Saturday, November 19, 2011

Come Join us!

Hello all you Clawson Kitchen Fans!

Please come visit me at and join the follower list!

Also feel free to join on Facebook!

See ya over there!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Come Visit Me!!

Come visit my new location!

The site is not quite polished yet, but as my trusty followers I wanted to give you a little sneak peak. You are already used to my homemade blog so I am sure you won't mind visiting the new site while the kinks are getting worked out and the polish and shine are still in action.

I want to share it with you first, and the rest of the world once it is finished.

I thought I would start sending you all there now, as your comments in the last few weeks have been on this page rather than the new one.

I would love for you to leave me a comment about the new page and also any suggestions you may have.

Today I posted the most delicious Carmel Apple Cider Cookies. Come check em' out!

Thank You! I hope you all love the new page, and everything yet to be added to it.

Love Kaela :)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Watermelon Skull


Last night a few of my friends came over to watch the Miami Dolphins-New York Giants game. Due to the fact that it was the night before Halloween we decided to have festive food. I made the Funny Faced Caprese, and my friend Katie brought Worms and Dirt. Worms and Dirt is one of Dan's favorites so Katie left the extra behind for him to enjoy.

I attempted to soak gummy worms in vodka. I had heard it was awesome. I must have soaked them too long because they turned out more like one huge mass of jelly. I may have to put a little more research into that one next time I try it. Haha

I also had this watermelon sitting on my counter staring at me. I was feeling a little adventurous so I grabbed my sisters exacto knife, a shish kabob stick, a vegetable peeler, and a paring knife and went to work. This is what I came out with.

 Skull with missing section for brain to show.

 Sister Jenna's touch with the knife.
Toward the end of the night we all wanted watermelon but didn't want to ruin the skull so I hollowed it out from the hole in the top of the skull. We ate the "brains" and then popped a candle inside like a jack-o-lantern. It was glowing a bright red! It was hard to get a good picture of the glow but it was pretty neat:)

Watermelon Skull

Materials Needed
Vegetable Peeler
Shish Kabob Stick
Paring Knife
Exacto Knife

Use vegetable peeler to peel off all of the watermelons skin
Use a shish kabob stick to trace lines on the pumpkin where you want to cut. 
Use the paring knife and exact knife to cut on the lines, and pop out sections in small pieces.
Use a spoon to dig depth in to the eyes.

Have fun! And have a safe and happy Halloween!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Caprese - Monster Faces

- Juicy Tomato - Fresh Mozzarrrrrrrrrrrella - Snip of Basil from out back - Drizzle of Olive Oil and Balsamic - A grind of S&P - 


Yum! I busted out all necessary ingredients the other night to make some Caprese to compliment the pizza I had cookin'. Having Google images fresh in my head from pumpkin carving earlier, I thought to myself; Why not make scary and funny faces out of the Caprese in honor of the Halloween season?

I had such a blast making these. I felt like a kid again. Each and every one has a different face. Dan even got into it and decided to cut out a mouth add teeth to one.

Toss a healthy Halloween food on your party list with these little buggers, or use them as a fun kids food project year round.  This recipe can also be use the other 364 days out of the year in "normal form" if you want to make a regular Caprese.
Scary and Funny Faced Caprese
(Before S&P and Oil and Vinegar)

Dan's idea making teeth.

 Caprese - Monster Faces

- Fresh Mozzarella Balls - small, soft, and usually packed in a liquid
- Tomatoes
- Basil Leaves
- Green and/or Black Olives (Used for eyes. Not needed if using recipe for normal Caprese)

- Olive Oil
- Balsamic vinegar - (Quality matters)
- Salt and Pepper

-Use the first four ingredients to make the faces as you wish to create them. I used black olive pieces for the irises of the eyes. If you don't like green olives, you can replace them with black.You can also choose how to use the basil for hair. (see pic above)

-When the face is put together, grind fresh pepper and sea salt over them and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. You can tell the difference in quality of vinegar if you have ever used the good stuff compared to the thin cheap stuff. But I have used both, and if you only have the cheap thin stuff on hand it isn't the end of the world.

Enjoy! Happy Halloween Season!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Spaghetti and Hot Dog Octopuses

My sister came to visit this last week. She put on her superman cape and flew to Florida solo with her three boys. The twins are age 5, and the baby is 11 months. They arrived in one piece sporting smiley faces and ready for adventure.

We had a BLAST!  I had come to forget how curious and enthusiastic little boys are about everything going on around them. Explore, build, question, help, they love to do it all! One of the many things the twins love to do is help in the kitchen.  I couldn't wait for the the boys to visit so I would have a good excuse to make this dish.

After a long day at the beach collecting shells and swimming, we spent the evening organizing and sorting the shells and also making shell necklaces. We then talked about the creatures of the ocean. To my delight I discovered they already new quite a bit about Octopuses so we cut right to the chase with the dinner project.

When I explained we were going to make "ocean food",  eyes grew big and voices loud. They were so excited to create their own meal. Still in their swim trunks with bare feet, I plopped each little man up on the kitchen island with a cutting board, plastic knife and their own hot dog. I know, I know, bare feet and little bums up on the counter top, with children's hands mangling Saturdays fare does not appeal to all.  Though most of you, have probably found, that when the little people are close to you it doesn't really matter.  You wind up eat it anyway because it has been made with love.

I demonstrated how to slice the hot dog into many octopus bodies. Once that was mastered, they learned how to poke the spaghetti threw the bodies to make legs. They were so proud of their creations, periodically holding them up and shouting. "Look Auntie Kaela! Look!"

The teacher came out in me and I had to explain how 4 pieces of spaghetti would make 8 legs. We continued to count each finished octopus for the correct amount of legs before putting it in the water. Of course we had to make a few silly ones too with too many legs:) I always love how eager young children are to learn.

Beach this was ocean food, we also added some shells in the water so we could eat octopus and shells both. The boys gobbled these creatures right up, and had so much fun making them that they requested to make them again the next we did:)

I love that children can be creative with this recipe, and play with their food a little. The boys had so much fun and loved gobbling them up too.

Picky eater in the house? Check! What kid doesn't like hot dogs and pasta?!?!?

Stretching the monthly grocery budget? Check! Grab a $1.50 pack of dogs and a box of spaghetti for a little under $2.00. This could easily make 6-8 days of kid lunches. (or more)

Need to sneakily polish your kid's math skills? Measure body size, and leg length with the ruler, count the legs, subtract legs as you eat, multiply how many legs - 5 Octopuses x 8 Legs = 40 legs

Need a Halloween project? Check! Call them Spiders instead of Octopuses!

Mixing playtime with lunch? - These are fun! Let your kid play with his or her food!! Why not?:)

Sorry - I could not help but share a TON of pictures from both days we made them. It was just too much fun!
 Making the bodies.
(I can just hear their little voices)

 Poking the legs in.
(Younger children may need to be shown that holding the spaghetti toward the base rather than the far end works better when poking it in the dog.)

 Who ever said kids can't play with their food.....

 Especially when it's this fun!!

  It is so squiggly!!!

 So proud:)

 Hard at work making the legs.

 Look at this!!! Creepy!!!

 Final Product  - The platter of Octopuses and Seashells

Spaghetti and Hotdog Octopus!!

Package of Hot dogs
Box of Spaghetti

Cut Hot dogs in pieces
Poke 4 uncooked spaghetti strands halfway through each hot dog piece
Place in  boiling water and cook according to directions on spaghetti box.

-I used 100%Whole Wheat Thin spaghetti and it said to cook 7 minutes, as did the shells I threw in there. All cooked for 7 minutes resulting in yummy "seashells" and "octopuses" for lunch.
-We dressed the octopuses and shells with butter and Parmesan with a side of ketchup to dip because that is how my nephews like their noodles.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pink Lemonade Bars

These pink lemonade bars were popular at the baby shower I recently hosted. My friend Christy is having her first baby girl so we threw her a pink themed baby shower. Pink decor, pink food, and optional pink attire for the guests. My friend Katie, who co-hosted with me brought pink M&M cookies, pink fruit pizza, and mini Red Velvet Cupcakes with pink frosting. I served Pink Lemonade, pink coated Oreo Truffles, Pink Fruit Dip, cream puffs, and these delightful Pink Lemonade Bars. I read that they freeze well too so I saved a few in my freezer for my company to next this week. The combo of the sweet and tangy top paired with the rich, buttery, bottom is quite the match. Make these for your next pink party, Valentine party, bridal shower, breast cancer awareness event, or just because they are good:) I found this recipe through Woman's Day Magazine. I think using quality ingredients like real butter andscrewy squeezed lemon juices is important.

Pink Lemonade Bars
(From Woman's Day Magazine)


11⁄2 sticks (3⁄4 cup) butter, softened (I used real butter)

11⁄2 cups all-purpose flour

1⁄2 cup confectioners’ sugar


4 large eggs, at room temperature

2 cups granulated sugar

1 Tbsp freshly grated lemon zest (From the peel leftover from the lemons I juiced)

1⁄2 cup fresh lemon juice (juice from fresh lemons - took about 3 lemons)

1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

Red liquid food color

Decoration: confectioners’ sugar


1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line a 13 x 9-in. baking pan with foil, letting foil extend above pan at both ends. Coat foil with nonstick spray.

2. Crust: Beat butter, flour and confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl with mixer until blended. Press over bottom of pan.

3. Bake 15 minutes, or until light golden. Leave oven on.

4. Meanwhile, make Topping: In a large bowl, beat eggs, sugar, lemon zest and juice, flour and baking powder with mixer to combine. Add about 5 drops food color and beat until Topping is pink. Pour over the hot crust.

5. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until top is golden and topping has set. Cool in pan on a wire rack.

6. Lift foil by ends to cutting board. Cut in 6 rows lengthwise, 8 crosswise to make 48 bars. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Storage tip: Refrigerate airtight with wax paper between layers up to 1 week, or freeze up to 1 month.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Apple Pie Moonshine

While sitting around the bonfire in Montana last summer, I took a few sips of a delicious homemade concoction. My sister's friend Joe was nice enough to share his recipe with me. Though this stuff taste like candy, let me remind you that it is not:)

(WP Clipart)

Apple Pie Moonshine

2 gallons of Apple Cider

3 Cups sugar

Cinnamon Sticks

Vanilla Bean Whole

1 Liter of Everclear (190 Proof)

Boil - Cider, Sugar, Cinnamon, and Vanilla bean until the Cinnamon sticks are unwrapped. Let cool down to room temperature. Once cooled then add Everclear. Chill and drink in moderation.

I enjoy this beverage served at room temperature in a mason jar:)

If you are looking to store this drink, I advise storing it in sterile mason jars with lids or recycled glass bottles with tops. If you like extra cinnamon, pop one of the used cinnamon sticks in with the moonshine as you store it. Keep it in a cool, dark, dry place.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Fall has arrived! Growing up in Montana, Fall was defined by hunting season, cool weather, harvest of the fields, and hues of red, orange, and yellow falling from the trees. Those were the days when my Mom's warm soup, or baked goods spiced with fall flavors would dress the dinner table. In the Fall, feeding the farm animals, hunting, harvesting the crops, and playing kept everyone quite busy. Dinner was almost always after dark, when we couldn't be productive outside anymore. With the tips of our noses and cheeks a tad pink from the chill in the air, and the moon and stars starting to peak out of the evening sky, we would scoot up to the table and allow a hot family meal to quickly warm us up....Those were the good ole' days.

Now, I am in the good new days, which will probably someday become the good ole' days also. I have lived in South Florida for a couple years now. This time of year I do miss Fall in Montana a bit, but I have come to appreciate a new kind of fall. I have grown to love a Fall that is filled with a different kind of beautiful weather. The weather is cooling off perfectly where I can enjoy myself outside without feeling like I may die from heat stroke. It is perfect for BBQ'ing, beachin' it, and evening walks. My new Fall is filled with northern house guests, and Miami Dolphin Football Games, where I go root on my husband Dan and the rest of the team.

Even though Fall in Montana and Florida are different in many ways, I have learned to tie them together with the scents and tastes of Fall. Regardless of my location, I will always raid the nearest Wal-mart for candles scented of Apple Pie, Pumpkin Spice, and Cinnamon. It doesn't matter what the temperature is outside, I will always use nutmeg, pumpkin, cinnamon, and apples just a tinch more than usual during this time of year.

As a new Floridian, my little sister was missing her Northern Fall the other night. To make her feel at home, I made some Apple Crisp and decided to take a stab at a Pumpkin Spice Latte. As we curled up on the couch in fuzzy blankets, and enjoyed the flavors, I once again realized I love Fall.

Pumpkin Spice Latte
(served 3 of us)
2 cups of Skim Milk
4 TB Libbys 100% Pumpkin
3 packets of Splenda
1 TB of Vanilla
1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 to 1-1/2 cups of strongly brewed coffee ( I used a french press )

optional - whipped cream or ice cream for the top - ( I tried but actually like without better because it allows you to taste the pumpkin more and I don't like my coffee too sweet.)

-In a saucepan over med-low to med heat stir the milk and pumpkin together with a wire whisk until it is steaming. Do not let it boil just steam.
-After it is nice and hot, add the hot coffee, Splenda, vanilla, and spice.
-Stir it all together and serve with the option of topping it off with whipped cream or ice cream.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Oven Roasted Gourmet Potatoes

Dan and My wedding was this last summer. My Maid of Honor, Jennifer, has been my best friend since Elementary School. I give her 99% of the credit for our relationship. I do not keep up with Birthdays or Anniversaries very well. I usually pop her birthday card in the mail the day of. I am not good at calling people, or staying in touch. She is the one that makes the phone call the majority of the time. We usually play phone tag, and wind up catching each other about once a month. Through the years we have even went a couple months without touching base. But all of this, she understands and accepts about me.

She knows me well. She knows that if I am missing in action, I am perfectly fine, just busy. She knows that I usually won't take time to pick up my phone and dial a few digits to chat. She knows that not hearing from me for weeks or even months on end doesn't mean I am mad at her. She knows that when she finally does get me on the other end of the phone, we will pick up right where we left off.

Jennifer knows a lot about me. A lot that dates as far back to the years running around barefoot through the hills on my farm with our goats and the dog by our sides. The years of skipping school to ride horse and have picnics. The years filled with helping each other write love letters and sneaking out on the weekends. The years of keeping in touch through college even though we were a couple states away. This summer she threw a magnificent bridal shower for me. At the shower she gave me a special gift filled with numerous items that held significance to all of the years of our relationship . One of those items was a bottle of White Truffle Oil.

Last night I popped the cork on that bottle. Something delicious came of it. Jennifer, this one's for you:)

One serving is NOT enough!

The gooey goodness of the Gorgonzola combined with the crisp slices of garlic all over the soft pieces of potato with crisp little corners and edges. OOOoooH YuM! And then of course, you just have to have the drizzle of White Truffle Oil. Ah! Heaven!

- Oven Roasted Gourmet Potatoes-

2 1/2 - 3 cups of smaller red potatoes cubed up
Sprinkle of Cajun seasoning
Sprinkle of garlic powder (not salt)
Sprinkle of Montreal Steak Seasoning
6-8 Tsp Reduced Fat Crumbled Gorgonzola
3-4 Big cloves of garlic

-Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
-Take approx. Cut smaller red potatoes in half lengthwise. Then slice and cube in about 6-8 little cubes roughly about 1 inch by 1/2 inch. Measure about 2 1/2 cups of the cubed potatoes.
-Spray a pan with Pam. Sprinkle potatoes in the pan. They should lay in a single layer. It doesn't matter if they touch.
-Sprinkle potatoes with Cajun Seasoning, Garlic Powder, and Montreal Steak Seasoning. Keep in mind that Cajun Seasoning and Montreal Steak Seasoning both have Salt in them so sprinkle according to your taste.
-Spray Pam over the potatoes and pop in the 450 degree oven uncovered for 15 minutes. During this time, peel 3-4 big cloves of Garlic. Then slice them as thinly as possible. Set Garlic to the side.
-After the 15 minute time goes off, toss, turn, and stir potatoes and pop back in oven for 5 more minutes.
- After the 5 minute timer goes off, sprinkle the 3 gloves of Garlic over the potatoes and pop it back int he oven for 6-7 minutes depending on desired garlic tenderness.
-After the 6-7 minutes, sprinkle the potatoes with the Gorgonzola one tsp at a time so that it is evenly distributed.
-Pop back in oven for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is melted a little.
-Remove potatoes from the oven and drizzle with 3 tsp of white truffle oil.
-If I am making this dish for myself I drizzle the whole dish before serving.
-Dan doesn't care for the strong flavors of white truffle oil, so I set the table with the bottle of oil and let everyone drizzle their own.

(Served 3)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Fruit Dip

This delicious fruit dip is so easy it is almost not classified as a real recipe. I loved this dip so much I had to seriously stop myself from eating it by the spoonful. I made this for a girls football watching party. Before I left the house, I scooped a cup or so in a little bowl to save for Dan for his breakfast fruit the next morning......

The dip was a hit with the girls at the party, and when I got home I lost all self control and started dragging strawberries so deeply through the dip you would think I was trying to drown the poor things. Luckily I ran out of strawberries halfway through my feeding frenzy and snapped back to reality. Embarrassed by how I had inhaled half a bowl of dip in possibly less than 2 minutes - I sheepishly covered the dip, hid it in the back corner of the fridge, and swore I wouldn't touch it till Dan had a chance to have a taste too.

The next morning Dan enjoyed his fruit dip like a gentleman, "dipping" his fruit rather than dragging and drowning it. I wonder if he noticed when I used my finger to swipe the sides of the dish clean like a kid with a cake batter beater?

Lets just say I will make this again, but not before I first remind myself to mind my manners.

3 Things I Like About This Dip

1 - It is very easy and fast to make
2 - Does not taste like it was easy to make
3 - It keeps well for at least 3 days in the fridge so its a great make ahead or left over

Fruit Dip
- 8 oz package of cream cheese at room temperature
- 3 strawberry yogurts (or whatever flavor you like)
- 1 regular size jar of Marshmallow Fluff (I found mine at Walmart for under a buck)
- 1 tsp of vanilla

- In a mixer mix the room temperature cream cheese and one yogurt at a time at medium speed. When the cream cheese is broken up good, speed the mixer up to med/high and whip until the cream cheese is not lumpy. (there may be tiny tiny little specks but that is ok.)
- Add Vanilla and mix in
- Add the marshmallow fluff and mix at lox/med speed until blended
- Keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Serve with fresh fruit such as strawberries, bananas, grapes, pineapple, or whatever floats your boat.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Caramel and M&M Rice Krispie Treats

Caramel and M&M Rice Krispie Treats
Shared by Crystal

We are in charge of treats at the big boys' school tomorrow, so I made a Fall version of my cousin Rhonda's caramel rice krispie treat recipe. These are YUMMY! You'll never want a plain krispie bar again.

1 stick of butter
1 bag of marshmallows
1 bag Kraft caramels
8 cups of Rice Krispies
1 cup White Chocolate Candycorn M&Ms

Melt butter and caramels for 3 minutes in the microwave, stirring every 30-45 seconds until fully melted. Add marshmallows in during the last minute. Stir Rice Krispies in with the caramel mixture until combined. Fold in M&Ms. Either pour into a well greased 8x11 pan or scoop into muffin papers. Enjoy!

A fun variation on these may be to use Pumpkin Spice marshmallows. I saw them in the store tonight, but opted for the plain ones this time.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Symphony Brownies

Photo Courtesy of Flicker

These Symphony Brownies are easy-peesie-lemon-squeezey, and are delicious to boot!

I first tried Symphony Bar Brownies this summer, the morning of my wedding. I know, I know, the last thing a bride needs to do is eat brownies and then try to squeeze into her dress with a full tummy..... but I just couldn't resist these little buggers.

My Aunt RuthE, who I have always thought of as the queen of baked goods, made these available on my wedding day. She kindly sat me down, and insisted I relax, take a breather, and eat something so I didn't fall over during the ceremony. She ordered up a plate of food and let me reflect as she painted my nails. What a great lady:)

About a week ago, my sister Jenna reminded me how awesome these brownies were. I immediately emailed my Aunt for the recipe and she was kind enough to promptly reply back with it. It is a Paula Dean original that has changed a bit throughout the years, but she still bakes them according to the original recipe (not the new version with walnuts).

Thanks Aunt RuthE

Uncle Gerald and Aunt RuthE

Symphony Brownies
Paula Dean Recipe - Passed to me from Aunt RuthE

1 - Box of Brownie Mix (plain kind)
3 - HUGE Symphony Bars with Almonds and Toffee Chips (6 oz each)
Eggs, oil, and water called for on the back of the Brownie Box
Powdered Sugar
Pam spray
Tin Foil

-Mix up the brownies according to the directions on the back of the box.
-Line a 9x13 pan with the tin foil and spray it with the Pam.
-Spoon half of the brownie batter into the foil lined 9x13 pan. Smooth it out so it is evenly distributed covering the bottom.
-Unwrap the candy bars and lay them side by side in the pan over the batter.
-Cover the Symphony Bars with the remaining batter and spread it as evenly as possible.
-Bake according to brownie box directions.
-Let the brownies cool completely before removing the brownies from the pan by lifting the edges of the tin foil.
-Sprinkle with a touch of powdered sugar for looks:)
-Cut and then serve or store in an airtight container.

*Using foil makes cutting the brownies easier because they are out of the pan when cutting.
*I only had 2 Symphony Bars instead of 3 and it worked fine to break them up and put spacing between the pieces. I felt they tasted just as good, but I recommend using 3 because 2 made it harder to spread the batter on the top layer because the pieces wanted to move around.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mini Oreo Cheesecakes - By Martha Stewart

My Mom is the master of cheesecakes. I LOVE cheesecake, but rarely make it because I know that if I make one, I will eat one. I am not talking one bite, or even one slice. I am talking the whole darn thing! I have NO self control!

I made these delectable little guys for another locker room snack. They were a sure fire hit with my household, neighbors, friends, and my husbands locker room buddies. I split one with my sister just to taste test them before delivery. I proceeded to eat two more by myself before I could manage to get them out the door. There goes that awesome round of cardio I did this morning! Oh well, what can I say.....My name is Kaela and I am a food-aholic.

Enjoy this recipe! I sure did, and will again soon:)

Mini Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes
Recipe By Martha Stewart

  • 42 Oreos, 30 left whole and 12 coarsely chopped
  • 2 pounds cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 275°. Line standard muffin pans with liners. Place 1 whole cookie in the bottom of each liner.

Beat cream cheese at medium speed using an electric mixer. Gradually sugar, beating until combined. Beat in vanilla.

Drizzle in eggs, a bit at a time. Beat in sour cream and salt. Stir in chopped cookies.

Divide batter among pans. Bake for about 22 minutes or until filling is set.

Cool completely on wire racks. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight covered. Remove from pans just before serving. ( I let them cool for 5 minutes in the muffin tins and then gently removed them still in their foils onto wire cooling racks so I could reuse the pans quickly.)

Makes 30 cheesecakes.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cinnamon Apple Cheesecake Bars

I originally made these bars using a recipe called Apple Streusel Cheesecake Bars from the Betty Crocker website. Dan wasn't personally a huge fan, but a few of the fellas in the locker room enjoyed them anyway. I think he was freaked out by the texture of the cheesecake layer as he is used to homemade cheesecake. I wasn't entirely impressed but they were pretty good.

Well......"pretty good" in this house usually doesn't get a second chance considering I have a stack of recipes a mile high that I can't wait to try. Lucky for me I have a sister who can tweak things to perfection! Whether it be a broken sipper, a weedy flower bed, an ugly wall, or even a so-so recipe, she can usually whip it into shape and make it irresistible.

Big sister came through once again and here is a recipe worth trying! D-E-Licious! She made these for her weekend guests and they gobbled them right up! The biggest change made was the substitution of sour cream replacing half of the cream cheese. This allowed both an appropriate thickness for the cheesecake layer, and an improved homemade taste and texture. These cinnamon-y bars are a perfect introduction into fall baking. My favorite time to enjoy these are mid-morning with a steamy cup of coffee:)

Cinnamon Apple Cheesecake Bars
Originally adapted from Betty Crocker by Crystal Maus

1- oatmeal cookie mix (1 lb. 1.5 oz)
1/2 cup of firm real butter
1- (80z) package of cream cheese
3/4 to 1 cup of sour cream
1/2 cup of white sugar
2 TB of flour
2 tsp of vanilla
1 egg
1 can of apple pie filling (Get the one with most fruit and a touch of cinnamon)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 chopped small pecans or walnuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan on both bottoms and sides.

In a large bowl cut the cold butter into the cookie mix with a pastry cutter or by using two butter knifes. (like making pie crust) Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly and course, then press all but 1 and 1/2 cups of the mixture into the bottom of the greased 9x13. When the cookie/butter mixture is pressed evenly into the bottom of the pan, bake it for 10 minutes.

While the cookie part is baking, beat the softened cream cheese, sugar, flour, vanilla, egg, and sour cream on medium speed until smooth.

When the cookie part has baked for 10 minutes, remove it from the oven and spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over it. You have to be careful with this step so you don't break the cookie layer. I glob the cream cheese mixture onto the cookie layer in 4-6 different piles and spread it in all directions from there.

In a bowl, mix the apple pie filling and cinnamon. If the apple pie filling has whole apples in it like mine did, run two knives through it to slice them up a bit into smaller pieces. Spoon the apple/cinnamon mixture evenly over the cream cheese layer. Sprinkle the 1 1/2 cups of cookie crumbs over the top. Sprinkle with nuts if you choose to do so.

Pop it in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cookie crumbles turn to a light golden brown.

Remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes or more.

Refrigerate to chill for at least 2 hours. Also store the bars in the fridge.

Cut and serve.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Pioneer Woman's Pork Sandwiches w/ My Slaw

Good ole' Pioneer Women - I have been following her for a couple years now, and was so happy to see that she now has her own TV show! Now even more people can see how great she is:) You Go Girl!!! In honor of her show starting I decided to fiddle through her website and make something of hers for dinner.

I chose her Pork Sandwiches with Cilantro Slaw. I did follow her pork recipe exactly. For those of you who know me well, following any recipe to the T is a rare happening. Haha. I did however change the Slaw recipe due to ingredients I didn't have on hand, and other ingredients I wanted to give a whirl.

Both the pork, and the slaw turned out fabulously. This recipe was easy peesy and delicious! I will surely be making this again. The leftovers were great on either another sandwich, or a tortilla with a touch of shredded cheese, onion, or whatever taco stuff you have in your fridge:) Don't be afraid of the peppers in the meat. They did NOT add too much kick. I think they may have a bit more if I would have chopped them up before cooking. I chose to fish them out of the sauce after the meat cooked, chop em' up, and put them on a plate for people to add to their sandwich as they desired.

(On a Tortilla)

Pioneer Woman's Pork Sandwiches


  • 1 whole Onion, Peeled And Quartered
  • 1 whole Pork Butt (pork Shoulder Roast)
  • Salt And Pepper
  • 1 can (11 Ounce) Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce
  • 2 cans Cola (Dr Pepper, Coke, Etc - I used Diet Dr Pepper)
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 12 whole Good Quality Kaiser Or Deli Rolls

Preparation Instructions


Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Generously salt and pepper the pork roast, then set it on top of the onions in the pan.

Pour the can of chipotle peppers over the pork (include the sauce.) Pour in both cans of Dr Pepper. Add brown sugar to the juice and stir in.

Place lid tightly on pot, then set pot in the oven. Cook for at least six hours, turning roast two or three times during the cooking process. Check meat after six hours; it should be absolutely falling apart (use two forks to test.) If it’s not falling apart, return to the oven for another hour.

Remove meat from pot and place on a cutting board or other work surface. Use two forks to shred meat, discarding large pieces of fat. Strain as much of the fat off the top of the cooking liquid as you can and discard it. Return the shredded meat to the cooking liquid, and keep warm until ready to serve. (You can also refrigerate the meat and liquid separately, then remove hardened fat once it’s cold. Then heat up the liquid on the stove-top and return the meat to the liquid to warm up.)

My Slaw for the Sandwiches

I had this Slaw at Dan's Aunt and Uncle's house that was sooooooo yummy. It had Crumbled Blue Cheese in it. I asked for the recipe and they gladly supplied. When making these sandwiches I did not yet have their recipe but definitely made this with their recipe in mind:)

  • 1/2 Large or 1 Small Head of Cabbage, Sliced Thin
  • 2 whole Jalapenos, Halved Lengthwise And Thinly Sliced with Seeds for heat - If you are not a Jalapeno or heat fan, I suggest one Jalapeno without the seeds.
  • 1/3 cup Whole Milk
  • 1/6 cup Dill Pickle Juice
  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon White Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Small or 1/4 Large Onion, Sliced Thin
  • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup Low Fat Crumbled Blue Cheese depending on what you like

Combine shredded cabbage, onion, and sliced jalapenos in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix milk, pickle juice, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, and black pepper. Pour over cabbage. Toss to combine. Sprinkle in Blue Cheese on top, cover and refrigerate two hours.


Additional Ingredients - Butter and Buns.

Butter both halves of Kaiser rolls or whatever type of bun you are using. Then brown them on a griddle or skillet until golden and crisp on the surface. Load up each sandwich with shredded pork, then REALLY load them up with the slaw.

The combination of the hot liquid from the meat and the cool, creamy liquid from the slaw is deliciousness in your mouth - believe me:)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Mint Truffle Brownie Bites

Some days you feel like whipping up a gourmet, from scratch, beautiful creation....Something that makes you feel like a true chef because you started with 50 simple ingredients and in the end, created one magnificent masterpiece.......

Yesterday was NOT one of those days. Ha!

I wanted to make something yummy for the locker room, but didn't feel like going to the grocery store, dragging out my flour, sugar, vanilla, ect, or putting in too much effort. So I fell back on the idea of this simple recipe. It is quick, very easy, and oh so yummy:)



Box of brownie mix
Egg, water and oil that the back of the box calls for
Bag of Mint Truffle Hershey's Kisses either frozen or chilled in fridge (mine were left over clearance candy from Christmas so they were frozen)
Pam or Baking Pam


-Mix the Brownie Mix, egg, oil, and water according to the directions on the back of the box.
-Spray a tart or mini muffin pan with Pam or Baking spray.
-Spoon the brownie mixture into a mini muffin or tart tin filling each cup about 2/3-3/4 of the way to the top
- Bake in 350 degree oven for approx 11-13 min or until the brownie cups look set on top. While the brownies are baking, unwrap one Mint Truffle Hershey's Kiss for each brownie cup that is baking.
- When brownie cups are pulled from the oven, immediately stick a Mint Truffle Hershey's Kiss into each brownie cup.
- Let cool for about 5-10 minutes. Then carefully use a butter knife to help you remove each brownie cup. Set them on a wire rack to cool completely.
-Store completely cooled brownie bites in an airtight container.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Healthified Tuna Salad

If you love Tuna Salad Sandwiches but are trying to cut a few calories, I found the perfect twist on the traditional Tuna Salad Sandwich or Tuna Salad on Crackers......Tuna Salad on crisp slices of cucumber! Yummy and healthier!

You cut back on the carbs when replacing the 2 bread slices or crackers with crisp slices of cucumber. I also use Smart Balance Mayonnaise or Lemonaise from Whole Foods rather than real full calories mayo if I can help it.

This is kind of a throw together recipe and measurements depend on desired taste. This makes a quick and healthy lunch when I am in a hurry. The freshness and crunch of the cucumber is just perfect for a hot summer day:)

I believe I cut this picture out of an old Country Living Magazine that I had from my Grandma. A few of these magazines from 1994-2002 made every move so far so I finally broke down and cut out all the recipes I would like to try. I already like the way I make tuna which is how my Mom made it when I was growing up, so I use that recipe, but the idea of cucumber slices was new to me so I tried them and LOVED it:)

Healthified Tuna Salad

Canned Tuna drained
Mayo of choice
Fresh Dill chopped fine
Dill Pickles diced small
Onion white or yellow chopped small

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, amount of each ingredient depends on taste of eater.

Use sliced crisp cucumber rounds to dip like chips, or tuna can be served on top of each round and garnished with a bit of Parsley or more Dill.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Soft, Chewy, Oreo Crunch Cookie

Soft, Chewy, Oreo Crunch Cookie

Is it possible for a cookie to be soft and chewy yet also crunchy? You bet it is! The soft bendy cookie surrounded by the crunch of the Oreo crumbs in this recipe brings something totally amazing to your mouth. These cookies are just as delicious when cooled off as they are fresh out of the oven.

NFL Football season is underway and training camp has officially started. I do not enjoy my hubby being gone for weeks on end, but I DO enjoy being able to use the football team as my taste testers! Better yet, it allows me to bake (which I love), and not gain weight eating it all in one sitting (because we all know that I have NO self control). I try just 1 or 2 of each treat I make, then quickly scoot off to the facility to deliver the goods before I gobble them all down.

Well my taste testers gave this recipe a two thumbs up. I have a feeling these will be requested again. Next time I'm cranking out a double or triple batch of these bad boys.

Soft, Chewy, Oreo Crunch Cookie

Bake Time: 12 to 15 minutes

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup mini chocolate chips
1 - 3/4 cup Oreo cookie crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and well-combined.

3. Add the sugar and vanilla extract and mix until the ingredients are well-combined. Add the flour and mix on low until the flour is incorporated. Stir in the mini chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.

4. Place the Oreo cookie crumbs in a small bowl. Scoop the cookies into about 1½ to 2″ balls and then roll in the cookie crumbs. Roll them well so the whole cookie is covered in crumbs. Place the cookie balls on the baking sheet. Do NOT press down. They will fall on their own. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are JUST golden.

5. Cool on the pan for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

(SLIGHTLY Adapted from Brown Eyed Bakers Blog)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fresh Squeezed Hard Lemonade

By Crystal

Recipe is for 1 gallon of lemonade-

-The juice of 17 lemons
-8 cups of sugar syrup
-8 cups water
-2 cups of tequila
-1 1/2 TB pure vanilla extract

To make sugar syrup, heat 4 cups of sugar and 8 cups of water until sugar is dissolved. Cool.

Mix all ingredients, add ice and slice lemons and limes in the top. Enjoy!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Chicks

Easter Chicks

Dan and I took these as one of our dishes to a friends house for Easter Dinner. The hostess, Christy, who is a fabulous food blogger and cook appreciated the cuteness, and the kids liked em too:) I ran across the idea on the Internet at all and just HAD to give them a shot. They are a little time consuming but definitely worth it. Especially when you only get to make them once a year. I used some of my own techniques a an extra ingredient or two. This would be a fun recipe for the kids to help put on the eyes and nose. And if you have a young little picky eater, this may be just the trick because it is fun:) They turned out sooo darn cute... and great tasting too:)


1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup fresh shaved Parmesan copped up

2 full tsp finely chopped purple onion

1/2 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp yellow mustard

1/8 tsp black pepper

1 TB pickle or olive juice

Kale (For greenery)

A few stuffed green olives

1 carrot

Hard Boil the 12 eggs

- place eggs in single layer in pot and cover with water about an inch above eggs.

- cover and bring to a boil

- once it comes to a boil, remove from the heat and leave covered for 15 minutes

- after 15 minutes, place eggs in cold ice water until cooled

(keep eggs in fridge until ready to use)

-Peel Eggs

(trick - tap on counter and/or roll in hands to crack egg all over, peel with side of thumb under


-Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each egg to make it sit up straight by itself.

-About 1/3 of the way down the egg, use a paring knife to deeply cut the zig-zags in the eggs.

-Pull Egg parts apart and carefully scoop out yolks.

-Put yolks in a bowl and smash them with a fork.

-Add the Mayonnaise, Parmesan, onion, curry, mustard, pepper, and olive juice to the smashed

yolks. Mix well.

- Next I used a frosting piping bag and tip to squirt the mixture into the larger bottom half of the egg white, but if you don't have a bag and tip you could probably just spoon it in there.

-Place the egg white tops on top of the yolk mixture.

-Slice the green olives to make eyes, and the carrot to make little beaks.

-Gently press the eyes and beaks into the chick.

-Place chicks on a bed of Kale if desired. (it is also handy to help keep unsteady chicks standing)

-Refrigerate until serving.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Asian Lettuce Wraps

From Crystal-

I found this one on Our Best Bites and these are so good! I ground my own chicken, which I think makes a huge difference. Enjoy!

Asian Lettuce Wraps
Recipe by Our Best Bites

2 tsp canola oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 lb ground chicken*
3 ounces mushrooms, finely chopped (about 8 small mushrooms)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 C bagged coleslaw mix or thinly shredded cabbage
1 8oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained, rinsed, and finely minced
1/2 C thinly sliced green onions
4 Tbs soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 lemon, zested and juiced (about 3-4 Tbs juice)
1/2-1 tsp sriracha or other hot sauce (1 tsp of Sriracha is fairly spicy in my opinion, so if you want less or no kick, just give it a little, or you can leave it out completely)
1/3 C roughly chopped cilantro
1-2 heads iceberg lettuce

*To prepare your own ground chicken, cut boneless skinless chicken breasts into large chunks and pulse in a food processor until ground.

Dipping/Drizzling Sauce
4 Tbs soy sauce
4 Tbs rice vinegar
3 Tbs water
2 tsp honey
1-2 tsp finely minced fresh ginger

Heat a very large skillet to medium-high heat on the stove top. When hot, add vegetable oil and then garlic and ginger. Saute for about 30 seconds, until fragrant, and then add ground chicken, chopped mushrooms, and kosher salt. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until chicken is cooked through. (*At this point, sometimes I have some extra liquid in the pan from the chicken. If it’s quite a bit, I tilt the pan and spoon it out so the chicken can cook and not boil.) Add cabbage/coleslaw, water chestnuts, and green onions. Cook for about 2 minutes, until cabbage starts to wilt. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, the zest from the lemon and the lemon juice, and hot sauce to taste. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.

To prepare dipping sauce, combine all ingredients and whisk to combine.

To serve, carefully remove the individual leaves from the head of lettuce. (The closer you get to the center, the easier it becomes!) Place chicken mixture in the leaves and serve with sauce.

Yield: about 5 C chicken mixture. Makes 14-16 lettuce wraps.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Fast Warm Donut Balls

Fast Warm Donut Balls

These are SO fast and SO easy. Something quick to whip up for a treat, after dinner, or when the kids come home from school on a cold day. These will AMAZE you! I can't remember who taught me these. It was back in my teens I believe.

Ingredients -
Tube of Pillsbury or similar refrigerator biscuits-regular ones NOT layered or flaky
Oil for frying such as vegetable or peanut
Choose your favorite - powdered sugar, white sugar, cinnamon and sugar

Directions -
-Fill a bowl or two with sugar, cinnamon and sugar, or powdered sugar. - Set aside
-Fill a pot with about 2 inches of oil.

-Heat oil to a steady 350 degrees make sure it doesn't get over 350(use candy thermometer)

-Take refrigerator biscuits out of tube and cut each biscuit into quarters.

-Flatten each quarter a little bit before carefully placing in 350 degree oil.

-Place a few pieces of dough in the oil. Don't over pack. They shouldn't be crammed and touching.

-Fry dough until golden brown and then flip to fry the other side until golden brown. (about 2ish min per side) I always try just one piece first to be sure that my oil is not too hot - which results in the outside of the donut being burnt but the inside being doughy.

-Remove golden biscuit from oil onto paper towel. After about 30 seconds you can roll donut in your choice of sugar.

-Continue to fry dough until all dough pieces are donuts. As you are frying keep thermometer in oil to constantly check oil temp.

-Enjoy warm.

-With a person or two in the house, I have a hard time keeping a plate filled with fresh ones!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
from Crystal
by Ina Garten, Food Network

The boys and I went to stay with friends last weekend and Bridgette had made these because the kids were coming. Tell you the truth, we all enjoyed them the same :) These are to die for!


  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (18 ounces) creamy peanut butter (recommended: Skippy)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (18 ounces) raspberry jam or other jam
  • 2/3 cups salted peanuts, coarsely chopped


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch cake pan. Line it with parchment paper, then grease and flour the pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment,cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light yellow, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla,eggs, and peanut butter and mix until all ingredients are combined.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Mix just until combined.

Spread 2/3 of the dough into the prepared cake pan and spread over the bottom with a knife or offset spatula. Spread the jam evenly over the dough. Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam. Don't worry if all the jam isn't covered; it will spread in the oven. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and cut into squares.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mary Alice's Hoagie Dip - Courtesy of Food Network

In some ways I live a "way cool" life. Though sometimes I am reminded that our life doesn't always allow for the normal cool things that we did pre-career. This New Years Eve Day it was brought to my attention that my fiance and I are 25 years old with no children, yet this was our 3rd year in a row that we were not allowed to do anything young and crazy to celebrate New Years.

A few of my girlfriends in the same situation got together and we threw a little get together at our house. Because the guys had to be in early the party did not last into the wee hours of the morn, but we did have a blast and it was nice to spend time with those meaningful to us on the last evening of 2010. We had 6 adults other than ourselves, 3 cute little boys, and one extra adorable puppy (besides Rylee).

Lots of fun was had by all as the men shot off fireworks, the brave kids wildly jumped off the top of the rock waterfall into the pool, and everyone played games and ate lots of good grub.

When I get together with this group, I always know there will be alot of awesome food. I also know that I have the room to experiment with new recipes. I can always count on these guys to give me their honest opinions.

One of the recipes I used for New Years was an experiment. Mary Alices's Hoagie Dip I saw on the Food Network website and I thought -Hey! I can use my leftover ham from Christmas! This recipe was a hit! When my friend Christy made sure to deliver some to her husband out on the patio and asked for the recipe I knew it was a keeper. She is the blogger/food Queen over at I trust her taste buds:)

I only changed a few little things in this recipe by doubling this or that and adding this or that. I will type it how I made it, but also attach the link to food network:)

Mary Alice's Hoagie Dip

Photo Courtesy of Food Network

1/2 purple onion very thinly slices and then chopped coarsely
4-5 pickled Pepperoncini Peppers drained and then sliced and chopped coarsely
1/2 head iceberg lettuce chopped about the size of nickels
1 large tomato, halved and seeded and chopped to nickel or penny size
1/4 pound deli-sliced Genoa Salami sliced and diced
1/4 pound deli-sliced ham (or left over Christmas Ham) sliced and diced
1/4 pound deli-sliced Prosciutto sliced and diced
1/4 pound deli-sliced Roast Turkey
1/4 pound deli-sliced Provolone Cheese sliced and diced
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1 TB Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 TB Pepperoncini Pepper Juice
1 TB Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp dried Oregano
1 1/2 tsp dried Basil
1/4 tsp Red Pepper flakes
1 10-to-12-inch round loaf of choice (I used Pumpernickle)
8 hoagie rolls, cut into pieces or halves for dipping

Combine the chopped vegetables, meats and cheese in a large bowl.

In a small bowl mix the mayonnaise, olive oil, pepperoncini juice, vinegar, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes and stir until everything is all mixed up.

If you are going to serve within an hour or two, pour the dressing over the meat/veggie mixture and toss until combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

If you are NOT eating it soon, I would keep the dressing off of it until an hour before. This way the dressing wont make the lettuce soggy. Keep all ingredients refrigerated until eaten.

Carve out the center of the bread loaf to make a bowl (don't cut through the bottom) and cut the top piece taken out into bite-size pieces. Serve the hoagie dip in the bread bowl, with the extra bread and hoagie rolls to scoop it up.

I found this to not really be a "dip", but more of a spread for open face type of sandwiches. It is VERY delicious. I even ate it as a mini sandwich the next day for lunch.:) Give er a try!
(address to food networks original recipe)