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Pumpkin Spice Chia Overnight Oats


Now that it is October I feel like I can pumpkin it up. I started the day with this delicious treat. 

Ingredients 

1/2 cup of pumpkin purée

3 tablespoons oats old fashioned

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

1/4 teaspoon ground pumpkin pie spice

1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk 

1 1/2 cups water

2 teaspoons Chia seeds

1 teaspoon sliced almonds 

2 packets truvia or your favorite non-calorie sweetener

1/2 -1 tablespoons vanilla protein powder 

Directions
:

Place everything in a 32 ounce mason jar. Secure with lid. Shake it up. Let the oats rest overnight in the refrigerator. Shake well before serving. 

The oats will thicken up slightly however if you want a Thicker consistency reduce the amount of water. 
Hot oatmeal alternative

Place all the ingredients listed above in a microwavable glass bowl. Give a good stir & microwave on high for six minutes. Be careful all the contents will be very hot.  Stir the oats place back in the microwave and microwave again for another six minutes. Enjoy!

A Few of My Favorite Things Fudge

We had a very special birthday in the office this week and her favorite treat is fudge. I was going to purchase some at the local market but I ran out of time before it closed. Turns out it worked in my favor. Afterall homemade is alway better :)

Yields:   63 pieces 

Ingredients:

1 can (14 ounce) sweetened condensed milk 

1 cup of milk chocolate, coarsely chopped ( I used daffins family favorite)

1 package (11 ounces) of peanut chips and chocolate chips combined (Tollhouse)

2/3 cup chopped finely werthers cooking caramels

1 cup roasted salted peanuts,  finely chopped

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (penzeys)

Directions:

Prework: Prep a 9 by 9 ban with foil. Spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.

1. Place the first 4 ingredients in a microwavable safe bowl (preferably glass). Microwave for one minute and stir with silicon spatula. Repeat in 30 second intervals until chocolate is melted throughout. 

2. Once all the chocolate is melted add peanuts and vanilla to the mixture. Stir to combind and pull the batter into the prepared pan. Cover the fudge with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm. Remove the fudge from the pan and set on cutting board. Cut into desired size pieces and enjoy. I wanted to present them in a fashionable way so I placed them in mini cupcake paper cups. 

For optimal results store in a sealable container and chilled in the refrigerator. 

Carrot Cake Greek Yogurt


I love carrot cake, so why not have it for breakfast. Have your cake and eat it too. 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup shredded carrots

1/2 cup Greek plain fat free yogurt

1 cup of seedless grapes

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon 

4 Tablespoon of old fashioned oats

1 tablespoon of chia seeds

1/4 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1-2 packets of truiva or sweetener of choice 

1 packet of true lime

Directions:

Place everything in a pint mason jar and mix well. Store in refrigerator overnight and enjoy next morning.

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

My grandma and grandpa had their 60th wedding anniversary at the beginning of the September.  With the help of their church, my family orchestrated a successful surprise party. We had around 50 friends and family attend the event.  Luckily the surprise was kept a secret for this occasion. I was assigned baking the cookies and cupcakes for the milestone endeavor.

I wish I would have known what flavor cake my grandmother and grandfather had for their wedding all those years ago.  I did not learn about their special day wedding cake until after the party. My great grandmother “little Lee” as I grew up calling her, prepared their wedding cake.  The cake was a white cake as my grandmother told me the story.

I wanted to go with a fall flavor but not quit pumpkin just yet since it was Labor Day weekend. My sister described these cupcake as cinnamon toast crunch cupcakes after she took the initial bite. No wonder my 5 1/2 year old nephew had two. Afterall Cinnamon Toast Crunch is his favorite cereal.

Yields: 56 cupcakes standard size using a 16 scooop

Ingredients:

3 cups of all purpose flour

3 cups of cake flour (usually comes in a box)

2 Tablespoons of baking powder

1 teaspoon of kosher salt

2 tablespoons of ground Vietnamese cinnamon (DO not skip this; recommend Penzey’s)

2 cups of butter (4 sticks), unsalted and room temperature

3 1/2 cups of granulated sugar

8 large eggs at room temperature

4 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract (high quality; recommend Penzey’s)

2 1/2 cups of buttermilk, room temperature

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper-liners. No need to spray with cooking spray to prevent sticking. Set aside.
  2. Mix very well together in a large bowl, first 5 ingredients. Set aside.
  3. With a stand mixer & paddle attachment (with silicon scraper) on medium high speed, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add one egg at a time, mix after each addition. Add vanilla into the batter, and mix to incorporate.
  4. Reduce the speed of the mixer to low, add flour blend in three separate sections, alternating with the buttermilk. Mix on low until combined. Be cautious not to overmix the batter.
  5. Divide the batter evenly using a size 60 scooper in prepared muffin tins. Bake rotating halfway through. Mine were about 16-18 minutes to perfection. Test the cupcakes at about 15 minutes using the toothpick method. Transfer the baked cupcakes to wire racks to cool completely. After cooled I generally freeze the cupcakes right away until I am ready to frost.

Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting:

I made about 3 batches of this frosting. It really just depends on how generous you are with the  piping.

Ingredients:

4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 Tablespoon of ground cinnomon

Directions:

  1. On medium to high speed cream the butter with a standing mixer with paddle attachment until smooth and fluffy. Reduce speed, and gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar & cinnamon until fully incorporated. Once fully blended beat in vanilla extract.

  2. Lastly add in half and half and beat for an additional 3-4 minutes. Decorate as you wish, I enjoy the standard ice cream swirl look for these cupcakes. 
  3. Remove cupcakes from freezer and pipe. Store in sealable containers to maintain freshness.  

 

 

Chicken Noodle Soup

There is just something about chicken noodle soup that cures just about anything. It seems like with the change of seasons among us, several people are catching a cold or their allergies are in full swing. I prepared this remedy for a sick friend. It is a very simple recipe and nothing says get well like a homemade dish.

Recipe yields: approximately 3 quarts, 8-10 Servings

Ingredients:

1 Table canola oil

2 large celery stalks, finely chopped

1 extra large (2 inches in diameter) carrot, finely chopped

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

1 # (uncooked) Lemon chicken breast (cooked), coarsely chopped (yields about 2 1/2 cups) (RECIPE BELOW)

10 cups water

7 teaspoons Penzeys chicken base

1 Tablespoon fresh parsley

1 1/2 teaspoon pasta sprinkle

3/4 teaspoon ground pepper

3 cups of dry egg noodles

Directions:

  1. On medium to high heat, prepare a 6 to 8 quart stock pot.
  2. Once the vessel is ready, add the canola oil to the pan. Add the carrots, celery & onion. Allow the ingredients to cook for 5-7 minutes. Stir often.
  3. In the meantime prepare the base, boil the 10 cups of water and add the base and stir vigerously with whisk to blend until no signs any clumpy residue.
  4. After the vegetables have softened.Add the prepared base along with pasta sprinkle and pepper. Bring to a boil. Add the egg noodles and cook for 12 minutes. After the time has elapsed add chicken and fresh parsley. Heat the meat through and enjoy.

 

 

Lemon Chicken:

Tip: I prepared the chicken a day in advance.

Ingredients:

1# (thawed) Chicken Breast (about 2 breasts)

1/2 fresh lemon (juiced)

1 teaspoonGarlic Salt (freshly ground)

1 teaspoon Pasta Sprinkle (Italian seasoning from penzeys)

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Take a large piece of foil and spread out on the counter. Place the chicken breasts on the foil. Sprinkle evenly both sides of the breast with the pasta sprinkle and garlic salt. Add the butter and juice of the 1/2 lemon. Fold the chicken in the foil and crimp to seal. Place the foil packet in the prepared oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until temperature of the chicken yields 165 degrees.

Topsail Trail Mix

Yep it’s that time of year we load up the car and head to to the beach. Just when you think you cannot fit one more thing in the car (and trust me, my dad is good at packing a car) you find a spot for homemade baked goods and nonperishable snacks! 

Trail mix is my go to for road trips! This one is special since we are taking it to the beach! Look out NC…here we come! 

Ingredient:

1 cup roasted whole cashews

1 cup roasted whole peanuts 

1 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup roast lightly salted sunflower 

3/4 cup Dark chocolate chips 

1 cup dehydrated apples slices 

1 cup lightly salted roasted whole almonds 

Direction:

1. Mix everything in a sealable container and give a good shake or two. Enjoy! 

Simply the Best Chocolate Chip Cookie

If I haven’t said it before, I have made at least 30 different versions of chocolate chip cookies. That said this recipe below is by far my most requested recipe!

In fact it’s the only recipe I have memorized by heart because I have made it so many times. I have been fine tunning it for years. My mom always says I don’t like to share my food but I do love to share my recipes! This one is for you Kathy 😊!

We are gearing up for our yearly Topsail NC road trip and I asked my nephew what cookies I should make. Despite I already knew the answer before I asked the question… CHOCOLATE CHIP Aunt Nelli ❤️.

This Recipe Yields: approximately 5 dozen cookies using number 60 scooper.

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter  (room temperature)

¾ cup brown sugar (not packed)

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 small (96g) box jell-o vanilla instant pudding or white chocolate

2 large eggs (room temperature)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract (penzey’s single strength)

2 3/4 cups All purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp kosher salt

1 (12 ounce) bag semi sweet chocolate chips (I used Aldi Brand this time but ghirardelli is always a winner too)

Directions:

1. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment cream together the butter, pudding, and both sugars. On a slow speed, add the eggs (one at a time), and vanilla extract to incorporate.

2. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually on  a low speed add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture.

3. Lastly add the chocolate chips. Mix until the chips are spread throughout dough evenly.
4. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for 1 hour.

5. After 45 minutes have elapsed preheat oven to 350. Keep the dough in the refrigerator. Prepare 1/2 sheet baking pans with parchment paper. Set aside.

6. Drop on parchment paper lined cookie sheet. I use a number 60 scoop to make them uniform.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 12-15 minutes; longer for really large cookies. (13 minutes is usually the trick to my oven)

Let the cookies sit on the pan for about a minute and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
Enjoy because they won’t last long !

Mashup Nut Butter Bars

Recipe yields 3 dozen bars

It’s been too hot for the oven in Pittsburgh these last few weeks in July. Yet I have not turned on the air conditioning in the house. In turn, I know I have been taking it easy with the baking. These bars are super easy. Plus soft but crunchy with a blend of two different nut/seed butters.  Plus an extra bonus of a wide variety of seeds and nuts to pack in the protein. 

Ingredients:

3 1/4 cup of Cheerios (I used the pumpkin flavored ones)

2 3/4 cup of Brown rice cereal

1/4 cup of sliced almonds

1 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup of peptia seeds

1/4 cup milled flaxseed

1/4 cup of quinoa, uncooked 

1/4 cup dried mixed fruit ( I used a variety of blueberry and cranberry)

1 1/2 cup of local honey

1 Cup Smooth Cashew Butter

1 Cup Smooth Sunflower Butter

 

  1. Line a 1/2 sheet pan with parchment paper, make sure to place the parchment over the sides to make for easy removal of the bars. Set aside.
  2. Mix the first 7 ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
  3. In the meantime mix together the nut/seed butters and honey in a medium microwavable safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second and stir. Continue to microwave and stir in 30 second intervals until smooth and creamy. The mixture should appear melted. 
  4. Add the melted nut butter mixture over top of the dry ingredients and incorporate thoroughly with a rubber spatula. 
  5. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared half sheet pan. A nice trick to this is to spray your spatula with nonstick cooking spray. Another pearl of wisdom, you can also use wax paper to push the bars down into the pan to make the even. 
  6. Place bars in the refrigerator covered and allow the bars to set overnight. 
  7. After the bars have hardened overnight in the refrigerator cut in to three dozen bars.  For optimal results and extended shelflife, store the bars in an airtight container  in refrigerator.  

 

 

PB2 Hummus


You would probably never guess this about me, but I absolutely hated peanut butter growing up. I’d even go as far as to hide it under the couch (sorry Mom) as a kid. It wasn’t until my 20’s that I acquired a love for this creamy gooey luscious substance. 

Now a days, I consume peanut butter or powered peanut at least a few times a day. It is a protein stable in my diet. Peanut butter is my go-to for adding calories and protein into my clients’ diets. 

However if you are trying to cut down on calories you can try using powered peanut butter instead. 

This recipe yields 14 (2 Tablespoons per serving) servings 

Ingredients: 

6 Tablespoons of PB2 

2 cups of cooked chickpeas (if using canned make sure to rinse and drain thoroughly)

1 tsp kosher salt

2 large gloves of garlic

1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil 

1/8 teaspoon of paprika

3 Tablespoons of water 

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 1/2 lemons)

Directions
:

Place all the ingredients into the high tech blender. Process all the ingredients until smooth and creamy consistency is achieved with no residue of thick chunks remaining. 

Enjoy with carrots or snap peas 😋

Lucy’s Dog Bisuits


Lucy is my 17 week old English Blockhead Lab. Before I ventured back to Pa my boss in NC made Lucy treats for the road trip. She loved them! My boss was kind enough to share her recipes with me. I believe this is a combination of Gunther’s Blend, her Schnauzer.

I compiled a few recipes into one. Once these are devoured I will make another batch and post.

These have to sit overnight in the oven and Lucy girl knew it and wouldn’t stop barking at the oven. 


I did let her sneak one. After all she is a good girl!


This recipe yield 123 mini dog bone biscuits (1 1/2 inch)

Recipe:

3 cups of whole wheat flour

1 cup Oat brand

1 1/3 cup Corn Meal

1 cup natural crunchy peanut butter

1 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup skim milk

3 eggs, separated (one is for the egg wash)

Canola oil (optional for soften up the dough)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Parchment paper line two half sheet cookie sheets. Set aside. 

2. In a large bowl mix together first three ingredients (all the grains). Set aside.

3. Place the peanut butter in a medium bowl microwave for 30 seconds stir and repeat once more. Add the milk and chicken stock to the melted peanut butter.  Lightly beat two of the eggs in small dish and add to the liquid ingredients and whisk together.  

4. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry using a spatula mix until no dry residue remains. Cover with bowl with plastic wrap.  Let the dough rest for 15 minutes. 

5. Once the dough has rested lay a few hand fills of the dough on pastry mat or lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into 1/4 inch thickeness and cut the biscuits out. Now I did add a teaspoon or two of the oil on my hands and worked it into the dough. The dough is dry. I added it to prevent cracking. 

6: Place the cut outs on the prepared baking dish. I was able to fit 45 per sheet pan using a 1 1/2 inch mini bone cut out. You can use any shape you want. The local dog bakery here in town uses circles. I found one antique cut-out  in the shape of a bunny I’ll use next time. 

7. Before placing in the oven brush with egg wash. The thicker you cut them the longer they need to bake. I went on the thicker side and baked mine for 20-23 minutes. 

8. Let the cookies dry on a drying rack. Once completely cooled and oven cooled as well place the biscuits back on the baking sheet and let dry out over night in oven. 

9. Next day place in airtight container and share with fur friends.