Crockpot Baked Apple

Forget the scented candles – here’s the best way to make your house smell like an apple pie without much work.

Crockpot Baked Cinnamon ApplesCrockpot Baked Apple Slices from Pinterest
5 apples
¼ c. brown sugar
¼ c. sugar
½ c. apple juice
2 T. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 T. cinnamon
½ tsp. vanilla
1 T. butter

Peel, core, and slice apples. Place in Crockpot and top with all ingredients except butter. Stir and top with diced butter. Bake for 1 ½ hours on high or 4-5 hours on low. Stir halfway through.

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Root Beer with a Kick

When I was a kid, we didn’t eat out a lot. In fact, ice cream was a special treat. One of my mother’s favorites was to make ice cream floats. What kid doesn’t love something that creates edible bubbles?

Adult Root Beer FloatI ran across this recipe for an adult root beer float on Pinterest a few weeks ago. As you probably imagined, it contains alcohol. I know my mother won’t be trying this but I hope some of you find this a refreshing summer treat.

Adult Root Beer Floats
root beer
vanilla vodka
vanilla ice cream

Fill a glass half full with root beer. Add a splash of vanilla vodka. Top with a scoop of ice cream and serve.

Notes:

  • I didn’t have vanilla vodka so I used regular vodka with a touch of Sugar Free French Vanilla Syrup (that I used for my coffee).
  • I made mine with cream soda. I thought it was very taste. Drink slowly!

No Bake Cookie Dough

Did you used to lick the egg beaters as a kid? In my mother’s kitchen, that was a benefit to helping her make homemade chocolate chips cookie. Who knew back in the day that eating raw cookie dough was bad for you? The raw eggs put us at risk of getting sick from salmonella.

A friend of mine posted this recipe for a no bake cookie dough. Since it doesn’t have eggs, you can eat it raw. Without leavening agents (baking soda and baking powder), you can’t bake this recipe though.

I made this recipe for a talent show for Associate Appreciation Week at work. It was a hit with all my co-workers in attendance.

100_0957Eggless Cookie Dough
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. butter, softened
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. milk
1 c. flour
pinch of salt
1/2 c. chocolate chips

Mix together brown sugar, butter, and vanilla. Add milk and slowly add flour and salt. Stir in chocolate chips. Refrigerate or freeze til ready to eat.

Monster Dip

If you have followed my blog for awhile, you might know I love M&Ms. In fact, a eat a few of them out of my candy dish probably every day. One of my all time favorite cookies is Monster Cookies because it contains M&Ms. My mother makes them perfectly but mine never turn out quite as good.

A few days ago, I spotted this recipe on an old friend from high school’s Facebook page. I just knew I had to make it. Without eggs, you can eat the raw dish without having to worry about salmonella like you do when you sample uncooked cookie dough. I’ve tried this dip with Teddy Grams, pretzels, and apples. I liked it the best on pretzels. I think it might also be good on graham or animal crackers.

Monster Cookie DipMonster Dip
1 package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. peanut butter
2 c. powdered sugar
3 T. brown sugar
1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 to 2 1/2 c. oats (less makes a smoother dip)
2/3 c. M&Ms
1 c. chocolate chips

Use a mixer to blend cream cheese, butter, and peanut butter until smooth. Add powder sugar, brown sugar, flour, and vanilla. Add oats. Stir in M&Ms and chocolate chips. Refrigerate until serving. It makes a large storage container full.

Notes:

  • I used reduced fat cream cheese and peanut butter.
  • I only used 1 1/2 c. oats and my recipe was fairly smooth.

Crepes

Last week, I was helping my undergraduate alma mater recruit students. Talking about the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with students reminded me of my college days. I was what you would call a residence hall geek. As a member of the National Residence Hall Honorary, I must educate you never to use the word “dorm”.

During my college days, I served on the Residence Hall Association, acted as a summer conference assistant, worked at the front desk for Harper-Schramm-Smith, cleaned windows for maintenance, and even did kitchen prep work in the dining halls one summer. As a resident hall student, I think breakfast was my favorite meal. I would get up at 7AM, pick-up a Daily Nebraskan, and head up for breakfast before my 8:30 class. One of my favorite breakfast recipes they served was Strawberry Crepes. Until now, I have never cooked crepes myself. I’m so bad at flipping pancakes that I made my mother buy me for Christmas one year a pancake cooker (like a waffle maker) that doesn’t make you flip them.

While hosting a Wildtree fundraiser for work last summer, I decided to buy a mix to make crepes. Recently, I printed off a recipe for Spiced Crepes with Strawberry Filling from Betty Crocker’s website. After my reminiscing about my college days, I decided to finally make this recipe – substituting the Wildtree mix for the Betty Crocker crepes recipe. I have to tell you, they tasted just as good as I remember.

100_0933Spiced Crepes with Strawberry Filling by Betty Crocker

Crepes
3/4 c. instant flour
1 T. sugar
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
3 eggs
3 T. butter, melted and cooled
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vegetable oil

Filling
2 T. butter
2 & 1/2 c. strawberry halves
2 T. packed brown sugar
2 T. orange juice
1 T. red wine or balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
Dash of salt

Topping
2 T. powder sugar

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar, nutmeg, and salt. In another bowl, beat together milk, eggs, butter, and almond extract with a wire whisk. Pour into center of dry ingredients and mix together. Pour about 1 T. oil into 6-8 in skillet and heat on a medium heat. Wipe out when hot and add 3 T. of batter. Swirl in pan and even out batter. Cook 30 seconds, flip, and cook 30 seconds more. Place cooked crepes on a plate seperating with waxed paper. When you have finished with crepes, move onto filling.

In a 10 inch skillet, melt 2 T. butter over a medium heat. Add strawberries and brown sugar. Cook until they start getting soft. Then, add orange juice, vinegar, vanilla, and salt. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add 2 T. of strawberry filling to the inside of each crepe. Roll up and drizzle with a little more strawberry sauce. Top with powdered sugar.

Nutritional Information: (Makes six servings – two crepes per serving) 270 calories (130 calories from fat), 14 g. fat (6 g. saturated fat, 1/2 g. trans fat), 135 mg. cholesterol, 220 mg. sodium, 29 g. carbs, 2 g. fiber, 16 g. sugar, and 7 g. protein.

Notes:

  • This recipe does take about an hour from start to finish. I did the prep work on my strawberries before I made the crepes to literally go straight from cooking crepes to making filling.
  • The Wildtree recipe for crepes is easier and healthier. Just add water to mix and whisk. The first couple weren’t pretty but they got better the hotter the pan was. I also used a touch of butter instead of oil between cooking each crepe.
  • I used red wine vinegar in my filling. The might help with the smell when you first heat vinegar.
  • I used fat free Cool Whip instead of powdered sugar on my crepes.

Black Bean Brownies

A few month ago, Susan G. Komen for the Cure added a health recipe section to their website (click here for Komen recipes). One of the reasons is because living a healthy lifestyle (exercise and maintaining a healthy weight) can help reduce your risk for breast cancer. As someone concerned about these things, I decided to give a few of the recipes a try. This is one I just made for my co-workers.

Black Bean BrowniesBlack Bean Brownies by Komen.org
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
4 eggs
1/2 c. granulated artificial sweetener
3 T. cocoa powder
2 T. strong coffee
1 tsp. baking powder
2 T. olive oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using cooking spray, coat an 8X8 baking pan. Add all ingredients into a food processor except for the beans and blend. Add the beans and blend thoroughly. Pour brownie batter into the baking pan and bake for 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let the brownies cool before cutting.

Nutrition (per serving – 16 servings) Calories: 79 cal, Total fat: 3g, Saturated fat: 1g, Monounsaturated fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 53mg, Sodium: 46mg, Potassium: 126mg, Carbohydrate: 9g, Fiber: 3g, Protein: 4g.

Note:

  • Although it didn’t really taste like black beans, I did find the sugar substitute to leave a little bit of an after taste. Just be aware if you don’t normally drink diet pop (soda).
  • They are very moist but without preservatives get moldy quickly. If you don’t eat them in three or four days, be sure you keep them refrigerated.

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.

Giving Thanks

Yesterday, my co-workers and I hosted a special thank you luncheon for our Komen Kansas City volunteers. These women and men are some of the most passionate volunteers I have ever worked with. It was just our little way of saying “thank you” for your ongoing commitment to ending breast cancer.

The following is a recipe I made for the first time for this Thanksgiving themed meal. A few of our volunteers requested this recipe for pumpkin bread pudding. I found it a few weeks ago in the coupon section of the paper. I had to go to C&H Sugar’s website to get the sauce recipe so I’ll provide you with both to save you a step.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

  • 4 cups white bread, cut into cubes (about 7 slices of bread)
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I used skim milk)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup C&H® Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon rum or brandy (I substituted vanilla extract)
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves, ground
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 13×9 baking pan. Dry bread cubes on cookie sheet in oven for 10 minutes. Place dried bread cubes in sprayed pan. In large mixing bowl, whisk together all pudding ingredients except butter. Pour mixture over bread cubes. Let sit for 10 minutes to make sure bread is fully soaked. Dab butter over top. Bake 40 to 45 minutes. Pudding should be set in center, but not dry. When baking, pudding edges will puff up higher on the sides, but will deflate once it’s removed from the oven.

Crème Anglaise Sauce

  • 1 cup milk (I used skim milk)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoons ginger, ground
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup C&H® Granulated Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In small saucepan, bring milk, cream and ginger to a boil. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 15 minutes. In medium mixing bowl, beat yolks with sugar until pale and thick, 3-4 minutes. Strain cream mixture through a fine strainer over egg mixture, discarding ginger and skim from sauce. Stir constantly until blended. Return to saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon, just until thickened. Do not boil or sauce may curdle (this happened to me – see Quick Tip). Add vanilla. Pour into small container; cover and chill. Warm sauce before serving over warm bread pudding.

Quick Tip – If sauce curdles (which it did for me), remove from stove and whirl in a blender. As hot liquids tend to splash (and they did for me), be careful the hot sauce does not splash out of the blender while blending.

Note: I used an empty water bottle to pull out the egg yolks. Crack egg in bowl. Invert empty water bottle with air deflated over egg yolk. Release and as air fills bottle it will pull up egg yolk into bottle. To release into recipe, deflate air and yolk will release into your bowl. It wasn’t as simple as it looked on The Today Show but it worked. I would recommend using a bottle with less ridges to make it work right. Dispose of water bottle after doing this. Save egg white for future egg white omelets.