Monday, December 12, 2011

Caramel Toffee Cheesecake

Gingersnap Crust Ingredients:

Nonstick vegetable spray
1 1/2 C. ground gingersnap cookies
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp (packed) golden brown sugar

Crust Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom of 9-inch springform pan with 2 1/2-in-high sides with nonstick spray. Stir ground cookies, butter and sugar in medium bowl until moist clumps form. Press cookie mixture firmly onto bottom of prepared pan. Wrap outside of pan with 3 layers of heavy-duty-foil. Bake crust until firm and beginning to darken, about 14 minutes. Cool crust. Maintain oven temperature. 

Caramel Topping Ingredients:

1/4 C. plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour, divided
1 jar (12-1/4 oz) caramel ice cream topping
Toffee bits, if desired

Topping Directions:
In a small bowl, stir 1/4 C. flour into the caramel topping. Set aside 1/3 C. caramel mixture for garnish. Drizzle remaining caramel mixture over crust; sprinkle with toffee bits, if desired.

Cheesecake Ingredients:

4 8-oz packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 C. (packed) golden brown sugar
2 Tbsp butter, melted
5 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla

4 1.4-oz English toffee candy bars, chopped

Cheesecake Directions:

Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until smooth. Beat in butter, then eggs, 1 at a time, until just blended. Beat in vanilla. Pour batter over crust in pan. Place springform pan in large roasting pan. Add enough hot water to come halfway up sides of springform pan. Bake cake uncovered until filling is puffed around edges and moves slightly in center when pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour 10 minutes (I found that to be way too long, so I'd check it at about 50 minutes). Remove pan from water; remove foil. Place hot cheesecake uncovered in refrigerator overnight. 

Directions For Remaining Topping:

Spoon remaining caramel over top of cake just to edges. Garnish top of edges with chopped English toffee. Chill at least 2 hours and up to 6 hours. Run knife around pan sides to loosen cake; release pan sides. 

(Recipe adapted from Epicurious and Taste of Home.)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Breakfast Oatmeal Cookies

I marked this as kid-friendly because, well... what kid wouldn't want to be able to eat COOKIES for breakfast?! ;-)

1 C. Olive Oil (I'd like to try this with coconut oil)
1 C. Brown Sugar (I use 3/4 C. Agave Nectar, you can also use 1 C. honey)
2 eggs (I'm going to try this using 3 eggs next time, as they didn't stick together very well this time.)

Cream until fluffy.

1/2 C. Buttermilk
1 3/4 C. whole wheat flour (I use 1 1/4 C. all-purpose flour, 1/4 C. Ground Flaxseed, 1/4 C. 7-Grain Cereal)(You can also use wheat germ or whatever you'd like. Next time I may use oat some oat flour and bran flour as well - I just forgot I had some in the freezer.)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

Mix together and then add:

3 C. oats
1 C. dried cranberries (or any fresh or dried fruit)
1/4 C. sliced almonds (or walnuts or any other nut)
1/4 C. sunflower seeds
a couple handfuls of angel flake coconut (if I had regular on hand, I would have used that instead)
about 1/4 C. butterscotch chips

(If this gets too dry, you can add another egg. You can make this as healthy - or not - as you want. Just experiment!)

Drop from Tbsp 2" apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400°F for 7-8 minutes.


Recipe from someone at the Sonlight Forums. If you are this person, or know whose recipe this is, please tell me so I can give proper credit!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Grilled Chicken Alfredo

2-4 Chicken breasts, diced (I sometimes use canned chicken, drained)
9 Tbsp butter or margarine
3 Tbsp flour
2 C. Milk
3/4 C. grated Parmesan Cheese
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained

Either grill chicken breasts or fry them in Olive Oil until juices run clear. If you grill the breasts, don't dice them until they're grilled! :-)
Meanwhile, cook penne noodles according to package instructions. 
In another saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.
Stir in flour until smooth.
Gradually whisk in milk.
Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. 
Remove from the heat; stir in Parmesan cheese. 
Drain noodles, add chicken and alfredo sauce. Gently stir in diced tomatoes and heat through. 


Recipe originally by Karyn - tweaked a bit by me! :-)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Coconut Almond Muffins

1 C. All-Purpose Flour
1/2 C. Sugar
1-1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 C. Sour Cream
1/4 C. Butter, melted
1/4 tsp Almond extract
1/2 C. flaked coconut
1/4 C. miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 C. sliced almonds
Additional sugar
In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. in another bowl, whisk the egg, sour cream, butter and almond extract. stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in the coconut and miniature chocolate chips.

Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle with almonds and additional sugar. Bake at 375°F for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

Yield: 6 muffins
Recipe by Taste of Home's 2007 Simple & Delicious Annual Recipes p. 46

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Broiled Lemon Chicken Legs

1/4 C. Water
1/2 tsp chicken bouillon
1/4 C fresh lemon juice
1 tsp garlic powder or 1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
12 Chicken Legs

Start oven on broiling 500°F. Whisk first 6 ingredients together. Place chicken legs on a greased broiling pan with tinfoil on the inside pan. Baste chicken and broil approx 5 minutes. Turn chicken over, baste and broil another 5 minutes. Check meatiest chicken leg with meat thermometer. Turn again and keep broiling until meat thermometer reads 170°F. 

Recipe by Jen.

Orange Chicken & Rice

This recipe was created by a dear young woman in my life and she very graciously shared it with me. This is now a new favorite of ours and it is so easy to make that my daughter made it. Delicious!

Chicken breasts or thighs
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce per person
Juice from 4-5 oranges, squeezed
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 C. brown sugar
about 1 Tbsp grated orange peel
Brown rice

Cook rice according to directions.
Cook chicken in olive oil until juices run clear or temp reaches 170°F. 
Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Boil for approx. 3 minutes or until thickened a little. 
Serve with rice. 

Recipe by Sarah R.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Boy Scout Goulash

1 1/2 pounds ground meat
2 (16 ounce) cans pork and beans
1 (16 ounce) can white beans
1 small can tomato sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste

Brown ground meat and onion. Add the pork and beans, white beans, tomato sauce, garlic powder and salt and pepper. Cook at a slow simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring often until sauce is thick.

Serve with bread and a salad

Recipe by Recipe Goldmine

Beanie Weenies

6 hotdogs, sliced
2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon margarine
1 (28 ounce) can baked beans
1 Tbsp Agave Nectar
1 medium tomato, diced

Sauté hotdogs, onion and oregano in margarine until browned. Add beans and simmer 10 minutes. Add diced tomato and heat gently.

Recipe by Jen

Grilled Peanut Butter Sandwiches


Peanut butter
Sliced bread
Chocolate chips (optional)

Bananas (optional)

Spread peanut butter on one piece of bread and put another slice on top to make a sandwich. Butter the outsides and cook on skillet until golden brown. Flip and cook the other side.

Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler

1 Peach per person

Contents of zip-type bag #1:
2 cups Bisquick
2/3 cup granulated sugar

Contents of zip-type bag #2:

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
4 tablespoons cornstarch

Pile up 25 to 30 charcoal briquettes in a firepan and let burn until they are barely covered with ash (about 20 minutes).

Peel 1 peach per person (in season), or use canned peaches off-season. Mix contents of bag #2 with 2 cups water in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve sugar and thicken the syrup. Place peaches into the mixture and bring to a boil again.

Mix bag #1 with enough water to make a sticky dough. About 3/4 cup water. Squeeze dough onto hot peaches in Dutch oven. Cover with the lid. Place Dutch oven on 5 or 6 hot charcoal briquettes and about 15 briquettes on top of the lid. Don't peek, and bake for 20 minutes. Blow ash off lid before carefully lifting the lid to check doneness.

Recipe by Recipe Goldmine

Friday, June 3, 2011

Pepperoni & Onion Spaghetti

My daughter loves to create dishes in the kitchen. This is one of the first she created on her own and it was a huge hit with everyone! She hopes you enjoy it as much as we do!

8 oz spaghetti
1/4 C. chopped onions
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning (less or more to taste)
1 Cube beef bouillon
8 oz chopped pepperoni
1 Tbsp olive oil

Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
When spaghetti is cooked, add all ingredients to a skillet. Sauté until noodles are slightly crispy.

For variation use chopped ham. (Kids like pepperoni better, I prefer ham.)

Recipe by Saraphina

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread (easy version)
Yield: about 12 ounces (1 1/2 cups)
2 cups whole raw hazelnuts
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
up to 1/4 cup vegetable or nut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Place hazelnuts in a single layer on a shallow baking pan. Toast until the skins are almost black and the meat is dark brown, about 15 minutes. Stir the nuts halfway through baking to ensure an even color.
  2. To get rid of the bitter skins, wrap the cooled hazelnuts in a clean kitchen towel or paper towel. Rub until most of the skins come off, but don’t worry if some remain.
  3. Process nuts in a food processor, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally, until they have liquefied, about 5 minutes. First, you will get coarsely chopped nuts, then a fine meal. After a little while, the nuts will form a ball around the blade, and it will seem like you only have a solid mass. Keep processing. The heat and friction will extract the natural oils, and you will get hazelnut butter!
  4. When the nuts have liquified, add the sugar, cocoa and vanilla. Slowly drizzle in enough oil to make a spreadable consistency. Since the mixture is warm, it will be more fluid now than at room temperature.
  5. Transfer the spread to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator for 1-2 months. For best results, stir the chocolate-hazelnut spread before using.
Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread (caramel base)
Caramel instructions adapted from Chocolate and the Art of Low-Fat Desserts by Alice Medrich
Yield: about 12 ounces (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 cups whole raw hazelnuts
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
  1. Preparation: Line a baking sheet with foil. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Make the caramel: Combine the sugar and water in a 3- to 4-cup saucepan. To prevent crystallization, don’t stir it again during the cooking. Cover and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Remove the lid and wipe down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush or a scrunched up paper towel dipped in water. Cover and cook for 2 minutes, or until the sugar’s completely dissolved. Uncover and cook until the syrup looks like pale amber maple syrup. If your pan’s dark and you can’t gauge the color of the syrup, spoon a drop or two onto a white saucer. Swirl the pan gently, continuing to cook and test the color until the syrup turns medium amber.
  3. Immediately pour the caramel onto the lined baking sheet. Tilt the sheet to spread the caramel as thinly as possible. Let harden completely, about 15 minutes.
  4. Toast the nuts: Meanwhile, place the hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven until the skins are almost black and the meat is dark brown, about 15 minutes. Stir the nuts halfway through baking to ensure an even color.
  5. To get rid of the bitter skins, wrap the cooled hazelnuts in a clean kitchen towel or paper towel. Rub until most of the skins come off, but don’t worry if some remain.
  6. Make the nut butter: When the caramel is completely cool, break it into small pieces and pulverize in a food processor. Try to get the caramel as fine as possible at this stage (it won’t get finer once you add the nuts).
  7. Add the nuts and process until they have liquefied, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Be patient; the nuts will go from a fine meal, to forming a ball around the blade, to nut butter. Add the cocoa, vanilla and salt and process until smooth.
  8. Transfer the spread to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator for 1-2 months. For best results, stir the chocolate-hazelnut spread before using.
Variations: To make any standard nut butter, use this procedure but omit the powdered sugar, cocoa, vanilla and extra oil. Add 1/2 tsp salt and up to 2 tbsp granulated sugar. Try making your own cashew butter: you may never go back to peanut butter again!
  • Please use whole raw nuts, and toast them yourself to intensify the flavor. Pre-toasted or pre-chopped nuts are often spoiled.
  • To further intensify the nut flavor, use unrefined nut oil (for version 1), which is tan in color. Peanut oil is especially cheap in Chinese supermarkets: 20 ounces for $2.38! So if you’re looking for a “gourmet” ingredient, try an ethnic market.
  • You really need a full-sized food processor to make nut butter, not a mini version or a blender. I recommend a 7-cup Cuisinart: it’s large enough for most household tasks but isn’t too bulky.
Recipe from: Su Good Sweets

Banana-Strawberry Tortillas

Ready-to-cook flour tortillas
3 Strawberries
1/3 Banana
Plain Cream Cheese

Cook tortillas according to package directions - not too much or they'll be crispy and not easy to roll up.
Spread cream cheese on slightly cooled tortilla.
Quarter strawberries and place on tortilla.
Cut the banana lengthwise and slice onto tortilla.
Roll up like a burrito and enjoy!

Recipe by Jen

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Beeswax Lipgloss

Ingredients for Lip Gloss Base:
1 oz white beeswax
2 Tbsp sweet almond oil
10 drops jojoba oil
1 250 IUs Vitamin E capsule
5 drops carrot oil (I can't find this where I live, so I just leave it out.)

Lip Gloss Essential Oils you can choose from:
Geranium                      Palma rosa
Lavendar                      Lemon
Rose                            Chamomile German

Melt the beeswax, then add the almond oil, stirring constantly. Add jojoba oil, carrot oil and Vitamin E. Stir again. Finally, mix 10 drops of your chosen essential oils taken from the list above.

I had some nasty cold sores the other day, so instead of using the Lip Gloss Essential Oils listed above, I used the following:
8 drops Geranium
3 drops Lemon
6 drops Chamomile German
8 drops Tea Tree
5 drops Lavendar

Mix those together and add 20 drops to the Lip Gloss Base. The cold sores were healed up in just two days. Amazing stuff!

Recipe found on pg. 136 of  "The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy" by Valerie Ann Worwood.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spicy-Mint Tea

6 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks (I broke mine into pieces)
4 whole cloves
4 whole allspice
2 cups fresh mint leaves
Honey or Agave Nectar, optional

Bring the water, cinnamon, cloves & allspice to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Stir in mint leaves. Remove from heat and steep for 5 minutes. Strain into cups. Sweeten with honey or agave nectar if desired.

Yield: 6 servings
(Source: Country Magazine, April/May 2011 p. 37)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Agave Nectar Lemonade

49 oz water
8 oz lemon juice (approx 10-15 lemons)
7 oz agave nectar
Fresh mint leaves, crushed (optional)
1 Lime, sliced (optional)

Pour 48 oz of water into a 64 oz container with a lid, that can be shaken.
Add the lemon juice.
Add agave nectar.
Shake well.
Add more water, lemon or agave nectar to taste.
Make sure you shake the juice well each time you use it as the agave nectar will separate.


Recipe by Jen!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Lemon-Thyme Carrots & Leeks

1 Leek sliced thin
16oz baby carrots
1 Tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp olive oil

Heat oil in a large skillet
Sauté leeks, carrots, thyme and lemon zest until tender (we like the carrots to be crisp tender.)


Recipe by Jen!

Lemon-Thyme Pork


6 boneless pork chops
1 tsp thyme
1 tbsp lemon zest
2 tbsp water

Sprinkle chops with thyme and lemon zest
Grill the chops (we used our George Foreman Grill) until juices run clear sprinkling with the water midway through the grilling.

Recipe by Jen!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Salisbury Steak & Gravy

1 lb ground beef
1/4 C. bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp dried onion or 1/2 onion, diced
2 small jars beef gravy
sliced bread

Mix ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, onion, salt & pepper gently until well blended.
Form into flattened patties.
Fry on a griddle or in a skillet until juices run clear.
Meanwhile, heat up gravy in a small pot.
Serve beef & gravy over the bread, or if you prefer, egg noodles or rice.

Recipe by Jen!

Beef & Bean Tacos

1 lb Ground beef
1/2 C. onion
1/2 C. green or red bell pepper
1 Can beans - kidney, pinto or black
1 envelope Taco seasoning
Flour tortillas or hard taco shells

Toppings of your choosing - lettuce, tomato, cheese, salsa, etc.

In a skillet, brown ground beef, onion and pepper. When browned, add the Taco seasoning and follow the directions on the envelope. Add beans and heat through. Serve with taco shells and toppings.

Recipe by Jen!

Santa Fe Chicken

Chicken Leg Quarters
1 Jar Salsa (I prefer Mango Peach Salsa)
Fresh Cilantro
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Cooked rice - brown, white, whichever you prefer

Grill chicken using 1/3 C. Salsa as a baste near the end of grilling.
Heat remaining salsa

To serve, top rice with the grilled chicken, salsa, cheddar cheese and cilantro.

Recipe by Jen!