2 - 2 c.

Let the soup simmer on medium heat until noodles are done.

You can let it simmer on low until it's time to eat, or dish it up and go for it! I like topping it off with fresh ground pepper.

Add a sandwich, muffin or salad and you are ready to enjoy!

I had 1/2 can of cream of chicken soup leftover from something else, so I stirred that in for a bit thicker texture.  You could add a whole can if you'd like.

We DID feel better after enjoying this comfort food!  I'm convinced that just smelling it while it cooked was the beginning of our healing.

(Keep in mind these measurements are guesstimates=)

HOMEMADE CHICKEN SOUP
(From The Better Baker)

3 - 4 bone-in chicken breasts
2 - 3 c. chicken broth
2 - 3 c. water (to cover chicken nicely)
fresh ground pepper 
chopped onion, celery, carrot & garlic, to taste
1 - 2 tsp. chicken base for soup
dry noodles
1 can cream of chicken soup, optional
thyme and parsley, seasoning to taste, optional

Place chicken breasts in dutch oven, covering with a mixture of chicken broth, water and pepper and let it simmer for 45 minutes - 1 hour.

Strain; keeping the broth - cool, rinse and dice up the chicken.

Saute some chopped onion, celery and carrots and a touch of garlic.
(good for colds!)

 Place the chicken and broth back in the pot and add the sauteed veggies.

(At this point, I like to add a tsp. or two of a chicken base, but it isn't necessary.  If using the base, omit any salt).


Bring broth to a boil and add the noodles.  I dumped them in without measuring...probably about 1-1/2 - 2 c.

Let the soup simmer on medium heat until noodles are done.
Add herbs if using. 

Let it simmer on low until it's time to eat, or dish it up and go for it! I like topping it off with fresh ground pepper.

Add a sandwich, muffin or salad and you are ready to enjoy!

I had 1/2 can of cream of chicken soup leftover from something else, so I stirred that in for a bit thicker texture.  You could add a whole can if you'd like.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

This is a delicious way to fix chicken!  I came across the recipe at "SnoWhite's" Finding Joy in My Kitchen and I am sooo glad I did.

I love her blog title - and am always finding J-O-Y in my kitchen...in more
ways than one.  (My middle name is Joy =)

Please check out her recipe as she gives some 'extra' instructions for cooking the rice and a sauce to go with the dish too.

I found some chicken tenders in the freezer and they cooked up perfectly.

A simple and very tasty recipe!


This recipe was inspired by Kraft Foods

PARMESAN CRUSTED CHICKEN

6-8 Ritz or Club Crackers
(I used a mixture of chicken in a biscuit & some whole wheat crackers)
2 Tb. parmesan cheese
2 Tb. olive oil
4 chicken breasts
(or 8 tenders)

Crush crackers and combine with parmesan in a bag or on a plate.

Rinse the chicken in water and then coat with cracker mixture.

Heat olive oil over medium heat in large skillet.  Place the chicken in the skillet and cook for about 5 - 7 minutes on a side.

Check chicken after about 5 minutes as you don't want the crackers to burn. Try not to flip early because that reduces the cheese melting and crackers toasting, which makes an excellent crust on the chicken.

(You can also bake the chicken tenders at 400* for about 25 - 30 minutes, turning over halfway through baking time) 

Serve with rice and a vegetable and you will enjoy every bite!

I'm sure it won't be long and we'll enjoy this again.


Linked to Melt in Your Mouth Monday
         Hunk of Meat Monday

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Green Yummies for a fun day
















TOP O' THE MORNIN' TO YA!



I'm not a big St. Patrick's Day party girl, but I do love going with a theme...and since GREEN is the color of today, I've decided to share a few recipes to add to the fun...

(Actually, I'm not a big fan of Maxine either, but couldn't resist the cartoon)



This salad/dessert makes a great dish to share with company.

And this version has a tad bit more of 'healthy eating' added. This recipe calls for fat free yogurt which makes this creamier than the traditional recipe without the yogurt.

You just can't beat a dish that whips up in just a couple of minutes now can you???




 WATERGATE SALAD


1 pkg. (4 serving size) pistachio flavor fat-free sugar-free instant pudding & pie filling
8 ozs. can crushed pineapple in own juice, undrained
8 ozs. fat free vanilla yogurt
2-1/2 cup thawed fat free whipped topping, divided

1-1/2 cups mini marshmallows, divided


Stir pudding mix, pineapple with juice and yogurt in large bowl until well blended. Gently stir in  2 cups of the whipped topping; add 1 cup marshmallows; cover. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until ready to serve. Top with remaining marshmallows before serving. Yield: 8 servings


Weight Watchers points - 2  (Prior to Points Plus)

Nutritional info: Calories: 100; fat: 1.5 gr.; Fiber: 0 gr.

For some added GREEN fun - check out St.Patty's Day Candied Popcorn at Skip to My Lou...I LOVE Cindy's simple and fun ideas!!

AND....I just saw this recipe at the Hungry Girl website and thought it was worthy sharing with you...sounds yummy to me!

Shamrock 'n' Roll Shake

PER SERVING (entire recipe): 175 calories, 4g fat, 150mg sodium, 29g carbs, 2g fiber, 13.5g sugars, 7.5g protein -- PointsPlus™ value 5

Ingredients:

1 tbsp. sugar-free French vanilla powdered creamer (like the kind by Coffee-mate)
3/4 cup light vanilla soymilk
1/2 cup fat-free vanilla ice cream (like Breyers Smooth & Dreamy Fat Free)
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
2 drops green food coloring
1 no-calorie sweetener packet (like Splenda or Truvia)
1 1/2 cups crushed ice (8 - 12 ice cubes' worth)

Directions:

Combine creamer with 1 tbsp. hot water and stir to dissolve. Transfer to a blender. Add all other ingredients to the blender, and blend at high speed until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy!
MAKES 1 SERVING


BTW, if you make this with light ice cream instead of fat-free, your shake will have 190 calories, 7g fat, and a PointsPlus™ value of 5*. Not bad. Happy St. Patrick's Day, people!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mint Chocolate Cookies - MMMM!


I came across this delicious cookie recipe at Angie's A'lil Country Sugar and knew I had to try them.

After all, I am a cookie monster (& a chocolate monster to boot!)

I wasn't disappointed!

Wonderfully chocolate-y. Mint-y too!  MMMM!


I only made a couple of minor changes...

Instead of using the store-bought Andes chips, I chopped my own.  I had found a pkg. of Andes mints on sale, and scooped them up, just waiting for the right recipe to come along....

This was it!

I chopped them in larger chunks and used a full cup.


Then...because I was making these for an upcoming bake sale, with plans to freeze the cookies until it's time, I rolled them in balls so they would be smooth.  (more pleasing to the eye?)

They were a bit messy (you could use a spring-loaded scoop), but were nice and thick and sooo yummy.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
10 TBS butter, soft
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. Andes baking chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together on high speed for 2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until blended.

Add the flour mixture slowly, and mix until combined. Fold in the Andes mints.

Drop dough by teaspoonsful onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (I rolled them between my hands for a smooth cookie - a bit messy, but fun)

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until no longer doughy. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Slow-Cooker Cheeseburger Soup {WW style}

We've enjoyed many soups this cold and snowy winter. 

Trusting spring is just around the corner, but I wanted to share another soup recipe before it warms up too much outside.

Thick creamy soups are at the top of my list!

The same day I printed this recipe for Cheeseburger Chowder at my good friend Angie's A'lil Country Sugar, I came across this revised version from my Weight Watchers file.

Be sure and check out her version before making, just to get a variety of ideas!

I was sooo excited!  I decided I was destined to make this delicious dish!  *-*


I didn't have time to wait for the crockpot, so I just cooked mine on top of the stove.

I'll share the ingredient revisions I made below...


SLOW COOKER CHEESEBURGER SOUP
(From Weight Watchers & The Better Baker)

2 sprays cooking spray
(I used a little olive oil too...WW wants you to have oil daily, soo)
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium stalk celery, chopped
1 lb. uncooked lean ground beef (with 7% fat)
2 Tb. all purpose flour
(I used 3 because I like it thick)
3 cups canned chicken broth, divided
1 cup low-fat evaporated milk
8 ozs. Velveeta 2% reduced fat cheese, cubed
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
baked lowfat tortilla chips, crumbled

I also added a can of fire-roasted tomatoes - it gave it great ZIP!

Coat large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over med-high heat for about 30 seconds.  Add garlic, onion, and celery; cook, stirring frequently, until veggies are tender, about 5 - 10 minutes.  Coat a 3-qt. or larger slow cooker with cooking spray; spoon in vegetables.  (A crockpot liner would work nicely too).

Place same skillet over medium-high heat and brown beef; breaking up meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks, about 5 - 6 minutes; pour off any liquid and add meat to slow cooker.

In small cup, combine flour and 1/2 c. broth; stir until lump-free.  Pour flour mixture into same skillet; add remaining 2-1/2 c. broth.  Bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits in bottom of skillet with wooden spoon, then pour into slow cooker; stir in evaporated milk, cheese, paprika, salt and pepper.  Cover slow cooker and cook on low setting for 2 hrs. Serve soup topped with crumbled chips. 

Yield: 8 servings - 3/4 c. of soup and 3 Tb. of chips per serving

Weight Watcher points per serving: 5  (Prior to Points Plus)
And without my revisions...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Kielbasa and Red Beans from halfmysize.com

I had this cookbook laying open on my cupboard, so I would have a reminder to make the casserole recipe on this same page.

It was lunchtime and I didn't have any leftovers when I saw this recipe...just tempting me to try it.

So I threw it together and we really enjoyed it.



Reminded me of the time we enjoyed chili over rice while on the beach in Hawaii 28 years ago this week - when we celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. 

AAAHHHH - Sweet memories!!!!!!!

I appreciate that this cookbook gives nutritional info so you can fit it into the eating plan you're trying to follow.

Hope you'll enjoy it one day soon - we think it's delicious and will enjoy this simple dish again soon.

I used peach salsa and brown rice, because that's what I had on hand, but of course, you have that option to use what YOU have....

KIELBASA AND RED BEANS
(From halfmysize.com and The Better Baker)

1 - 14 ozs. pkg. smoked turkey sausage, sliced into 1/2" pieces
nonstick cooking spray
1 sm. onion, sliced or chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 - 15 ozs. can kidney beans, drained
1 c. salsa
(the peach salsa worked its 'magic' in this dish)
Salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes to taste
Dash of hot sauce, optional

Spray medium saucepan with nonstick cooking spray.  Saute garlic and onions about 2 minutes, until softened but not mushy.  Add smoked sausage; stir and cook sausage for 2 minutes.  Add beans, salsa, spices and hot sauce.  Just before it boils, lower heat;cover and simmer for about 25 minutes.  Serve over rice, if desired.  Serves 4

I didn't add salt or pepper while cooking, but added fresh ground pepper to the top when serving.

Nutritional info per serving: (doesn't include rice) Calories: 257; Fat: 5.3 gr., Fiber 4.3 gr.  


Thursday, March 10, 2011

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO MY SUGARBEAR


TO MY PRECIOUS HUSBAND OF 43 YEARS!

MY MAN OF STEEL & VELVET....

HE'S THE

                                          L - Loving Leatherneck

                                          O - Outrageous Generosity

                                          V- Very Needed

                                          E - Eyes that still melt my heart 

        OF MY LIFE!


TIME SURE FLIES WHEN YOU'RE HAVING FUN!


Here's a picture of us after Ron and his best buddy had just installed new backsplash (believe it or not, it's beautiful plastic) in my kitchen in the summer of '09!

(Only appropriate I would share a kitchen shot, don't you think? =)


My love of creating in the kitchen has surely added to our waistlines after 43 years!

As I placed in the dedication of my cookbook to him...he always eats anything I fix for him...what a guy!


A humorous story from our whirlwind wedding weekend...

Ron had just returned from his 3rd tour (2 voluntary) of Vietnam in February 1968. We had been engaged for about 9 months. (We began dating two weeks before he graduated from high school.  I was a sophomore).

A week before he was heading to South Carolina to go through USMC Drill Instructor school...we decided to get married.  We planned our wedding in 3 days! We had 150 guests at our ceremony!

Because of the short notice, we kinda figured we'd get fewer gifts and more $$.

When we walked into the reception room, there were two long tables piled high with gifts.

We received $7 in cash on our wedding day!
(Yes, someone put $2 in a card for us!=)

We still chuckle over that one.

Don't get me wrong - we were thankful...just surprised!


         <3  <3  <3  <3  <3  <3  <3  <3 
I just happened to come across this a few days ago...it's my post for our anniversary last year...if you have time, feel free to take a look-see....=)
We do love our country and the US flag!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Easy Peasy Butterscotch Fiber One No-Bake Cookies

How can ya beat it? 

Three simple ingredients and a few minutes and you will have one delicious 'healthier' treat!

It may only make 9 cookies, but they are good-sized...'several bites' cookies!

If you like 'haystacks' made with chow mein noodles, you'll love these too.

Let me just say...I LOOOOVE THESE TREATS!!

I enjoy eating Fiber One cereal right from the box.  It's crunchy & sweet and has lots of good fiber.

Weight Watcher points (prior to PointsPlus) per cookie - 1 pt. or a (very low) 2


BUTTERSCOTCH FIBER ONE COOKIES
(From Halfmysize.com)

1-1/2 c. Fiber One cereal
2 Tb. reduced-fat peanut butter
1/2 c. butterscotch chips

In a medium glass bowl, combine peanut butter and butterscotch chips.  Microwave for 30 seconds; stir mixture and microwave for 20 more seconds, if necessary for mixture to melt.  Stir in cereal.  Drop cookies onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.  Refrigerate until firm.  Store in refrigerator.  Yield: 9 cookies

Nutritional info per serving: Calories: 104; Fat: 5.1 gr; Fiber: 4.9 gr.


DE-LISH!!


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cherry Chip Cheesecake Bars - A Contest-Winning Recipe

PSALM 34:8 - O TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD!

I'm so honored and thrilled to be able to share with you my prize winnings from a recent dessert contest online at The Book Club Network!

I will share the winning recipe at the bottom of this post.  One of my all-time faves!!
Cherry Chip Cheesecake Bars.

I won a $100 gift card to a high-end kitchen store online - Chef's Resource - where they advertise 'tools for the serious home chef', and I also received two autographed books.... 

"Always the Baker and Never the Bride" is a humorous book written by Sandie Bicker. The other is a mystery - "Deadly Ties" - by Vicki Hinze.  I've been privileged to get emails from both these gals too.

I'm looking forward to reading both of these special gifts.

I decided I should get a 9" X 13" dish to bake the winning recipe in, so this is what I settled on...it is seriously gorgeous too!

It has glazed enamel on the inside and outside. I love that it has a gasket around the top so it fits tightly onto the bottom.  You can write on it with permanent marker and it washes off!  What a great feature!  It's also microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe. 

You can't beat that combination!

I'm loving it! in my red, white & blue kitchen!

I also chose this set of star shaped ramekins by Le Creuset suitable for baking. Oh what fun it will be to use them all year long, but especially for patriotic celebrations!


Adorable aren't they???? I'm soo tickled for them.




Now for the winning recipe! It has only 5 simple ingredients! And it's easy to make too.


(I made them in the new dish the day after it arrived....what fun!)


WARNING:  This is not a low sugar recipe. =)


CHERRY CHIP CHEESECAKE BARS


1-18 oz. pkg. cherry chip cake mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 - 8 ozs. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 - 16 oz. tub cherry ready-to-spread frosting
3 eggs


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat cake mix (dry) and butter in large bowl on low speed until crumbly; reserve 1 cup. Press remaining crumb mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 9" X 13" X 2" baking pan. Beat cream cheese and frosting in bowl together on medium speed until smooth. Beat in eggs and blend well. Pour over crust - sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture. Bake about 45 minutes or until set; cool completely. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Cut into bars (or small squares as they are rich)  - refrigerate any leftovers.


(My daughter-in-love, Kym, has made this recipe using cream cheese frosting and it was wonderful too!)


This recipe can be found in my cookbook- Recipes & Recollections from The Better Baker -
along with 299 other 'winning' recipes!


I won $100 from the national publication - American Profile - a few years ago - for an awesome butternut squash casserole. I've been told it tastes like dessert.  *-*


AP has published 6 of my recipes in their Hometown for the Holidays cookbook also.


These are some of the things that inspired me to put together my own cookbook.

(I was blessed to sell over 400 cookbooks from August - Dec 2010)


If you're interested in knowing more...click on the cover of my cookbook in the right sidebar.

You can find purchasing information there.


Linked to A Themed Bakers Sunday
         Ingredient Spotlight
                Gooseberry Patch Roundup
    Recipe of the Week
   Mop it up Monday
       Gooseberry Patch Roundup - Memorial Day
Weekend Potluck

Lowfat Cappuccino Fluff

This is another delicious and very simple dish from the halfmysize.com cookbook - you can whip this up in no time at all.   I plan to focus on sharing several recipes from that great cookbook this week.

You'll really enjoy it if you like coffee...or coffee flavored anything.



CAPPUCCINO FLUFF
(From Halfmysize.com and The Better Baker )

2 c. skim milk
3 tsp. instant coffee granules
1 oz (4 serving size) fat free instant vanilla pudding mix
(I used white chocolate pudding mix)
2 c. fat-free whipped topping, thawed
ground cinnamon to taste

Pour milk and instant coffee into medium bowl.  Add dry pudding mix.  Beat with wire whisk for 2 minutes or until well blended. Fold in whipped topping.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. 

To serve: Divide equally among 6 dessert dishes (We like bigger servings so I made 4) and sprinkled each with a dash of cinnamon just before serving.

Note: You can substitute chocolate pudding mix in place of vanilla to make Mocha Fluff.

Nutritional info per serving: Calories: 86, Fat: Trace (1.7% calories from fat), Protein: 3 gr., Carbohydrate: 16 gr., Dietary Fiber: Trace, cholesterol: 1 mg

Linked to Ingredient Spotlight - Whipped Topping