Tuesday, June 14, 2016

S'mores Cookie Bars

Who doesn't love S'mores in the summer!

One of our four year old classes at preschool makes a cookbook for a mother's day gift.  This fun recipe came from one of those four year olds and her mommy!

Enjoy!  I thought it was great!

S'mores Cookie Bars (I doubled the recipe and made a 9 x 13)

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
4 Tbsp butter, melted

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla

1  1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
1 regular size milk chocolate Hershey bar
extra marshmallows for top

Preheat oven to 350.

Line a 8 x 8 baking dish with parchment paper or spray with baking spray.  Combine graham cracker crumbs and melted butter.  Press into the bottom of prepared pan.  (I baked my crust for 5- 7 minutes to set - the original recipe didn't bake the crust first)

Cream 1/2 cup softened butter... adding sugars and beat until fluffy.   Mix in egg and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt and add to butter mixture, mixing well.  Once this is all combined, fold in chocolate chips and mini marshmallows.  Spoon cookie dough evenly over crust. Bake in preheated oven for about 12 minutes.

While bars are baking, break Hershey into sections and place in freezer.  After 12 minutes of baking, take cars out of oven and sprinkle with some mini marshmallows.  Return to oven to finish baking and lightly brown the marshmallows.  When tester comes out clean, remove from oven and gently place Hershey bar pieces on the top of the bars.  Let cool completely before cutting.  Enjoy!

Printable Version

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Quinoa Salad

My crazy, fun friend, Kathy, shared this recipe with me.  Kathy is Celiac and often cooks "gluten-free".  My family enjoys different salads in the summer... so I decided to try Kathy's yummy salad. We loved it!  Kathy told me to double the recipe and to cook my quinoa in a rice cooker.  I don't have a rice cooker.  I bought my quinoa at Costco and just followed the directions on the package.  I have a good-size bag of quinoa so I am going to have to come up with some new quinoa recipes.  I thought it tasted yummy right out of the pot - reminds me a little of brown rice.  

I pretty much followed Kathy's recipe to a T!  My middle daughter was with me when I made it and she thought I should add avocado to it upon serving.  I didn't put avocado in the whole recipe - just in individual servings.  I also think you could add grilled chicken for a complete dinner!  

Try this yummy, refreshing summer salad! 

Quinoa Salad (Kathy recommends doubling the recipe)

1 cup of quinoa, cooked  with 1/2 tsp salt

Cook quinoa according to package directions and allow to cool.  While it is cooking, make dressing and prepare ingredients.   


Combine ingredients and set aside

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (more if needed)
1 Tbsp olive oil (more if needed)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, minced
pepper to taste
lemon zest to taste


2 green onions, chopped
fresh basil, chopped ( I use kitchen shears to cut)
fresh cilantro, chopped (I use kitchen shears to cut)
1 - 2 cucumbers, peeled and diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Once quinoa is cooked and fairly cool, add all ingredients to the quinoa.  Add the dressing!  Toss and chill until ready to serve.  

*serve with avocado and/or diced grilled chicken

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Zucchini Bread

Two of our girls are home for summer.  I made banana bread recently but wanted to try a good zucchini bread.  Susan teaches at preschool with me.  She sent me her a picture of her grandmother's recipe.  I love the spills on the recipe.  I have lots of recipes like that - they are "well-loved"!  I especially like the ones in my grandmother's handwriting... or my mom's handwriting.  Those are extra special.

I used her recipe as is - except I used less cinnamon and I did a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of walnuts.  We loved it!

I made four mini-loaves.  I love planning ahead and freezing a few loaves for later ... or giving one or two to a friend!

I will totally make this recipe again!  The sweet crunchy edges were my favorite!

P.S.  My chocolate chips mainly sunk to the bottom.  I was okay with that.  But, if you don't want them to sink to the bottom, toss them in a little flour before adding them.  This will help suspend them in your batter!

Grandma Bowers' Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup oil
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 cups unpeeled zucchini, coarsely grated
2 cups flour
1  1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp cinnamon (I used 1 - 2 tsp of cinnamon)
optional - 1 cup chopped nuts or semi-sweet chocolate chips ( I used chocolate chips)

In a large bowl, beat eggs until frothy.  Add sugars, oil and vanilla, beating until thick.  Stir in flour, soda, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.  Stir until combined.  Fold in nuts or chocolate chips. Prepare loaf pans with cooking spray.  Pour mixture into loaf pans and bake.  If one large loaf pan, bake for about 50 minutes - to an hour.  (I used four smaller pans - and baked 30 - 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted came out clean.)  After baking, run knife around the edge of the bread/pan.  Allow bread to sit in pan for about 10 minutes before turning out.

Printable Version

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fun Cake

As I have mentioned many times, I love peanut butter and chocolate.  My girls were headed home from college recently... and I wanted to try a new recipe.  I found this recipe at Epicurious.  I thought it was fabulous.  I think it was a little too rich for my hubby but the rest of us loved it.  The cake part isn't overly sweet - kind of dark, rich chocolate.  I thought the frosting was fabulous.  I will make both again.  I think I will use the frosting for other things as well. I was a little intimidated by the frosting.  I don't think I have ever made a true Buttercream Frosting.  I followed the directions - it turned out beautifully.  Just sayin... I could eat it by the spoonful!

I doubled the recipe and made a 9 x 13.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fun Cake (adapted from Epicurious)

* I doubled the recipe and baked in a 9 x 13

  1. Chocolate cake:
    • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
    • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (3 1/2 ounces)  *I used bittersweet
  2. Peanut butter buttercream:
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup egg whites (from about 2 large eggs)
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
    • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4" cubes
    • Kosher salt
    • 1/4 cup chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (about 1 3/4 ounces) *I used semisweet
    • 1/4 cup chopped unsalted, dry roasted peanuts  *I used salted, cocktail peanuts
  1. For chocolate cake:
    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat bottom and sides of pan with nonstick spray;  Whisk flour and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Add oil, vanilla, and 1 1/4 cups water; whisk until smooth. Fold in chopped chocolate. Scrape into prepared pan; smooth top. Bake until a tester comes out clean when inserted into center, 35-40 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.  *line pan with parchment paper if want to lift out to frost and cut
  2. For peanut butter buttercream:
    1. Combine sugar and egg whites in a medium metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar dissolves and mixture is hot to the touch, 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat; using an electric mixer, beat on high speed until cool and thick, 5-6 minutes. Beat in vanilla, then peanut butter. With mixer running, add butter a few pieces at a time, beating to blend between additions. Season with salt.
    2. After cake is cooled, spread peanut butter buttercream over top. Garnish with chopped chocolate and peanuts.  *If you used parchment paper and you choose to lift the cake out of the pan....Run a thin knife around pan to release cake. Invert cake onto a serving plate.  Cut into 2" squares. 
    3.  DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.  
  3. Printable Version
    1. .