Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Peanut Butter Brownies

I got this recipe from my cousin/friend/book club homegirl, Amy.  You might remember her from this recipe, which is one of my all-time favorites.
These brownies are super rich, super delicious, and super easy.  Anyone who is a fan of peanut butter and chocolate is going to love these.  Thanks for another winner, Amy!
1 box brownie mix (I used Ghirardelli double chocolate)
1/2 bag peanut butter chips

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup peanut butter (I didn't measure it, I just put two really big spoonfuls)
2-3 cups powdered sugar
little bit of milk

*Make the brownie batter according to package directions and stir in the peanut butter chips.  Bake according to package directions and let cool completely.  Mix together the cream cheese, peanut butter, powdered sugar and a little milk to make spreadable frosting.  Spread over brownies and serve immediately or chill before serving.

Monday, November 19, 2012


Not a really exciting recipe--especially since it's almost Turkey day but I have been making pie crusts most of the day in prep for said Turkey day...and needed to make SOMETHING for dinner. I had a little left over chicken, so I made a quick Chicken Noodle Soup (nothing fancy) for the husband. You can't have soup without some kind of hot bread, so I pulled out my old Baking Powder Biscuit recipe. I forgot how good these are!! Really--they are, and I think the reason is they use butter instead of shortening. They are quick and fast too. I always use buttermilk instead of half and half. I think it makes them lighter. If you don't have buttermilk on hand, just put a few tablespoons of vinegar in fresh milk and let it sit for a few minutes. It will thicken and become your buttermilk substitute. 

I use my food processor to cut the butter into the flour. Just pulse it a few times. I also mix the milk into the flour with the processor. Just don't process too long. I made these in literally 10 minutes--minus the baking time.


2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold (1 stick)
3/4 cup half-and-half or buttermilk

Cooking Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
Cut the stick of butter into pieces and work it into the flour mixture with your hands or pastry blender (or food processor) until it resembles pea-size crumbs. Add the half-and-half or buttermilk, mixing until the dough mixed and no flour is present.

Pour the dough out onto a floured surface and knead a few times.
Roll out the dough until it's 1/4 of an inch thick. Use a biscuit or cookie cutter to cut dough.  I use a large round cookie cutter--we like our biscuits BIG!! Place on ungreased cookie sheet  about 1/4 inch apart (so they rise up not out), and bake for about 12 minutes, or until tops are just golden. Serve warm with butter and jam!! They will keep stored in an airtight container for several days.

**For a cheesy biscuit, add about 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese when the dough is almost finished processing. Bits of melted cheese will be in the biscuit. Really good!

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Time to make the pies!! It will be Thanksgiving in a few days, so break out your rolling pins and sprinkle that flour! I decided to try something a little different for our dessert table this year--don't worry family, we will still have the traditional pumpkin, pecan, chocolate cream, coconut cream, lemon and banana cream. I have been following The Baker Chic cooking blog ( for a while and she makes some amazing desserts. She posted this a few days ago and I decided I must try. NOT mad about it! So delicious and what a great combination--pear and toffee. I did cook it on my pizza stone to keep the crust crisp.  I think this might become a regular with us. Would be great with a scoop of ice cream too!

1 1/4 cup All-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter cut into small cubes
1/4-1/2 cup of ice water
1 egg white
course sugar for sprinkling
2-3 firm ripe pears peeled and sliced
1 tsp ground cinnamon

toffee sauce:
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/4 tsp salt

Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor, and process for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, add the ice water in a slow, steady stream, through the feed tube, just until the dough holds together. Do not process for more than 30 seconds. (You can also do all this with two knives or a pastry blender.)

Flatten dough into a round disc and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for at least an hour.

For toffee sauce:
Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan. Simmer on low until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Raise heat to medium and cook for 8-12 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce has reduced to about a cup.


When dough is chilled, on a well-floured surface, roll it out into a 10-12 inch round. Gently move it to your baking sheet. Arrange pears around the inside, leaving a 2 inch border around the edge. Fold the edges in, overlapping each over the other like an accordion. Sprinkle cinnamon over the pears and brush or drizzle them with about 1/4 cup of the toffee sauce. 

Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes or until fruit is bubbly and crust is golden and firm. (You really want the bottom to crisp up so don't take it out too soon. I baked it on my pizza stone). Cool slightly and drizzle with more toffee sauce. (You may have some leftover- it would be delicious on ice cream!)

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Ahhh--it's cloudy here in AZ today and on Saturday it's supposed to be a blustery 64 degrees with MAYBE some rain! We can only hope! I wish I could share this weather with those in the east that are now being pounded with heavy snow on top of the terrible Sandy hurricane. Our prayers continue to go out to them and their families. Here we  have been waiting to turn off the AC for several months! This soup is easy, and good. If your family doesn't like spicy you could leave out the salsa or reduce the amount. I think it gives it just a little more flavor. 

2 large cans chicken broth
1  8 oz. package softened cream cheese
1 chopped onion
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 tbs. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
2 c. or 16 oz. Pace (or any hot sauce you prefer)
3-4 cans of chicken (I used 3 c. cooked shredded that I  had--you could also use meat from a rotisserie chicken)
1 c. milk or cream  (or half and half)
1 package frozen sweet corn (I like S&W Sweet Petite White Corn)
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
sour cream
chopped tomato

Sauté onion and garlic in 2 tbs. olive oil, add broth, milk or half and half, cream cheese, corn and salsa and bring it all to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and add the chicken.  Cook just until heated.  Serve in bowls topped with chopped cilantro, avocado and sour cream. Also good in a bread bowl.  Garnish with chopped cilantro, diced avocado, diced tomato and a dollop of sour cream.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pumpkin Lust Dessert

One of my favorite desserts is the chocolate pudding layered dessert.  I dream about it because it is just that good.  So when I saw this recipe using pumpkin spice pudding in place of chocolate pudding, I had to try it.  This is such a fun dessert for Fall.  It would be perfect to add to your Thanksgiving menu.  The pumpkin flavor and creamy layers makes for a yummy combination.

Recipe from Sweet Treats and More

1 stick butter, melted
1 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tbs sugar
1 (8oz) package of cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
2 (8 oz) containers cool whip (or one 16 oz container) *
2 small packages (3.4oz) of Jello Instant Pumpkin Spice Pudding 
3 cup cold milk
Chocolate chips

For the crust:

Combine butter, flour, chopped pecans and sugar and press into a 9 x 13 in baking dish.  Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes.  Let cool completely.

For the Cream Cheese Layer:

Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and 1 1/2 cups cool whip until smooth.  Spread over crust.

For the Pumpkin Layer:

Mix pudding mixes with cold milk, whisking for several minutes.  Set it in the fridge for 5-10 minutes to let it thicken.  Spread over the cream cheese layer. Top with remaining container of cool whip. Sprinkle with chocolate chips.  Keep refrigerated until serving.

*I used whipping cream for the top layer.  I prefer the taste over cool whip.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Another Banana Bread

It's kind of weird to try so many banana bread recipes.  I mean, I have at least 3 banana bread recipes that I really love and yet, I keep trying new ones.  I don't know.  
So here's another one and I really liked this one, too!
4 ripe bananas
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup light tasting olive oil
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda

*Smash up the bananas.  (Instead of dirtying another bowl, I just put my bananas in the mixer first and mix them up until their nice and juicy).  Add the sugar, eggs, yogurt, vanilla and olive oil.  Mix well.  Add flour and baking soda.  Mix well.  Pour into two small bread pans and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.  Watch it closely because the time will vary depending on your pans and your oven.

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