Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sweet Sundays: Chocolate Scones


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AHHHH it is Sunday again.  I apologize for not being around last weekend.  The weekend just seemed to get away from me.  We had our family pictures taken for the first time in 4 years and then there was all of the Halloween festivities we were attending.  Halloween seemed to last a lot longer than usual this year.  The kids had their parties at school on Friday and Trick-or-Treating was on Monday.  It certainly was an amazing feet keeping the Halloween costumes together in one piece over the weekend.  I had a 1920’s mobster, an apple tree and the lead singer from the band My Chemical Romance, Gerard Way, this year for Halloween (ok, so the youngest, he is 6, his favorite band is My Chemical Romance).  I certainly have strange children.

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Chocolate Scones- this has to be one of the easiest recipes I have ever made.  I had Gabriel help me with this one, because his dad and his older brother were watching an “big kid” movie and his sister had to play her clarinet and piano.  I had to keep him out the living room and her bedroom.  Not an easy accomplishment.  So we made these scones. 

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I found this recipe in the cookbook “1001 cupcakes, cookies and other tempting treats.  I have made a few of the recipes from this book and everything has turned out really yummy.  My favorite part of the book is the international section.  I can’t wait until I have time to do a few week series on the different kinds of cookies in the world.  I have provided links to the other recipes from this cookbook at the bottom of the page.  The scones have the perfect amount of sweetness in them.  Not too sweet but just a hint.  There is only 1 tablespoon of sugar in the entire recipe.  I think you really get the flavor of the chocolate that way.  The texture of a scone is a bit drier than a biscuit or a muffin.  It can easily be dunked in milk, tea or coffee. 

They are delicious no matter which way you choose to eat them.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sweet Sundays: Dark Chocolate Mint Truffles

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This Sunday is the third in the series of truffles.  I took the original idea for the Black and White truffles and ran with it.  I hope you guys try these truffles.  They are so easy to make and you can customize the recipes to what ever you are craving. 

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Out of all of the taste testers of these truffles, (phew, that was a mouth full), the mint truffles were the favorite.  My youngest child thought the truffles tasted like mint chocolate chip ice cream and everyone at work thought they would be perfect as an after dinner mint.  Just a few notes about the mint truffle recipe.  I could only find the mint Oreo cookies in double stuff.  I wasn’t sure if this would effect the batter so I added some plain chocolate wafer cookies.  These cookies can be found in the ice cream topping section of the store.  I had four people looking for them.

  My favorite is still the Nutter Butter Truffle, but I admit I ate my fair share of these too.  I have quite a few ideas for the more truffle flavors so stay tuned!    I can’t wait until the holiday season!  OOHHHH the ideas are flowing!
If you guys missed the Black and White Truffle or The Nutter Butter Truffle here are the links so you can make these fabulous treats too!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sweet Sundays: The Nutter Butter Truffle


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Right now it is all about the truffle.  I love them.  I decided to spin a new tale of a truffle out of an old one.  Remember the black and white truffle?  Well, now I made it my way-with peanut butter and chocolate.

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I don’t like to toot my own horn, (okay, maybe a little), but I think I have created a masterpiece.  Something that people will be asking for over and over again.  Drum rolls………. The Nutter Butter Truffle!  Ok, maybe you weren’t that surprised because you read it in the title, but seriously this food item has to be one of the greatest things I have ever put in my mouth.  I tried it out on a few people and their reactions were pretty much the same as mine.  The verdict was definitely a resounding yes.  One person admitted to having consumed six or possibly seven of them.  Oh, and I decorated them with an “S”, because they are super.

Try them out for yourself…  Heaven pure heaven…..

Monday, October 3, 2011

Crock-Pot Mondays: Slow-Cooked Meatball Stew


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Mondays are busy.  They always have been.  Mondays are the get back to the routine and the try not to pull your hair out trying to get everything done day.  Monday is the day I say to myself, “I really have to get out of bed at 5:45am for the next 5 days?!  Ugh!  I don’t think I am going to make it!”  Ok, so I don’t say that out loud, but that is how I feel, especially on Mondays.


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Monday shall now be a little bit better.  I have discovered the long lost art of crockpot cooking.  It is so easy to get everything together and just throw it in a slow cooker, set the timer, push the button and walk out the door.  The only trick to crock pot cooking is making sure you have the ingredients in the right order.  The longer cooking ingredients need to be on the bottom, closest to the heat source.  Ingredients such as potatoes and carrots and meat.  Ingredients that are already cooked need to stay near the top because they don’t take long.


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I want to find slow cooker recipes that are easy to put together and that there isn’t a lot of prep work involved.  I think Slow-Cooked Meatball Stew is just the recipe to get me started.  I found the recipe for this amazing smelling stew in another Pillsbury cookbooks (Slow Cooker, Feb 2005 issue 288).  It has a whole chapter of recipes that only call for five ingredients!  What an economical way to feed a family of five!  My favorite part of crockpot cooking?  The smell!  Walking in the door after eight hours of work and after picking up three children from school and after piano lesson, the best thing is the smell of the house.  A home cooked meal already done for me!


Carbohydrates per serving:   37 grams

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sweet Sundays: French Apple Cake


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Fall is my most favorite season.  The smell of the leaves, the smell of the leaves burning and apples.  All of those glorious apples.  One of my favorite days of the year is the day we go apple picking as a family.  We have a favorite orchard that has the best hot donuts and cider ever.  Ok, maybe that is the real reason I love apple picking.  The apples are crisp and ripe and so abundant that it is easy to rack up more that you wanted to spend, because you can’t stop grabbing that next apple.

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So what did I do when I came home with my pounds and pounds of apples?  I baked an apple cake of course!  I baked an apple cake last year  Check it out!  It was a bit more extensive than this one, but just as apple yumminess!

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This apple delight is brought to you by my favorite French cookbook.  “Around My French Table”, by Dorie Greenspan is probably one of my most favorite cookbooks ever.  Please see the list of blog posts that pertain to this fabulous book.  I love everything about it!  The pictures, the easy instructions and the great stories on how the recipes came to be.  This French apple cake is quick and simple and so delicate.  It really is a more of an apple pile with a little bit of cake to hold it all together.  I used four different kinds of apples.  Ms.  Greenspan said that this really is the key to the recipe.  Also, the cake gets better at room temperature.  The moisture in the apple flavors the cake and it almost has the consistency of a sponge cake.  You guys got to try it!

You might also like these great recipes!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sweet Sundays: Black and White Truffles


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A perfect rainy day, all snuggled up in my jammies, just shouts make something!  Nothing on T.V. but football and one kid is practicing piano, the other is on the computer and the third is creating elaborate schemes with his superhero friends.  That means time for me in the kitchen.  Time to create beautiful, delicious bites!

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I know it is a little early to start making things for Christmas, but I found this recipe for Black and White Truffles in  my Betty Crocker Christmas Cookies cookbook (Issue December/January 2009).  It has pull out recipe cards so the recipes can be stored in a recipe box.  As a side note, if your recipe box looks like mine, I would suggest keeping the book together.   My recipe box is filled to the brim!  So I keep the book together.  This cookbook is filled with great easy ideas for cookie exchanges, teachers gifts and so much more.  This won’t be the last recipe I make from this cookbook! 

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The other component of this recipe that I love is that there are only 5 ingredients!  Oreo cookies, vanilla almond bark, semi-sweet chocolate chips, vegetable oil, and cream cheese.  When you combine all of these things beautiful things happen!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sweet Sundays: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars


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So this weeks “Sweet Sunday” post comes to us from Friday.  I am way too tired today too bake so I am going to be sneaky and post a dessert I made on Friday.  Friday was one of my days off this week and for the first time since I had my children I  discovered that I would be alone……all day.  Just me.


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The thought of being alone in my house with no children was a happy one.  I couldn’t wait to lay around in my jammies all day and make food.  But something odd happened.  The closer the day came, they less it sounded like fun.  I became anxious and a little uneasy.  I would have no one to talk to, no one to help me clean and no one to eat the food that I had planned on making.  The cat and dog would eat no matter what I fed them and I knew I wouldn’t get any good criticism from either of them. 


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Enter a savior…….a dear friend who heard of my lamenting and came to my rescue.  How about you come for lunch she said, and my lonely ears had never heard such sweeter words.  Of course!  I would love to!  I was so excited I couldn’t stand it.  A lunch date with a dear friend without my children would be a grand thing!  I could have an actual conversation with a grown up and enjoy great food at the same time.  I told her I would bring dessert.  So I anxiously awaited the day. 

Then Thursday came and I picked up my youngest child from school-wheezing.  Yes wheezing and coughing,  I listened to him wheeze and cough for a while and decided to call the doctors office and they promptly told me to bring him into the emergency room.  So long story short, Gabe had an allergic reaction to something either at school or something that he was exposed to and he needed to have a breathing treatment and rest. 

Guess who wasn’t going to school on Friday.

Aaarrrrggghhhhhhh!!!!!! My lunch date would be ruined!  I was gong to have to call and cancel!  I called my dear friend and explained the situation to her.  Gabe wasn’t contagious, he was  just coughing and coughing a lot.  Is it okay if I still come over?  She granted my wishes and we ended up have a fabulous lunch  She made broccoli cheddar soup and it had bits of ham and potato in it!  We had peanut butter chocolate chip cookie bars for dessert.  It was a perfect day. 


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I found the dessert for the perfect day in another Pillsbury Cookbook.  This time it was the 5 Ingredients or Less cookbook (June 2004, Volume 280).  This cookbook is a great resource for quick cooking recipes and recipes that you don’t have to cook at all! 


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sweet Sundays: Flourless Chocolate Lime Cake


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My house smells like chocolate cake.  I swear there isn’t a better smell.  Ok, peanut butter cookies, brand new crayons, my Grandmother’s spaghetti….. those rank up near the top.  But when you sometimes feel like me and I know some of you do, nothing can beat chocolate.


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My love for Nigella Lawson knows no end.  She loves food and she is honest about it.  Reading her cookbooks are a guilty pleasure for me, because she gets me… she knows that deep down we all want to stick our hands in the fridge and eat whipped cream right out of the bowl (spoon optional).  When I need something chocolate hers are the books I turn to.  Nigella has devoted whole chapters of her books to chocolate.  Cakes, brownies, pies, loafs, cookies, cupcakes, mousses and pudding……..heaven!!!!!


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Flourless Chocolate Lime Cake was found in Nigella’s cookbook Nigella Kitchen. This cookbook focuses on easy simple food that is quick to the table and perfect for families.  I have made a few recipes from this cookbook before, but they were so quick to put together, I forgot to take pictures of them.  Before I knew the dishes were done!  This recipe for chocolate cake was just as easy and just as fast.  There are a few simple steps but it isn’t at all impossible and the cake can be thrown together on a late Sunday afternoon and devoured within an hour! 

Just what I need…..


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lemon-Roasted Chicken with Oregano Orzo

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Ahhh…. the smell and sounds of fall are in the air.  The sound of children in agony as I drag them out of their snuggly beds is music to my ears.  The hours of seventh grade math homework has been something that I have looked forward to since I was in seventh grade, ( I hope you all detected the severe sarcasm in that last statement).  How many times can one person back down the driveway only to drive right back up again, because someone forgot a sweatshirt or a trombone before the neighbors take notice? This morning it was 7 times, (I am being serious).

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To have summer again would be fabulous.  Lemon-Roasted Chicken with Oregano Orzo tastes like summer.  The smell of lemon intermingling with garlic and roasted meat is enough to make anyone’s mouth water.  The cloves of garlic and the lemon wedges caramelize and leave the chicken coated in a sticky sweetness.  This recipe is perfect for a weeknight dinner, with very little prep, or perfect for a Sunday afternoon.  Sunday, especially if it is followed by aka Lemon Ginger Bundt Cake.

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I found this recipe in the same cookbook as the Lemon Ginger Bundt Cake,  Everyday Food by Martha Stewart Living publications.  Again it is a great source of inspiration and it has great ideas not only for dinner, but for meals cooked in the microwave and for sack lunches.   I did make a few changes.  The original recipe was called for dried dill and orzo.  I added the oregano instead because that is what I had on hand.  I served a side salad and crescent rolls and we had a feast! 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sweet Sundays: Lemon Ginger Bundt Cake



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I love Bundt cake.  Ok, so my kids call them bump cakes. They are soft and moist and you can flavor them any way you want too.  Oh and have I mentioned that I love Sundays?  I love Sundays.  I can relax, bake and enjoy the day.  LOVE them! 

So we had a lemon inspired meal again. Lemon has to be one of my favorite flavors, scents, essences.  Pretty much anything you can make from lemons I love!  One of my first blog posts was an all lemon feast.  Check it out!  Today’s dinner consisted of Lemon-Roasted Chicken with Oregano Orzo.  That post will be on Tuesday and let me tell you it was absolutely delicious with dessert!

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I found both recipes in the Martha Stewart Living publication of Everyday Food (March 2008, Issue 50).  Like the Pillsbury cookbooks, these little hand-held cookbooks are chocked full of quick and easy recipes. Great to keep in the car to use at a moments notice or if you are stuck waiting for your kids to get out of school.  Lemon Ginger Bundt cake combines two flavors that go hand-in-hand.  My husband loves ginger.  I love lemon.  A match made in heaven.

Just a quick note:  I apologize for the quality of the photos.  I am having a hard time saving my pictures.  After I fix some of the exposures I save them and then they disappear!  I checked my recycle bin and sometimes they are in there and sometimes they are not.  If anyone has any suggestions please let me know!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Spicy Chinese Chicken Tacos



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It seems that I am always on the never-ending quest to find a quick dinner that can be prepared and cooked in twenty minutes.  Even when purchasing a new cookbook I gravitate to books which have easy to prepare recipes and not too many ingredients.  The criteria in the recipes for a week night meal are these: 4-5 ingredients, inexpensive, not longer than 1 hour cook time and something that every one will like.  If it were up to me, we would be eating salads most of the time, but alas the members of my family are not big salad eaters, vegetable eaters for that matter.


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I love the cookbooks that can be purchased at the grocery checkout.  I find that I can’t stand still and patiently wait my turn, so when I am not perusing the latest issue of People magazine I am drooling over all of the monthly cookbooks.  I have made quite a few recipes from them and though they are not gourmet they still taste delicious.  Did I mention that I have a dozen of the cookbooks in my car so when I am in desperate need of a dinner idea, inspiration isn’t that far away?


Case in point.  Spicy Chinese Chicken Tacos.  Quick, easy and delicious.  I found it in the Easy Potlucks cookbook from Pillsbury (December 2004, issue #286).  There are quite a few recipes that I would like to try in this cookbook.  The Potato-topped Oven Swiss Steak recipe looks good as does the Southwest Lasagna.  MMMMmmmmm  stay tuned for those delicious ideas!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sweet Sundays: Peanut-Marshmallow-Chocolate Chip Bars

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Guess what guys?  You are in luck!  There is no silly story this week.  No long tale how this recipe appeared to me in a dream, or how I have been searching for it for years.  Just pure dessert.   Creamy, crunchy, salty and gooey dessert.

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I will tell you that I found this recipe in the Pillsbury addition of Potluck Reunions (volume 306, July 2006). It is one of the magazines you drool over while you are waiting with three items behind the lady who found a better deal at a different store but wants to purchase her items at this store for the same price.  You know who you are!!!  AGGHHH drive me crazy!  Anyway,  the kids pretty much made this recipe.  I just took the pictures.

Peanut-Marshmallow-Chocolate Chip Bars

Makes 24 servings 18 grams of carbohydrates per bar.

1 roll 18 ounces refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
1 cup crisp rice cereal
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup coarsely chopped salted peanuts

1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  In an ungreased 13x9-inch pan, break up cookie dough.  With floured fingers, press dough evenly in bottom of the pan to form a crust.
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3.  Sprinkle with remaining ingredients.  I don’t think it matters the order you do it.  I just did it in order of the ingredients.

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4.  Bake 16 to 26 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool completely on a wire rack, about 30 minutes if you can wait that long.

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sweet Sundays: Creamy Caramel Bars

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What a wonderful weekend.  Each day was sweeter than the last.  Friday was Gabriel’s sixth birthday.  How the years have flown by.  He is my youngest.  The one that still snuggles with his mother.  Saturday was his big birthday party and we had all of our family and friends to over the celebrate.  It poured buckets and buckets of rain, but that made it that much more fun and more cozy.  Today was spent with some family that I don’t get to see as much as I would like.  I miss them all very much and when we get together we always say “We can’t go this long” or “Look how big he has gotten since Christmas!”  But schedules change and life gets in the way.  Luckily Facebook has been there to fill in the gaps when time has lapsed.

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Salt and caramel.  Could there be a better match made in heaven.  I know all of you chocolate and peanut butter lovers are yelling at me right now.  I admit it chocolate and peanut butter are right up there with the best combinations, but sometimes you need something a little different.  Enter salt and caramel.  I fell so in love with this flavor amalgamation when Starbucks created the Salted Caramel latte.  YUMMM.  I soon started to try and recreate them at work and at home, adding a little bit of kosher salt to my drinks.  Shoot, now I really want one. 

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This Sunday’s recipe comes from 1001 cupcakes, cookies and other tempting treats. There are so many great recipes in this cookbook.  The recipes are not complicated, and you don’t need fifty ingredients to make something great.  Just a few extra special ones to make you recipe magnificent.  I love sweetened condensed milk and I have used in it a billion recipes, but I have never made caramel out of it.  What a cinch!  All you have to do is stir it in the pan over a low heat for a few minutes and SHAZZAM you have caramel.  These bars turn into a oozy, gooey caramel lovers dream and with just a pinch of salt, a salted caramel lovers dream.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Blueberry-Sage Corn Muffins

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There are some recipes that seem to lie flat on the page.  Nothing interesting about them.  Nothing that stands them out from the crowd.  Nothing that screams EAT ME EAT ME.  Then there are some that practically jump off the page and into the oven, instantaneously.  I found this recipe, baked it, and took pictures of it, in less than 30 minutes.  Seriously that fast.

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Blueberry-sage corn muffins. Definitely a unique combination.  I wasn’t sure myself if I was going to like it.  I love blueberries.  I love corn muffins.  I like sage….at Thanksgiving.  Well, why not.  Try something new.  So I did.  It was amazing.

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The corn muffin itself is sweet and moist and the blueberries burst in your mouth.  The sage, when it hits your tongue, you think, “Hmmmm what is that flavor I am tasting”?  Is it savory? Is it sweet?  It is both, strangely enough.  The first bite into the muffin introduces the sage and it fades slowly when the blueberry and corn flavors kick in.  Then it comes back with a punch when another bite is taken.  I brought these to work and there were a few mixed reviews.   Some liked the sage flavor, some liked the blueberry mixture and all but one loved the corn muffin flavor,  (not a big fan of corn muffins to start with).

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I found the sage-blueberry corn muffins in the Gardeners’ Community Cookbook, complied and written by Victoria Wise.  I love, love, love this cookbook. I have used it for many delicious recipes.  Please see links at the bottom of this post.  There are no pictures in the cookbook, but the stories and the advice more than make up for that.  I highly recommend checking this book out of the library or purchasing it for your own collection.  It will be one of your most prized books.  If you are planning on checking it out of the library try not to get stains and flour all over the cookbook.  That will just lead to trouble and fines.  Smile

You might also like:

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sweet Sundays: Coconut Cranberry Cookies

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What better way to end the week, than with dessert, or you could be starting the week with dessert.  Either way you look at it dessert is the best!  Sundays will now be dubbed the sweetest day of the week.  In our household it is the one day we spend together.  The laundry day, the cleaning day, the underwear day (as Alex calls it).  If nobody is coming over and we are not going anywhere, why get dressed.  Well that day just got sweeter, even if you are just in your underpants. 

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So Sundays from now on will feature a simple dessert recipe.  It could be as simple as a cookie, cupcake or quick bread.  If the weekend doesn’t get too hectic I might attempt a more complex recipe, but none the less Sunday will always be sweet!

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I found Coconut Cranberry Cookies perusing my newest addition to the cookbook family, 1001 cupcakes, cookies and other tempting treats.  Really, the only reason I picked this recipe was the simple fact that I had all of the ingredients on hand.  I didn’t have to the run the grocery store for anything!  Spontaneous baking is the best, and what could possibly be better than coconut and cranberry!  Back to the cookbook, it is filled simple and complex recipes that are perfect for your sweet tooth. 

My mother has not stopped raving about this cookie.  It has the texture of the macaroon and the tartness of the dried cranberries.  She said it was by far her most favorite cookie.  I would rank that as two big thumbs up!  Please try this recipe.  They are perfect for sharing, (if you want to), or the school bake sales or a sweet Sunday.

Carb count per cookie is 16 grams.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Almond, Apricot, and Cream Cheese Crostata


So the grand finale to the summer feast was just that.  GRAND!  Almond, apricot, and cream cheese crostata tastes just like summer.  It is heavenly.  It is beautiful.  It is…..just delicious!

I just love the color of these apricots!


I found this recipe in the recent acquisition, bon appetit fast easy fresh, by Barbara Fairchild.  This cookbook is monstrous!  It has so many delicious sounding recipes.  I can’t wait to try them all.  The cookbook focuses on fresh simple ingredients that can be easily put together for a weeknight meal or a great weekend dessert.  The ingredient lists for the recipes range from two ingredients to maybe six or seven.  There are 703 pages in the cookbook and at least 2 recipes per page!  That adds up to a lot of tasty dishes!


This crostata couldn’t be easier.  We bought the sweetest, ripest apricots and they complimented the the almond filling fantastically.  Any fruit would be great in this as well.  You could use peaches, plums, cherries and nectarines.  I plan on making it with peaches next.  I still have one pie crust left and half a loaf of almond paste. Please give this a try!

Total carb count: 31.1 grams.