“I think of myself… as a troubadour, a village storyteller, the guy in the shadows of the campfire.” ~ Louis L’Amour

I absolutely love S’mores! I believe I actually like them more than I did as a kid. The only problem is that I don’t spend much time around a campfire.

So when I came across the idea of making S’mores in an iron skillet in the kitchen, I was quite excited about that idea and I knew I must try it ASAP! 

Skillet S’mores

1/2 Tablespoon melted butter
1 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
7-10 jumbo marshmallows, cut in half
Box of graham crackers

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Swirl butter around the bottom and sides of an 8 inch iron skillet.
Evenly spread chocolate chips in the bottom of skillet.
Arrange marshmallow halves on top of chocolate chips (cut side down).
Place on middle rack and back 6-10 minutes or until the tops of marshmallows are browned.
Let sit for for 5 mins, serve immediately with graham crackers.

**caution – skillet and dip will be hot.

   
-abp

 

 

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“You can’t be a grown-up woman and not like chocolate.” ~ Julie Dawn Cole

The biggest thing I noticed about my pre-preggo self and my post-preggo self (besides the obvious shifting of all things body) would be my cravings.

I used to love good old salty, savory snacks and appetizers.  I was never really tempted by ordering desserts at a restaurant or I never ventured over to the dessert table at a party or wedding.  I sometimes never even had a piece of the brides cake.

Now, I’m like – “Is that chick ever going to cut that dang cake!”

Sweets.

I just can’t say no.

I also never liked dark chocolate at all.

Now, I dream about it.

This pie helps with my new found addiction.

Dark Chocolate Mousse Pie

  • 1 ready made graham cracker crust
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 Hershey bars (1.5 oz), chopped
  • 3 Special Dark Hersey bars (1.5 oz.), chopped
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounce container of Cool Whip

Melt cream and chocolate in microwave in a microwave safe bowl for 45-60 seconds. Stir until chocolate is melted. If additional melting time is needed, melt for 10 more seconds.

In a stand mixer, cream sugar and cream cheese until smooth.

Next, in the mixer, add chocolate mixture to cream mixture, reserving around 1/4 cup of chocolate mixture for garnish.

On a slow speed, add cool whip to mixture.

Pour mixture into prepared crust, smooth top and drizzle with remaining chocolate sauce.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Dark Chocolate Mouse Pie

-abp

“I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.” ~ Mae West

If you have visited my blog before, you know I like simple.

I also like good.

When I need a very impressive, delicious dessert, I turn to my mom. She is fabulous when it comes to wonderful desserts but when I make desserts – they are pretty easy and straight forward.

The following dessert is no exception.

It has a secret ingredient that makes it super moist – baby food.

I thought since I have a surplus of baby food on hand this would be a great, no fuss dessert to make for a weekday treat.

Pineapple Carrot Cake

Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1¼ cups vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 jars (6 oz each) carrot baby food
  • 1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple, drained
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts

Frosting

  • 1 block cream cheese (8 oz.), softened
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 box (1 lb) confectioners sugar
  • Chopped walnuts (optional)

In a large bowl, stir to combine the dry ingredients.

Add the oil, eggs and baby food and mix on low speed with a hand mixer until well blended.

Stir in pineapple and nuts.

Pour into a greased and floured 9×13 pan. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to wire racks to cool completely

For frosting, in a bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in vanilla and confectioners’ sugar until mixture reaches spreading consistency.

Remove cake from pan, frost top and sides. Garnish with nuts if desired.

Store in the refrigerator.


-abp

“And the idea of just wandering off to a cafe with a notebook and writing and seeing where that takes me for awhile is just bliss.” ~ J. K. Rowling

As I have mentioned before – I have never been to Mardi Gras but it is definitely on my list of “to-dos”!

And just like last year when I made Mini King Cakes, I am determined to have a little Mardi Gras fun right here at home this Fat Tuesday.

This year it will be in the form of Beignets.

When in New Orleans, Cafe du Monde is a must at least once a day. I have been known to pop in twice. My own order of beignets and a cafe au lait (hot in the winter, iced in the summer) makes for one very happy girl.

Making them at home will never be the same but it is a great holdover until I make it back to my happy place!

Biscuit Beignets

  • 1 can buttermilk biscuits
  • Vegtable Oil
  • Powdered Sugar

Cut each individual biscuit into thirds.

In a dutch over, heat 2 inches of oil over medium high heat until it gets to 350º. (Check with a candy thermometer – it must not be too hot).

In batches, fry biscuit pieces on each side until golden brown (30-60 seconds per side).

Drain on a paper towel lined plate and dust with lots of powdered sugar.

Let sit for 10 minutes.
Serve.

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-abp

“Why is it so hard to find an exercise bike with a nice little basket where I can put my nachos?” ~ Ron Alderson

If you are like me and should always be watching what you put in your mouth but never really want to – this quick little jewel of an idea is a great compromise.

It is great for an afternoon snack, a family dessert or can be taken to a party or get together.

And you don’t have to feel too guilty.

The wonderful bonus is how SIMPLE it is to create.

Caramel Apple Nachos

  • Pre-sliced bag of Granny Smith Apples
  • Tub of Caramel apple dip
  • Mini Chocolate Chips
  • Salted peanuts, chopped

**The amounts would be determined by how much you are making.**

Layer apples on a serving platter.

In a glass bowl, melt caramel dip in microwave until soft enough to drizzle.

Drizzle (amount up to you) caramel over apples.

Sprinkle chocolate chips and peanuts on top.

Serve immediately.

 

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-abp

“My bathing suit said ‘go to the gym’, but my sweatpants said ‘nah girl, you’re good'” ~ unknown

Do you ever get lazy in the kitchen?

Boy, I do.

I get the incredible urge for cookies and I have all these fabulous recipes I want to try but the minute I think about pulling out that heavy Kitchenaid mixer – I think, nah.

If I can’t easily mix it up with the hand-mixer, I’ll just forgo them that day.

That’s why these cookies are just perfect!

Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup of butter, softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 jar (16 oz) peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350°
In a large bowl, add all ingredients and mix with an electric mixer until smooth.

Scoop out and roll into 1 inch balls and place on cookie sheet. Then make the classic peanut butter cookie indentations with a for – dip fork in white sugar before making each hatch mark..

Cook for around 10 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

**note: all ovens cook differently, so watch closely as cooking times may need to be adjusted.

Really, how simple is that?!

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-abp

“The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball.” ~ Doug Larson

We are making candy faster than we can eat it!

That’s saying something because I can put away some candy!

My breakfast and lunch for the past couple of days have consisted of nothing but candy.

And I still have piles of it!

That’s good though because I have lots to bag/box up and give away.

Here’s another great candy recipe to add to your yearly Christmas baking that’s a little different from the rest.

(They can also be made with lemon.)

Orange Coconut Snowballs

  • 1 (6 oz.) can of frozen orange juice, thawed
  • 1 lb. box of vanilla wafers, crushed
  • 1 lb. box powdered sugar
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 bag of coconut

Mix together all ingredients except coconut.

Form into 1 inch balls and roll in coconut.

Chill until firm.

Makes 4-5 dozen.

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-abp

“The sharpest memory of our old-fashioned Christmas eve is my mother’s hand making sure I was settled in bed.” ~ Paul Engle

This time of the year is CRAZY!

It’s most definitely a good busy but whew!

I’m exhausted and about run crazy.

There are so many things I want to do this time of year but not a whole lot of time to do them.

Because of this, this post will be short and sweet!

But these old, time tested recipes need to be shared so they do not disappear!

Old Fashioned Date Balls

  • 1 (8 oz) package dates, chopped
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 ½ cups rice cereal
  • Powdered sugar

Cook dates, sugar and butter over medium heat, bring to boil, stirring constantly for 3-5 minutes.

Remove from heat.  Carefully stir in nuts, followed by rice cereal. Let cool until comfortable for you to handle.

Form into 1 inch balls and roll in powdered sugar.

Makes 3-4 dozen depending on size of balls.

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-abp

“Stolen kisses are always sweetest.” ~ Leigh Hunt

I really wish we could make Christmas Candy all year long!

It’s so good and it puts everyone in a great mood. The people who make it and the people to whom it’s gifted.

It makes for great gifts for friends, coworkers and hostess gifts.

Each year, I look forward to that day/evening my mom and I settled into the kitchen for a messy fun filled time of candy making and sampling – quality control at it’s best!

We have several more elaborate candies but one of my favorites and most simple are Mistletoe Kisses. It quickly makes a whole bunch and they are irresistibly popable!

Mistletoe Kisses

  • Bag of square pretzels
  • Hersey Hugs
  • Hersey Kisses
  • Red and green M&Ms

Preheat oven to 250.
Place pretzels on foiled line baking tray.
Unwrap kisses and hugs, place in the middle of each pretzel.
Heat in the oven for 4-6 minutes or until soft.
Remove and carefully push M&Ms down on the center of Kisses and Hugs.
Let cool on tray completely – for faster cooling, place in the refrigerator

*Make note: Hugs melt faster than Kisses and If you over heat them, Kisses will turn hard and the Hugs will be too runny.*

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“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” ~ Charles M. Schulz

Chocolate and nuts.

Oh, how I love thee.

Let me count the ways.

Hersey Kisses with almonds, Mr. Goodbar, Goobers, Goo-Goo Clusters, Snickers, turtles……

There are so many ways to enjoy this combo but can you really beat good old chocolate covered peanut cluster??

Nope.

Can you beat the ease of a crockpot??

Nope.

So why not combine the two?!?

Crockpot Chocolate Covered Peanuts

(adapted from Fake Ginger)

  • 2 pound white almond bark
  • 4 ounces German chocolate bar
  • 12 ounce bag semisweet chocolate chips
  • 24 ounces dry roasted peanuts
  1. Add all ingredients to slow cooker. Let cook on low for 1 hour with no stirring. Once the hour is up, stir to mix all together. Cook for another hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
  2. Scoop spoonfuls of candy on to wax paper or into candy liners. Let cool completely.

3. Enjoy!

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-abp