Feb 28, 2012

Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

granola bars 1

You can never go wrong with a granola bar as a quick snack/treat.  I happen to really like the combination of oats and chocolate.  So these were the perfect simple recipe to make if you don’t want to buy these at the store.  You can add in nuts or dried fruits or peanut butter to make these your own – I think I liked them just the way they are.


granola bars 2


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup crispy rice cereal
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp. mini chocolate chips


1. In a large bowl, stir oats and rice cereal together. Set aside.

2. In a small pot, melt butter, honey and brown sugar together over medium high heat until it comes to a bubble. Reduce the heat and cook 2 minutes. Add in vanilla and stir.

3. Pour into dry ingredients and mix well to moisten all ingredients. Pour into lightly greased small jelly roll pan (about 12x8x1) and press out to be about 3/4 inch in thickness (you will not use the entire pan).  Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and press down lightly.  Cool on a countertop to room temperature for two hours or until the chocolate chips are set before cutting into bars.  Store at room temperature.

Source: Lauren’s Latest

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Feb 24, 2012

Homemade Cheez-its

cheese its 2

I’ve had this recipe saved forever and I was determined to make my own crackers recently.  I could not believe how simple they were to make.  When I finished them and tasted the first one – I was so excited I put some in a small bowl and brought them to my husband to try.  He proceeds to tell me that he doesn’t like cheez-its and that he as never liked cheez-its!  That was the first time I had ever heard that from him!  I guess you can be together almost 10 years and still learn something new about each other.    Didn’t matter – all that meant is that I got to enjoy more of these for myself.   If you are a cheez-it fan – definitely try these and thank me later.  Enjoy!

cheese its 1


  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into small squares
  • 8 oz. grated extra-sharp 2% cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • kosher salt, for sprinkling


1. In a food processor, combine all ingredients (except extra kosher salt) and pulse until crumbly.

2. Add cold water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, until dough comes together (I used 3 Tbsp. of water). Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes until chilled.

3. Roll out dough between two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper (in two batches). Roll out to 1/8-inch thickness and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Use a pizza cutter to cut into 1-inch squares. Sprinkle with kosher salt.

4. Bake for 25 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

5. Remove from oven when crisp and brown. Allow to cool and serve or store in an airtight container.

Source: The Sweets Life

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Feb 22, 2012

Heath bar crunch Ice Cream

heath ice cream 2

Everyone has a favorite candy bar – my husband’s definitely is Heath bars. I like them too – but I think they are best when mixed into ice cream or brownies.  I haven’t made any homemade ice cream in awhile – so I thought I would quickly correct that with this treat.  

I think this is one of my very favorite ice creams – it is super easy (and yes there are ‘raw’ eggs in it – but it is frozen eventually).  If that freaks you out – you may want to just try a basic vanilla ice cream and mix in some of your favorite candies.  


heath ice cream 3


  • 4 original Heath bars (1 1/8 oz. each)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract


1. Using a sharp knife, coarsely chop the Heath bars into large chunks.  Place the chunks in a bowl, cover, and freeze for about 1 hour.

2. Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes.  Whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minute more.  Pour in the cream, milk, vanilla extract, and whisk to blend. 

3. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

4. After the ice cream has churned, transfer half of it to an air-tight storage container.  Top with half of the Heath Bar pieces.  Transfer the remaining ice cream to the container and top with the remaining Heath Bar pieces.  Mix well until the candy pieces are evenly mixed throughout the ice cream.  Store in the freezer until the ice cream is hardened.

Source: Annie’s Eats originally from Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Book

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Feb 20, 2012

Black and White Cookies

black and white cookies 1

These are the classic – black and white cookie – and they are much simpler than I thought!  I was making something for a friend and her family – and I only had one egg and I had no desire to run out to the store for more – so I had to search for a good recipe that only had one egg.   I was seriously surprised how many cookie recipes call for more than one egg! 

black and white cookies 2

My husband and I were in long island last year for a wedding and on our way home stopped and bought some bagels and black and white cookies.  So the last time I had one of these it was truly authentic – and I can honestly tell you that these were just as good as the ones straight from the source!  Enjoy!

black and white cookies 3


Cookies (makes 12)

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 10 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/3 cup sour cream


  • 5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 7 Tbsp. milk
  • 2 Tbsp. corn syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Adjust racks to upper middle and lower middle.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.

2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

3.  Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium-high until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until combined.  Reduce the speed to low, add the flour in 3 additions alternating with 2 additions of sour cream, scraping down the bowl as needed. Give the dough a final stir by hand.

4. Using a greased 1/4 cup measure, drop cookie dough 3 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets.   Bake until the edges are lightly brown, 15 to 18 minutes, switching and rotating the sheets halfway through baking. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, 1 hour. 

5. To make the glaze: Whisk sugar, 6 Tbsp. milk, corn syrup, vanilla and salt together in a bowl until smooth.  Transfer 1 cup of glaze to a small bowl and reserve.  Whisk cocoa and the remaining 1 Tbsp. of milk into the remaining glaze until combined. 

6. Working 1 cookie at a time, spread 1 Tbsp. of vanilla glaze over half of the underside of a cookie (the flat side) with an offset spatula.  Refrigerate until the glaze is set, about 15 minutes.  Cover the other half of the cookies with 1 Tbsp. of chocolate glaze and let the cookies sit at room temperature until the glaze is firm, about 1 hour. The cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Source: Cook’s Country Magazine

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Feb 13, 2012

Chocolate Crème Brulee

chocolate creme brulee 4

Tomorrow is Valentines Day!  Red heart   My husband and I really don’t ‘celebrate’ on Valentines day – but I always love an excuse to make a special dessert.  He already bought me flowers – so they are blooming for Valentines day and he doesn’t have to pay the outrageous price mark-up just because it’s a certain calendar date. 

If you are looking for a last-minute dessert to make and you want something impressive and outrageously delicious.  This is for you.  It is like a super smooth, creamy pudding topped with a crispy, crunchy sugary top.  

chocolate creme brulee 1

And seriously – who doesn’t want to play with fire?   My husband was very happy to help out with this photo!

chocoalte creme brulee

I added a few fresh raspberries to mine – I thought it was the perfect accompaniment to this.  I decided I need to make more crème brulee really soon. 

chocolate creme brulee 2


  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 4 Tablespoons granulated sugar (plus more for the burnt sugar topping)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split
  • 4.5 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • extra sugar for topping (I used turbinado)


1. Preheat your oven to 300°F and assemble 4 ceramic crème brulee tarts in a roasting pan.

2. Whisk together two tablespoons of sugar with the egg yolks.

3. Bring the cream, two remaining tablespoons of sugar and vanilla bean to a simmer over medium heat.  Once it begins to foam, remove from heat and fish out the vanilla bean. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the cream and discard the pod. Add the chocolate to the mixture and stir until completely melted and smooth.

4. Pour about 1/2 a cup of the warm chocolate cream into the bowl with the eggs while whisking. Then add the remaining cream and mix well.

5. On a large 4-cup glass measuring cup (or another large spouted vessel), place a fine mesh sieve over the vessel and pour in the custard.

6. Pour the strained mixture between the tarts, tapping the roasting pan gently on the counter to settle the custard and remove any air bubbles. Pour hot water into your roasting pan so it comes up roughly as high as the custard and then bake for 25-35 minutes, until set.

7. Allow to cool to room temperature and then chill in the refrigerator until cold. 

8. When ready to serve,  sprinkle each with 1-2 tablespoons granulated sugar and torch them until melted. Allow the sugar to set and then serve.

Source: Not So Humble Pie

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Feb 7, 2012

Chicken wraps w/black bean salsa and guacamole

chicken wraps

I am always looking for easy, healthy lunches and dinners.   As soon as I saw this recipe I knew it was right up my alley – it reminded me of something I would order if I saw it on the menu at a deli.  I made this much easier on myself by buying a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken and shredding it myself.   So I just had to mix up the black bean salsa and the guacamole.   I loved every bit of this sandwich – I would probably eat it every day if I could – I ate it for dinner one night, then lunch the next two days.  I doubt I would even grow tired of it if I did!  Enjoy!


For the guacamole:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped

For the black bean salsa:

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. jalapeño, finely minced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup corn (defrosted if frozen)
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin

To assemble:

  • 6 large spinach or whole wheat wraps
  • 2 roasted chicken breasts, diced or shredded
  • 4-5 cups baby spinach leaves
  • Monterey jack cheese, shredded


1. To make the guacamole: split the avocados and remove the pits.  Scoop the flesh into a medium bowl.  Mash with a fork until smooth.  Add in the onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and jalapeño.  Continue mashing until it has a fluffy, whipped texture.  Adjust seasonings to taste.

2. To make the black bean salsa: combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl.  Toss to combine and refrigerate to allow the flavors to mingle.

3. Briefly microwave the tortillas or wraps to warm them and make them malleable.  Place a tortilla on a work surface and spread 2 tablespoons of guacamole on top.  Add about 1/4 cup of the cooked chicken to the bottom third of the tortilla.  Top with 3 tablespoons of the black bean salsa,  a handful of baby spinach leaves and a sprinkle of cheese.

4. Roll the bottom edge up and over the fillings, fold the sides inward, and roll tightly the rest of the way, burrito-style.  Place on a cutting board and slice diagonally. 

Source: adapted from Annie’s Eats

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Feb 2, 2012

Sesame crusted Salmon

sesame crusted salmon 1

Salmon is really the only fish that I buy consistently.   In an effort to not waste too much food – I try to plan my meals each week so that some dinners give leftovers and some don’t.  So salmon is one of my easy go-to items to make when I already have a fridge full for leftovers for lunches.

[I would never make extra salmon to bring to work for lunch – I am not going to be that person who stinks up the entire office by reheating fish in the microwave]

I loved how perfect the sesame seeds crusted onto the salmon – I burnt my finger getting that perfection!   But it was worth it – so is the quick pan sauce you make to dip the salmon in.  I served this with some rice and some roasted sugar snap peas – seriously a perfect meal!  Enjoy!

sesame crusted salmon 2


for the glaze:

  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. mirin
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. cold water

for the salmon:

  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 salmon fillets, about 8 oz. each
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil


1. To make the glaze: combine the soy sauce, mirin, chicken broth, sugar and garlic in a small bowl; whisk to blend.  In another small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water and whisk until smooth.

2. To make the salmon: combine the egg white and cornstarch in a shallow dish and whisk to blend.  Brush the skinless side of each salmon fillet with the egg white mixture. 

3. Place the sesame seeds in a second shallow dish.  Dip the side of the salmon fillets with the egg mixture in the sesame seeds and press gently to coat completely.

4. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot, place the salmon in the pan, seeded side down, and cook for about 5 minutes or until the sesame seeds are golden brown.  Turn and continue cooking an additional 3 minutes or until cooked through (about 130 degrees F).  Remove to a plate, tent with foil, and set aside.

5. Pour off any oil remaining in the skillet and lower the heat to medium.  Add the soy sauce mixture to the pan and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Whisk in the cornstarch-water mixture and continue simmering until the sauce has thickened, about 1 minute more.  Serve immediately with the warm salmon fillets.

Source: Annie’s Eats

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