Carmelitas

Over the years, I have worked with a lot of amazing young people. This has included paid and unpaid interns as well as barely paid AmeriCorps members. These bright young minds bring energy to our work force and help us get stuff done that we want to do but just can’t do by ourselves because there aren’t enough hours in the day to do it alone.

Last summer, Maria was one of our interns. She worked in Community Engagement helping my co-workers prepare for a week-long youth leadership academy. This recipe is one of Maria’s favorite recipes her mother makes. I hope you enjoy this tasty but very rich dessert.

Carmelitas by Maria Sanchez
IMG_01041 ½ sticks of butter
¾ c. brown sugar
a pinch of salt
1 T. vanilla
1 c. old fashioned oats
1 c. flour
1 c. chocolate chips
1 jar of caramel topping
3 T. flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, butter, brown sugar, salt, vanilla, and oats together. Add half to the bottom of a greased 8 x 8 pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Mix caramel and flour together. Pour over chocolate chips. Crumble remaining oatmeal over caramel and return to oven for 15-18 minutes.

Coffee Cake

My aunt Linda made this tasty dish for my wedding shower as well as for the hospitality suite the weekend of my wedding. It kind of reminds me of a recipe my mom made when I was a kid. I’m not a nut person this recipe can be made with or without them.

I’m making it for my Volunteer Appreciation Celebration this week. I hope they enjoy it as much as I do.

Coffee Cake by Linda Vogel

Cinnamon-Crumb-Coffee-Cake

Photo from Pinterest

Topping
1 ½ c. brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. chopped walnuts

Cake
1 c. sugar
1 c. butter
2 eggs
3 c. flour
1 c. milk
½ tsp. salt
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla

Sift dry ingredients. Add milk, ½ c. melted butter, vanilla, and eggs. Mix well. Pour half into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle with half of topping. Pour the rest of the batter on top. Sprinkle with remaining topping. Top with ½ c. melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Kid-friendly, Mom Approved Pizza

This recipe actually came from Harvesters Nutrition Department. We made it with volunteers during our New Year’s Eve Family Volunteer Day. I told my team, “We should try this recipe before we serve it.” It got a thumbs-up from my entire team.

My husband was a little apprehensive about trying it. He was surprise how much he enjoyed it. In fact, it’s become our go to snack.

Here’s hoping your little ones enjoy making this healthy snack.

FullSizeRender (14)Fruit Pizza by Harvesters Nutrition Service Department
1 flavored rice cake
Greek yogurt
Fruit

Spread yogurt on rice cake and top with fruit.

Notes:

  • We used chocolate and caramel with the volunteers. I like the caramel best.
  • We used vanilla Greek but you can use another flavor to match your fruit. You can also just use regular yogurt.
  • I’ve used bananas, berries (raspberries/strawberries/blueberries), and mangos. Fresh or thawed frozen fruit both work.

An Amber Original

Cheesecake has sort of become a tradition on Valentine’s Day for us. This year, I decided I wanted a Monster Cookie Cheesecake. When I couldn’t find a recipe that matched what I was looking for, I modified this Mr. Food’s Tasty Toffee Cheesecake. The first time I made this recipe, I prepared it for my sister’s birthday. I’m pretty sure I made it for a Friday night dinner at my friends Kassie and Joe’s house too. It’s delicious!

I hope you enjoy a small slice of this cheesecake spin on one of my favorite cookies – my mom’s monster cookies. I just can’t make the cookies as good as she does.

fullsizerender-13Monster Cookie Cheesecake by Amber Bourek Slater
2 – 8 oz. packages of cream cheese
½ c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. of vanilla
1 package of refrigerated peanut butter cookie dough
quick oats
M&Ms
chocolate chips

In a sprayed pie pan, spread out peanut butter cookie mix. Top with quick oats and press into crust. In a bowl, mix together cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in M&Ms and chocolate chips. Pour into crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Notes:

  • I used one package of fat free and one reduced fat cream cheese. I did that because the fat free bricks were on sale for $.39. I think it turned out ok.
  • I’m thinking mini M&Ms and chocolate chips would work great. I used regular size through because that’s what I had on hand.

No Bake Monster Cookies

A few weeks ago, a friend posted a picture on Facebook of some cookies her daughter had created for 4-H. One of the cookies was a no bake monster cookie. I asked her for the recipe and she said they had found it on Pinterest. Since I follow her on Pinterest, I checked out her pins. This recipe is super easy and protein packed. It’s quick and easy but not as good as my mom’s original monster cookie recipe. My husband agreed. However, I did get a chance to use my my new cookie scoop I got as a wedding gift.

No Bake Monster Cookies by The Baker Mama
FullSizeRender (7)2 1/2 c. oatmeal
1 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
1/2 c. mini M&Ms

Mix together oatmeal, peanut butter, honey, and extract. Then, stir in chocolate chips and M&Ms. Scoop into round balls on parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before eating. Once solid, you can transfer to an airtight container so they don’t dry out.

Notes:

  • I used reduced fat creamy peanut butter but the original recipe says you can also use crunchy peanut butter.
  • I used regular sized chocolate chips and M&Ms. They worked but the might have stayed together better if I had used the mini sizes.

Espresso Bread

I usually work on Sundays at a hotel front desk. The nice thing about working in the hospitality industry is that some many people in the biz love to cook. That means if you can catch the TV in break room when no one is watching sports, no one complains about watching The Food Network. Since I got to lunch at 11:30ish, Brunch at Bobby’s is usually on. I saw this recipe and I just knew I needed to cook it up for my sweetheart – Jeremiah.

In case you don’t know, we love going on coffee dates. In fact, our second date and first kiss was at a Starbucks. As hard earned Gold Reward Members, we often go for evening walks to Starbucks. The funniest past is that our barista always calls Jeremiah by name but can never remember mine. Did I mention I normally pay? (Don’t worry ladies – Jeremiah usually pays for our dinner dates.)

This recipe is for all of you who enjoy coffee as much as we do.

IMG_0067Espresso-Chocolate Chip Banana Bread with Espresso-Cinnamon Butter by Bobby Flay
Bread:
5 T. butter
1 T. instant espresso powder
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
4 ripe bananas
1/2 c. sugar
2 T. brown sugar
1 large egg
3 oz. chocolate chips

Espresso-Cinnamon Butter
1 1/2 sticks room temperature butter
2 T. confectioners sugar
1 tsp. instant espresso powder
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of salt

Spray bread pan with nonstick spray. On the stove top, melt butter in a sauce pan. Then, stir in espresso powder. Remove from heat and let it cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and salt.

Using a potato masher, mash bananas in a large bowl. Add sugar, butter mixture, and eggs. Mix in flour. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour batter into bread pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes. Let it cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

Mix ingredients for butter. Smear on bread and serve.

Notes:
Since I didn’t have instant espresso powder in my pantry, I made a little coffee and added it to the batter. I used coffee grounds in the butter.

Raspberry Orange Smoothie

raspberry smoothieI was looking for a recipe to use up some raspberries in my freezer. I ran across this recipe which also used the one banana laying on my counter. Jeremiah and I decided it wasn’t too bad. No flavors were overwhelming and it’s a pretty healthy drinks.

Raspberry-Orange Immunity Smoothie by Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen
1 c. nonfat milk or soy milk
1 c. frozen raspberries
1 medium banana
1/3 c. of orange juice & one ice cube or 1 T. frozen orange juice concentrate

Blend together and serve.

Caramel Apple Crisp

I woke up the other day craving apple crisp. Since it is fall, who doesn’t want to eat delicious apples? It’s also a great time to take advantage of apple discounts because they are in season. Of course, I didn’t want a lot of leftovers and warm crisp always taste best. I found this recipe that prepared just two servings. It was so sweet and tasty. I hope you ensure this recipe. Jeremiah and I liked ours a la mode.

caramel apple crispCaramel Apple Crisp for Two by Hils Blog via Pinterest
2 medium apples, peeled and sliced
2 T. flour
4 T. brown sugar
2 T. butter
4 T. oats
¼ tsp. cinnamon
1 to 2 heaping spoonfuls of caramel sauce

Place apple slices on greased mini-dishes. Drizzle with caramel. In bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter. Add oats and cinnamon. Sprinkle over caramel apples. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Notes:

  • We used honey crisp apples. You can use any apples but we learned in a class at the Kansas City Culinary Center that you shouldn’t use green apples because they are very tart.

Healthy Haystacks

It feels like it has been forever since I have written a blog post. That’s probably has been. In addition to working two jobs, Jeremiah and I have spent the better part of the last three months planning, packing, moving, and (still) unpacking. It’s super exciting because we finally have a place together with all of our stuff. Well, almost all of stuff. We did have to get rid of a few things to move into together.

In addition to keeping busy with all of this stuff, I took on another task. Yesterday and today, I made 120 cookies for Family Volunteer Night at work. I know, am I completely insane? Well, it had to be done. My boss promised we would have a healthy cookie as the volunteers left. Needing all hands on deck for tonight, we just didn’t have enough people at work to make them. Here is the quick and easy recipe I prepared in my beautiful new kitchen. Please note though, this is one of those recipes you’ll want to put on an apron to make. Peanut butter is super messy.

HaystackHealthy Haystacks by Harvesters’ Nutrition Department
1 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. butterscotch chips
2 c. Fiber One bran cereal
1/2 c. dry roasted peanuts
1/2 c. dried cranberries (craisins) 

Cover two cookie sheets with wax paper. In a large bowl, mix peanut butter and butterscotch chips. Microwave for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes stirring every 30 seconds. (Use a potholder while stirring and removing from oven as it will be hot.) Then, add cereal, nuts, and cranberries. Once completely coated, spoon onto wax paper. Refrigerate until firm and serve. Store leftovers in the fridge.

Nutrition Information: Makes 32 servings. 101 Calories, 7 g. fat, 10 g. carbs, 3 g. fiber, 3 g. protein, and 80 mg. sodium.

Notes:

  • I omitted the nuts and doubled the cranberries.
  • You can substitute other dried fruit such as raisins or cherries.

Blueberry Crumble

Jeremiah and I in MaineIt feels like it has been forever since I last wrote a blog post. Perhaps, that’s because it has been a few months. Today, I’m procrastinating packing for my impending move so I thought I’d take a few minutes and share a new recipe I cooked this past weekend.

During my blog hiatus, Jeremiah and I went on vacation to Maine. We walked on a sandbar to Arcadia National Park at low tide. We took a harbor cruise that included a step back to the 1980s on the Cranberry Isles (everything has to be shipped over to the island by Ferry boat so I reminded a little of my childhood days growing up in a small Nebraska town). But our favorite view was sitting on a park bench watching the Harbor while sipping on an Acadian Turtle from the Coffee Hound. Although the landscape is gorgeous, they say there is no place like home. (Wait a minute, I guess that’s ironic since I live in Kansas.) Sometimes we forget how lucky we are to live a city with amazing cuisine and some of the best customer service. Don’t get me wrong, we enjoyed our Foodie Tour of Bar Harbor and my ridiculous quest to Hart’s Turkey Farm Restaurant in New Hampshire. (Have I mentioned that Maine is a big a** state to cross on windy roads at 50 MPH?) After eating more than our fill of seafood, Jeremiah was craving a steak. We went to the place deemed to have the best steak on the island. We quickly learned that carnivore loving Kansas Citians should NEVER order steak in the northeast. That said, probably the best dish I ate on our entire vacation was a blueberry cobbler at the steakhouse. Maine’s blueberries are amazing. Although I can’t get them here, I did take advantage of $.99 blueberry sale at Price Chopper this week and tried to recreate the dish at home. It wasn’t quite the same but I did like this recipe so I thought I would share. (I’m also including the Gluten-Free and Dairy Free alterations for anyone who needs them. We have a learned a lot through dining adventures with Jeremiah’s nephew to understand how hard it is to get Gluten-Free/Diary Free dishes).

Blueberry CobblerBlueberry Cobbler from Wicked Good Kitchen
6 c. (3 containers) of fresh blueberries
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
3 T. flour

Crumble Mixture
1 c. plus 5 T. flour
6 T. sugar
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
¼. tsp. salt
6 T. chilled butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla

Butter a shallower round baking dish (I used my Rachel Ray Bubble and Brown dish.) Wash and dry blueberries being sure to remove any stems. Pour into dish. In a bowl, mix sugar and lemon zest. Then, add 3 T. flour. Pour on top of blueberries. In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to make the crumble. Then, blend in butter (with a fork or knead mixer beaters). In a small dish, beat the egg and add vanilla. Pour into flour mixture and stir until combined. Pour on top of blueberries. Sprinkle with nutmeg or sugar/cinnamon mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Notes:

  • I didn’t have a lemon zest so I used lemon juice. I think it turned out fine.
  • The original recipe says you can cover the dish with foil 20 minutes in to prevent browning. We did not and it tasted/looked just fine.
  • Gluten free option: substitute flour with gluten free flour.
    Dairy Free option: If you are also allergic to dairy, substitute with Earth Balance natural buttery spread. It is my understanding that it has no taste but it works the same way butter does. For the egg, you could ½ medium banana or ¼ c. applesauce.