These treats are easy to make if you have some time. You will need:
Semi- sweet or dark chocolate chips
1 Tbsp coconut oil
Caramels cut in halves
Jimmies( sprinkles) if desired
First heat oven to 325 F. Lay out a single layer of pretzels on baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent a sticky messy pan. Place half a caramel on each pretzel. Bake in oven about five minutes more or less. While they are in the oven, melt the chocolate chips with coconut oil on the stovetop. Stir constantly so it won’t burn.
Once the pretzels are out dip each pretzel in chocolate. Top with jimmies if desired. Store in an airtight container.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you all! It doesn’t matter if you are married or have a significant other. If not have your best friend, your pet, your kind neighbor, co- worker or grandchild be your Valentine! Smile at everyone you meet. Spread love everywhere you go!
As most of you must know by now, I love to bake! I live in the perfect region to do this, the Northeast. The seasons Fall and Winter host ample time to run the oven as the temperatures are cooler then. Running the oven helps heat our kitchen as well. I don’t bake as often in the summer unless it’s a rainy cool day or early in the morning.
About a year and a half back I read somewhere how bad Canola oil is for your health, my primary staple along with butter in my baked goods. After researching other options I decided to try using Coconut Oil. I found the cheapest options at Wal-mart just under $10 for a big jar. Then it was time to experiment and use it in recipes.
Early on I discovered that simple putting it in recipes from the jar wasn’t going to work smoothly. It’s a thick shortening like state and doesn’t cream well. Simply by trial and error I learned that melting it in a small pan before adding it to recipes did the trick. It adds a slight coconut flavor in goods, sometimes noticeable and others not. I recommend you to try it if you dislike coconut. My son Dylan doesn’t like coconut but enjoys my baked goods with it. Experiment and see the results.
I keep my Coconut Oil for a few months. Once it starts to smell rancid I throw it away. My latest jar I’ve had for awhile and it has kept well in the cool cupboard.
Try Coconut Oil in crepes and pancakes, cakes and cupcakes, zucchini breads and cookies and bars.
Lately I have a problem. A sweet problem, that is. I want desperately to bake sweets to please my family and co- workers, yet the temptation that goes with having goodies in the house is too much for me. ( especially around the holidays) I make my husband hide the air tight cookie container but then he forgets where he has hidden it! Sounds like something I would do!
Once it gets frigid here with a blanket of snow everywhere there is a comfort of an oven baking. It warms the whole kitchen with a nesting glow and the scent of fresh baked goodies wafts throughout the house. I tend to bake with candles lit and my music playing in the background. I’m an old school baker as I wear my apron, use wooden spoons yet with a modern twist with the use of my trusty Kitchen Aid mixer.
Here is a list of cookies and bars I enjoy to make.
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Peanut Butter Blossoms ( with a Hershey’s kiss)
Lunch Lady Brownies
Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies
Here is my favorite Chocolate Chip Oatmeal cookies recipe that I make often. They are delicious and are hard to eat just one! This isn’t the recipe made with banana but I’ll try to share that soon.
The Best Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
You will need :
1 large egg
1/2 unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar, unpacked
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whole rolled oats, not instant
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt, optional
1 cup heaping semi- sweet chocolate chips
Combine egg,butter,sugars and vanilla in mixer. Beat on medium speed for four minutes until creamed and combined. Stop and scrape the sides of the mixer. Add oats, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, optional salt until just combined, about a minute.
Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl. Add chocolate chips and beat until combined.
Using a large cookie scoop form equal sized balls and flatten slightly on cookie pan, about two inches apart. If you wish strategically place a few choc chips on each mound. Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake for 11 minutes or until edges and top are set. Don’t overtake as cookies firm up as they cool. Cool on rack. Can be kept in airtight container for a week and in the freezer for up to 6 months.
I hope you will try this recipe. You can make it gluten free by using gluten free flour like oat flour. It may change the consistency but they will be amazing!Happy baking, my friends.
As I close this post I want to focus on positive thinking and faith. If you are going through troubles right now, please remember turning your thoughts ( and praying too if you practice that) to positive and uplifting ones, it will help. When I experienced health troubles for a few months I prayed for strength but acceptance as well. Any bad experience in your life is meant for a lesson. It’s power can build you up, to a stronger person with a new appreciation of all the wonders in life. Have faith that crooked roads lead to beautiful peaceful pastures!
This is my sweet sister- in- law Bev’s almond butter brownies. She found the recipe online somewhere and made these for our family Thanksgiving dinner. They are gluten free and healthy, using maple syrup instead of sugar but most importantly they are delicious! Even both my sons gobbled them up, convincing me to bake them for Christmas!
You will need:
1/4 c. and 2 Tbls. cocoa powder
1 c. Soft almond butter
1/2 c. and 3 Tbls. maple syrup
1/2 c. rolled oats crushed or I used 1/3 c. Oat flour. You can use almond flour instead if you wish
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease or line a 8 inch baking pan. Bake 15 minutes and let cool for an hour. Can be refrigerated for up to a week. Don’t overcook. These are soft, rich in flavor and fudgy. Delicious!
Every year my mom, sister and niece gather with me to celebrate the holidays. Our true intention is to create a way to connect over a busy few weeks of the holidays. We soak it all in in one Saturday afternoon, gazing at our Christmas tree and decorations, toasting to our kinship and time together and lastly but not least, we bake cookies.
In previous years we have all brought ingredients to mix and bake one type of cookie. I’ve made peanut butter kiss cookies, chocolate crinkles and cherry chocolate cookies in the past. Now that we’ve mastered this tradition we have gotten smarter. The three of us mix the dough ahead and bring to bake them together. This saves time and space, for four busy bakers in one kitchen can get confusing.
The last several years us girls held cookie day at my house. This year we had it at my sister’s new home about 45 minutes north of me. My mom met me at my house with all her goodies and we packed my car for the ride.
My niece Ella Kate rolled out sugar cookies playfully while we listened to Christmas classics such as Bing Crosby’s White Christmas. We rolled and we laughed. We taste tested and reminisced of days of old when we were little girls at Christmas. My mom made coconut macaroons with a new twist, a plopped Hershey’s chocolate kiss on top. I made peanut butter blossoms with kisses. I designated Ella as my helper to unwrap all the kisses so that when the cookies were done we could quickly press them on each treat. One year I messed up by not preparing them ahead and in the time it took to unwrap them, the cookies started to cool and the kisses didn’t melt and stick. Take my advice, do the prep ahead of unwrapping so once the cookies come out of the oven, the kisses are ready!
We were all having such a good time baking, decorating and talking, I forgot that I had another bowl of chocolate kisses and started using my mom’s. The bowl was hidden among other plates and bowls and I discovered them after I used my mom’s! I easily get side tracked in a hoopla of fun but live and learn! No harm done.
While I’m talking about Christmas cookies I wish to share an awesome yummy cookie recipe I found on tv. For a few weeks I was hooked on watching Giada’s Holiday Handbook, watching her craft holiday treats for her family and friends. I jotted down a few recipes including her Peppermint Sandwich Cookies, little light whoopie pie like cookies with a peppermint filling inside. I made them for my family and co- workers and they were a hit!
Giada’s Peppermint Sandwich Cookies
You will need:
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
4 oz melted bittersweet chocolate ( cooled a bit)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. Nonfat yogurt or Greek yogurt, I used nonfat
1 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
For peppermint frosting:
2 sticks ( 1 c ) softened butter
3 c. powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
8-10 peppermint patty candies chopped
Combine dry ingredients. Set aside. Mix wet ingredients. Gradually fold in dry ingredients to the wet mixture. It will resemble cake batter. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 375 F. Drop tablespoonfuls if dough, five across and 3 down on a standard baking sheet. Bake about 9 minutes.
Cool on rack. Meanwhile mix frosting together. Once cookies are cool, add filling on one cookie and sandwich with another. Can be refrigerated or kept in a sealed plastic container.
You can freeze any leftover frosting for another time. I tried it and it was delicious once I thawed it out.
Serve with pride and expect to have an empty serving platter after. They are delicious!
Lately I have been caught up in everyday life, so immersed in it that I’ve neglected my blog. It’s been over three years that I’ve written it and shared my life with you all and I’m truly thankful for the friends I’ve made through it. I go through times of not knowing what I should share and what should remain silent. Also I’ve been battling a health issue that hopefully will be resolved soon. For the first time in weeks, last night beautiful ideas blessed me and so I will share.
I’ve had a few little moments that have touched my heart, making my week special when I needed it. The other day a little first grader who I work with shared with me that he had never tried a gingerbread man. Can you believe that…six years old and he has never held the little arms and legs of a gingery spicy treat adorned with sweet icing and raisins for buttons!
It brought me back to my younger days when I was a little girl. My mom used to bake big gingerbread men and poked a hole in the top. That way we could lace ribbon through the hole and hang them on the bristly branches of our Christmas tree. I would sample a cookie here and there, savoring the spice on my tongue.
I went home the same day and promised to myself that I would fulfill that little boy’s wish and bring little gingerbread men in for my reading groups. I think I’ll bring icing and candies for the kids to decorate. Maybe he will love them as I did or if not , at least he can say that Mrs. Blowey baked gingerbread men for school and that he didn’t care for them.
Another lil’ moment was when another first grade boy chose to write about me in his circle journal. Every Friday the class has a journal with a little circle and in are pieces labeled of different activities they did or learned in school. The teacher modeled several sentences they could write about and one was of the music teacher and how she is kind in class. This little boy announced that he would write about me because I am fun. It was a sweet thing to say, something I’m proud of, because not only am I teaching growing minds but I’m spreading kindness and joy in my groups as well.
Ever since I’ve lost a colleague to cancer a few years ago, my true intention is to make a difference. Her spirit reminds me to play with the kids, to laugh deep belly laughs and to make school a fun place to be for them. I cherish her memory as well as her teaching ideas and have taken her kindness and joy and made it my every day mantra.
Yesterday my son Dylan came for his after work ritual. He stops by every day, either just before his night summer job or for hunting. He was gathering his hunting clothes while I sat quietly in the window watching snowflakes magically scatter outside. It was serene and beautiful, a lovely way to unwind after a busy day at school. Suddenly Dylan ran to me and gave me the biggest hug! He does hug me, for I’m his mother, but this one was different. It not only spoke of love but friendship and appreciation. I value these small moments of connections with my son, as they don’t happen all the time. Life is busy and even though we talk mostly every day, sentiments and hugs are not always included. Now I ask myself, why not? For I love this young man I gave birth to many years ago and he loves me.
Lastly my youngest son, Branden sent me a Facebook message saying, “ I love you so much.” He doesn’t always convey his feelings either! What a special day of love from my guys! I’m not sure what stars were aligned in the universe or if God gifted me these lil’ moments to carry me though my trials. He always has my back, even when I’m sick. I believe He has the best intentions and deepest love for me. That carries me through anything. I’m blessed beyond measure and I trust He will walk beside me all the way.
As I wrap this up, I challenge you to notice the little things, for they are truly the big most important things. Your child’s little hug or smile, a friend’s message, a colleague’s act of kindness….whatever it is, relish in it. Accept the love and then pay it forward.
All My Best,
I’m thankful I get up every day with open eyes and a loving heart.
In autumn I get my trusty comfort food recipes out of my cookbook binder. Many recipes I have made and baked over the years, mostly by season. In the spring around Easter I make chewy lemon bars and in the summer I bake strawberry angel food cupcakes and chocolate zucchini bundt cake. Come winter it’s time for delicate and sweet Christmas cookies, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, homemade pizza, and my father- in – law’s beef stew. Now that fall has come I’m immersed in making apple crisp, pumpkin pancakes and brownies, crockpot baked beans and caramel apple cupcakes.
Years ago when the boys were little, we made caramel apples with the popsicle wooden sticks in them. We would roll them in chocolate chips, peanuts or coconut. Most of the time we made them around Halloween. Several years ago I was getting the Rachel Ray magazine, where I found some recipe keepers and good ideas. One day I found this delicious caramel apple cupcake recipe, reminding me of those caramel apples we made years ago. I baked them right away and everyone loved them! Now every October I make them at least once.
This recipe I’ve adapted to be gluten free made with gluten free Bob’s all purpose baking flour. It’s appropriate for people who are watching gluten but it doesn’t compromise taste.
You will need:
1 1/4 cup flour ( I use Bob’s Gluten free all purpose flour)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 c melted coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla ( I use pure )
3 cups chopped apples
1 1/2 cup unwrapped caramels
1 Tbl heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease muffin pans or line with cupcake liners. In a large bowl whisk flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. ( I mixed the dry ingredients in my mixer) In a separate bowl mix sugars and eggs until smooth. Stir in coconut oil and vanilla. Gradually combine dry and wet ingredients. Lastly gently add chopped apples. Spoon batter into muffin wells. Bake until golden about 25-30 minutes.
While the cupcakes bake, make the topping. Combine caramels and heavy cream in a small pan on medium heat on the stove. Stir often until melted. Once cupcakes are done and cooled, frost with caramel topping. Store at room temperature or in refrigerator.
These are messy but are delicious and okey gooey! In one day a dozen of them turned into 5! Eat them with a tall glass of milk or almond milk!
Happy Fall to y’all! I hope you are baking to your hearts content or doing what you love this season!
Years ago my co-worker Judy gave me her apple crisp recipe that has become one of my family’s favorite desserts. Every fall I make it several times and then again on Thanksgiving for Dylan. It always comes out bubbly and delicious and usually my family eats it all the same day! Now that I need to bake differently, (if I’m going to have any) I’m adjusting my recipes to be gluten free. Here’s my adapted recipe that worked for me. Ignore the salt…haha…I didn’t use any but had a brain cramp that I needed it. 😂
You will need:
5 cups sliced apples ( peeled)
1 cup packed brown sugar ( I use 3/4 and it’s just as sweet)
3/4 cup King Arthur Gluten Free flour
3/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oats
2 tsp. Cinnamon, sometimes I add more
1/2 cup butter, cold
Begin by peeling and slicing the apples. Place in a buttered 13x 9 pan or a 9 inch square pan. Combine flour, oats, cinnamon and brown sugar. Press mixture on apples. Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for about 45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. It’s great with almond ice cream or whipped cream or simply alone. Enjoy warm or cold.
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend. I’ve had a few days off due to staff development ( I opted out of it as I’m taking a 12 hour course the next few months) and tomorrow off to observe Columbus Day. I plan to bake cookies for work, rake my back lawn and do my Pilates dvd that I love.
Thanks to my cousin Holly for bringing these yummy gems to our cousin reunion. I’m sharing her idea with you…they’re so easy and delicious!
Two or three packages cream horns
Cut up cream horns in 1- 1 1/2 inch medallions. Each one should have cream filling in it. Add a strawberry slice and a blueberry on top. It’s that easy but a delicious treat that I HAD to INDULGE in a few. It’s sweet with the filling but fresh and fruity too!
Last year I made a blueberry pie to celebrate the Fourth of July. It wasn’t the prettiest I’ve made but I remember that Tom loved it and that’s what matters to me! How about attempting this beauty? Simply cut stars in the crust, revealing a deep pool of blue fruit! I’m going to bake this and will share later! Wish me luck!
What scrumptious holiday desserts are you making this year? We will be having my blueberry pie.
Tom and I aren’t doing much tomorrow, on the 4th of July…fishing, a cook- out for us two and fireworks later. Maybe someday again we will have big plans for the day but the last few years it’s quiet and that’s okay with us!
Happy Fourth of July my friends! Despite the negative media stories, I still love this land and our rich history! God Bless America.🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸
The wind whips steadily as a few snowflakes fall outside on this bright Sunday afternoon. My son Branden is home for college spring break, giving me great inspiration to bake some goodies! Ever since I bought my Kitchen Aid mixer and invested in real Vanilla extract and King Arthur flour, I’ve enjoyed indulging in this baking game.
It brings me great satisfaction and joy to please my family and friends at work with baked goods. Even though everyone is watching what they eat,( including me) we all need a small treat from time to time coupled with our rich cups of coffee. Don’t you think?
The oven heats up as my mixer whirls. Today I chose to create Lunch Lady Brownies, a recipe I have shared before here. Find the recipe at life in the loft house.com. Https://life-in-the-lofthouse.com/It makes rich chocolately brownies with a chocolate frosting to die for. I plan to treat myself and have one today and relish every single bite! Yum!
I’ll share with you what I feel makes a difference in baked goods:
*Good flour, either King Arthur Four or Gold Medal Flour
*Organic Cacao Powder, according to Food Matters.com, raw Cacao is cold pressed Cacao beans, not roasted like Cocoa is made. When Cocoa is roasted, the Cacao beans molecular base changes, depleting it’s nutritional value. I’m using this instead of Cocoa now.
*Fresh farm eggs, thank you neighbors!
While browsing through the food section at Job Lots I found this Cacao powder, something I needed for my daughter- in- law’s avocado chocolate mousse. I also found cheap spices like Cinnamon and Nutmeg there. They have baking ingredients such as Bob’s Red Mills flour and granola. I discovered a local business, Maple Grove Farms of Vermont’s sugar free Vidalia Onion salad dressing as well as Sugar Free Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing. They’re delicious and with low calories! If you have an Ocean State Job Lots check it out! The store houses cool and unique finds!
The afternoon has waned with my brownies all frosted and waiting for tonight’s dessert. It was a perfect activity to engage in on a Sunday, to work in my warm kitchen. Now after having so much fun baking I’m ready to exercise to my dvd for an hour. That way I don’t feel guilty about indulging in one and I can work some of it off!
Okay blogging friends, what have you baked and sampled lately? What are your thoughts on baking ingredients…which are a necessity in a good recipe?