Monday, September 30, 2013

Chocolate Trail Mix

  Chocolate Trail Mix
 Easy, Peasy, Lemon Squeezy- this snack is so quick and easy.  My kids gobble it up and it is great for Fall hikes, apple picking, school lunches... you get the picture.  You can add or delete as you see fit.  If I have white chocolate pieces, I throw some in or cereal of your choice or pretzel pieces- anything goes and you can"t go wrong! Enjoy!
  • 3 cups nuts (I used peanuts, almonds, and pecans)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  1. Mix together the nuts, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, raisins, and dried cranberries or cherries. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper.
  2. Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave. Pour the chocolate over the baking sheet in ribbons. Stir to coat everything. Let the chocolate cool, then break the mix into pieces and pack it in individual containers. Makes 12 servings.

Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ingredients  Pumpkin Cheesecake (with caramel swirl) 

Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake

This is perfect for a fall celebration- I serve it at Thanksgiving and it is a nice change from Pumpkin Pie.  You can substitute graham crackers for the gingersnaps in the crust if you'd like.  This is a winner! Enjoy!







  • Crust:
  • 1 1/2 C. ground gingersnap cookies
  • 1 1/2 C. toasted pecans
  • 1/4 C. firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 C. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • Filling:
  • 4 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 2/3 C. sugar
  • 1 1/2 C. canned solid pack pumpkin
  • 9 Tbs. whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 Tbs. purchased caramel sauce
  • 1 C. sour cream


To make crust, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Finely grind crushed cookies, pecans and sugar in processor. Add melted butter and blend until combined. Press crust mixture onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides.

To make filling, using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until light. Transfer 3/4 C. mixture to small bowl; cover tightly and refrigerate to use for topping. Add pumpkin, 4 Tbs. whipping cream, ground cinnamon and ground allspice to mixture in large bowl and beat until well combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating just until combined. Pour filling into crust.

Bake until cheesecake puffs, top browns and center moves only slightly when pan is shaken, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Transfer cheesecake to rack and cool 10 minutes.   Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight. Bring remaining 3/4 C. cream cheese mixture to room temperature.

Add remaining 5 Tbs. whipping cream to cream cheese mixture and stir to combine. Press down firmly on edges of cheesecake to even thickness. Pour cream cheese mixture over cheesecake, spreading evenly. Spoon caramel sauce in lines over cream cheese mixture. Using tip of knife, swirl caramel sauce into cream cheese mixture. Can be prepared 1 day ahead.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Low Fat Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

I enjoy a smoothie evrey morning so I am always looking for ones that satisfy and taste great.  This one fits the bill.  I use this as my basic recipe, but you can add to it as you see fit.  Sometimes I put in a scoop of whey protein, teaspoon of flaxseed, or a scoop of rolled oats.  My kids like a squirt of whipped cream on top.  Play around with it and see what you like!


Low Fat Pumpkin Pie Smoothie


  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 very ripe medium-sized banana
  • 3/4 cup fat-free vanilla yogurt (I used Oikos 0% fat Greek vanilla yogurt)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup crushed ice


Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth, making sure the ice is completely crushed.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Gingerbread-Pumpkin Vanilla Trifle

Gingerbread-Pumpkin Vanilla Trifle

This is one of those desserts that is so easy to throw together for a crowd.  It is always impresive as well.  There is also not a crumb left in the bowl.  It is gobbled up by one and all.  Treat yourself to this one this season!
Gingerbread Pumpkin Vanilla Trifle



  1. Prepare and bake gingerbread according to package directions, using two greased 9-in. round baking pans. Cool completely on wire racks.
  2. Meanwhile, for pudding, in a large saucepan, combine pudding mix and milk; stir until smooth. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Cook and stir 1-2 minutes longer or until thickened. Remove from the heat; cool to room temperature. Combine pumpkin and brown sugar; stir into pudding.
  3. In a 4-qt. glass serving bowl, crumble one gingerbread cake; gently press down. Top with half of pudding mixture and whipped topping. Repeat layers. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Sinfully Delicious Chocolate Tart

Sinfully Delicious Chocolate Tart

This is one of my favorite desserts to throw together at the last minute! Super easy and so satisfying.  You may use bittersweet or semisweet chocolate depending on your taste. Also, the crust can be modified to use any type of cookie you desire.  I like the gingersnaps for fall.  It is unexpected and gives the tart some zing.. I have also made it with oreo, chocolate chip, or peanut butter cookies too.  All are amazing!  You may garnish with chopped Andes candies to add a mint flavor, white chocolate shavings, peanut butter cups(chopped)- Anything goes! Enjoy!




  • 1 1/2 cups gingersnap crumbs (about 39 cookies)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
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  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 15 ounces bittersweet  or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract



  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together first 3 ingredients. Firmly press on bottom and up sides of a 9-inch tart pan. Bake 8 to 9 minutes.   Cool on a wire rack 30 minutes.
  2. 2. Bring cream to a boil in a 3-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat.
  3. 3. Process chocolate in a food processor or blender until finely ground. With processor running, pour hot cream and vanilla through food chute in a slow, steady stream, processing until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides as needed.
  4. 4. Pour mixture into cooled crust. Chill, uncovered, 3 hours. Garnish, if desired.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cheesy Corn and Grits Casserole

Cheesy Corn and Grits Casserole

Oh my, my! This is a tasty one!  We in Maryland never know if we are really Southerners or not - North says we are, true South says we're not. Grits are usually served in the South as a staple, but don't let geography stop you form this dish.  It is incredible. Cheese, corn, and yummy grits- what more could you want.  If you've never had grits, give this a try.  If you are a fan of grits, need I say more, run right out to get the ingredients, but you probably have them all in your panty anyway! Enjoy ya'll!

  • 4 cup(s) (1 qt) whole milk
  • 1 cup(s) quick-cooking grits
  • 1 can(s) (15 1⁄4 oz) corn niblets, drained
  • 1 1/4 cup(s) (5 oz) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 6 scallions, chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) pepper

  1. Heat oven to 375ºF. Lightly coat a shallow 2-qt baking dish with nonstick spray.
  2. Bring milk to a gentle boil in a 3-qt saucepan; slowly whisk in grits. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, 5 to 7 minutes until thickened.
  3. Remove from heat; stir in corn, 1 cup cheese, the scallions, egg, salt, thyme and pepper. Pour into prepared dish.
  4. Bake, uncovered, 15 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1⁄4 cup cheese and bake 15 minutes more until set. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Can be baked up to 2 days ahead. Refrigerate covered. Bring to room temperature before reheating in microwave or in oven.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Delicious, Gooey Apple Crisp

It is that time of year again! Apples, Apples, Apples.  This is a dessert I like to make for the family.  Everyone gobbles it down every time I make it! It is quick and easy and satisfies the Autumn Sweet Tooth. Serve with french vanilla ice cream for an added treat! Enjoy.


  • 2 1/2 pounds medium Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples (about 5 or 6), peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup uncooked rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1/2 stick), cut into small pieces, plus more for coating the dish
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Lightly coat an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with butter.
  2. Combine the apples, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt in a large bowl and toss to coat. Place the apple mixture in the prepared baking dish and set aside.
  3. Using the same bowl as for mixing the apples, mix together the brown sugar, oats, flour, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt until evenly combined. With your fingertips, blend in the butter pieces until small clumps form and the butter is well incorporated, about 2 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the apples and bake until the streusel is crispy and the apples are tender, about 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool on a rack at least 30 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Two Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

Two Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees .
  2. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time. Remove 1 cup of batter and spread into bottom of crust; set aside.
  3. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the remaining batter and stir gently until well blended. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is almost set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Cover with whipped topping before serving.

Pumpkin Pancakes






Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkin for breakfast is a treat way to start the day. Ready in minutes, this recipe is especially good topped with a drizzle of real maple syrup.


1 medium egg
1 cup milk
¾ cup unbleached white flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup cooked pumpkin
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch powdered ginger
2 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, as needed


  1. Combine all ingredients except vegetable oil in a large mixing bowl, whisking to blend.
  2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a medium skillet over medium. Add ¼ cup pancake batter at a time, allowing to cook until bubbles break around the edges. Flip and allow to cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes, until light golden. Repeat with remaining oil and batter.