Sunday, October 30, 2011

Apple Walnut Cranberry Salad


Salads are one of my favorite go-to lunches. Fresh, fast, and easy...but they can also become mundane, boring, and predictable. This salad blows mundane out of the water! Combining juicy, sweet, crisp apple slices with crunchy, hearty, nutty walnuts, and the tartness of Craisins and balsamic results is a lunch that you will love! Delectable! 

Apple Walnut Cranberry Salad 
Serves 1 

4 leaves romaine lettuce, torn
1/2 apple, sliced 
5 walnuts, chopped
2 Tbsp dried cranberries
Balsamic vinegar

Combine lettuce, apple slices, walnuts, and dried cranberries on a plate of your choice. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar twice around the salad. Toss to combine. Enjoy!

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Crunchy Cowboy Oatmeal Cookies


For cookies that get devoured in minutes with a teenage crowd (some of the toughest critics!), this is the go-to recipe. I even had high school guys asking me for the recipe! 

These cookies are overflowing with crunchy goodness of coconut, the sweetness of chocolate, and the slightly savory aspect of corn flakes--a unique combination resulting in cookie perfection!


Crunchy Cowboy Oatmeal Cookies
recipe from Tasty Kitchen
Makes about 4-5 dozen cookies

1/2 cup Butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup Shortening
1 cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
1 cup Sugar
1 Tbsp Milk
1-1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 whole Eggs
1 cup Crushed Cornflake Crumbs
2-1/2 cups Quick Cooking Oats
1-1/2 cup Flour
1-1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1 cup Shredded Sweetened Coconut
1 cup Chopped Walnuts (optional)
1-1/2 cup Chocolate Chips


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the milk, vanilla and eggs and beat well. Stir in cornflake crumbs and oats. Add the flour, baking soda and salt and mix. Stir in the coconut, walnuts, if using, and chocolate chips.

Place tablespoon-sized balls of dough on a lightly greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden around the edges. Let cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cocoa Almond Bites


During a week of fruits-veggies-oats-and-nuts-only diet, I was craving a nutritious sweet treat. This version of the original energy bite recipe is totally amazing and even healthier--filled with healthy almonds in place of the chocolate chips. The cocoa powder makes these taste so much like No Bake Cookies that you wouldn't believe it. These are a must make and must keep in your fridge at all times!


Cocoa Almond Bites
recipe adapted from
Makes 24 bites


1-1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1/3 cup honey
1 cup coconut flakes
6 Tbsp ground flaxseed
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1 tsp vanilla

Mix everything above in a medium bowl until thoroughly incorporated.  Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.  Once chilled, roll into balls and enjoy!  Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Rhubarb Pie Recipe {my favorite pie EVER}


With my abundance of rhubarb and a women's dinner for 8 coming up, I decided to find myself a rhubarb pie recipe. I didn't have any strawberries on hand and since I had only ever heard of rhubarb being combined with strawberries to make a yummy pie, I thought I was out of luck. I mean, seriously, who would make a pie with only rhubarb in it?! I still didn't really know what rhubarb was all about, despite the muffins and sauce I had made, but I thought it was worth a shot. Kevin seemed confident. 

I'm so glad I followed his urging. This rhubarb pie is the best pie I've ever had in my entire life (and I've had a LOT of good pies!)  It has a texture similar to apple pie (many people were fooled into believing it was apple pie), but the rhubarb brings this lovely mixture of tart and sweet. You wouldn't believe how amazing this is. 

I'm so glad I made a mini pie for Kevin and I to taste test and enjoy the night before my little women's get together. We tried to only eat a quarter each, but we both had to go back for seconds!


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Rhubarb Pie Recipe {aka my favorite pie EVER}
recipe adapted from
Makes 1 whole (2 crust) pie

1/2 batch of the Never Fail Pie Crust (for top and bottom crust)
5 cups chopped rhubarb
1-1/3 cup sugar
6 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp butter


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Combine sugar and flour. Sprinkle 1/4 of it over pastry in pie plate. Heap rhubarb over this mixture. Sprinkle with remaining sugar and flour. Dot with small pieces of butter. Cover with top crust. Flute edges to seal.

Place pie on lowest rack in oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pizza Bites Recipe


In a last ditch effort to save a batch of pizza dough, I decided to work with smaller amounts of the dough and create pizza bites! Everyone loves a hands-on dinner, and my husband and I were no different. Kevin especially loved these little buggers. Your family (and friends) will love you for making these for any meal or your next party.


Pizza Bites Recipe
Makes 8 pizza bites

1/2 batch pizza dough (this or this
Extra flour for working with the dough

toppings of your choice:
Shredded Cheese
Green Peppers

dip of your choice:
pasta sauce
Ranch dressing

The basic formula for this recipe is as follows--make one batch of bread machine pizza dough (or this hand made kind). Divide it in half. Freeze half of the dough for later (thaw before use.) Divide the remaining dough into 8 pieces. Form each piece into a round (ish) flat mini-pizza. Top with ample amounts of toppings--cheese, pepperoni, peppers, etc. Repeat for all 8 dough balls. Then, for each topped mini-pizza, pull the edges of the dough up and around the toppings, pinching to seal completely. (Make sure you don't have any holes! Toppings will ooze everywhere.)  Transfer the pizza bites to the preheated pizza stone and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and crisp on the outside. 

Serve with Ranch or Marinara dipping sauce.  

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Coffee Speckled Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe


I could hardly believe I hadn't posted this recipe yet. These are AHHHHH-mazing! I had created the double chocolate coffee cookies a while back and wanted something with the same bold coffee flavor while maintaining the view of those adorable little coffee specks. I whipped up this recipe before heading to a girlfriend get together, and my coffee-addicted friends raved over these. Since then, I've started selling them on my Etsy shop--Adorkable Bakery--and they've been a real hit! If you're a coffee lover, you've got to try these! 


Coffee Speckled Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe
Makes 3 dozen cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2-1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2-3 tsp finely ground coffee

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a large mixing bowl, cream together margarine, shortening, brown sugar and sugar. Mix in vanilla and egg and egg yolk until combine. Add flour, baking soda and salt and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips. Then stir in coffee grounds.

Drop by tablespoonful onto a large cookie sheet (preferably lined with a silicone baking mat.) Bake 9-11 minutes or until edges and tops of cookies are just golden. Let rest on the cookie sheet 2 or 3 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rhubarb Pear Oatmeal Recipe


Oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfasts and with the addition of a different fruit and a tart rhubarb sauce, I've put a whole new twist on mornings! Be brave and try this recipe tomorrow morning!

Rhubarb Pear Oatmeal Recipe
Serves 1

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 pear, diced
1 spoonful rhubarb sauce 
cinnamon, to taste

In a small sauce pan, combine all ingredients and heat to medium high. Stir occasionally, keeping a close eye on the oatmeal. Once bubbling begins, stir and cook one minute longer. Serve in the bowl of your choice and sprinkle with additional cinnamon, if desired. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Jerk Chicken Soup Recipe


When I saw Rachael Ray making Jerk Chicken Soup on her daytime tv show, I knew that was "what's for dinner tonight." You see, Kevin and I have a soft spot for anything "jerk." Before our cross cultural studies trip to Jamaica in 2006, we couldn't have told you what that even meant. I thought it was a mean way of referring to their chicken. But no!  

Jerk is a dry rub filled with garlic, chili powder, crushed red pepper, and loads of other Jamaican secret ingredients. No American look alike can quite compare. 

But this soup was totally delicious, super spicy, and just a bit reminiscent of our weeks spent on the Caribbean island. 

Jerk Chicken Soup Recipe
recipe adapted from

2 Tbsp canola  oil
1-1/2 cup shredded cooked chicken
1 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
4 cups chicken stock (or 4 cups water and 2 chicken bouillon cubes)
2 scotch bonnet chile peppers, finely chopped (for a milder jerk, use 1 chile pepper, seeds and ribs removed; for a very mild jerk, use a red Fresno pepper)
1 tsp thyme
1 Tbsp smoked paprika or sweet paprika
1 tsp allspice 
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper
One 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish
Sour cream, for garnish

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and chile peppers. Stir in chicken and add thyme, paprika, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the chicken stock, tomatoes,  Worcestershire, and vinegar; simmer to combine the flavors, about 5 minutes. (This can be simmered for hours to enhance the flavor.) Serve in bowls and top with the scallions.


Friday, October 14, 2011

No-Bake Energy Bites Recipe


When this recipe was sent to me by a friend, I knew right away it was not getting put on the back burner. These tasty little morsels were getting made that same afternoon! Sure enough, I fell in love with these bites. The recipe is SO versatile--I look forward to substituting raisins or craisins or chopped nuts for the chocolate chips, and even cocoa powder for the flax. 

WAY healthier than a cookie, and (dare I say!) even more delicious, I look forward to keeping an arsenal of these in my refrigerator. Now, to learn self -control. These babies are SO good, I have trouble not eating half the batch. :) 

No-Bake Energy Bites Recipe
recipe adapted from Smashed Peas and Carrots
Makes 24 energy bites

1-1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1/3 cup honey
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla

Mix everything above in a medium bowl until thoroughly incorporated.  Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.  Once chilled, roll into balls and enjoy!  Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fresh Salsa Soup Recipe

With a fridge full of fresh ingredients that desperately needed to be used, a chilly fall afternoon, and a husband who wouldn't be around for dinnertime, I knew soup was the perfect solution. I chopped and diced everything in sight and came up with a hearty, brothy, spicy, delicious soup that Kevin and I loved. It made enough for seconds and leftovers!  

Fresh Salsa Soup Recipe  
Makes 6 servings 

canola oil 
1/2 large onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
2 ears of corn, kernels cut off
2 large tomatoes, diced
1--14.5 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
2 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
3 cups water
2 beef bouillon cubes 

In a large stock pot, drizzle canola oil once or twice around the pan. Once heated to medium or medium high, add onions, peppers, and garlic and saute for 3-4 minutes, until softened. Add in corn and tomatoes and cook another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir black beans, and spices then add the water and bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium high for 10-15 minutes (minimum) to allow flavors to meld. (This can be simmered for hours, if desired.) 

Serve with a side of tortilla chips and sour cream!

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Barbecue Chicken Pizza Recipe


With the most delicious Chicken Barbecue shredded and packaged in small portions in the freezer, I knew Barbecue Chicken Pizza was the Friday night pizza of choice! If you ever have leftover cooked chicken. I recommend shredded it or cutting it up and freezing it for use in other dishes. It makes life so deliciously simple!

This sauce is sweet with the tang of the traditional tomato sauce and sprinkled liberally with cooked chicken--resulting in a perfect version of BBQ Chicken Pizza. YUM! 


Barbecue Chicken Pizza Recipe
Serves 3-4 

1/2 batch Homemade Dough (or enough dough of your choice for 1 pizza)   
1/2 cup pasta sauce
2-3 Tbsp sweet barbecue sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1/4 large onion, chopped
1-1/2 cups cooked, shredded chicken 
1/2-3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded 
freshly ground black pepper 

Preheat oven with pizza stone to 500 degrees. 

Prepare pizza dough with lightly floured hands. Sprinkle flexible cutting board or pizza peel with corn meal for easy transfer. 

In a small bowl stir together pasta sauce and barbecue sauce. Adjust to suit your tastes. Stir in minced garlic. Spread sauce evenly over the pizza crust. Sprinkle with jalapeno, onion and chicken. Top with shredded cheese. Sprinkle pepper over the pizza.

Once the oven and pizza stone are preheated, carefully transfer pizza to the stone. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is golden and bubbly and crust is lightly browned. 

Remove from the oven and let set for 2 minutes before slicing as desired. Serve with additional pasta sauce/bbq sauce or Ranch dressing. 


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Double Chocolate Oreo Cookies Recipe


In an effort to make a good nearly-first impression our new group of teenagers, I wanted a WOW cookie--something that everyone would LOVE. Raisins, Peanut butter, and Oatmeal are all a bit polarizing, but I figured I couldn't go wrong with Chocolate plus Oreos.

These cookies came out oh-so-fudgy and delicious. My husband said, "These are amazing!" (Quite a compliment given that he eats my cookies regularly.) These are a go-to winner for sure!

Double Chocolate Oreo Cookies Recipe
recipe adapted from Shugary Sweets on Tasty Kitchen
Makes 45 cookies 

1/2 cups Unsalted Butter
1/2 cups Shortening
1 cup Sugar
1/2 cups Brown Sugar
2 whole Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 cups Flour
1/2 cups Unsweetened Cocoa
1/2 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
12 whole Oreo Cookies, Crushed
1-1/2 cup Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter, shortening and sugars together until fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Mix in the flour, cocoa and salt and baking soda. Stir in Oreos and chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto a baking sheet and bake 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven (Shugary Sweets says she tap the tops lightly to flatten and get crackled tops). Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cinnamon Streusal Muffins Recipe


It was late on a Friday night, but I had an inkling to bake something with the leftover buttermilk from the whole grain pancakes I had made that morning. I found a scrumptious sounding recipe on Baking Blonde's website. With a few alterations to suit my taste, I came up with a fantastic muffin to share with friends the next morning. These were a hit with anyone! 

Cinnamon Streusal Muffins Recipe
recipe adapted from Baking Blonde
Makes 9-12 muffins 

for the muffins:
7 Tbsp butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 cup flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup buttermilk*
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

for the streusal:
2 Tbsp flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
1 Tbsp butter


*To make buttermilk, add 1 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar to just under 1 cup of milk. Let set for 5 minutes. Stir before incorporating into recipe. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12 standard muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray. 

To make the muffins, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well until pale and smooth.

In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add to the butter mixture in 2 additions, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla. Stir just until evenly moistened. The batter will be slightly lumpy.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each three-fourths full. If there are any unused cups fill them one-third full with water to prevent the pan from warping.

To make the topping, in a small bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or forks until mixture resembles cornmeal. Gently sprinkle topping evenly over batter in prepared muffin tin. The more streusal per muffin--the better! Gently press down topping slightly. 

Bake until the muffins are golden, dry and springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 15-20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Unmold the muffins and let stand until cool enough to handle.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Buttermilk Brown Butter Pancakes Recipe


It was a lazy kind of morning. We slept in, took our time getting ready. Glorious. It was getting late for breakfast and we had talked about going out for lunch. How about brunch we both thought. And so I set to work finding a brand new pancake recipe, while cooking up hashbrowns and bacon. 

I found a great Buttermilk Pancake recipe on In an effort to save myself a dish to wash, I decided to melt the butter in the preheated skillet. Before I knew it, the butter was browned. Ooops! To my great delight, this mistake turned into a success. The browned butter added a beautiful, unique flavor to this great pancake recipe! 

Buttermilk Brown Butter Pancakes Recipe
Serves 4-6


2 cups Flour
4 Tbsp Sugar
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
2 cups Buttermilk*
3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, 
2 whole Egg
Butter, For Cooking Pancakes

*as a buttermilk substitute, combine milk with 2 Tbsp lemon juice and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. Stir before incorporating. 

Heat your oven to 200ºF (to keep your cooked pancakes warm). 

Heat a large griddle or skillet to medium low heat. Once heated (when a drop of water sizzles) add butter. Allow butter to cook and brown 2-4 minutes. 

Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. 

In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk, melted butter, and egg together. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, pour the buttermilk mixture into the well, and gently whisk together until just incorporated with a few lumps remaining (don’t overmix). 

Brush the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of butter. Cook pancakes until golden brown on both sides.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Cinnamon Pear Sauce Recipe


In this "fruit belt" of Western New York, we have generous friends with fruit trees filling their yards, dropping ripe pears left and right. We've had at least 15 pounds of pears shared with us in the last week, and pear sauce was a beautiful way to use some of the pears up (particularly those that were a bit hard, or too soft, or just plain imperfect.) 

This was my first attempt and taste of pear sauce and I have to admit--I'm hooked!


Cinnamon Pear Sauce Recipe
Makes about 5 cups 

15-20 small pears, peeled and quartered 
3/4 cup water
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 Tbsp brown sugar

Place quartered pears in a 4-6 quart pot. Add in water, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar. Stir until evenly combined. Turn burner to high heat and allow the water to boil. Turn down to medium-low and cover. Cook for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to simmer, remove lid and use a potato masher to begin mashing the pears. Simmer up to an hour, mashing periodically until sauce reaches desired consistency.  Allow to cool completely before storing in airtight containers.