Carrot Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

I halved this recipe and it still made a lot. So beware.

And this frosting? Amazing. Light, fluffy, like-your-fingers delicious.

Carrot Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

4 large eggs
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup applesauce
3/4 cup water
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 pounds carrots, washed and ends trimmed (they don’t need to be peeled)

2 tablespoons butter, softened
3-4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tins with liners. Shred the carrots, finely, on a box grater or food processor. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine the eggs, oil, applesauce, water and vanilla. Whisk in the sugar to combine until evenly mixed.

In a second bowl mix flour, spices, salt, soda and baking powder. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until moistened. Gently fold the carrots into the batter until evenly distributed. Bake the cupcakes for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely.

For the frosting, mix the cream cheese, vanilla and butter with an electric mixer until light and creamy. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until smooth. In a separate bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the frosting and whip to combine (don’t overmix or the frosting will become too stiff). The frosting should be smooth and creamy.

{Modified from Mel's Kitchen Cafe}


Healthy Ranch Dip

I'm not kidding. This stuff is great. You can smother your veggies in it without feeling guilty!! I love it.

I don't have an actual recipe (or pictures) but all you do is put some cottage cheese in the blender, add a little milk, and some ranch dip powder.

I used about a half carton of cottage cheese (the small carton) and maybe I'd say a tablespoon or two of milk, and then I just poured in some of the powder, I think I used about a third of a packet of powder. The dip will thicken up in the fridge so it's okay if it starts out a little runny.


Lemon Pound Cake...to die for

On Wednesday night I volunteered to take dinner to a few families in the neighborhood freshly home from the hospital. And I feel that dinner is not complete without a dessert, so the dilemma of what to make began.

Of COURSE I opted for this recipe (I can't believe I haven't shared it with you yet). Lemon is my favorite and this pound cake melts in your mouth it is so delicious. It was gobbled up so fast I forgot to take a picture.

I think it is best still warm from the oven, but don't take my word for it.

Lemon-Glazed Pound Cake

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup buttermilk
6 large eggs
2 tsp pure lemon extract
1 T. grated lemon zest (2 medium lemons)


1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup white sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a bundt pan.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer on low speed, blend flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Add butter, buttermilk and 3 eggs. Beat on low until dry ingredients are moistened. Increase speed to high and beat for 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl.

Add lemon extract and lemon zest and blend at medium speed. Add the remaining 3 eggs one at a time, beating at high speed for 30 seconds after each addition.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

While pound cake is baking, prepare lemon glaze. In a small pan heat lemon juice and sugar over low heat. Stir constantly until sugar dissolves.

When cake is done, remove from oven and leave in pan. With a toothpick poke holes in the surface of the cake and pour half the glaze over it.

Cool in pan 15 minutes then invert on cooling rack. Brush top of pound cake with remaining lemon glaze. Cool to room temperature, and dust with confectioners' sugar if you want.

{Modified from Mrs Field's Cookie Book}


Orange Rolls

These Orange Rolls? Amazing. I shared them with family and they couldn't stop raving. So so yummy.

The only thing to work on for next time - when rolling them up, lots of the filling oozed out making an ooey gooey mess. But still amazingly delicious.

Orange Rolls
1 recipe dinner rolls (below)
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
2 T. freshly squeezed orange juice
Grated orange rind from two large oranges

Follow directions below for dinner rolls. Combine butter, sugar, orange juice and orange rind in a small bowl and mix well. When dough is ready to shape into rolls, punch down and divide in thirds. Roll each portion into large rectangle about 9 X 13 inches, 1/4 inch thick. Spread each rectangle with one-third of the butter/orange/sugar mixture. Starting with the long side, roll up jelly roll style. Seal edges well, then cut with a sharp knife or dental floss into 1 inch slices.

Twist and stretch each slice, then place on a well-greased baking sheet (the “twist and stretch” may be confusing but all you do is take the cinnamon-roll like circle you just cut from the log and stretch it while twisting it into a figure-8…if that is not your thing than by all means bake them cinnamon-roll style and they will still be very delicious and pretty). Let rise away from draft until dough doubles. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Remove rolls from pans and cool on wire rack. When rolls are cool, drizzle with orange glaze: Mix together 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 3 T. freshly squeezed orange juice and 1/2 tsp. Grated orange rind.

Lion House Dinner Rolls
2 T. dry yeast
2 cups warm water
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup shortening
2 1/2 tsp. Salt
2/3 cup nonfat dry milk
5-6 cups flour
1 egg

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine yeast and water. Let stand 5 minutes. Add sugar, shortening, salt, dry milk, 2 cups flour and egg. Beat together until very smooth. Add 2 more cups flour, one at a time, and beat until smooth. Add about one more cup flour, 1/2 cup at a time until well mixed. Turn dough onto a lightly floured board and knead until it is smooth and satiny (I simply use my very-well-loved Bosch mixer to knead for me). Return dough to an oiled bowl and cover to let rise until about triple in size.

Use last of the flour as needed on the board for rolling and shaping the dough. Let dough rest on board for 10 minutes so it will be easier to manage if you roll it. Separate dough into three portions. Roll out each portion into a circle and cut into 8 pie-shaped pieces (or 12 pieces if you want smaller rolls). Roll up crescent-style and place on baking sheet (I line mine with a silpat liner or parchment paper). Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Makes 2-3 dozen rolls.

{From Mel's Kitchen Cafe}


Tomato Sauce with Butter

This is another family recipe, created by one of my uncles. It is amazing and really not hard to make! The veggies are delicious.

A bonus? This freezes and reheats well.

Tomato Sauce with Butter

2 lb ripe plum tomatoes (or 2 cups canned work as well)
1/4 lb butter, cut into 8 pieces
1 med. onion, peeled and quartered
1 med. carrot peeled and quartered
1/4 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt

If using fresh tomatoes, wash and cut in half and cook over low heat in a covered pan for 15 minutes. Put through a food mill to have a fine puree. If using canned tomatoes, measure 2 cups into a food mill along with about 1/2 cup of the juice and process for a fine puree (or press through a sieve to puree and remove seeds).

In a medium saucepan, put butter, onion, carrot, sugar and salt. Add tomato puree. Simmer over low heat for 40 minutes uncovered. Stir frequently and make sure it doesn't turn to a boil. Add more salt if needed and serve over pasta.


Rhubarb Streusel Cake with Warm Vanilla Sauce

Does anyone else out there love rhubarb? I love it, but have a hard time thinking of anything better to do with it than throw it in a cobbler/crisp. I found this recipe on Mel's Kitchen Cafe and it was delicious. Because I love Rhubarb, I would recommend adding more than she suggests...but maybe you aren't as big a fan as me.

Rhubarb Streusel Cake with Warm Vanilla Sauce

*Serves 6

2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb

Streusel Topping:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted

Vanilla Sauce:
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking dish and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar for the cake. Beat in the egg. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter/sugar mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beating just until moistened. Fold in the chopped rhubarb. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the batter to the edges.

In a medium bowl, combine the streusel topping ingredients, mixing them together until the mixture is coarse and combined. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the batter. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the top of the cake is lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

For the sauce, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add the sugar and milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2-3 minutes or until slightly thickened (it will thicken more as it cools slightly). Remove from the heat; stir in the vanilla. Serve warm with the cake.'

{from Mel's Kitchen Cafe}


Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

I have been cooking...lots actually. I just forget to take pictures (and partly on purpose because I can't take nice pictures like Jessica) and then figure why post a recipe for something yummy without a picture? No one will even be tempted to make it because, let's be honest...we all love pictures of good food, right? Well, sorry to say. No picture here. But Ryan (brother) was visiting us for a few days and I made this recipe and he said to me "This is really good. Is this on the food blog?" - Uh, he KNOWS about the food blog? Yeah, because his wife is the one that mostly posts on this blog. So, I decided to post it on the food blog. Just for him...and for his wife, if she ever wants to make them. Make them...they were yummy. And it's a little bit of New Mexico right in your home! :)

1 Rotisserie Chicken, skinned, and chopped...or about 3-ish cups chopped chicken
2-4 oz. cans of diced green chiles
1-8 oz. package of softened cream cheese, cut up into cubes
1 can black beans
1 cup corn (I use costco corn and just run tap water over it to thaw it out a little bit)

2 T. Butter
1/2 C. chopped onion*
2 Tbs. Flour
1/3 C. chicken broth
1/4 C. milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1-10 oz. can green chile enchilada sauce
1/2 C. sour cream

8 oz. monterey jack cheese, shredded (I've used mozzarella but it just wasn't quite the same)
Flour Tortillas (I use the Costco ones....love them!)
Fresh Cilantro

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combing cream cheese, and green chiles. Mix together well. Add the chicken, black beans, and corn. Mix to combine. Set aside.

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens and begins turning translucent, this will take about 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onions as you stir. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and milk. As you whisk and the mixture cooks, the flour will get less lumpy around the onions and the mixture will become smooth. Cook over medium heat until it begins to bubble and has thickened (about 3-4 minutes). Add salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in enchilada sauce and sour cream.

Spread about 1/4 C. of the green sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 dish. (Or, if you have a smaller family, like me. Use a 8x8 pan and a tin 8x8 pan and freeze one of them for another quick dinner in the future. This freezes well!) Fill each tortilla with about 1/2 C. of the chicken/cream cheese filling. Top with a small handful of shredded cheese, a couple Tbs. for each enchilada. Save at least 1/2 C. cheese for the top of the enchiladas. Roll the tortillas up and place seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Continue filling enchiladas until the dish is full.

Pour the green/white sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Top with remaining cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the enchiladas are bubbling, hot and lightly browned. Sprinkle fresh cilantro over the top and serve.

*Go buy a Vidalia Chopper right now if you don't already have one. Jess, do you like yours? I LOVE LOVE LOVE mine. Honestly, if there was a fire in my house, it would be the second thing I'd grab second only to my child! :) I buy a big bag of onions at Costco and chop about half of them up right away and freeze them (about one onion per freezer bag) and it makes it SO nice when I'm cooking something with onion, which I do often. I just pull out an already chopped, frozen bag of onion. If I know I'm going to use it early enough, sometimes I'll pull it out and let it thaw, but it really doesn't matter.

I adapted this recipe from my kitchen cafe


Ricotta and Spinach Calzones

I have been too intimidated to try this recipe. But now that I'm living with my mom for awhile she showed me the ropes. It was surprisingly easy and very very delicious. We added sausage to some calzones and that was delicious.

4 cups flour
1 T yeast
1/2 T salt
2 T olive oil
1 1/2 cups water

Add yeast to warm water. Let it begin to foam. in food processor fitted with plastic blade mix flour, salt, oil and yeast mixture. Pulse until dough forms a ball and is smooth and elastic. Put dough aside to rise in a covered bowl for 1 hour. Cut dough into 6 pieces, roll each into a ball, and then cover to keep warm for up to 1/2 hour. Preheat oven to 500 F.

2 cups ricotta
8 ounces mozzarella, shredded
1 cup grated parmesan
1 egg yolk - or whole egg
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 T olive oil plus 2 T for brushing calzones for baking
1 yellow or red pepper cut into small chunks
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
4 cups chopped frozen spinach or 1 pound fresh, washed/dried baby spinach

1 T olive oil
28 ounces crushed tomatoes in puree
2 medium crushed garlic cloves
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2-1 tsp salt (to taste)
1/2 tsp pepper

While the dough is rising, prepare the filling and the sauce. For filling, mix the cheeses, egg, oregano, salt and pepper. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, heat the oil, then add the peppers and cook for about 3 minutes until they are beginning to soften. Add the garlic, spinach, and dried red pepper flakes. Cook until the spinach is just beginning to dry. Set aside cheese mixture and vegetable mixture.

For sauce, heat oil in a small sauce pan. Add garlic and cook only until fragrant - don't let it brown. Carefully add tomatoes. This will spatter if you add the tomatoes too fast, so guard your clothes and stove. Add oregano and cook for 1 minute. Add sugar, salt, and pepper to taste. continue to cook very slowly to thicken a bit while you finish the calzones.

Preheat oven to 500F.

Roll the balls of dough into 9 inch circles. Keep each of the circles separated from each other with plastic wrap or parchment paper. To form each calzone, cover half a circle with 1/6 of cheese mixture, leaving a 1 inch edge. Cover the cheese with 1/6 of the vegetable mixture. Fold the dough over the filling, this time leaving a 1/2 inch edge, sealing the top dough to the bottom. Form each remaining calzone the same way. Cut a few air vents in the top of each calzone, brush with olive oil, and bake for 12 minutes.

Serve with the tomato sauce either hot from the oven or after cooling for 30-60 minutes.


Grilled Pizzas

During the summer I hate turning the oven on. So for dinners, my favorites include anything cooked on the grill. This pizza was perfect, fast, and really, really yummy. this recipe suggest tomatoes, sausage and fresh basil but I just did personal size pizzas and let each person make theirs as they wanted. They were a huge hit.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used half white and half wheat flour)
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
Vegetable oil cooking spray

1 lb red and yellow cherry tomatoes, halved (or only red if your grocery store doesn't carry yellow)
1/2 lb turkey sausage, cooked and thinly sliced
1 cup grated part-skim mozzarella (I used half fresh mozzarella and half grated)
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Or, really, whatever toppings you want.

Mix flour, yeast and salt in a bowl. Gradually add 1/2 cup warm (110°) water until a soft dough forms. Divide dough into 4 portions. Using hands, roll dough into balls, coat with cooking spray, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise 30 to 45 minutes. When ready to cook, place each ball of dough on a piece of wax paper and flatten into a 4-inch circle. Coat grill with cooking spray and heat on high. Gently lift dough onto grill and cook until dough puffs and underside stiffens (about 30 seconds); flip and reduce heat to low. Mix topping ingredients, then divide among crusts; cover grill. Grill until cheese melts, 5 to 6 minutes more. Slice and serve.


Chocolate Toffee Crumble Cake (or BTS Cake)

For my husband's birthday he requested this delicious cake that his aunt makes which I had never made before. But, being the loving wife that I am, I did a little research and found some recipes online...categorized as the "Better than Sex Chocolate Cake." Every single recipe I found used a cake mix and cool whip. I couldn't bring myself to use either, so I did my own thing. And I'm sorry, but the name...has got to go. So here is the Chocolate Toffee Crumble Cake. Delicious.

Chocolate Toffee Crumble Cake

(double this recipe for a double layer cake)

2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
6 ounces caramel sauce (I used squirt-on ice cream topping kind)
3-4 Chocolate covered toffee candy bars
Whipped Cream

Set oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with non-stick spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. Whisk to combine and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar and oil and beat with a hand mixer. Alternating with boiling water, add flour mixture in 3 additions. Stir in vanilla.

Pour into a prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

While cake is cooling, heat sweetened condensed milk and caramel sauce until warm.

(For making my double layer cake, I used whipped cream between the cake and sprinkled with crumbled candy bar)

While cake is still warm, poke random holes into the cake with chopstick/end of spoon/whatever you want. Poor the milk and caramel sauce mixture into the holes.

Whip your own whipped cream to your desired taste. Use this as frosting on the cake. Sprinkle the whipped cream with crumbled candy bars.
(the Chocolate Cake recipe is from Rookie Cookie).


Corn Chowder

OK, so it's sort of getting to be beyond soup season, but I wanted to post this anyhow. This is a recipe that I tweeked and really really liked! So...if you have a cold spring day...make this! You'll love it. Well, if you like corn.

1/3 C. Bacon Pieces (I just buy that large bag from Costco) - Or you could just bake and chop some regular bacon.
2-4 Tbs. Oil
6 C. corn kernals (again, frozen from Costco)
1.5 C. cubed red potatoes (about 1/2 inch in size)
3 C. chicken broth
1/2 C. heavy cream
1/2 C. sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbs. sugar (optional)
1/4. tsp. cayenne pepper (optional if you want a little kick. I did it once with and once without)

Cook your bacon pieces and oil on medium high heat for a few minutes. Obviously, this is already cooked stuff...but I just crisp it up a bit and get the bacon taste in the oil/drippings/pot. Remove all or most of the bacon from the pan leaving the oil and set aside. Add corn and potatoes to pot with oil. Saute for about 5 minutes. Add chicken broth and simmer uncovered over medium heat until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer 3 cups soup to blender. Puree until smooth. (Be careful to not let blender splash or spill this. It's hot!) Return puree to soup in pot. Stir in cream, cheese, and bacon...(and sugar and/or cayenne if using this). Bring chowder to simmer, thinning with more broth if too thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy this bad boy! I LOVED it. Sorry there is no picture. You'll have to just imagine it. It's fabulous!


Texas Whopper Cake

This is my favorite chocolate cake. Maybe because it is my mom's recipe. I don't know. But every time I make it, I fall in love all over again. And guess what? I'm not that big of a chocolate fan! I know. Crazy, but true.
Texas Whopper Cake
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter
1 cup water
4 T. cocoa
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 tsp soda
In large bowl, put sugar, flour, and salt. In heavy pan bring butter, water and cocoa to a boil. Take cocoa mixture from heat as soon as it boils. Add immediately to dry ingredients and stir well. Add sour cream, eggs, and soda, mixing in one at a time until well blended (batter will be very thin.) Bake in a greased pan at 375 for 25 minutes (I usually bake it in a 9x13 pan. This time I tried two 8" pans and the cook time was about the same). Make frosting while cake is baking and frost immediately after cake is removed from oven.
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
6 T. canned milk (evaporated)
3 3/4 cup powdered sugar
4 T. cocoa
Boil milk, butter, and cocoa in heavy pan until bubbly. Stir in sugar and vanilla one at a time until well blended and smooth. Spread over hot cake.


Oven Fried Chicken

I have a confession: I love fried chicken. KFC is a slight weakness of mine...of course, it is a real blessing that up here in Canada they don't have the biscuits (love that hot, crumbly goodness) which means we never go. My waistline thanks me.

In an effort to assuage my craving I have been trying a few baked, or oven-fried, chicken recipes. I tried a few with bread crumbs which were good, but just didn't compare with the taste of fried chicken.

Then Rookie Cookie pulled through (like always).

Her recipe uses cornflakes which stay crispy and help fake out your mouth to thinking you are crunching away on fried chicken.

I also love the idea of having the cornflake/spices mixture already mixed up so dinner can be thrown together quickly.


3 1/2 lb chicken, legs or thighs or both
Kosher salt and pepper
3 cups corn flake cereal
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
3 Tbsp butter, melted
Set oven to 350 degrees.
Pat chicken dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine corn flakes, basil, thyme, oregano, garlic powder and red pepper flakes. Process until corn flakes are coarse crumbs. Pour corn flake crumbs into a pie plate and set aside.
In another pie plate, combine eggs and milk. Whisk until well combined. Set aside.
Set up your breading station. In order, line up seasoned chicken, egg mixture, corn flake crumbs and a greased rimmed cookie sheet. With one piece at a time, dip the chicken in the egg, then into the crumbs (coating well) and then onto the sheet pan. Repeat until all chicken is breaded. Drizzle each piece with a little bit of the melted butter.
Bake for 45-60 minutes or until the chicken's internal temperature is 165-170 degrees.
{Recipe from Rookie Cookie}


Banana Muffins

For lunch today, we had grapes and banana muffins. And of course big glasses of milk.

I threw a few chocolate chips in the batter to liven things up but the flavor of the muffins was delicious either way.
**Healthy option: I have substituted whole-wheat flour for flour and buttermilk for half the oil with delicious results!**

Banana Muffins
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
3-4 ripe bananas, peeled and coarsely mashed

Set the oven to 325 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl to blend.
Beat the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl to blend. Stir in the banana.
Add the dry ingredients and stir just until blended. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Bake the muffins on the middle rack until the tops are golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out with no crumbs attached, about 25 minutes.
Transfer the muffins to a rack and cool slightly.
{Recipe from Rookie Cookie}



OK, you might just want to stop what you're doing right now and go make these! Seriously! I've always been a little intimidated at the thought of 'making bagels' but when I came across a recipe I thought I might be able to handle, I decided I'd take the challenge. I even changed the recipe around a bit and they still turned out fabulous! No, seriously. Go make them and then tell me how you liked them!


1 1/8 C. warm water (110 degrees)
1.5 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. sugar
3 C. bread flour
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1.5 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 Quarts boiling water
3 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs cornmeal
2 Tbs. melted butter (or 1 egg white)
1/3 C. sugar
1 Tbs + 1 tsp. ground cinnamon


Combine warm water, yeast and 2 Tbs. sugar in mixer and let sit for about five minutes. Add flour, cinnamon, and salt and mix until good dough consistancy.

Turn dough out onto a roul'pat if you have one-if you don't...you NEED one! (or floured surface). Divide dough into eight equal parts (yes, I have a scale because I'm ocd so I got them pretty equal, but it doesn't really matter). Roll each piece into a small ball. Flatten the balls and poke a hole in the middle and twirl the dough around your finger to enlarge the hole. Cover bagels with a clean cloth and let sit for about 30 minutes.

While bagels are sitting, bring the 3 quarts water to boil. Stir in 3 Tbs. sugar and prepare your pan.

I baked my bagles on a silpat and perforated baking sheet (without cornmeal). If you have these items, use them! If you don't, then sprinkle cornmeal on an ungreased baking sheet. Transfer bagels to boiling water. Boil for 1 minute on each side. Drain breafly on a clean towl. Arrange boiled bagels on baking sheet. With baking brush, brush the tops of each bagel and top with preffered topping. I used cinnamon sugar. I actually coated with butter and then dropped each bagel in the cinnamon sugar mixture to cover completely.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, until well browned.
Other alternative toppings:
Honey Wheat: Use honey instead of sugar (omit the cinnamon), and use 2 c. whole wheat flour and 1 C. all purpose flour. Top with Oats.
Dry Onions
Add 1/2 C. cheese (Agiago, or Parm, or other) to dough and then sprinkle on top as well.


Chicken Corn Chowder

We ate this for dinner tonight and were scraping the bowl by the end. Delicious. Such great flavors and so great for a chilly winters day. Or any day if you live in Canada. I'm so ready for winter to be over.

Chicken Corn Chowder

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I found that the olive oil all rose to the top when the soup was done and made it look more unappetizing, hence no picture, so I would try less)
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped, seeds and membrane removed (this is important for flavor - but doesn't add heat because the seeds and membranes are removed and it is cooked with the other veggies)
1/4 cup thinly sliced or cooked chopped ham
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (14-oz.) cans chicken broth
3 tablespoons flour
3 ears of fresh corn kernels or 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
2 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
4 oz. softened cream cheese
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Place olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute celery, bell pepper, onion and jalapeno until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ham; cook for another 3 minutes. Whisk the broth with the flour in a liquid measuring cup or bowl and then stir into the soup. Stir in the corn and chicken. Bring to a low boil and reduce heat.

Whisk together the cream cheese and milk in a large bowl until smooth (I had a difficult time getting my cream cheese to completely whisk into the milk so my soup had some minor small lumps but next time, I'll soften the cream cheese until almost melted in the microwave). Whisk the cream cheese/milk mixture into the soup along with the salt, pepper and cheddar cheese. Simmer on low until ready to serve.

{recipe from My Kitchen Cafe}


Lemon Chicken

Looking for an easy main dish? That is delicious? This fits the bill. Of course, I am a lemon nut. But my husband, who thinks my obsession is a little over-the-top, loves these as well.

Lemon Chicken

2 chicken breasts, cut in 1/2 to make thinner
1/3 cup flour
salt and pepper
2-4 T butter
1 lemon

Once chicken breasts are cut, pound to make as thin as you can. Pound in the flour and salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a pan. Add the chicken. Cook 3-5 minutes on each side and remove from pan. Pour out all but 2 T. of the butter/juice (I like to leave any bits of chicken/flour in that may have come off). Add juice of 1 lemon to pan. Stir. Bring to boil. Add the chicken back in. Flip and cover with the sauce. Serve. And enjoy.


Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Confession: I made these cinnamon rolls way back in...November. And I'm just now getting around to posting it. I don't want to lose this recipe because, believe me when Fall rolls around again I WILL be making more. Many more.

My friend Jessica entered this delicious recipe in a contest for Utah Valley Magazine and won. Try them and you will see why.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

original recipe by Jessica CrApo

1/4 c. warm water
2 1/2 tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
1 c. canned pumpkin puree
1/3 c. margarine, melted
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1 tsp salt
5-6 c. flour

1/2 c - 2/3 c. canned pumpkin puree (to your preference)
1/2 c. butter, room temperature
1 c. packed brown sugar
2 T cinnamon
*optional: 3/4 c. raisins, 1/2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans

4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
3 T butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 - 2 1/2 c. powdered sugar

1. Combine warm water, yeast, and teaspoon of sugar in small bowl. Stir until yeast is dissolved. Let stand until froth doubles.
2. In mixer fitted with dough hook, combine milk, eggs, pumpkin, margarine, the 1/2 c. sugar, nutmeg, salt, and cloves. Mix until smooth.
3. Add 4 cups flour to mixing bowl. Pour frothed yeast mixture on top of flour. Knead about 5 minutes, adding flour 1/2 c. at a time until dough barely begins to clean the sides of the mixing bowl. Dough should be smooth and moist, but not sticky.
4. Spray a bowl with non-stick cooking spray. Place dough in greased bowl. Cover with wet towel, or plastic wrap sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Allow to raise until doubled, about 1 hour.
5. While dough is raising, prepare filling. Place room temperature butter and pumpkin puree in small bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until mixture is smooth. In another small bowl combine brown sugar and cinnamon, set both bowls aside.
6. Pour dough out on slightly floured surface. Roll into a rectangle 16x21 inches, dough should be about 1/4 inch thick. Spread the pumpkin/butter mixture over rectangle. Next, evenly spread the sugar/cinnamon mixture on top, slightly pressing it into the dough.
7. Roll up long side of dough, forming long tube. Cut tube with sharp knife about every 2 inches, making 12 rolls. Place rolls in lightly greased 9x13 baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes.
8. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
9. Bake rolls in oven until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract to make frosting. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.


Marble Brownies

1/2 cup margarine
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 squares unsweetened chocolate (or 5 TB cocoa)
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
Combine margarine, water and chocolate (or cocoa) in saucepan; bring to boil. Remove from heat. Stir in combined flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Add eggs and sour cream; mix well. Pour into greased and floured 15 x 10 x 1 inch jelly roll pan.

For cream cheese mixture:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
Combine cream cheese and sugar, mixing until well blended. Blend in egg. Spoon over chocolate batter. Cut through batter with knife several times for marble effect. Sprinkle with 6 ounces of chocolate chips. Bake at 375 for 25 to 30 minutes or until tests done.


Sweet Potato Fries

This was the only picture I could get before my battery died. But it does this trick.

These fries were really good. I cut them a little too thin so they were a little flimsy, but the flavor was amazing. Rookie Cookie does it again.

1 large sweet potato
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper

Set your oven to 450 degrees.

First, cut a very thin slice off the bottom of the potato so it doesn't roll. Then cut off 1/4" slices and slice into julienned 1/4" slices. Place on a cookie sheet and drizzle with oil and spices. Toss well, making sure to coat evenly. Then spread out evenly and with space between the fries. Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning once at about 20 minutes.

{I got this from Rookie Cookie's blog}


Loaded Potato Skins

These made a great side dish. Easy and delicious...and pretty, too!

4 russet potatoes
Olive Oil
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp butter
1/w cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 green onions, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 F. Rub potatoes with a bit of olive oil and lightly salt the skins. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until tender.

Cut potatoes in half and, when cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh in a bowl (leave a thin layer of potato intact around the skin to help prevent it from tearing). Add the milk, butter, cheese, and green onions and stir until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the broiler. Carefully scoop the mashed potatoes into the skins. Top with a bit of extra cheese and place until the broiler until the tops are brown and crispy (3-5 minutes).

Top each with bacon, jalapenos, sour cream and green onions.

{Adapted from Cook This, Not That Recipe book}


Apple Crepe Filling

I love crepes, and now that it isn't fresh fruit season any longer it can be hard to think of yummy dessert fillings. Last time I made them I made this and it was delish.

Apple Crepe Filling

1 apple (I used a granny smith, but any apple that is good for cooking will be great.)

Slice up the apple and put in a frying pan on medium heat. Sprinkle the apple with cinnamon and sugar, to your preference. Put inside a crepe and top with whipped cream.

Also delicious on ice cream