Monthly Archives: September 2016

Double Pumpkin Spice Chip Cookies

Fall is pumpkin madness as far as I am concerned so I am going to take advantage of the season and the bountiful harvest of the pie pumpkins! This is a spin off my hubbies favorite chocolate chip cookie. 

This recipe yields: 74 cookies


1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)

1/4 cup puréed pumpkin 

¾ cup brown sugar

¾ cup granulated sugar

2 eggs (room temperature)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups Whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp kosher  salt

1 small box pumpkin pie instant pudding ( you can use sugar free)

1 (10 ounce) bag pumpkin spice baking chips


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Parchment paper line 2 half sheet pans & set aside.

3. In a small bowl thoroughly mix together flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside. 

4. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment beat butter until light and fluffy. Add in both sugars, vanilla, pudding mix, and pumpkin continue to beat with paddle attachment. Slowly add in eggs one at a time. 

5. Add in flour blend to the liquid batter. Slowly incorporate. Be cautious not to over mix. Fold in pumpkin chips. 

6. Portion out cookies using a # 60 scoop and place 15 to a pan. Bake for 12-13 minutes. Allow to cool for 1-2 minutes on pan and then move to a wire rack to cool. 

Crock Pot Cider Beef Roast

This dish is a perfect way to celebrate the first day of autumn.

We had some chopped vegetables and cider leftover from a party we had Sunday. I generally always have a beef roast in the freezer. I thought I’d give this a try. I literally threw this dinner together in less than 10 minutes before I went to work yesterday. 
Honestly who doesn’t have time to put this together and having the stress free feeling of coming home to dinner ready. 
The cider does make this dish fairly sweet. So if you don’t like your beef real sweet consider using 2 cups of beef broth and only 2 cups of cider in place of the full quart of cider. 

Serves 4-6

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 8 hours on low


1 (2 pounds) beef roast

1/2 large yellow onion (quartered)

1/2 medium red onion (quartered)

1 small green pepper, cut into strips

1 pack low sodium onion soup mix

1 cup of baby carrots

1 quart spiced apple cider

Directions :

1. Place the beef in the center of the slowcooked. Surround the beef with the onions,peppers and carrots.  

2. Sprinkle the beef and vegetables with the onion soup mix and lastly pour the cider over the ingredients. Set the crockpot on low for 8 hours. 

3. Enjoy!

Pesto Crumbled Sausage Rotini Bake

We have an abundance of basil in the herb garden. I love making homemade pesto with it! 

This recipe is a great way to use up your basil before the nights get too cold and start to frost. 
You can also use store bought pesto if you don’t have basil in the garden or if you are pressed for time. 

Serving 4

Prep time: 15 minutes. 

Bake time: 20 minutes

1/2 cup prepared pesto  

3 cups cooked rotini pasta (I use Dreamfields wheat pasta that cooks white)

1 cup cooked crumbled Italian sausage 

2 Tablespoon fresh shredded Parmesan cheese

1 1/2 cup shredded Italian blend cheese

Cooking spray (divided)

8 by 8 baking dish

: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to package. 

1. Place pesto, sausage, pasta, and a 1/2 cup of the Italian cheese in the empty pasta pasta pot (why use another bowl). Mix together the ingredients and place them in the 8 by 8 baking dish. 

2. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup of cheese and place in the preheated oven at 360 degrees for 20 minutes. 

3. Remove from oven and enjoy with some garlic bread! 


Molasses Pizza Crust

Oh dear glory ! This is it! You must try this pizza crust! It is the perfect combination of sweet, crunchy and chewy texture. 

Have you ever been to Mellow Mushroom? My husband and I fell in love with this pizza restaurant in Franklin, Tennessee. We seek these out when we travel. We love the atmosphere and how you can build your own pizza.

We took that concept to the next level and recently had a party with a build your own pizza bar theme. 

This recipe yields 4 personal pizzas


2 tablespoons molasses 

1 1/2 tablespoon yeast 

1 1/2 cup warm water (like bath water)

3 1/4 cup Bread Flour

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

Cornmeal for dusting and rolling (freshly ground)


1. Place the first three ingredients in a small bowl and allow the yeast to proof. 

2. In the meantime, place the flours, salt,and oil in a stand mixer and mix the ingredients on low. 

3. Pour the yeast, molasses and water mixture into the mixing bowl with the mixer on low, then turn it to medium low and mix for 5 minutes

4. Cover the bowl and let rise at room temperature for one hour. Punch down the dough and allow it to rise again for about an hour then place it in the fridge overnight to allow it to ferment.

5. Preheat the oven to 500 and place the pizza stone in the oven. Allow the stone to get hot for about an hour at 500 degrees. At this time bring the dough out of the refrigerator to come to room temperature. 

6. Dust the surface with a good amount of cornmeal.  Remove the dough and cut into 2 or 4 pieces of equal size depending on how many pizzas you want to make.  This will make 2 medium pizzas or 4 nice size personal pizzas

7. Roll dough into a circle about 12″ around with a rolling pin and continue dusting with cornmeal as it gets sticky.  Poke a lot of holes in the dough with a fork or similar utensil so it does not bubble too much in the oven.

8. Place the dough on a pizza piel and place the dough on the stone in the oven for 4 minutes to par bake the dough

9.  Remove the dough to cool on a rack and get ready to place your toppings on your crust

10. Put your favorite pizza ingredients on your crust and return the pizza to the oven for 4-5 minutes

11.  Cut your pizza into as many pieces as you would like and enjoy!

Pumpkin Pecan French Toast

We had a sleepover last night with my nephew, sister-in-law & her boyfriend. I wanted to make a fall breakfast and this cannot be anymore fallish with puréed pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice!

The original recipe called for 8 eggs and I swapped out those for liquid egg whites to cut some of the fat.

This recipe yields 12 servings 

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30-35 minutes


1 pound of whole wheat bread (dried)

1 1/2 cups of liquid egg whites

1 Tablesppon of pumpkin pie spice

2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups of pumpkin purée

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup


2 tablespoon of raw sugar

1 tablespoon whole wheat pastry flour

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/4 cup chopped finely pecans


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cooking spray 9 by 13 baking dish & set aside.

3. Cube up bread into 1 inch pieces & scatter in greased 9 by 13 pan. Set aside.

4. In a large bowl whisk egg whites,vanilla,spice, pumpkin purée, and maple syrup. Pour over bread and mix to coat well. Set aside.

5. In a small bowl mix butter, sugar, pecans,and flour. Sprinkle evenly over bread.

6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack until ready to serve.

7. If your guests would like they can  always add Extra Maple Syrup.



Nutrition Label:



Fall Harvest Spiced Muffins

Fall will be here before we know it (11 days but who is counting). Some of the tree leaves are starting to turn yellow and red hues. My husband and I went running last weekend on one of our favorite trails and there were already some leaves hitting the limestone path. Fall in Western Pennsylvania is very beautiful and we are lucky to have all the seasons.

We were able to stop at my grandfather’s orchard last weekend. He always likes to show his apple trees, peach trees, and thriving garden. This is a picture of him and I below. I am trying to hold all the goods in just one hand. But the reality of it is we left with a cooler full of produce, several bags of kale, peaches, apples, and an 8.175 pound head of cabbage.


My grandpa’s apple trees have so many apples, he has to place posts under the branches to prevent the apples and branches from hitting the ground. He gave us some of his apples. I was able to incorporate them in the recipe today, along with my neighbor’s roasted pumpkin I freeze canned last year.

In the fall I make everything pumpkin and apple. I love the smell of these fruits baked in fall combined with cinnamon.

Prep Time: 15 Minutes    Cook Time: 21 minutes

This recipe yields: 21 muffins using a size # 16 scoop

Prep Work &Tools need for the job:

  • Number Size 16 scoop
  • Muffin Tin Liners
  • Muffin Cups
  • Cooking Spray
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Line standard muffin tin with paper liners



1 cup of pureed pumpkin

1/4 cup of canola oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 2/3 cup sugar

2 Tablespoons of ground Flaxseed

1 teaspoon of apple pie spice

1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice

2 1/2 cup of whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon of baking soda

2 cups of chopped apples, peeled


  1. In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda, spices, & salt. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients just until moistened. Fold in apples. Cooking spray the lined muffin cups and use a # 16 scoop to fill the tins.

3. Bake the muffins at 350° for 19-21 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. I rotated my muffins halfway through for even baking. Remove from pan after 5 minutes have elapsed and allow to cool on wire rack.

Enjoy the muffins on their own or slathered with apple or pumpkin butter.

Peanut Butter Cookies with Mini Hershey Kisses

I made these cookies for our RD meeting today. This is a quick easy recipe and packed with some whole grain. 

This recipe yields: 36 cookies 


* 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

* 1/2 cup sugar

* 1/3 cup brown sugar (unpacked)

* 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter

* 1 large egg

* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

* 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

* 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats

* 1 teaspoon baking soda

* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

* 1 cup (6 ounces) mini Hershey kisses 

Pre-directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Parchment paperline baking 1/2 sheet. 


1. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment cream butter and sugars; beat in peanut butter, egg and vanilla.

2. In a separate medium size bowl combine flour, oats, baking soda and salt; stir into the creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate kisses.

3. Drop by using a size 60 cookie scoop onto parchment paper-lined baking 1/2 sheet pans (9 cookies to a pan). Bake at 350° for 10-11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 minute before removing to a wire rack. 

Spicy Slow Cooked Peppers

This time of year the homegrown peppers are bountiful. We are lucky enough to have neighbor’s with a beautiful thriving garden. They are very generous and always share their harvest. This recipe is a good way to use up some of those peppers from the garden. Bonus is this recipe freezes really well which allows you to enjoy the harvest more than one time a year.

I made this recipe for our monthly RD meeting. I try and feed the team a home cooked meal to show my appreciation. This recipe makes a lot of peppers so it is good for a meeting or potluck.

The picture below is a half buchel of Hungarian Hot Peppers we canned which  are also good for stuffing.

Prep time:30 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours on low


1 pound spicy Italian sausage

1 pound 93% lean ground beef

1/2 cup cooked red quinoa

1 tablespoon sriracha

1 cup of your favorite tomato sauce

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

3 green onions, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

8 large banana peppers, tops cut off and seeded

8 large bianca sweet long peppers, tops cut off and seeded

64 ounce low sodium spicy V8 (you might not use all of this)

Tools for the job:

6 quart slow cooker

Pepper seeder


1. Caution wear food safe rubber gloves. Remove pepper stems. Carefully remove seeds and membranes; set peppers aside. Combine the tomato sauce, sausage, beef, quinoa, cheese, onions, garlic, sriracha, salt and pepper; stuff into peppers.

2. Stack peppers longways in slow cooker. Pour V8 over peppers and place cooker on low heat for 8 hours.



Special Tip: The banana peppers can be very tricky sometimes they are hot and sometimes they are not. So if you want to be on the safe side I would recommend using the bianca peppers which are a more sweet pepper. 

Macadamia Nut Blondies

Today is Macadamia Nut Day. Instead of adding walnuts into your oatmeal or your favorite trail mix try giving the macadamia nut a try. Macadamia nuts contain monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and plant substances that might lower cholesterol.

My husband and I went to Hawaii this past May and Hawaii is famous for their native Macadamia Nuts. One thing we noticed while we stayed on the various islands of Hawaii, these nuts are added to just about every baked good from cookies to quick breads. Today I thought I’d add them to a blondie bar. 

Prep time: 15 minutes Bake time: 25- 30 mintues

This recipe yields: 24 Blondies 

Essential Tools for the job & pre work:

  • 9 inch baking pan
  • Parchment paper (optional but will make life easier)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line baking dish with parchment paper; enough to get sides to pull the Blondies out to make for easier cutting.


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2-2/3 cups whole wheat pastry  flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2/3 cup chopped finely macadamia nuts


1. In a stand mixer attacjed bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add applesauce and mix. Beat in eggs one at a time & add vanilla. Set aside.

2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, spices and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Lastly fold in the macadamia nuts. Spread into a prepared 9 inch square baking pan (I did use a dark pan). The type of pan will effect the cooking time). If your pan is lighter you might need to bake it longer. 

3. Bake in the center rack of oven for 25-30 minutes or until set and golden brown & toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Using parchment “handle” pull bars out and place on cutting board & cut into 24 bars. Store in a airtight container, whole wheat products don’t last as long as AP baked goods.

Kick’n Chive Ham & Cheddar Scones



My husband and I were lucky enough to travel to Hawaii this past May. One of the things we enjoyed most was drinking coffee on Kona, the Island of coffee. We drank so much coffee on Kona one night, I could not even fall asleep. There were so many coffee shops and coffee farms on Kona, I think at one point I got “coffeed out” if that is even such a thing. Ask my family they will vouch for me on that. This sign in this picture below somes it up.

IMG_7748 There was one special spot we liked to go in Kona called
Daylight Mind. It was a hidden gem the locals loved. Our tour guide, Katie, from Hawaiian Outdoor Guides for the National Volcano Park told us that you can almost guarantee to see Dolphins in the morning while you are enjoying your coffee. And of course we did :)

IMG_7750This restaurant/coffee shop is a true coffee cafe! We adored this place! The location is perfect! Right on the water with beautiful views of the ocean (picture below). I love the top deck seating area. 


The coffee is so good and the service is stellar. Honestly we wish we could have went there every day. They even offer yoga in the mornings which I wish I would have had time to attend class.

They offer coffee classes and also have beautiful baked goods from mango macadamia nut sourdough bread to sweet blueberry scones and savory cheddar and chive scones.

IMG_7745This place made me want to go home and open a coffee shop. I love the vibes of this place and it truly is the perfect place to start your day! Especially when you are on vacation. 

These scones pictured above inspired me to make these scones in the recipe below. It was one of the bucket list of recipes I wanted to make after our trip to Hawaii. I must say posting this recipe makes me want to plan another trip to Hawaii.

Yields: 16 mini scones    Prep Time: 15 minutes


2 cups of Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

1 Tablespoon of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt

1 Tablespoon of honey

1/2 teaspoon of roasted garlic powder (from Penzey’s one of my new favorite spices)

1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, cubed

3/4 cup of Non Fat Buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon of hot sauce

1/3 heaping cup of diced finely lean ham

1 cup shredded 2% mild cheddar cheese

1/4 cup of fresh chives, chopped

Essential tools for the job & prework:

  • Mini Scone Pan; sprayed with cooking spray
  • Oven preheated to 425 degrees


  1. In a large bowl, combine flour,  baking powder, garlic powder and salt. Add cold butter, using your fingers to work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles wet sand appearance.
  2. Stir in hot sauce, buttermilk, cheese, ham and chives until all ingredients appear wet.
  3. Evenly divide the batter into the prepared mini scone pan. Place the scone dish into the center rack of oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until firm to the touch and lightly browned.
  4. Allow the pan to cool on wire rack for 5 minutes and remove the scones on the pan and allow to cool on wire rack or serve right way.
  5. Enjoy!