My Inspiration . . .

I've always had a love for baking, but it wasn't until I was in college that I had a desire to learn how to cook. In 2009, I decided to start my own cooking blog so I could access my recipes from anywhere, and was born.

I love trying new recipes and finding ways to make them healthier & happier on the hips! I love everything about food: the taste, the smells, the presentation, the experimenting, etc. I love to entertain, so I figured this was a great way to bring people together. Hope you enjoy trying out some of the recipes. Happy cooking!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Pumpkin Cream Roll

Pumpkin, and spice, and everything nice...fall is here, folks! This was an amazingly delicious pumpkin cream roll. There wasn't ONE piece left to spare. So glad this turned out well because it's a bit time consuming, especially if it's your first time making one. However, it was well worth the trouble!
{ Hands~On Time: 20-30 mins / Baking Time: 15 mins / Difficulty: Intermediate / Yields: 8-10 servings }


For the Cake:
3/4 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
6 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup canned pumpkin puree

For the Filling:
12 oz light cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
butter flavored cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 15x10" jelly roll pan with cooking spray. Measure and cut parchment paper to fit pan, then spray the parchment paper with cooking spray.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger and 1/4 tsp salt. With electric mixer on high, beat egg yolks and sugars until thick and pale, about 3 mins. On low, mix in pumpkin puree and then add the dry flour mixture.
3. With a clean/dry bowl and clean/dry beaters, beat egg whites and remaining 1/4 tsp salt until stiff, but not dry. Fold into batter in 3 additions. Scrape into pan and spread evenly. It will be a thin layer of cake, but remember, you will be rolling it up so this is a good thing ;-) Bake until springy to touch, about 15 mins.
4. Meanwhile, dust a clean kitchen towel with a thin layer of powdered sugar. (Make sure to cover the entire towel with sugar, otherwise the cake will stick to the towel!) Loosen the cake from the pan (while it's still warm); turn onto prepared towel and peel off the parchment paper. Carefully, roll cake lengthwise in the towel; then turn the seam to the bottom and let cake cool completely.
5. To make the delicious cream cheese filling: beat all 5 ingredients on high until smooth, about 3 mins. Unroll the cake, spread the filling over the cake evenly, then roll it back up. Trim ends diagonally with a sharp knife and dust entire roll with powdered sugar. Serve with cool whip or whip cream. SOOO YUMMY!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Pioneer Woman's Infamous Texas Sheet Cake

The Pioneer Woman knows how to make some desserts, I tell ya! This one is always a crowd pleaser. 
{ Prep Time: 20 mins / Cook Time: 20 mins / Difficulty: Easy / Yields: 24 servings }


2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 Tbsp (heaping) cocoa powder
2 sticks regular butter
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 3/4 stick regular butter
4 Tbsp (heaping) cocoa powder
6 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped (optional)

1. Use an 18x13" sheet cake pan for this. (I sprayed mine with butter flavored cooking spray - although, I'm not sure if it's necessary or not in this recipe. When in doubt, I always spray/butter my pans!)
2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt; set aside.
3. In a medium saucepan set to medium heat, melt the butter. Add the cocoa powder and stir together until combined.
4. Add boiling water, and allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture and stir lightly to cool.
5. In a measuring cup, add the buttermilk, beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir to combine, then pour mixture into the butter/chocolate mixture. Pour onto the pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20 mins.
6. While the cake is baking, prepare the icing ~ on medium heat, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add cocoa powder - stir to combine - then turn off the heat. 
7. Add the milk, vanilla and powdered sugar. Whisk together. Add pecans (optional), mix well, then pour over warm cake. *I only wanted nuts on half of my cake, so I just put them on the top after I poured the frosting on.
8. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Recipe borrowed from The Pioneer Woman

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Ham & Cheese Sandwiches

A ham & cheese sandwich, you ask...Sounds pretty boring, doesn't it? Don't be fooled by the simple name! This delicious party-pleasin' appetizer is loaded with flavor, and is super easy to prepare. There's no doubt this will be a favorite at your next friendly get-together! I've never once brought home any leftovers...
{ Prep Time: 15 mins / Cooking Time: 22-25 mins / Difficulty: Easy / Yields: 20-24 }

1/2 cup butter, melted
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp poppy seeds
1 1/2 Tbsp light brown sugar
1/4 tsp onion power

2 pkgs Hawaiian sweet rolls (regular, not whole wheat)
2/3 lb thinly sliced Boar's head ham (or ham of your choice)
1/3 lb thinly sliced Swiss cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
2. Grease a 9x13" baking dish, and set aside.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the first 6 ingredients; then set aside and allow to congeal just a bit (to spreading consistency).
4. Take the rolls out of the bag, but do not remove from the cardboard sheet. (This will make it a hell-uv-a lot easier to keep them from sliding around while you're slicing them.) With a large serrated knife, slowly slice the rolls in half horizontally, trying not to break each individual roll apart. (Again, trying to make your life easier here. I did that on my first go-around, and it made things way more difficult!)
5. Place the bottom half of the rolls into your greased baking dish. (I was only able to fit 20 rolls in my baking dish, but depending on the size of your pan, you may be able to fit all 24.) Spread a thin layer of the butter mixture on the bottom half. Then, place a thin layer of Swiss cheese and 3-4 layers of ham on each. Place the top halves back onto the rolls.
6. Melt the remaining butter mixture for about 30 seconds, so it's in liquid form again. Quickly whisk so ingredients are combined. Pour over the tops of all the sandwiches, allowing the mixture to seep into the cracks. You may have a little bit of the butter mixture leftover if you don't end up using all 24 rolls. Cover the rolls with just enough of the butter mixture, so there's a thin layer on the bottom of the pan. You don't want them completely soaked in the butter mixture.
7. Cover the rolls with aluminum foil, and bake for 10-15 mins, covered. Remove foil, then bake another 10 mins, until the rolls are lightly browned and the cheese has melted. Slice into individual sandwiches through the ham and cheese layers, and serve!

Adapted from a recipe found on

Double Fudge Coca Cola Cake

A rich, moist yummy chocolatey dessert with a sweet chocolate frosting. [The frosting is great for cupcakes too.] Easy to prepare and always a hit at gatherings!
{ Prep Time: 15 mins / Difficulty: Easy / Cooking Time: 30 mins / Yields: 24 squares }

For the Cake:
1 (18oz) box Duncan Hines Chocolate Cake Mix
1 cup Coca Cola
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/4 cup water
3 large eggs
butter flavored cooking spray

For the Frosting:
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
6 Tbsp milk or heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pound (4 cups) powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9x13" pan (glass or metal) with cooking spray and set aside.
2. Combine cake mix, Coca Cola, oil, water and eggs in a large mixing bowl. With hand mixer, beat at low speed until blended, then beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.
3. Pour batter into your prepared pan. Tap several times on countertop to release air bubbles (or run a knife or toothpick back and forth in all directions).
4. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cake center comes out clean.
5. Meanwhile, prepare frosting. You can pour hot frosting over the cake right after you remove it from the oven, or you can frost the cake once it has cooled. (I actually prefer to wait until the cake is cooled before I frost it, but either way is delicious!)

For Chocolate Frosting:
1. In a medium saucepan, combine butter, cocoa powder, and milk. Heat just until the butter melts.
2. With a whisk, beat in 1 tsp vanilla extract and 4 cups powdered sugar.
3. Spread over the hot cake. Cool completely. Then cut into squares.
*Note: If frosting becomes too thick, you can always add more milk to give it a better spreading consistency.

Recipe borrowed from my mama's cookbook: "From My Kitchen, With Love"

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Strawberry Gooey Butter Cookies

The gooey butter cake was supposedly first made by a St. Louis area German baker who reversed his proportions of sugar and flour. His mistake turned into a great St. Louis tradition, which is the gooey butter cake. As I stand here in my kitchen, baking these delicious cookies once again, I decided to do some research on this delicious St. Louis recipe. My family currently resides in St. Louis and I spent 6 years of my life there when I was a teen, and I knew the recipe originated in St. Louis. Didn't realize the gooey butter cake has been around since the 1930s! The recipe posted here was created to decrease the preparation time for people baking these cookies at home. Not sure where this recipe came from, but I'm so happy to have it and share it with you. Talk about love at first bite!
{ Prep Time: 15 mins / Cook Time: 11-13 mins / Difficulty: Easy / Yields: 36 cookies }

1 (8oz) package light (or regular) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
1 egg, at room temperature
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 (18oz) box Duncan Hines strawberry cake mix
1/3 cup powdered sugar (plus a couple extra Tbsp for dusting)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and cream cheese.
2. Add the egg and vanilla, and mix just until combined.
3. Slowly add the cake mix, and combine at low speed until all ingredients are blended together.
4. Measure out powdered sugar in a small bowl. Using a small (1") ice cream scoop, scoop dough into 1" balls, then roll around in the powdered sugar. Place 1" apart on an ungreased baking sheet.
5. Bake for 11-13 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 1 minute. Then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Borrowed from Mama's Cookbook, "From My Kitchen, With Love"

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Hot Spinach & Artichoke Dip

{ Prep Time: 10 mins / Cooking Time: 10 mins / Difficulty: Super Easy! / Yields: 6 }

10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 1/2 cups artichokes
6 oz light cream cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise 
1/3 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
baked tortilla chips

In a food processor, chop artichokes. In a large dutch oven or pot, set heat to medium. Combine all ingredients, and stir until cheese is completely melted. Serve hot with tortilla chips or melba toast.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Bacon Wrapped Dates

Who doesn't love a sweet & salty combo? And, isn't anything better when it's wrapped in bacon?? These are so easy (and relatively inexpensive to make), and are always a huge hit. I promise you won't disappoint if you show up to a party with a plate full of these bad boys. You will notice that I have only posted the "before" pic - ("Why" you might ask?) They're definitely not the most attractive appetizer once they've been cooked . . . but looks can be deceiving!
{Prep Time: 15 mins / Difficulty: Easy! / Cooking Time: 15-20 mins / Yields: 25-30 dates}

1 (8 oz) package of pitted dates
30 toothpicks
1 (16 oz) package of original bacon (not the thick cut - I like to use the Hormel brand) 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Position oven rack in the center of the oven. Cover a cookie sheet with tin foil, and set aside.
2. Cut each slice of bacon into thirds. Roll each date in a piece of bacon, place seam-side down on the baking sheet, and pierce with a toothpick (to hold it in place). Repeat until all the dates are wrapped in bacon.
3. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until crisp. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving. These are great served at room temperature too and travel really well!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Icing

By far, the best strawberry cake I've ever tasted! Definitely adding this one to my all-time favorite recipes. Enjoy!
{Prep Time: 15 mins / Cooking Time: 30-35 mins / Difficulty: Easy / Yields: 2-8" round cakes}

Strawberry Cake Recipe:

3 large eggs
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup oil
*Baker's Joy cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut parchment paper to line the bottom of two 8" pans and place inside. Spray both pans with Baker's joy and set aside. If you don't have Bakers Joy, spray the pans, then dust with flour. This will prevent the cakes from sticking to the pan. Do not omit this step!
2. In a large bowl, beat all ingredients together on medium speed until there are no more lumps. (Batter will be thick). Divide batter evenly between both pans. Pound pans 5-10 times on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 30-35 minutes (longer, if necessary) until the cake springs back when touched. Insert a toothpick in the center - if it comes out clean, the cakes are done!
3. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Cool in the pans for at least 15 minutes, then turn out on a cooling rack and cool completely before frosting.

Strawberry Frosting Recipe:

1 cup butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
1 cup (8 oz) vegetable shortening
1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 pounds (~8 cups) powdered sugar
6 tablespoons of Nesquik Strawberry Syrup
2 tablespoons of milk (+ more as needed)

1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and shortening until smooth.
2. Add the vanilla and stir to combine.
3. Slowly mix in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time.
4. When it starts to get thick or difficult to mix (at about cup #6), go ahead and mix in the strawberry syrup and milk. If it's still too thick for spreading or decorating, add more milk as needed to reach the desired consistency.
*Yields about 8 cups of frosting*

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Black Bean, Jicama & Roasted Corn Salsa

{ Prep Time: 15 mins / Difficulty: Easy! / Yields: 3 cups }

1 (8.5 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained & rinsed
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained & rinsed
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste, if desired
ground pepper, to taste
juice from 2 limes
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp packed brown sugar
3/4 cup *jicama, peeled & diced
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1 serrano chili (or jalepeƱo), minced
2 green onions (w/ green tops), cut into thin slices
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Baked tortilla chips or pita chips for dunking

1. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tsp olive oil. Heat pan for 1 minute until hot, then add the corn. Season the corn with 1/4 tsp salt, a pinch of black pepper and chili powder; and cook until the corn is golden brown and pops in the pan ~ about 10 mins or so. Now you know where the word "pop" corn came from! Stir occasionally, so corn doesn't burn.
2. Meanwhile, whisk together lime juice, cumin, ground coriander, brown sugar, and remaining olive oil in a small bowl. Remove the rib and seeds from the pepper (unless you like it spicy) and finely chop. Chop the red onion, green onions, and cilantro as well. 
3. In a large bowl (I always use a bigger bowl so I have enough room for mixing - you're going to have to wash a dish regardless, so why not go bigger??) combine corn, beans, jicama, red onion and serrano chili. Gently mix together, then pour the dressing over the mixture and combine.
4. Lastly, fold in the green onions and the fresh cilantro. Taste and add any additional seasonings. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl, cover and set aside for at least an hour so the flavors can blend together.
This was a HIT at our last get-together ~ completely gone by the end of the night! Serve at room temperature with baked tortilla or pita chips. (This can be made up to 2 days in advance. If making ahead, prepare dish, then cover and refrigerate. Then remove from fridge about 45 mins before serving.)

* A jicama is a mexican potato and can be found in the produce section of your local grocery store - in the same section where you can find garlic and shallots. It is similar in texture and taste to a water chestnut. I had to ask one of the produce guys to find one for me cuz I'm assuming they're not a popular vegetable. *

Adapted from Diane Morgan's Recipe: "Skinny Dips"

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Broccoli Salad

This is another side dish that aims to please! A yummy refreshing salad for the hot summer days. I love dishes that can be prepared the night before!
{ Prep time: 30 mins / Difficulty: Easy / Yields: 8-10 servings }

2 large bunches of fresh broccoli florets (about 1.5 lbs.)
6-8 oz. bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled (can substitute turkey bacon, if desired)
1/4 small red onion, diced (optional ~ a little of this goes a long way!) 
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
1/3 cup purple grapes, halved, OR 1/4 cup craisins or raisins
1/4 cup slivered almonds OR 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, toasted 
1/8 tsp salt and pepper + more to taste

For dressing:
1 cup Hellman's light mayo
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2-3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt, plus more to taste 
1/2 tsp pepper, plus more to taste

1. Line a 9x13" baking sheet with foil, then place bacon side by side onto the baking sheet. Place pan in the center of the oven, and bake at 425 degrees for 25-30 minutes. (Yes, you read that right! Put the bacon in the oven while it's preheating.) Cooking time may vary depending on thickness of bacon. Flip bacon, then cook 5 more minutes. Place cooked bacon on paper towels to drain excess grease, then set aside to cool. Then, chop into small bite-sized pieces. 
2. Meanwhile, whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Rinse the broccoli and cut into small bite-sized pieces. Add the bacon, grapes/craisins, onion, cheese, almonds and/or sunflower seeds. 
3. Add dressing to the salad mixture and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, if necessary. 
4. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours, or preferably overnight for best flavor.

Adapted from a recipe found in Mama's "From My Kitchen, With Love" Cookbook

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Taco Soup

An easy yummy make-ahead dish that's very similar to chili. Hearty and healthy, this dish is super tasty and very easy to prepare!
{ Prep Time: 20 mins / Difficulty: Easy / Yields: 6-8 servings }

1 lb. lean ground beef 
1 cup yellow onion, diced (optional)
1 (15 oz) can of whole kernel corn, drained & rinsed
1 (15 oz) can light red kidney beans, undrained 
1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans, undrained
1 (15 oz) can black beans, undrained
2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes (or rotel), undrained
1 (4 1/2 oz) can diced green chilis
1-3 cups of water
1 1/4 oz homemade taco seasoning mix
1 1/4 oz Hidden Valley ranch seasoning
1/2-1 tsp cayenne (optional, use only if you want an extra kick!)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Fritos Scoops or tortilla chips
shredded cheddar cheese
chopped green onions
fresh cilantro, chopped
sour cream (optional)

1. In a skillet or dutch oven set to medium high heat, brown the beef and onion together until beef is no longer pink. Drain & rinse under warm water, if you're concerned about reducing the fat content. (The rinsing part is completely optional.)
2. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, green chilis, taco & ranch seasoning. Add just enough water to barely cover the ingredients; then bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover & simmer for an hour. Taste & adjust seasoning accordingly. *Note: you can transfer all the ingredients to a crockpot at this point, and cook on low for 6-8 hours. 
3. To serve, place corn chips in bowls, then ladle soup over them and top with desired garnishes. 

Recipe adapted from Paula Dean's recipe on All Recipes

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Vegetable Soup with Pesto

Chilly weather gives me the perfect excuse for making a delicious pot of soup! Fall is my favorite time of year! The days are warm and the nights are chilly. Enjoy this healthy, hearty soup!

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large leek, thinly sliced (optional)
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
1 carrot, quartered and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
6 1/4 cups water
1 red potato, diced
5 1/2 oz green beans, chopped into small pieces
5 1/2 oz fresh or frozen peas
2 small zucchini, quartered and sliced lengthwise
1 (14 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3 1/2 oz spinach leaves, cut into thin ribbons
salt and pepper, to taste
several tablespoons of pesto sauce
saltines or crackers of your choice

1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and leek and cook for 5 mins, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens. Add the celery, carrot, and garlic ~ cover and cook for an additional 5 mins, stirring frequently.
2. Add the water, potato, and green beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, then simmer (covered) for 5 mins.
3. Add the peas, zucchini, cannellini beans, and season generously with salt and pepper. Cover again and simmer for about 25 mins until all the veggies are tender.
4. Add the spinach to the soup and simmer for another 5 mins. Taste and adjust the seasoning and stir in about a tablespoon of the pesto into the soup. Ladle into warm bowls and top each bowl with a tsp or so of pesto. If you like pesto, feel free to add as much as you'd like!
5. Serve hot with crackers.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Light Chicken & Turkey Sausage Gumbo

First off, I must say, if you don't own a dutch oven, you must go buy one! I got this beautiful red one at Macy's a couple of months ago (how I lived my life without one up until now I do.not.know!). This thing is a-w-e-s-o-m-e. I use mine every chance I get. I found this gumbo recipe in one of my fitness magazines and made a few tweaks since I refuse to eat shrimp.
{ Prep Time: 10 mins / Cooking Time: 20 mins / Difficulty: Easy / Yields: 4-6 servings }

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" cubes
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 turkey sausages, casing removed, cut into 1/2" slices
3 cups celery, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh thyme, chopped
2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
fried okra, optional

1. Generously sprinkle both sides of chicken with Cajun seasoning. Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown chicken and sausage, turning once, 3-5 mins. If you haven't chopped your veggies, now's a perfect time to do so.
2. Add celery, onion, bell pepper, garlic and thyme. Cook until vegetables start to soften, about 2-3 mins. Reduce heat to medium.
3. Sprinkle flour over entire mixture. Cook, stirring, 1 min. Add tomatoes (in their juice) and chicken broth. Simmer, covered, until chicken is cooked through, about 10 mins.
4. Garnish with parsley and serve with fried okra.

Recipe borrowed from Self Magazine

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Mango Guacamole

I wasn't sure how I felt about mixing avocados and mangoes together, but I must admit - I was pleasantly surprised. I found this recipe while I was searching for "Carribean themed appetizers" and thought I'd give it a try. Guacamole is always a great dish for large groups of people. This guacamole was a huge hit and was super easy to prepare! (It has a little bit of a kick to it - so if you want to reduce the spiciness, use jalepenos or omit the peppers altogether.) Don't you just love how pretty this dish is? I love the bright colors! 
{ Prep Time: 20 mins / Difficulty: Easy / Yields: 8 servings }

4-6 ripe avocados (2 pounds total)
1 cup white onion, finely chopped
2 fresh Serrano chilies, finely chopped (seeds included)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (or to taste)
3/4 cup peeled mango, diced
1 1/4 tsp salt
crushed red pepper (optional)
lime wedges, for garnish
pita chips or tortilla chips

1. Halve and pit avocados. Scrape contents of avocados into a large mixing bowl, then mash with potato masher or the back of a large spoon. Stir in onion, chilies, salt and lime juice. Fold in mangoes and cilantro.
2. Garnish with cilantro, crushed red pepper and lime wedges. Serve with pita chips or tortilla chips.
3. Guacamole can be refrigerated up to 4 hours in advance. Cover tightly with saran wrap and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Adapted from a recipe found on

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Savory Spinach Bites

If you're looking for a tasty, healthy appetizer, these spinach bites will be a perfect addition to your menu! You can prepare these ahead of time and place dough in refrigerator until you're ready to roll into balls and bake. (I'd only prepare the dough a day or two in advance.) They also taste just as good reheated in a toaster oven the next day.
{ Prep Time: 15 mins / Cooking Time: 18 mins / Difficulty: Easy / Yields: about 3 dozen }

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 small yellow or white onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 (10 oz) packages of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
12 oz of herbed seasoned stuffing mix
6 large eggs
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp each of salt and pepper, plus more to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large saucepan over medium high heat, melt the butter - about 2 mins.
3. Add the onion and cook until onions are translucent and soft, about 5 mins. Then add the garlic and cook for another 30-45 seconds. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
4. Meanwhile, in a colander, squeeze the excess water from the spinach. (You do not need to cook the spinach.) In a large bowl, add all the ingredients and mix until combined.
5. Roll the mixture into 1 1/2" balls and place on prepared baking sheet about 2" apart. Bake for 18-20 mins, or until spinach balls are slightly browned on top.

Recipe adapted from a recipe found on The Curvy Carrot

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Coconut Cranberry Bars

{ Prep Time: 30 mins / Difficulty: Easy! / Yields: 36 bars }

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 24 squares)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup pecan halves
1 cup flaked coconut (you can use sweetened or unsweetened coconut...these bars are pretty sweet, so I'd suggest unsweetened)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13x9x2" pan with butter flavored cooking spray; and set aside. In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and butter and mix until crumbly. Press into prepared pan. (Crust will be a very thin layer.)

2. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Gently spread mixture over crust. Bake at 350 for 25-28 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Cut into bars.

Recipe borrowed from Taste of Home Holiday Recipes

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