Friday, September 7, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Stuffed Oreos

TGIF!!  What a long/short week this has been!  Even though I only worked 3 days, it seemed to last forever!  The temperatures have been over 100 deg all week, so it's just miserable to even leave the house.  Thank goodness cooler weather is moving in tonight and the next 7 days look fantastic.  Looking forward to a cool, 10 mile run tomorrow morning at 6 a.m.  It may even be "cold"!

Speaking of running, next week starts week 7 of my 18 week marathon training.  Its been pretty normal to this point, only adding 1 extra day of running and a few extra miles to my typical workout schedule.  Next week, the miles start adding on and we start getting serious and down to business.  Between marathon training, school starting back up, and working, my baking has had to be moved to the back burner.  I have even had to turn a few people down, because I just couldn't fit it in.  And starting in 2 weeks, I will be going back to work 5 days instead of my usual 4.  I guess it's good to feel/be needed, but I will definitely miss that middle of the week day off!!
I was able to spend a little time in the kitchen last Friday night, but just haven't had a chance to blog about it.  I found these Chocolate Chip Cookie Stuffed Oreos that Jenny shared on her blog, Picky Palate.  These were so fun and easy to make - it is hard to eat just one!  Oreos are already hard to resist, but just think about Oreos on steroids!  A couple of changes that I made to her recipe:

1)  By looking at her photo, I think she used Double Stuffed Oreos, because she has more cream oozing out.  I used regular Oreos (to save a few calories).  Feel free to use either.
2)  I only used 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips (also to save a few calories).
3)  My recipe made enough dough to put on 54 cookies, where as her yield was 32 cookies.  She must have put more dough on each Oreo than I did, but I was afraid that the dough would bake over the cookie.  

According to my recipe changes, each cookie has 100 calories - not too bad for a chocolaty snack.

Also, this past Wednesday was National Cheese Pizza Day.  I celebrated by making my family homemade pizza for dinner.  This is a favorite of theirs, but I usually only make it about once a month or so.  I made the boys a cheese pizza to share, my husband had an individual pizza with turkey sausage and black olives, and mine was an individual with grilled chicken and red bell peppers.  YUM-O!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Chocolate Whoopie Pies

It's incredible how fast this summer is flying by! And just how incredibly hot it is!! I just haven't had the desire to turn on the oven lately. That is linked to my lack of blogging as well as a busy schedule. 

Last week, my family went on vacation. We met up with my brother and his family in Destin, FL for a few days. It was so relaxing to just hang out at the beach and pool and enjoy each other's company! Then on Wednesday, we headed to Atlanta to spend a few days with some great friends that moved there last summer. We went to a Braves game, the Georgia Aquarium, Six Flags, and took in some shopping. It was a lot of fun to reconnect with them plus visit Atlanta and take in the sights!

This week has been spent getting back into a routine.  The boys have Orchestra Camp all week, so I had the entire day off all to myself. Started out at the gym this morning with an elliptical and bike workout (I am still out of running commission with my leg injury) then back home to shower and start some laundry. I met Thomas at Panera Bread (my favorite eating place) for lunch, then headed over to Hastings where I picked up the first season DVD's of Friends. I didn't watch the show when it was aired on TV, but I have been watching reruns on Nick at Nite lately and have been wanting to see it from the beginning.

After I came home, I decided today was a good day for some "kitchen therapy".  The first thing I made was a recipe for Frosty Chocolate Treat that is supposed to taste like a Wendy's frosty. It was very easy to make with very few ingredients, but it made a lot.  I had to do 2 1/2 different batches with my Cuisinart ice cream maker that makes 2 qts. at a time. The texture was very smooth and similar to the Frosty, but it was lacking in the chocolate flavor. I don't mind because I prefer the vanilla, but if you want a more chocolate flavor, you might want to add some chocolate syrup to the mix.
Next, I decided to whip up a batch of chocolate whoopie pies to send with the boys to youth group tonight. Several months ago, I bought a cute Nordic Ware Funny Face Treat pan from the clearance aisle at Target, but I haven't had the chance to use it yet. Today was the day!  I used the recipe that came with the pan. It has a more mild chocolate taste, so next time I will use a little dutch cocoa powder to give it a darker chocolate flavor. I loved the filling - it was a mixture of butter cream frosting with marshmallow cream mixed in. YUMMY!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

4th of July Festive Treats

I hope everyone had an awesome 4th of July.  It was a little strange not seeing or hearing fireworks go off in the neighborhood due to the burn ban and fireworks ban, but we watched some excellent displays on TV.  

Even though it's been a while since I last posted, I have been doing some baking in the kitchen.  I just haven't had a chance to blog about it.  Since yesterday was the 4th, I decided to make some goodies that would celebrate the festivities as well as summer.  My friend was having a Scentsy party and I had some recipes that I wanted to try, so I made them and brought them to the party to share.
The first treat I made is from the recipe for Jello Pinwheels that I shared with you on March 17.  I made 3 recipes and layered them. The first layer was strawberry, the second layer blue raspberry and the third layer strawberry again.  Allow each layer to set before adding the next on top.  After setting up, I took a star cutter and cut out shapes.  The final product, Jello Stars, has a layered effect representing the red, white and blue stars.
The second treat I made was a recipe I found a few days ago at Glorious Treats.  It is Watermelon Krispie Treats and they are so cute! I added them to my "make right away" recipe pile.  Homemade rice krispie treats are one of my favorite simple sweets, along with S'mores.  They are sweet and crispy and relatively low in calories.  I sliced mine into 24 slices and used mini chocolate chips for the watermelon seeds. These were very easy to make and my kids loved them!

These are two great recipes for summer that your kids will love without having to heat up the oven.  The Jello can be colored and adapted to any holiday or occasion.  Just change up the colors and the cutter shapes.  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Peanut Butter Pie

Happy Father's Day to my dad, my father-in-law and my husband.  They are all great fathers and tremendous examples of love, commitment and godly leadership to their families.  I love you all!

My favorite gifts to give to each of them for Father's Day comes from my kitchen - homemade treats for each of them.  One of my dad's favorite is Strawberry Pie, which this is the perfect time of year to indulge in the abundance of sweet strawberries readily available.  My father in law loves my chocolate turtles, so it is a treat when he gets them on Father's Day.  He hides them from the rest of the family and ever so slowly savors them a little at a time to make them last.  He usually drops me some hints when he begins to run a little low!!  For Thomas, I usually like to experiment with a new recipe.  He likes just about everything that I make and doesn't really have a particular favorite when it comes to sweets.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting in the dentist office flipping through a Southern Living magazine and I saw this recipe for Peanut Butter-Banana Icebox Pie.  It looked delicious and in this summer heat, I tend to look for recipes that are light and cool and don't require much baking.  This was perfect.  Instead of ripping out the recipe in the magazine (that would be rude, then no one else could see and try this amazing pie!), I came home and looked it up online.  I found the recipe on the Southern Living website.  Here is the recipe link for Peanut Butter-Banana Icebox Pie that you must try.

This pie was just the right amount of peanut butter, with a slight hint of cinnamon in the crust and the perfect consistency.  Drizzle with a little chocolate syrup and a top with a dollop of whipped cream and you are in heaven!  I made a few changes to the original recipe to lighten it calorie wise, but it still was pretty high in calories.  Since tasting it, I have a few more changes to make that will help it out a little without affecting the taste, that I will try next time.

Sharla's recipe changes:
  1. I used regular graham cracker crumbs and added 1 tsp of cinnamon
  2. I did not use the chopped honey roasted peanuts (which saved a few calories)
  3. I used light butter (saving 400 calories) - light butter is usually not a good option in baked goods but it worked great in this recipe.
  4. I used milk chocolate chips in place of semisweet chocolate. 
  5. I used light cream cheese (saving 240 calories)
  6. I left out the bananas, because I didn't want them turning brown and getting mushy before we were able to finish eating the pie.
Slicing this pie into 10 slices, each slice weighed in at 585 calories, plus the whipped topping and chocolate syrup.  Definitely a once in a while treat!  But is was a great treat for Father's Day and Thomas loved it!

A few changes that I will make next time are:
  1. Make the crust a little thinner.
  2. Leave out the chocolate layer on bottom - I liked the peanut butter filling on it's own
  3. Use less whipping cream.  Half and half can be used for some of the cream.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cinnamon Sour Cream Cake

Last week, I was going through my pantry and noticed I had a couple of bags of Hersheys cinnamon chips that were about to expire.  What a waste if I had to throw them out, so I got on the Hersheys website to see if they had any recipes posted that I could try out using the cinnamon chips.  My go to recipe for the chips is an Oatmeal Cinnamon Chip cookie that is absolutely delicious.  I was not really in the mood to make individual cookies. 

I came across a recipe for Cinnamon Sour Cream Cake.  First of all, it was a bundt cake - their is nothing easier to bake than a bundt cake.  Second, you know it will be moist when there is sour cream in the title. My initial observations turned out to be spot on correct.  The mix was very easy to put together, with minimal mess.  Pour into a bundt pan and pop it in the oven!

This cake was so moist and cinnamon-y delicious.  It tasted like a coffee cake - I didn't even top it with powdered sugar or a glaze.  It was delicious on it's own - especially warm from the oven.

I still have half a bag of cinnamon chips left over that I anticipate using in a new recipe this week (Snickerdoodle blondies).  Stay tuned for that.  :)

Cinnamon Sour Cream Cake
From: Hershey's website
Yield: 16 servings (450 calories per slice)


  • 3 cups plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour, divided
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 oz sour cream (I used light)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups butter, softened
  • 10 oz pkg Hershey's Cinnamon chips
  1. Pre heat oven to 350 deg.  Generously grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan.
  2. Combine 3 cups flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Whisk sour cream, eggs and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth.
  3. Add butter and 1 cup sour cream mixture to flour mixture. Beat on low speed until thoroughly combined. Beat one more minute on high speed.
  4. Add remaining sour cream mixture and beat on medium speed until fluffy. Stir together cinnamon chips and 2 tbsp flour until chips are coated; gently stir into batter.  Pour into prepared pan.
  5. Bake 60-70 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes then remove from pan to wire rack to cool.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

White Chocolate Ice Cream

So, it's been over a week since I last posted, and though I have enjoyed a little break from the kitchen, life has still been crazy-busy! It has been 2 months since we had the hot water heater disaster, but we just got replacement wood floors installed this week. They came and removed the old floors on Wednesday, which took all day. Thursday was installation day and the installers didn't leave my house until 9:45 p.m.  They did an awesome job and I would highly recommend them to anyone! 

Thomas had Friday off so he and the boys headed to Russellville to do some fishing and visit his family. I joined them Friday night at my parents to spend some time with them and my brother and family who came in from Alabama for the weekend. We don't see each other but a few times each year, so it truly is nice to catch up and hang out. I especially enjoy the time that my boys get to spend with their cousins.  They are all growing up so fast and I wish they could be together more often!!

When we got home on Saturday afternoon, it was "get the house back in order time". All our furniture was stacked in the kitchen and some in the bedrooms. I enjoy rearranging and moving the furniture in different locations, so that was fun.  Everything was filthy and dusty from removing the floors so everything needed to be cleaned - what a mess!

Then I headed to the gym for an afternoon run. Saturdays are my long run days and right now I have been doing 6 miles. I was feeling so good that I just kept running and did 7 instead! I decided I would run until they kicked me out of the gym since they close at 4:30!! 

Today I want to share an ice cream recipe with you from my new book that I got for Mother's Day, The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz. I tried the White Chocolate Ice Cream.  It was very smooth and creamy, more like a custard than an ice cream.  Also, it was very high in calories, containing 2 cups of heavy cream. Next time, I will try it with 1 cup heavy cream and 1 cup half & half to save on the calories and cut down on the thick creaminess.  I like my ice cream a little lighter.  For a 1/2 cup serving, it was 400 calories, but it was very rich so a little goes a long way!

White Chocolate Ice Cream
From: The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
Yield: ~ 1 quart (9 half cup servings)

  • 8 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  1. Put the chocolate pieces in a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.
  2. Warm the milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.  Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
  3. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heat proof spatula, scraping the bottom as your stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer over the white chocolate. Stir until the white chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth, then stir in the cream. 
  4. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Random Thoughts & Announcements

This weekend has been an emotional roller coaster for me.  Here are some thoughts and decisions that have been on my mind to share with you.

1.  First, I started this blog as a way to sweeten my otherwise strict, bland diet and to enjoy life a little more. Along the way, I discovered that you, my readers, have enjoyed the recipes that I share with you, so I began to feel the pressure of needing to bake something everyday so that I could share that with you. It has been fun trying new recipes and making over old ones, but it is all beginning to catch up with me. I'll admit, it hasn't always been fun, especially those late nights that I was up baking something for the next day, or coming up with something just so I could share with you on this blog. It is very hard for me to make this decision, because I don't admit failure or give up very easy.  I am glad that I made it almost 5 months. I believe it is a smart thing that I am using the wisdom and discernment that God has given me to know when something is taking away from my family time or causing unnecessary stress, and that I can bow out gracefully.  You gotta know when to hold em and know when to fold em!!  I look forward to sharing many more food posts with you but just a little less frequently (maybe once or twice a week).  I appreciate all your support and sweet words, and I hope you will stick around.

2.  Second, most of you know about my addiction to running.  Running is such a part of my life that without it, I am pretty sure that I would not be able to function effectively.  My family would probably kick my moody self out of the house!!  Just this morning, I went out for a 6 mile run, and then came home and mowed and worked in the yard for another 2 hours.  I got my fair share of personal therapy and commented to Thomas that the rest of the day should be a good one!!  I have run dozens and dozens of 5k's, 2 10k's, and 2 half marathons.  After each of the half marathons, I told myself I never wanted to do that again!  But yet I just keep going back!  It is a competitive part of me that wants to push and push and just see how far I can go.  A full marathon has been on my bucket list for a while, but it just never seems the right time or I have a hard time committing. Well, I finally did it! Yesterday, I registered for the St. Jude's Memphis Marathon in December. This is something that I need to do at least once to push myself beyond what physical limits that I put on myself. This won't be easy and I know there will be times when I wonder what was I thinking!! But I am looking forward to the challenge and will be glad to share that with you as well.

3.  Last, Thomas and I have been leading the 5th/6th grade group at our church for the past 3 years.  We have been with them every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night as well as lots of extra activities and mentoring.  We committed to this for the full 3 years and this month brings a close to that chapter of our lives. We are passing the torch on to other leaders who will do a fantastic job. Although we are ready for a little break, it is very bittersweet, not knowing what our future holds or where God will lead us to next.  We love this group of kids as if they were our own and would do anything for them. Praying that God will open our hearts and minds to whatever he has in store for us next and that he will fill the void left in our hearts and lives from this fabulous group of kids and parents.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Day 138: Frozen Yogurt

Last Thursday night and tonight, we had the privilege of hearing our boys play in their school orchestra. Nick plays cello and Camdyn plays violin. They were both excellent concerts and we are so proud of both of them. They have put in a lot of practice time to get to where they are. Can't wait to see what their future holds for them!

We went to 3 Flamingos to celebrate with frozen yogurt. I had a kids cup of white chocolate mousse topped with crumbled Twix and Mini Reese cups. It was a fun time!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day 137: Chocolate Rolo Cookies

I made these Chocolate Rolo Cookies today for the first time in several years. I originally found this recipe in a Quick Cooking magazine and really liked it, but just forgot about it. It is so easy with only 4 ingredients, and the cookies turn out so soft and chewy with a bite of caramel in the middle.

Chocolate Rolo Cookies
Yield: 28 cookies (135 calories each)

  • 1 Devils Food cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 28 Rolos

  1. Combine first 3 ingredients until fully mixed.
  2. Scoop dough using a cookie scoop and wrap around Rolo. Place on a baking sheet, leaving 2" between each dough ball (cookies will spread during baking).
  3. Bake at 350 deg for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes then move to cooling rack.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Day 136: Cinnamon Cream Cheese Pocket

Cinnamon! Cream cheese! Puff pastry! Oh my!! Whatever have I done! These Cinnamon Cream Cheese Pockets were so good that I ate 3 of them. Thank goodness I went to weight training tonight!

Start with one sheet of thawed puff pastry. Roll out, then using a 4" pastry cutter, cut out 10 circles. Mix together 4 oz of light cream cheese, 1/8 cup of brown sugar, and 1 tsp cinnamon. Spoon 1 tbsp of filling on each dough circle. Dab water around outer edge of dough, fold over and crimp edges with a fork. Bake on a parchment covered baking sheet and bake at 350 deg for 18 minutes. Eat warm from the oven.

I actually ran out of filling for 2 of the dough circles, so 2 of the crusts I filled with Nutella and marshmallows. So yummy!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Day 135: Blueberry Poppyseed Loaves

Today has been a really good day! Work was relatively calm and uneventful. Picked the boys up from school and came home to spend the next couple of hours in the kitchen. I made Cheesy Noodle Casserole for dinner, one of my family's favorites, and it takes up a lot of dishes. While making that, I also baked the Blueberry Poppyseed Loaves that I am sharing with you tonight. After dinner, my fabulous husband stayed around and helped clean up the massive messy kitchen that I had made. He was my knight in shining armor!! 

I waited until the sun started going down before heading out for my Monday run. The last 3 weeks have been a struggle just getting through my runs and weight classes! But tonight I had an awesome run and loved every minute of it. Words of wisdom - when exercise gets tough, just keep on keeping on because there is light and joy at the end of any dark tunnel or pit that seems to be swallowing you! You will be stronger because of it! 
Today's recipe, Blueberry Poppyseed Loaves, came from my last edition of Food Network magazine. Instead of 3 small loaves, I made mini muffin loaves. These turned out very tasty and moist, but for 350 calories, I would rather have something with chocolate and caramel or peanut butter. Basically, I ran 4 miles just so I could eat the little muffin!! Not worth it! I am not a huge blueberry fan anyway, but like them in muffins. Regardless, I am glad I tried them.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Days 133 & 134: Banana cream cheese cake & Apple Crumble

Happy Mother's Day to all my mom readers out there! I hope you have a day filled with peace and quiet (because your kids aren't arguing for one day), a full belly (and you didn't have to cook it or clean up afterward), and a relaxing afternoon (because you got to take a nap instead of catching up on laundry). That's all I am asking for!!
I wasn't able to post yesterday so today is catch up. Yesterday I made Banana Cream Cheese Breakfast Cakes. I didn't actually make them for breakfast but for an evening snack. I just recently started receiving Food Network magazine in the mail. I found this recipe in last month's issue and it looked delicious so I decided to give it a try. I love anything that resembles banana bread and these did not fail me.  The banana muffin was delish and the cream cheese filling just sent it over the top.  The only thing I might change is to fill the muffin cups a little less since they overflowed a little and baked flat on top.  Also, the recipe said it made 12 muffins and I got 20 out of it. Each muffin weighs in at 224 calories.  Pair it with a bowl of strawberries and you have a fabulous breakfast.

Today is National Apple Pie Day, so instead of spending too much time in the kitchen on Mother's Day, I decided to make an Apple Crumble instead. It was delicious topped with a scoop of frozen yogurt.  The only change I would make to this recipe is add a little less brown sugar to the crumble topping.  It was rather sweet and would also save a little on the calories.

Apple Crumble
Yield: 6 servings (387 calories/serving)

  • 1 cup brown sugar (I would change to 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3 cups peeled and sliced apples (2 medium)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 deg.
  2. Mix the first 4 ingredients together to make soft crumbs. Add half of the crumbs to the apples in an 8 inch square baking dish, mixing together well.
  3. Stir the water, sugar and cinnamon together and pour over the apples. Top with the remaining crumb mixture.
  4. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the apples are done.
  5. Eat warm from the oven, and top with ice cream if desired.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Day 132: Mother / Daughter Girls Night

Enjoyed a fun Mother / Daughter night with my 5/6 girls and their moms. Went bowling and out to dinner at Mike's Place. Ended the meal with some Peanut Butter Pie - YUM!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Day 131: Grilled Rolo Poundcake Sundae

I had some pound cake left over from another dessert so I decided to create a treat using it today. I call this creation Grilled Rolo Poundcake Sundae. Start with 2 slices of poundcake. Place 8 mini Rolos on top of one slice and place 2nd slice on top of Rolos. Spray with butter spray and grill until brown and melty. Top with whipped cream and drizzle with chocolate and caramel syrup. Eat and enjoy immediately!! YUM!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Day 130: Waffle Cone Wednesday

Sorry to disappoint you but I decided to take a break from the kitchen today. I did try a new dinner recipe for Creamy Crockpot Spaghetti though. It was pretty good although my kids didn't really like the texture of it. I think I could tweak the recipe a little and make it more likable.

Today was waffle cone Wednesday at TCBY so we went there after church to "get our sweet on". I chose a Jr. Waffle cone with Pralines and Cream frozen yogurt. It was refreshing and delicious!!

I will get back in the kitchen tomorrow to share a baked treat with you.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Day 129: Banana Cream Pie

Today is National Coconut Cream Pie Day but I am not a fan of coconut. So I decided to tweak it a little and make Banana Cream Pie instead. For whatever reason, I don't make pies that often but when I do I really enjoy them. Since I have made 2 pies within one week, I kind of have the hankerin' to try out a few more!!

This recipe came from the Betty Crocker Cookbook New Edition. I actually made the homemade crust for it and everything! The pudding part is pretty much just a vanilla pudding with bananas layered inside and whipped cream on top. It was a very delicious sweet ending to my day, especially after giving it all I got in weight training class!

Banana Cream Pie
Yield: 8 slices (415 calories per slice)

  • 1 pie crust (homemade or store bought)
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large bananas
  • 1 cup whipped topping

  1. Bake pie crust according to directions.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks with fork; set aside. In a 2 quart saucepan, mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute.
  3. Immediately stir at least half of the hot mixture gradually into the egg yolks, then stir back into hot mixture in saucepan. Boil and stir 1 minute; remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla; cool filling slightly. Slice bananas into crust; pour warm filling over bananas. Press plastic wrap on filling to prevent a tough layer from forming on top. Refrigerate at least 2 hours until set.
  4. Remove plastic wrap and top pie with whipped cream. Store in refrigerator.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Day 128: Oatmeal Carmelitas

The dessert of the day is one of my favorite bar recipes and I have made this more times than I can count. I believe I originally found the recipe in a Taste of Home magazine, Simple and Delicious.  I subscribed to this magazine when I first got married and continued to receive it for many years after. I remember waiting anxiously for each month's magazine to arrive in the mail, and I would look through the entire thing, earmarking certain pages that I knew I wanted to look at further. At that time, I was not the avid baker that I am today, but I just loved seeing the pictures of the food and dreaming of one day making mine look just as good as their's.
Oatmeal Carmelitas is a bar recipe with an oatmeal base, layered with caramel, chocolate chips, and more oatmeal batter. These are definitely a splurge for the healthy eater, although you can cut these into smaller portions because of the richness that comes from the caramel. I cut a 9 x 13 in. pan into 30 bars which comes out to 206 calories each.

These are great to take to potlucks, or make for teacher treats, or bake a pan and take to the break room at work. I needed a dessert to take for a family our church was feeding before a funeral, so I just took out a couple of bars and took the rest to the church. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

Oatmeal Carmelitas
Yield: 30 bars (206 calories each)


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1-1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 1 jar caramel ice cream topping (12.25 oz)
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 deg. Generously grease sides and bottom of 9x13 inch dish
  2. In a large bowl, blend all crust ingredients at low speed until crumbly.
  3. Press 2/3 of crumb mixture in bottom of prepared pan. Reserve remaining crumb mixture for topping.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes; Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine caramel and flour; set aside.
  5. Sprinkle warm crust with chocolate chips; drizzle evenly with caramel, and sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture.
  6. Return to oven and bake an additional 20-22 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Cool completely before cutting.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Day 127: Peanut Butter Pie

Today was a fantastic Sunday! I started off the day at church where we introduced a new prospective youth minister to the teens and parents. The committee I have been working with has been searching and praying for a new minister for the last several months and today was a culmination of all the long hours we have put in. I believe he made a fantastic impression and would do a great job! We will have to see how it goes from here.

After a wonderful worship service, we headed to Toad Suck Days to see Camdyn's friend play guitar on one of the many stages that are set up. He did a great job, especially since he has only been taking lessons for 2 semesters!

When we got home, I did a few chores around the house and then laid on my bed with my I-Pad to catch up on the TV show Missing. It is a very good show but I never get to watch it when it's on TV. It isn't very often that I have a spare Sunday afternoon to just hang out and rest so I made the best of it. I took a little nap after the show. Then it was time to head out the door for our church's Senior Dinner to honor the high school graduates. The dinner was held at Hole in the Wall Cafe located in the Old Gin. I knew we would be having some sort of dessert with our meal so that was one of the reasons for my spare time this afternoon. The food was good, but the Peanut Butter Pie was awesome. My Conway readers need to make it by there to give it try. I will be testing out some Peanut Butter pie recipes in the near future to see if I can duplicate it. It was delicious!!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Day 126: Vanilla Ice Cream with Honey

This morning, I ran in the annual Toad Suck 10K. I have run dozens of 5K's and 2 half marathons, but this was only my second 10K. I beat my previous time by about 90 seconds for a new PR of 54:06. I had been dreading this race all week because of my horrible run on Wednesday, so I was pleasantly surprised to have a decent run considering the heat and humidity.

Today I decided to use my Cuisinart Ice Cream maker to make a recipe that was in my last issue of Food Network Magazine. I haven't used my ice cream maker for several weeks, so when I saw this recipe for Vanilla Ice Cream with honey, I was excited about trying it. I have only made homemade ice cream that was not cooked before freezing it, so this was different. It turned out more creamy than my usual. It was a pretty strong flavor with the honey and vanilla bean together, and it left a weird film on the spoon. But it was still pretty tasty!

Vanilla Ice Cream with Honey
From: Food Network Magazine
Yield: 12 half cup servings (278 calories)

3 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup honey
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise and scraped
4 large egg yolks
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

1. Heat the cream, milk, honey, and vanilla bean and seeds in a heavy saucepan, over medium heat until hot, being careful not to let the mixture boil and curdle.
2. Lightly whisk the egg yolks in a medium heatproof bowl, then slowly drizzle 1 cup of the hot mixture into the yolks while whisking. Pour the yolk mixture into the saucepan of cream; heat, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens slightly and coats the back of a wooden spoon, again being careful not to let it boil and curdle.
3. Pour through a fine mesh strainer to remove the vanilla beans and any bits of cooked egg yolk. Stir in the vanilla. Cover the custard with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, about 6 hours.
4. Follow the directions on your ice cream maker to freeze. Once the mixture is frozen, put it into containers and allow it to "ripen" for at least 2 hours in the freezer.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Day 125: Date Night

Several months ago, Thomas and I decided to schedule a date night once a month.  We have talked about doing it over the last several years, but something always came up or we were just too busy and so it rarely happened. Now that our kids are old enough to be left at home for several hours, we committed to date night the first weekend of every month. We choose either Friday or Saturday night, whichever works best, and make a night of it.  This month is our third date night so far and it is working out great.  We look forward to the time that we get to spend together without the kids.

Tonight, it worked out that Camdyn went to a friend's house for the night and Nick went to a birthday party.  We dropped him off and headed to Russo's, a new Italian restaurant here in town.  We enjoyed the dinner, although I won't say it was just excellent.  I would like to go back another time and try the pizza or one of the flat bread sandwiches.  The desserts looked divine, but we decided to wait and indulge later.  We finished up dinner and headed to Branch Out Conway, a paint studio with class sessions that show you how to paint a certain painting.  We had never been there before, but were looking forward to trying it out.  Neither of us is artistic, but they show you step by step what to do. It was a lot of fun and quite easy!  The painting we did was called Two Trees in a Pod.  We both painted one half of a tree and when you put them together it appears to be one.  We had a blast - I can't wait to take Camdyn some time; he will love it!


BTW, the apron I am wearing was already decorated like that.  I didn't realize that it is was decorated with a bikini until I was looking at these pictures at home!!  No wonder the little girl sitting across from me was looking at me funny!

After leaving Branch Out, we headed to Dairy Queen to indulge in a frosty treat.  Nothing like a DQ Blizzard on a warm spring evening!

Getting ready to head to bed.  Will be up early tomorrow for the Toad Suck 10K - wish me luck!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Day 124: Strawberry Pie

I don't believe there is anything more refreshing or characteristic of spring than a strawberry pie. Not to mention that it is a relatively healthy dessert. This recipe that I want to share with you is easy breezy and absolutely delicious! Add a spoonful of whipped cream and you will be in heaven!

Strawberry Pie
Yields: 8 slices (210 calories each)

  • 1 unbaked pie shell (not deep dish)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pkg sugar free strawberry gelatin
  • 4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and cut in half
  1. Bake pie crust according to package directions; set aside to cool.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and water; whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
  3. Remove from the heat; stir in gelatin until dissolved. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes or until slightly cooled.
  4. Meanwhile, arrange strawberries in the crust. Pour gelatin mixture evenly over strawberries. Refrigerate until set.  Serve with whipped cream if desired.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Day 123: Nutter Butter Bars

Ok, so it's only the second day of May and what's up with this heat?!!!  I went out for a 5 mile run this morning around 8:15 and it was miserable!  Maybe I was struggling with mind over body, but I only went 3.8 miles and had 2 walk breaks - that is so unlike me!!  Really, I have been struggling with my runs and weight training classes for the last 3 weeks!  My body just feels like I have no energy - so ready for an emotional and physical break through!!

Even though I may be in a rut, I am playing with the idea of training for a full marathon in December. Several of my friends have committed, and I have been throwing the idea back and forth for about a year. Maybe it's time to just take the plunge and commit! 

With the weather being this warm, I made a dessert today that didn't require heating the oven.  These Nutter Butter Bars are so simple to make yet very tasty.  Basically, it is a rice krispie treat, except replacing the rice krispies with crushed Nutter Butter cookies. I found this recipe at the Picky Palate.

Nutter Butter Bars
From: Picky Palate
Yield: 16 bars (212 calories each)

  • 1 pound package of Nutter Butters
  • 1 bag of large marshmallows
  • 4 tbsp butter
  1. Place Nutter Butters in food processor and pulse until ground. 
  2. Melt marshmallows and butter in microwave until puffed, about 1 1/2-2 minutes. 
  3. Remove and pour in ground cookies. Stir to combine then transfer to a foil lined 8×8 inch baking pan. Let set up for 10 minutes. Remove bars out of pan with edges of foil and cut into squares.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Day 122: National Chocolate Parfait Day

Are you ever in a pinch for a dessert and you just don't know what to make? I have the answer - a parfait! There's nothing easier or more creative than layering various ingredients and goodies and serving it with a dollop of whipped cream and a cherry. They can be healthy with yogurt, granola and fruit or decadent with ice cream, candies and chocolate syrup. The possibilities are endless!!

Since today is National Chocolate Parfait Day, I layered instant sugar free chocolate pudding with Cool Whip and 3-2-1 cake in a mug that I posted about in March. Unfortunately, the cake turned out hard and it wasn't until later that I realized that I didn't add enough water to the cake and it was too dry. So I picked out the cake bits and just ate the pudding and Cool Whip which was just as yummy!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Day 121: National Oatmeal Cookie Day

Today is National Oatmeal Cookie Day. This is one of those cookies that seems to be "old school". These days, the star is the chocolate chip cookie or whatever cookie you can create with the most indulgent ingredients. In my opinion, there's not much better than a soft, chewy homemade basic oatmeal cookie. You don't even need the raisins or chocolate chips, just a hint of cinnamon.

I tried a new recipe in my quest for the perfect oatmeal cookie, and I believe that my search has ended almost before it began. This recipe, from King Arthur Flour, has met all my criteria. 1) soft & chewy  2) not flat  3) a hint of cinnamon.  The key is to not over-bake them so that they don't get crunchy and dried out. These are the perfect little snack at only 100 calories each.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Day 119 & 120: What a busy weekend!

This weekend has been a busy one which is why I am just getting around to posting for yesterday and today.

Saturday morning, we were up early for a family garage sale at our house. After cleaning up and loading leftover boxes of stuff to send to Goodwill, we were off to Russellville to meet Thomas' family for dinner and to see our nephew participate in the musical, Annie Get Your Gun. It was an excellent performance and we enjoyed every minute of it. Amazing performances by some very talented high school students! There was no time for baking so we hit Sonic after the play and indulged in Sonic Blasts. YUM!

This morning, we went to church with my parents and enjoyed lunch and a few afternoon board games with them. Mom made a pie for dessert - cool whip and chopped Hershey bars in a chocolate crumb crust. It was very good but very sweet.

We returned home late this afternoon and I managed to get a 2 hour nap in. It was fantastic! Hope your weekend was relaxing and sweet!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Day 118: S'more Monkey Bread

Today I chose one more S'more recipe to share with you. I promise I will take a break and share some other recipes besides just S'more's!!

Believe me, you won't be able to resist this recipe.  I saw this on one of my favorite blogs, Picky Palate. Jenny shares some irresistible recipes with great photos to go with it!  She shared this recipe for Rolo S'mores Skillet Monkey Bread a few weeks ago and I knew I had to share it with you. I had to go out and buy a cast iron skillet just so I could make it!!  

The only change I made was to use light butter to save a few calories (this dish is definitely not calorie friendly). I didn't make the glaze to pour over it because I thought it was sweet enough. Also, next time I will add a tsp of cinnamon just to give it that cinnamon monkey bread taste. Other than that, it is a keeper!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day 117: Fruit Creamy Smoothie

Thursday nights are a busy time for us. Thomas gets home from work and quickly gets ready and heads out the door with Camdyn for a group bike ride. Nick and I head to the gym where I have weight training class and he plays basketball and racquetball and just plays around on the different machines upstairs. We meet back at the house around 7:45 where we find something to eat for dinner. Tonight, I put potatoes in the oven to bake while we were gone, so they were just perfect when we got home. Then I top it with grilled chicken, a little cheese and bacon pieces and dinner is served.

Nick wanted to stop and get a milkshake on the way home, but I talked him into letting me make homemade at home. The boys love my milkshakes and malts! Even though they are a little healthier than the ones in restaurants, they are still heavy on the calorie side for a small amount. For myself, I made a Fruit Creamy Smoothie. I took about 8 medium strawberries and hulled them, then blended with my immersion blender. When smooth, add 1/2 a packet of Sweet & Low and 4 tbsp of cool whip and stir together until blended. It has a similar consistency as the milkshake and fills you up as well without all the calories. Only 115 calories!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Day 116: Strawberry Malt Cupcakes

Strawberry Malt Cupcakes - the perfect dessert for a warm spring day! And to celebrate the conclusion of my month long frustrating fight with my insurance company. They have finally come through, and I have overcome!!  Now to just move on and actually get the wood floors replaced - oh how I will love being back to "my normalcy"!

Went out for a 5 mile run this morning. The temperatures were perfect, but it was very windy! I try to avoid wind as much as I try to avoid hills! Not FUN! I persevered and had a feel good finish.

So, on to the cupcakes. I am not much of a malt person, but something about this recipe was calling my name. Maybe it was the strawberry pink frosting with the malted milk ball on top. Whatever it was, I am glad I gave in because these were delicious! 

Strawberry Malt Cupcakes
Revised from:
Yields: 33 cupcakes (295 calories each)

Vanilla Malt Cake:
  • 2 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups malted milk powder
  • 1 cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
Strawberry Malt Buttercream:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 8 ounces light cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup malted milk powder
  • 1/2 cup sliced sweetened strawberries, pureed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners.
  2. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and malted milk powder and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine oil, eggs, sour cream, buttermilk and vanilla extract.
  4. Add sugar and brown sugar to the oil mixture.
  5. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet and stir until fully combined.
  6. Fill liners 1/2 way and bake for 18-22 minutes or until and inserted knife comes out clean.
  7. butter cream: Beat butter and cream cheese for 2 minutes. Scrape down bowl as needed. Add powdered sugar and malted milt powder. Slowly add strawberry puree until the butter cream reaches your desired consistency. add vanilla extract and let beat.
  8. Pipe butter cream onto cooled cupcakes and top with malt balls.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Day 115: Six Layer Bars

Today's recipe comes from a cookbook called Sweet Eats that I actually got from a book fair at my child's school several years ago. It has some real good recipes in it and this is one that I have never tried. These Six Layer Bars were a snap to put together and throw in the oven. The hardest part was keeping my husband out of them while they were cooling!

Besides being simple to make, these bars are very versatile. The bottom layer is a graham crust topped with sweetened condensed milk. The other 4 ingredients can be whatever you like. A little bit goes a long way because of the richness and combination of ingredients. Below is the original recipe as well as the changes that I made.

Six Layer Bars
Yield: 24 bars (220 calories each according to my recipe)

  • 1-3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1-1/2 cups coconut flakes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 deg. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon and melted butter in a medium mixing bowl.  Stir until mixture is evenly moistened; press into a greased 9x13" baking dish.
  2. Pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the crumb crust.
  3. Sprinkle the chips, nuts and coconut over the condensed milk.  Using a spatula or your hands, gently press the goodies into the milk.
  4. Bake 25-30 minutes. Cool before cutting into squares.
Sharla's changes:
  • I used peanut butter chips instead of butterscotch chips.
  • I only used 1/2 cup pecans.
  • I used 1/2 cup Heath toffee bits in place of the coconut since I don't like coconut.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Day 114: Mini S'more Cheesecakes

Okay, so today is actually National Cherry Cheesecake Day, but who's keeping track!! I veered off course a little and made Mini S'more Cheesecakes.  It's still cheesecake, right?

And I do realize that I may be overdoing the S'more thing a little lately, but I just can't get enough!  I have one more S'more recipe that I may make this week, and then I will take a break - I promise!!

So, my life has been a little crazy lately - ok, a lot crazy!  I am still dealing with the insurance company over our huge hot water heater mishap which happened 1 month ago tomorrow!!  It's getting a little ridiculous.  We went ahead and had the bedroom carpet ordered and they came to put that in today.  So yesterday was spent moving furniture and everything else out of the boys rooms.  What a mess!  I am waiting to settle the wood floors with insurance before I proceed, because I don't want to cash the check until they have completely paid.  We are a little closer than we were a week ago, when I finally got the adjuster's supervisor involved.  I still have to wait for them to come back out and remeasure so I can prove that there measurements are WRONG!  I have been patient long enough!!  Sorry, it's a very sensitive issue for me, so I just better move on to something else.

I have no cake orders this week which is a good thing since I am getting ready for a garage sale this weekend. I told myself I needed a break, so I won't be taking any new orders for a few weeks.

So, here's the recipe for Mini S'more Cheesecakes.  This is a Pampered Chef recipe from several years ago that a friend introduced me to. 

Mini S'more Cheesecakes
Yield: 24 mini cups (83 calories each)
From: Pampered Chef

  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2-1/2 Hershey's milk chocolate bars (1.55 oz each)
  • 1 pkg cream cheese, softened (8 oz)
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  1. Preheat oven to 325 deg. line mini muffin pan with paper or foil liners
  2. Combine cracker crumbs, 1 tbsp sugar and butter in bowl; stir until moistened. Divide evenly among cups; press into bottom using mini tart shaper. Bake 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place 1-1/2 chocolate bars in a bowl and melt in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until melted.
  4. Add cream cheese and 3 tbsp sugar; beat until smooth.  Blend in egg.
  5. Spoon mixture evenly on top of crust.
  6. Bake 15 minutes or until filling is set (cracked on top like cheesecake).
  7. Remove from oven; press 3 marshmallows into each cup.  Break apart remaining chocolate and cut in halves. Place on half on top of marshmallows.
  8. Bake 3 minutes or until marshmallows and chocolate begin to melt.
  9. Immediately transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  10. Cool before serving and store remaining cups in refrigerator.