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.

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.

Quadruple Chocolate Cookies

I was looking for some new recipes when I ran across cookie recipe. I love Chocolate Crinkles (my signature dish) so these seemed like something I’d enjoy. Although they are tasty, I think my Chocolate Crinkles are better. But they did give me another excuse to use my Kitchen Aid mixer.

Quadruple Chocolate Soft Fudgy Pudding Cookies from Pinterest
img_0018
¾ c. butter, softened
¾ c. brown sugar
¼ c. sugar
2 eggs
1 packet of chocolate pudding
¼ c. cocoa powder
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

5 oz. dark chocolate chopped

Mix together butter, sugars, and eggs. Add in pudding, cocoa, flour, baking soda, and salt slowly. Stir in chocolate. Refrigerate for two hours. Roll into balls and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

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.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I usually buy Pillsbury Refrigerated Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. I figure if someone makes better cookies than you can, why not buy them? I ran across this recipe that uses cornstarch to soften up the cookies. I made them and felt like they were just as good as Pillsbury. I didn’t have enough chocolate chips so I used half white chocolate chips and half mini chocolate chips. My co-workers thought they were good judging by the fact they were gone by lunchtime.

Chocolate ChipsChewy Chocolate Chip Cookies by American Heritage Cooking
¾ c. butter, softened
¾ c. brown sugar
¼ c. sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 c. chocolate chips

Mix and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

Hunger Sweats

Did you know that hunger sweating is a really thing? Google it. Jeremiah learned this on Thursday morning. Although more common in diabetics when their blood sugar is low, it can also happen to non-diabetics. If I were to guess, it might also be a reaction to our diet with the medicines Jeremiah takes. Of course, this is making me nervous for the week to be over. I don’t want anything to happy to my love.

Of course, it is also a reminder of the chronic health conditions so many people who receive food from Harvesters. Twenty-nine (29%) percent of the households who receive food from Harvesters have at least one person in their household who is in poor health.  Thirty-seven (37%) percent of households have at least one member with diabetes, and 62 percent report at least one member with high blood pressure. Can you imagine having to choose between purchasing food and paying for medicine? As you can see, cheap unhealthy food or lack of food can also be bad for your health.

After experiencing hunger sweats in the morning, Jeremiah ate his banana. Of course, that means he did not have one to eat at lunch time. I guess it is a good thing we packed the leftover Chicken Penne Pasta for lunch. It was made with whole wheat pasta which helped get him by until dinner.

Bless his heart, Jeremiah waited for me to eat dinner. I was late because I had a hair cut after work. We ate Red Beans and Rice, corn bread, and five saltine crackers. For dessert, two cookies each plus a cup of coffee for Jeremiah. That was the last of the extra cookies so we won’t be able to have any for dessert tomorrow night.

Check-out the cookie recipe we prepared on Sunday for the week. The recipe comes from Harvesters’ Nutrition Services Department. The cookies cost $3.06 to make or $.09 per cookie. They don’t taste very different than the homemade chocolate chip cookies my mother made growing up.

cookiesWhole-Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies by Harvesters’ Nutrition Department
3/4 c. oats
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
1/4 c. canola oil
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 large egg
t tsp. vanilla
1 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grind oats in a blender or food processor until texture of flour. Pour in a medium bowl with flour, baking soda, and salt. In another medium bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add oil, sugars, egg, and vanilla. Beta until smooth. Slowly add dry ingredients and mix on low. Once combined, stir in chocolate chips. Drop spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet, approximately two inches apart. Bake 9-12 minutes. Makes approximately 24 cookies.

Nutritional information: Calories – 131, Fat 7 g., Protein – 2 g., Carbs – 17 g. , Fiber 2 g., and Sodium 79 mg.

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.

Skinny Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

Oh my goodness, these were so good. I wished I hadn’t halved the recipe.

Skinny Chocolate Chip Raspberry MuffinsSkinny Raspberry Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins from Pinterest
2 ½ c. whole wheat flour (you can also use half all-purpose and half whole wheat)
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ c. honey (or maple syrup)
½ c. brown sugar
1 c. mashed ripe bananas (2 bananas)
¼ c. Greek yogurt
1 egg, beaten
¾ c. milk
½ c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 ¾ c. fresh (or frozen) raspberries

In a large bowl, mix powder ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk honey and brown sugar. Add banana, yogurt, and eggs. Slowly pour into dry ingredients. Fold together. Add milk. Fold in chocolate chips. Fold in berries. Bake at 325 degrees for 17-18 minutes. Makes 15 muffins.

Banana Oatmeal Muffins

Honey, bananas, and Greek yogurt are great healthy recipe substitutions. The recipe has all plus the low fat, high fiber quick oats. Throw in a little flax seed which is currently being researched to prevent breast cancer. You might be surprised to learn this recipe is actually pretty good. I would totally make it again.

Banana Oatmeal MuffinsBanana Oatmeal Muffins from Pinterest
2 ½ c. oats
1 c. low-fat Greek yogurt
2 eggs
½ c. honey
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 T. flax seed
1 tsp. vanilla
2 ripe bananas

Food process oats to a finer consistency. Add remaining ingredients and blend until mixed. Pour into 12 muffin cups and bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.

Notes:

  • I halved the recipe and it still made 9 muffins.
  • I substituted low-fat vanilla yogurt because it was what I had on hand.
  • I added some frozen berries to a few muffins. Feel free to mix chocolate chips or nuts into yours. The plain muffins were also good.
  • I didn’t have any flax seed so I made it without.