Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Turtle Cheesecake

 One of my Mom's favorite candies is the "turtle" and she loves it in any form!
 With that in mind for Mother's Day, I went on a search for mini cheesecakes.  I settled on a recipe from Handle The Heat blog and will surely make these little gems time and time again.
Turtle Cheesecakes

You will need a mini cheesecake pan with removable bottoms (mine is a Wilton).

1 sleeve graham crackers 
3 tablespoons melted, unsalted butter

12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg

Salted caramel, homemade or store bought
1/2 cup pecans, shopped and toasted
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips, melted

Spray, Lightly, the mini cheesecake pan

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Using a food processor, pulse the graham crackers until finely ground~add the melted butter until moistened

Divide the mixture among the cavities of the pan (about 1 heaping tablespoon, each).  Firmly press the mixture into the bottom, using a small object that will fit.  I used a wooden tamper but you could use a shot glass.  Bake the crusts for 5-6 minutes.  Remove from oven and place pan on cooling rack.
REDUCE the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium high speed, combine the cream cheese and brown sugar until smooth and fluffy.  Add the vanills, cream, salt and cinnamon, beating until smooth.  Add the egg and beat just until combined.  Deivide the mixture among each cavity.

Bake for 18 minutes or until set.  Let cool to room temperature.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.  

Remove the cheesecakes from the pan (push up from bottom).  

Top each mini cheesecake with desired amount of salted caramel and sprinkle with pecans.  Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave and place in a decorator bag (or use a baggie, snip corner)) and drizzle over the caramel/pecan topping. Return to fridge until ready to serve.  

I topped with freshly whipped cream and oh my...My Mom was beside herself...she loves her sweets and I love her!!! 

Friday, August 28, 2015


 I spotted a perfect cabbage for two at the grocery store and knew immediately that dinner would be quick and simple!
 Team this main dish with a simple salad or fruit and you have a relatively healthy dinner can't get much better than that!  I served with fruit and a slice of whole grain bread!
 Saute'ed Cabbage and Sausage:

1 small head cabbage
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter (I have used coconut oil with success)
 1  1/2 teaspoons Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Cut the cabbage in half and cut out the core as best you can~

Continue by slicing the cabbage as thinly as possible~

Melt the butter in a large and heavy pot on medium heat~

Add the cabbage, salt and pepper and stir and then saute' for 15-20 minutes (until the cabbage is tender)~

If desired, sprinkle a bit of fleur de sel and ground pepper~

Slice turkey sausage in bite size pieces to taste~

I don't think you will be disappointed with this quick and easy recipe~


Friday, August 21, 2015


 Another "keeper" recipe is joining the Cookie File!
 With the abundance of zucchini this time of the year, it is difficult to pass up a cookie recipe that contains a healthy vegetable!!!
 This recipe is easily and quickly prepared and makes about 2  1/2 dozen delicious cookies.
 Oat-Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies:

1  1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1  1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1  1/2 cups zucchini, shredded
1 cup quick oats
3/4 cups pecans, chopped
1  2/3 cups milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In your Kitchen-Ade mixing bowl, whip together butter, and two sugars until smooth and creamy.  Mix in egg and vanilla until blended.

On low speed, add zucchini, and then slowly add the flour mixture.

Stir in the oats, pecans and about 1  1/3 cups of the milk chocolate chips.  Save remainder of chips!

If dough is too sticky, add a little extra flour to make scooping dough a bit easier.  I use a Pampered Chef cookie scoop!  The scoop holds about 2 tablespoons of dough.  

With a cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper, drop the scoops of dough about two inches apart.  They do not spread too much.
NOTE:  I placed a few chocolate chips on top of dough to look presentable for gift giving!

Bake about 12 minutes and cool on sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to wire rack.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Zucchini Cupcakes

 The zucchini is currently abundant and if you are looking for a delicious, quick and easy muffin recipe this is it!
 Zucchini Muffins:

1  1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1  1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1  cup brown sugar, packed
1  1/2 cups grated zucchini

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with foil liners.

Stir together the flour, soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

In a separate bowl, blend together the oil, egg, vanilla, and the zest.
Whisk in the brown sugar and stir until smooth.

Stir in the zucchini and then add the flour mixture and stir until combined.

Spoon the batter into prepared muffin cups.  Place in oven for about 10-12 minutes, rotate pan, and bake for another 10-12 minutes.

Cool in the muffin tin for about 10 minutes and then remove them to a cooling rack.

I packaged the muffins in bags, decorated with ENJOY stickers and tied with seam tape.

Then off to deliver to some special friends!!!


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Stuffed Green Peppers

 When you visit a Farmer's Market in our neck of the woods, this time of the year, the selection is amazing!
 The enormous green peppers immediately caught my eye and I couldn't resist purchasing them. 
 Stuffed pepper ideas began to stream through my mind...
This is what I came up with and we will file this recipe in the g0-to section.

Stuffed Green Peppers:

1 cup cooked rice
1/3 cup diced onions
1 clove garlic, diced
1 pound ground chuck
Brown sugar
Dried cherries
Green onions
Shredded cheese

While the rice was cooking, I sauteed the onions and garlic in olive oil.  I then added the ground chuck and cooked until done. 

I then added about 3/4 of the cooked rice to the mixture.  

Then, using the ketchup and salsa, I added enough to create a moist mixture.  Add brown sugar to taste, mixing well.

Add dried cherries to taste and cook long enough for the cherries to plump a bit.

Cut the tops off the peppers, wash and dry well.  Fill peppers with rice mixture and place in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes.

Upon removing peppers from oven, immediately shred some cheese on top and sprinkle with sliced green onions.

I always line my baking dish with aluminum foil to make clean-up easier.

Also, I do not blanch the peppers and I find they keep their shape during the baking process.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Gumdrop Topiary

Are you looking for a fun children's party centerpiece?  
I must warn you that it is quite time consuming but so worth the little girls reactions to the colorful "candy art".  
I had my heart set on a pink vase of some sort...I ended up with a metal pot with handles but knew a little paint and time would transform a metal container into the perfect piece.
Several coats of paint did the trick and then how to create a filler to hold the dowel in place.  First used the idea of spray foam but that just didn't work well.  So then the idea of pieces of 2x4 cut to fit interior of bucket (which is slanted/sloped) was attempted, with holes in the middle of each piece for the dowel to fit snuggly into.  Perfecto!!!  The husband pulled through once again, while shaking his head and smiling...only you honey would fuss with something like this.  He did a great job and the project continued...
I painted the dowel and then made a small indentation in the round styrofoam ball...then applied a small amount of hot glue into the hole and inserted the dowel.  When the glue was dry I inserted the dowel into the wood pieces.  
Now ready for the time consuming part...
I cut round toothpicks in half and placed a gumdrop into the blunt end and then starting at the top of the ball inserted the combo into the foam ball securely (the pointed end goes into ball).  It takes a lot of gumdrops, toothpicks and time to complete but so worth it!

I filled the finished bucket with colored tissue paper that co-ordinated with the theme of the event.  Then tied various ribbons around the base of gumdrop ball.
If you decide to make this, please know it will be showstopper!!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


 This is truly a sweet feast, a sugar fest for sure!
 How exciting to be a part of the Daddy Daughter Dance at Maggie's Preschool!!!
 So many fun sweets for the girls and their Daddies!!!
 The floral arrangement was spectacular and I wish I would have taken photo's before the strobe light was me, it was absolutely gorgeous!!!  Victoria's Floral of Benzonia, MI created the masterpiece...she is so talented and always ready to create!
 Decorations were worked on for many days and they looked beautiful...many thanks to everyone that assisted!
 Empty toilet tissue tubes were saved, covered with tissue and tied with ribbon...then strung to create festive table decoration.
 There was a gum drop topiary on the serving table and I will attempt to guide you through making one a later date...please stay tuned!!!

Enjoy the spring day~