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.

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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.

National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week

Starting in April, Harvesters began receiving larger than normal donations of bread. Our creative Nutrition Department developed lots of recipes to teach the families we serve other thing they could do with bread than just making sandwiches. I recently tried this bread pudding recipe and loved it. I also love it because it uses one of the essential seven produce items – apples.

Each month, Harvesters distributes over ½ million pounds of fresh produce to help feed hungry people in our community. One of the ways we do this is through Mobile Food Pantries. Six days a week, Harvesters works with 6-10 agency partners each day to distribute food through Mobile Food Pantries. Unfortunately, hundreds of families line up hours in advance in hopes of getting whatever food is available.

This week is National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week. This holiday season, I hope you will remember all your neighbors who struggle with food insecurity. You can help simply by donating a $1 or more at area grocery stores at the cash register through the Check-Out Hunger Campaign. Your $1 gift will provide 3 meals for hungry children, families, and seniors in our community.

Caramel Apple Bread Pudding by Harvesters Nutrition Services Department
Caramel Apple Bread Pudding
1 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 c. fat-free milk
¼ c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. cinnamon
5 c. day old bread, cubed
½ c. chopped peeled apples
Fat-free caramel sauce (I like Trader Joe’s)

In a large bowl, combine applesauce, milk, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon. Fold in bread and apples. Let is stand for 15 minutes to absorb liquid. Pour into 8 inch sprayed square pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 45-60 minutes. (Test with a knife until it comes out clean.) Drizzle with caramel topping. Serve warm and refrigerate leftovers. Makes 9 servings.

Ooey Gooey Peanut Butter Bars

This recipe was a lot of work but turned out good. It is rich so cut bars into small pieces and share with others.

100_1192Peanut Butter Caramel Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars from Mom on Time Out
Caramel Filling
11 oz. caramels
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
4 T. butter

Cookie Dough
12 T. butter, softened
2 c. brown sugar
½ c. creamy peanut butter
2 eggs
1 T. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 c. oats
2 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 c. chocolate chips
1. Peanut butter chips
1. C. Heath bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13 x 9 cake pan with parchment paper or foil. On a medium-low heat, melt caramels, butter, and sweetened condensed milk. Cool slightly.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add peanut butter. Add eggs. Add vanilla. In another bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture. Stir in chips. Put 2/3 of dough in the bottom of the lined pan. Pour caramel over dough. Top with drops of remaining dough. Bake for 30 minutes and cool.

Notes:

  • I used fat free sweetened condensed milk and a smaller bag of caramels.
  • I used reduced fat creamy peanut butter.
  • I used one cup from a bag of chocolate chip and peanut butter chips mixed together, one and half cups of chocolate chips, and ¾ c. Heath bits.

Goodbye 2013

Looking back at 2013, I thought I would share a few of my favorite new recipes. In no particular order, here are my top 13:
Breakfast QuicheBreakfast recipes:

Dinner recipes:

Dessert recipes:

Fall Changes

I know it’s been a few weeks since I wrote a blog post. Although the temperatures may be hovering around three digit heat, everything is changing as we approach fall. I dog sat for the first time in my life and just started a new job. After a quick afternoon nap, I’m back in the kitchen cooking up new recipes to share with you.

Today’s post is inspired by Starbucks. Last week, the fall specialty drinks reappeared on the menu. My personal favorite is Salted Caramel Mocha but I also love Pumpkin Spice Latte. For those of you who love the winter holiday drinks, today’s copy cat recipe is for you. Although this isn’t one of my usuals, it is one of my sister’s favorites. I think it taste pretty close to the Starbucks drink.

Caramel Brulee LatteCaramel Brulee Latte from Pinterest
2 T. caramel sauce
1-2 oz. vanilla syrup
4 oz. espresso
8-10 oz. steamed milk
whipped cream
toffee bits and caramel sauce

Place caramel sauce in cup. Add vanilla syrup. Top with coffee and milk. Garnish with whipped cream and toffee bits.

Notes:

  • I used half a shot glass of sugar free French vanilla syrup (1 oz.)
  • I don’t have an espresso maker so I made the Starbuck Blonde K-cup with 6 oz. of water.
  • I used 10 oz. of steamed skim milk.
  • I make froth from skim milk and skipped the whipped cream, toffee bits, and extra caramel sauce.

Caramel Sea Salted Brownies

I ran across this recipe a few weeks ago in The Kansas CityStar’s Sunday coupon section of the paper. Very easy and flavorful recipe. However, I think my recipe for the Salted Caramel Pretzel Brownies is even better.

Sea Salt Caramel BrowniesCaramel Salted Brownies by Morton Salt
1 box of brownie mix (plus ingredients)
20 caramels, unwrapped
1 T. milk
sea salt grinder

Mix box of brownie mix according to directions. Pour into a 8×8 square pan. Melt caramels and milk in microwave for 1 minute on high, then 10 second intervals until smooth. Pour over brownie mix. Bake according to brownie mix directions. Remove from oven sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Cool before cutting.

Overnight Caramel French Toast

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of my blog. I had the best of intentions to post but got caught up watching the Oprah interview with Lance Armstrong. As a celebration of one year sharing my favorites and testing new recipes, I thought I would share one of the best new recipes I’ve made in 2013.

I hope you enjoy this recipe from “Favorite Recipes – MS Forward.” I got this cookbook from my aunt Linda. Two of her daughters (Jenny and Jeanna) battle MS every day. Jeanna was one of the people who helped put this fundraising cookbook together. You know what I say, the best recipes come from cookbooks like this because people only share their best recipes. Hope you make this for your family on this long holiday weekend.

Caramel French ToastOvernight Caramel French Toast by Carol Hendrix
2 T. light corn syrup
1/2 c. butter (1 stick)
1 c. brown sugar
12 slices of bread
6 eggs
1 1/2 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt

In a saucepan, combine corn syrup, butter, and brown sugar. Simmer til syrupy. Pour mixture into the bottom of a 13 x 9 sprayed glass baking dish. Layer with six slices of bread. Stack second layer of bread on top. In a bowl, beat together eggs, milk, vanilla, and salt. Pour over bread. Cover pan and refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven for 350 degrees. Uncover pan and bake for 45 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

Notes: This reheats well and doesn’t leave a messy pan.

Sweet and Salty

One of the reasons we love sweet and salty combinations is because it tantalizes two totally different taste bud sections on our tongues. This recipe was a must with words like “pumpkin”, “salt”, and “caramel” in the title. It came from Pillsbury.com. I have to say, this is one of the best new recipes I have tried this year. But I should warn you, it does have a few more steps than I usually prepare.

Pumpkin Ravioli with Salted Caramel Whipped Cream
4 T. butter, melted
6 oz. cream cheese, soften
1/2 c. canned pumpkin
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 sugar
5 T. flour
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/3 c. pecans, finely chopped
2 cans seamless crescent rolls
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1/8 tsp. salt
5 T. caramel syrup
4 T. cinnamon sugar

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Brush baking sheet with 2T. of melted butter. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and pumpkin with electric mixture on medium speed until smooth. Add egg yolk, vanilla, sugar, 3 T. flour and pumpkin pie spice, beat on low speed until blended. Reserve 4 tsp. of pecans; set aside. Stir remaining nuts into creamy mixture.

Unroll a one can of dough onto a slightly floured surface. Press dough to 14 x 12. Lightly score dough with pairing knife in half horizontally. Lightly score bottom half into 12 squares (approximately 3 x 2 1/4 in.). Spoon heaping tablespoon of pumpkin filling into center. Gently lift and position unscored half of dough over filling. Starting at the top folded edge, press down with handle of a wooden spoon to seal. Using a toothpick, poke a small hole into the top of each ravioli. Using a pizza cutter, cut between each ravioli, place 1 inch apart on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining 1 T. flour, dough sheet, and filling. Brush ravioli with remaining 2 T. melted butter.

Bake 9-14 minutes or until golden brown.

In the meantime, beat whipping cream and salt with an electric mixer on high until soft peaks form. Beat in 2T. caramel syrup until stiff peaks form. Transfer to serving bowl; cover and refrigerate.

Remove ravioli from oven. Sprinkle with 2 T. cinnamon sugar, turn, and sprinkle back side. To serve, place 2 raviolis a dessert plate. Drizzle each with caramel syrup and a sprinkle of pecans. Spoon a dollop of whipped cream onto plate. Serve warm.

Nutrition Information: (12 serving) 380 calories (220 from fat), 25 g. fat (13 saturated and .5 g. trans fat), 70 mg cholesterol, 440 mg sodium, 35 g. carbs, 1 g. fiber, 16 g. sugar, and 4 g. protein. 45% Vitamin A and 6% calcium.

Notes:

  • I halved the recipe and used regular crescent rolls.
  • I used only 1 T. of butter by baking on an Air Bake cooking sheet.
  • I used Egg Beaters egg white instead of an egg yolk.
  • I used 1/3 less fat cream cheese.
  • I substituted fat free Cool Whip for the heavy whipping cream. I think it worked and had less fat.
  • I didn’t have cinnamon sugar so I mixed cinnamon and sugar together to make 1 T.

Ooey Gooey Crunchy Treats

Have you ever looked at those brownies in a Swiss Colony magazine? They look so rich and decedent covered in M&Ms, caramel, and nuts. I recently ran across this recipe for a Salted Caramel Pretzel Brownie on Betty Crocker’s website. It made me think of favorite Starbucks beverage Salted Caramel Mocha so I had to make it.

During a recent trip to Sam’s Club, I ran across a box Hershey’s Ultimate Chocolate Brownies that looked divine. They seemed like the perfect base for this recipe. Since I knew it would be rich and not super healthy, I decided to make and share with some of my media friends.

I hope you LOVE this recipe as much as I do. And if you cut the brownies in half (making 48 brownie bites), you will still get to enjoy one of the best desserts I have ever made with half the guilt.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Brownie
1 box of supreme brownie mix (prepare accordingly with eggs, water, and oil)
1 bag of caramels
1 T. milk
1/4 c. butter (1/2 a stick)
1/2 c. chocolate chips
1/3 c. Heath toffee bits
1 c. pretzels, coarsely crushed

Bake brownies according to directions. Cool for 5 minutes. Chop up pretzels and toffee bar in a processor. Then, add chocolate chips. Melt caramels, butter, and milk in microwave for 2 to 3 minutes until smooth. Pour on brownies and even out with a knife. Sprinkle with course topping. Cool before cutting.

Tip – Line a cake pan with non-stick foil. Pour in brownie mix, bake, and top accordingly. This will make it easy to pull out and slice the brownies. I just removed the foil and cut on a large cutting board.

Nutritional Information: (Based on 24 brownies) 270 calories, 11 g. fat (5 g. saturated fat), 20 mg. cholesterol, 170 mg. sodium, 40 g. carbs,  g. fiber, 27 g. sugar, 2 g. protein