No Bake Trail Mix Bites

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I saw this recipe in the May 2015 Rachael Ray Magazine. I immediately knew this would be something my daughter would love doing with me and I had almost everything I needed to make them. Who doesn’t love a healthy no bake treat!

The original recipe called for peanuts, but I didn’t have them, so I subbed almonds instead. You could also sub a different nut butter or a different dried fruit.

Ruby and her friend had fun helping dump the ingredients into the food processor and rolling them in the coconut. They wouldn’t even look up for a picture!

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You’ll need:

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/4 toasted wheat germ (usually found with the cereal at the store)
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a food processor and blend until combined.

Pour into a bowl and stir in the chocolate chips and cranberries.

Roll into balls and then roll the balls in the shredded coconut. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

Buon appetito!




Donut Muffins

I love tradition and the holidays. I especially care for the two put together. Every year, my husband and I make some sort of homemade Christmas gift for friends and family. Two years ago, we did a box of baked goods with hazelnut biscotti, brownies, and peanut butter kiss cookies. Last year we made homemade vanilla extract (which I’ll share with you soon!). So when we were walking to check out at the grocery store and I saw a Better Homes and Gardens Food Gifts magazine, I might’ve thrown a fit if my husband wouldn’t let me get it. I think he knew this and actually gave in pretty quickly!

There are some great recipes in this magazine and some very creative ways of wrapping food gifts. I was thumbing through it and saw this recipe for Donut Muffins. My husband loves donuts almost as much as he loves ice cream (he might trade me in for a gallon depending on the day!). I enjoy donuts every once in a while, but am not a huge fan of cooking anything where I have to bring out a huge pot of oil. Granted, there are sometimes that this is necessary, but those are very rare. This is the perfect substitute and they’re very scrumptious! This is a good recipe to have on hand if you happen to have visitors at breakfast, brunch, or snack time and they don’t give you much warning.

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Bake-Dried Apples

I went to a local grocery store a few days ago for lunch – they have a really good sushi bar! – and saw a bag of bake dried apples made by Bare Fruit in the checkout line. I was even more impressed when I picked up the bag and looked at the ingredients – Apples. Yes, that was the one – and only – ingredient. They suckered me in and I bought a bag, along with my Spicy Tuna and Spicy Salmon rolls – yum! I figured since apples were the only ingredient, that I could duplicate them at home. After some research, I combined a few techniques to come up with this recipe.

This post will also show you how to make a simple syrup. It’s pretty simple…ha! Get it? Ok, so simple syrups can be used to soak cakes, sweeten tea, and flavor cocktails among other things. You can also flavor it with anything! Spices, herbs, fresh ginger, etc. The simple syrup steps are completely optional for this recipe, however, I think it adds a nice touch of spice and sweetness. Once made, you can store your simple syrup in a bottle or other airtight container, and it will last for months.

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Baked BBQ Wings

It’s finally starting to cool off here in Texas and since tomorrow is the last day of summer, that means it’s – football time! We enjoy getting together with friends and watching the game. Everyone’s debating whether Tony Romo will be playing on Monday night…I’m pretty sure he will be. I remember when I was a kid, I’d sit in the living room with my Poppy and Uncle and watch the games. Even if I didn’t know quite what was going on – I was hanging with the guys!

One of the first foods I think of for football parties – WINGS! Who doesn’t love a good fried wing dipped in your favorite sauce? My husband and I both do, but we don’t make them that often because you have to drag out the pot and the oil to fry them. I created this recipe to give all the flavors of those wings – but with less calories – and much less prep and cooking time!

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Mexican Corn Salsa

The next few posts will all be Mexican food related! Being in Texas, Mexican is probably our favorite cuisine, second only to Italian – because you can’t beat fresh pasta and it’s in my blood! Once you’re armed with a few simple recipes, you can make anything from quesadillas, tacos, nachos….the list goes on and on.

I’ve been working on this recipe for about 2 years. I began the journey after going to Tin Star Taco Bar. They make excellent tacos and they have a corn salsa, similar to this one, that my husband loves. We could go there and if this is all he had to eat, he’d be perfectly fine.

So every time we plan a mexican menu, I try to get a little bit closer to perfection. This is as close as I’ve been able to get, and I think it’s pretty good. You can use it to top tacos, add it inside quesadillas, or grab some chips and dig in. This is best made the day before you serve to let all the flavors meld.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

As fall approaches, I start to crave one thing – pumpkin! Pumpkin pie, pumpkin cake, pumpkin lattes…well, you get the picture. Pumpkin is one of my favorite flavors. I found this recipe last year on Our Best Bites and there are a lot of similar versions all over the internet. Normally, I’m all for completely homemade stuff, but you can’t beat the ease of these and everyone loves them! I often need something quick and inexpensive to bring to work and these muffins definitely fit the bill.

The recipe also has just three ingredients – yes, that’s right – three! – and it makes about 3 dozen muffins. Or 2 and a half regular sized muffins and 12 mini muffins as I did below. Also, I’d like to point that these are 1 Weight Watchers point a piece (well, before the chocolate chips). A great snack to have around. You can even freeze them and then grab one on the go for breakfast or pack them into lunches.

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Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Hummus is something that I was always scared of as a kid. I think that’s because I didn’t really know what was in it. I’ve tasted it a few times that I can remember, but never really liked it. Though, I’ve always heard that it’s a really good and healthy snack. A few weekends ago, we went to a Mediterranean restaurant with a couple friends and they ordered the hummus. It was AMAZING. I think my tastebuds have changed – and so, I decided to make my own.

After researching online, I found a recipe for Roasted Red Pepper Hummus at Cooks Illustrated. I am a huge fan of Cooks Illustrated, as you’ll come to find out, because they test recipes hundreds of times if needed to get it right. This one appealed to me because I LOVE roasted bell peppers. I’ll have to do a post about how to make your own soon.

I also decided that using store bought tahini wasn’t good enough for me, I had to make my own (I couldn’t find any after two stores and gave up, but that doesn’t really matter, does it?). Tahini is a sesame seed paste, so I hoped it wouldn’t be hard to make. After researching online with The Google (as my husband calls it), turns out it’s pretty simple.  (more…)




Homemade Cheese Crackers


It’s been almost a year since my first blog post on the test site and lots has happened since then! I’ve been promoted at work to a Supervisor, my husband began his own computer business (shameless plug – couldn’t help it!), and the best news of all – my nephew was born! It’s been a great year and I’m so happy to begin – officially!

And now on to the cooking…most of us remember snacking on Goldfish when we were kids and then we moved on to the more grown-up version – the CheezeIt. Though I must confess…Goldfish are still one of my favorite snacks. One thing I enjoy making are homemade versions of everyone’s favorite processed foods – after all, wouldn’t you want to know what’s in the food that you and your family eat? So when I saw this – I had to try it!

This recipe has been passed around a few blogs, but I first saw it on Tasty Kitchen. I don’t have pictures of the creation of the dough, but if you’ve ever made pie dough, it’s very similar. Start with your flour, cold cubed butter, salt, and grated cheddar cheese in your food processor. Pulse until the dough resembles sand. Then, while continuing to pulse, slowly stream in the cold water until the dough comes together. Take it out and wrap the cheesy goodness in plastic wrap and let it rest for 20 minutes in the fridge. (more…)