Friday, February 27, 2015

Blueberry Muffin Smoothie

Well, it is the last working day in February. WOOT WOOT.. We had more snow on Wednesday and Thursday. It is also only 6 degrees today. Insane. I am wearing out my sweaters. I live in several layers of clothing...

If you were wondering, I still drink smoothies. I still look for smoothie recipes and I still LOVE my Vitamix. The best invention ever. Sometimes, I look back at all my posts from last year, Holy crazy girl. I still eat my overnight oats for breakfast, and eat my spinach salads for lunch. Smoothies are still fun. My Husband and I are on our yearly low carbohydrate diets. He is of course losing tons of weight and me.... pretty much nothing. That is why I did not give up my oats. They are so beneficial to me. He received P90x3 for Christmas. 30 minute workouts. It is condensed, but a power packed workout. I am mixing between P90x3, Piyo and Insanity. (I should really buy stock in Beachbody) I received a rowing machine for Christmas. Rowing is such a total body workout. I really love it. I also go to Crossfit twice a week. My core has leaned up and my muscles have developed more. It is a challenged. Yoga is still on my list. Once or twice a week..

This Blueberry Muffin smoothie is Delicious. My Husband and I were craving something sweet, but did not want to sabotage our hard work. This was so good. Blueberries are a super fruit and everything else is just the icing on the cake

Blueberry Muffin Smoothie
adapted from Jewel grocery store recipes

1 cup Almond Milk
1/2 cup Blueberries, fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons Whole Oats
2 tablespoons Cashew Butter
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder

Add all ingredients into a high power blender and mix for 1-2 minutes, or until smooth. Add ice if you want to. Pour into a glass and drink up...

Just simple ingredients you can have in your pantry

I had forgotten how absolutely fabulous Cashew Butter is.
I did have a spoonful. OMG... sinfully delicious

I was liking the beautiful blue ~~ almost purple color

Friday, February 20, 2015

Caramel Delights

I found another one... WOW, these are are SO amazing.. I could eat the whole pan. I made these for a tray for a customer. She thought they were delicious. Cheryl loves my Chocolate Peanut Butter Gooey bars (featured 10/29/14), but she thought these ranked very high..

It is a mouthwatering combinations of caramel, chocolate and oats.
Holy amazing.. Soft and chewy with a melding of flavors.
They are rich and sweet, but so good.
These would totally melt the coldest heart, or give you a diabetic coma...

Caramel Delights
modified from
3/4 cup (1 1/2 stick) butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 10 ounce bag caramel chips (or 14 ounce bag caramels)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8 pan with tin foil and coat with cooking spray

In a bowl of a mixer, combine melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla, flour, oats and baking soda. Mix well to combine.

Press HALF  of this mixture into the bottom of the 8x8 pan. Bake for 10 minutes or until starting to brown.

While the crust is baking, make caramel sauce. In a small saucepan, add the caramels and cream. Heat over medium/low  heat. Stir until smooth. Set aside

Remove pan from the oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips evenly over the top. Gently pour the caramel sauce over the chocolate chips.

Sprinkle the caramel with sea salt. Will amp up the flavor

Crumble remaining oat/flour mixture over the caramel and return to the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting.

Simple ingredients all added to the bowl at once

Baked crust with the chocolate chips added

Gently melted caramel and cream sauce

Poured over the top of the nuts
Add remaining crumble and bake for 15-20 minutes longer

These beauties are ready to be eaten

Chocolate and Caramel... some of the good things in life.
These are an easy bar. Give them a whirl and let me 
know what you think.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Chicken Cacciatore

Happy Almost Valentine's Day... 
I have been baking like a mad women. I had two customers throw in birthday cakes also.. And one of  the birthdays was in January. That cake is cool, but OMG people, I am dying here.. I may end up sharing a picture of the panda cake. And maybe next time.

So with Valentine's day being on a Saturday, are you a go out to dinner kind of person. Well we are not. My Husbands' birthday was 2 weeks ago and mine is in 3 weeks. We used to do very romantic things for each, but being married 12 years has changed that. Most of my Sweets job will be for Friday. I have a cake for Sunday morning pickup.. What a crazy weekend.

As much as I love surf and turf, that is not always budget friendly. And If you have a house full of kids, it totally does not work. In walks Chicken Cacciatore. This was fantastic. I think I made this years ago, but it has been a long time. This is a budget friendly dinner, that can feed 8 or make small packages for the freezer and later dinners. The recipe stated that you could spoon it over mashed potatoes or polenta. Both are my favorites, but we are dieting... Augh... So I cooked lentils and combined those with the chicken. My Husband would have LOVED mashed potatoes, but he wants to diet.

My Husband just needs to light diet and workout, and 
off come the pounds. Just sensible eating and portion control.

Chicken Cacciatore
very slightly modified from
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
8 chicken thighs, skin removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (2 cups)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, chopped
24 ounces canned diced tomatoes
16 ounces tomato sauce
1 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a large dish. Roll the chicken pieces in the flour until lightly coated. Heat a large Dutch oven on medium high. Add the olive oil and lightly brown the chicken on all sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

To the large pan, add the garlic, onion, red pepper and mushrooms. Saute until soft. Add the remaining ingredients, cook for 5 minutes and then add the chicken.

STOVETOP: Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 2-3 hours ( or longer) stirring occasionally.

OVEN: Cover and cook in a 200 degree oven for 2-3 hours (or even longer). To let the sauce thicken, uncover for the last 30 minutes or so.

Serve with Mashed potatoes, rice, polenta, or lentils to soak up the rich sauce.

I used average size thighs. This recipe has some flexibility 
to add more chicken for a larger group

I dumped in all the vegetables and started sauting

This is after it has cooked for awhile.

Do you see this RICH color of the slow cooked sauce.
Every meal cannot always take this long, but
once in awhile, it does taste delicious.
Sometimes, in our fast pace world, you forget
how savory food can really taste.
SLOW Down and enjoy dinner.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Baklava Bars

I have found heaven.. These bars are AMAZING.. If you like Baklava or Honey, you will LOVE these bars. Oh ... in heaven, these bars would contain no calories.. But here on earth, they are not diet friendly. They are perfect for Valentine's day for that non chocolate person. (whomever that may be)

I made these for the first time at Christmas, they were a HUGE hit, and I loved them. I always wonder why I need to work out everyday... I had two trays in January that also requested them. So these will also be perfect for Valentines. Nothing says love like some "honey" honey.

These lovely delights could sit next to any cookie any day
and they are perfect all year round

This recipe does come together fairly quickly.. The steps are just spelled out to make things easier. This recipe will impress your family and friends. And you will have kicked it up a notch. 

Baklava Bars
hugely modified from
Cookie Base
1 stick of butter, softened
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 package frozen mini fillo shells

1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup 1/2 stick) butter
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with tin foil. Spray well with cooking spray.

In a large bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment, mix butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add egg and mix and then add vanilla extract. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix. A soft dough will form. Press dough into baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes.

While crust is baking, in a medium bowl, stir walnuts, granulated sugar, butter and cinnamon with a fork until mixture is well mixed and crumbly.

Sprinkle nut mixture evenly over partially baked base. With your hands, crumble frozen fillo shells evenly over nut mixture. Bake for 18-20 minutes longer or until golden brown.

While that is baking, in a small microwaveable bowl, microwave honey, butter, brown sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon on high for 1 minute or until bubbly. Stir in vanilla. Drizzle this mixture over your cooked fillo bar evenly. cool completely about 2 hours.

Store covered at room temperature, if the are not totally devoured.

A soft dough. Gently spread out, using your fingers
into your baking pan. Cover surface evenly

Baked for 15 minutes.
Edges are "just" starting to brown

Nuts, sugar, butter, cinnamon topping
ready to go next

These shells are in the freezer dept.
Usually near the frozen pie shells and cool whip area

I decided that I will buy these again.
There are "countless" different things I can make with them

Breaking it up into small pieces

Baked for the second time and drizzled with a Honey mixture

This was from my January trays. 
Everyone loved them ... and the pizelles also

Taking an old Greek dessert and making it easier.
Baklava is fussy and labor intensive. 
With a bit of knowledge, any baker can whip these up 
for a special event... or a Wednesday..