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Pumpkin Oat Bars

We had a special birthday in the office the other day and one of her favorite things to eat is pumpkin flavored treats . Luckily I still have a stock pile of puréed pumpkin in our freezer from our generous neighbors . I love using pumpkin purée in baked goods.

Sometimes I like to add it as a mystery ingredient for moisture and other times I like it to be the star of the show . Puréed pumpkin is a very moist and packed nutrients. It is a perfect substitute to swap out some unnecessary fat with oil or butter in a baked good. Pumpkin is high in vitamin A and bonus only 30 calories per 1 cup cubed. 


1 cup pure puréed pumpkin

1/2 cup steel cut oats

1 1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1/2 cup puffed wheat cereal

1 cup raw sugar

1 oz chocolate hazelnut spread

1/2 cup peanut butter 

1/2 cups dried craisins
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 by 9 baking dish with foil. Spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Thoroughly mix together in a large bowl the first 7 ingredients and then fold in the dried cranberries. 
3. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Spread the batter evenly into the baking dish. 
4. Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. 
5. Allow to cool, cut into 16 bars, and enjoy!

Lemon Ice Box Pie


This year I was in charge of the pies and rolls for Easter. My mom hosted Easter dinner and allowed me to help with these few items to help her in the kitchen.  I love baking so I was anxious  to try a few new recipes.  

I love using my grandma’s pie dish so I was pleased to make the pies. It makes me feel like she was with us this year sharing the meal and memories.



16 Lemon Flavored Oreos

3 TB unsalted butter, melted


1 (8 ounce) packet of 1/3 reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature

1 can (14 oz) of sweetened skim condensed milk

1/4 cup of egg white substitute

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, plus 3 TB boiled (this will take about 3 lemons)

1 tsp lemon zest

2 tsp gelatin


1. Place the Oreos in the food processor and pulse. Slowly add the butter and incorporate.

2. Place the mixture into a standard pie dish and press into dish. Place the dish into the refrigerator and allow to chill for at least 30 minutes.

3. In the meantime prepare the filling. In stand mixer beat with paddle attachment the cream cheese, egg substitute and sweetened condensed milk.

4. Mix 3 TB of the hot lemon juice and dissolve the gelatin in the hot juice. Mix the gelatin until it dissolved. Set aside.

5. Add in the lemon juice and zest to the cream cheese mixture, then fold in the gelatin mixture.

6. Pour the filling into the pie dish, cover with saran wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator overnight.

Keep chilled prior to serving




Applebutter Pork with carrots & haricot verts


I love Sundays and especially I love to use my slow cooker on Sunday’s. I attribute this dish to Sunday classic slow cooker home cooked meals. This dish literally takes three minutes to get ready before you’re off to enjoying your Sunday. There is no reason you can’t number one afford this dish or not have time for a home cook Sunday dinner. 

 This past Sunday it was nearly 70° outside and I couldn’t bear staying indoors so this was perfect to put in the slow cooker and be off to enjoying the sun in the strip District.

One pork loin or tenderloin 1 to 2 pounds

3/4 cup of apple butter

2 tablespoons of low-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon of ground ginger

One bag of baby carrots (approximately 2 cups)

2 cups of fresh Haricot Verts or Green beans 

1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder 

1/8 tsp ground pepper

4 quart crockpot 


1. Place the carrots and on the bottom of the crockpot. Place the pork on top of the carrots.

2. In a small bowl mix the Applebutter,  pepper, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and vinegar. Place the marinade on top of the pork.

3. Turn the slow cooker on low. Cover and allow the slow cooker to slow cook the meat for 7 1/2 hours. On the mark of the last half-hour (7.5), add Haricot verts. Allow them to steam for the last half an hour which would make the pork cook for a total of eight hours. 

If you don’t like haricot verts use broccoli or another favorite green. 


Nanny’s Cornflake Crust 


 My husband’s Nanny Kessman used to make this classic baked chicken dish with cornflakes instead of breadcrumbs. My husband mentioned she would make this family favorite for every holiday. Even when he was growing up she baked this entree. 

This dish comes out very crunchy on the outside and moist in the center without the grease. The pasta sprinkle adds a lot heightened flavor. 

The other day I recalled this dish and thought I don’t think we have ever made it. What a perfect quick dinner recipe that pairs well with actifry fries and a many steamed veggie. 


3 thin slices pork chops or thin chicken breast 

1 1/2 cups of cornflakes, then crushed

1 TB pasta sprinkle or Italian seasoning

1 large egg

1 TB skim milk

Salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Take a half sheet pan lined with parchment paper and then place a wire rack in the inside of the pan on top of the parchment paper. Set aside.

3. Take two shallow small bowls. Place the crushed cornflakes in one mixed with pasta sprinkle. In the other bowl place the egg and beat it lightly with the milk. 

4. Take the meat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the meat in the egg wash enough to coat entire piece. Allow excess to drop off and then place the meat in the cornflake dust. Flip the meat and allow to coat both sides. Place the fully coated meat on the rack inside the pan. Repeat with remaining meat. 

5. Bake the meat in the center of the oven at 350 degrees. Set the timer for 12 minutes and flip the meat and bake for 12 more minutes. 

**The internal temperature of the pork should be 145 degrees. The chicken may take longer.If baking chicken the temperature should be 165 degrees. 


breakfast Stromboli


Josh loves a savory breakfast meal whether it’s for breakfast or dinner. This is a good twist on a breakfast pizza and now a family favorite!


1 lb of home made pizza dough or frozen (thawed)
1 cup shredded smoked pepper jack cheese
1/2 cup of chopped green pepper
1/4 lb of breakfast sausage
1 egg
1 oz of skim
1/2-1 tsp poultry seasoning ( i used ruth ann’s from penzey’s)


1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees and place your pizza stone in the oven while it heats. Let it heat for an hour.
2. In a large pan season the sausage with poultry seasoning and brown the sausage until no pink meat remains on medium heat. Once fully cooked pour meat into dish ( I like to line it with paper towel which removes some of the fat). Lightly cook the peppers and place them on top of the cooked sausage.
3. In small bowl mix the milk and egg lightly season with more poultry seasoning. Pour into medium heat skillet and scramble eggs. Once eggs are fully cooked remove from heat and set aside.
4. Take dough and roll it out into a square on a lightly floured surface. Place the meat down evenly in the center of the dough in forming a rectangle. Top with pepper evenly and also with egg evenly. Lastly add the smoked hot pepper cheese. Fold the dough with corners first and the longer sides second. Place the dough fold side down on the hot stone (I like to put cornmeal down to help prevent sticking). Brush with olive oil. Bake for 18 to 25 minutes (until outside becomes lightly brown).  Yield: serves 4

Mom’s Mouthwatering Mac Salad


Oh boy, oh boy it only took 6 years to fully get all the secrets to this treasure. My mom has been making this Mac salad for longer than I can remember. My husband adores this salad and when we have it in the house he eats it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. No joke!! Okay maybe not breakfast.
The first time I asked her for the recipe she only gave me bits and pieces. Every time she made it my husband studied her process and he would say oh you put “that” in it as well?! Eventually we acquired the entire recipe.

Let me just say it is not a summer family gathering or holiday potluck without it.

Love you mom


1 box of elbows Dreamfileds Pasta cooked according to box (this pasta is awesome it is a whole wheat but cooks white) big secret for incorporating whole grains at a picnic

1 small can of black olives, diced

1/4 cup chopped carrots

2 small container of grape tomatoes (cut in half)

6 hard boiled eggs (plus more for decoration)

1/2 cup chopped celery (about to stalks)

1/2 cup yellow onion chopped

2 TB fresh chives

2 TB fresh parsley

6 turns on the pepper mill

4 turns on the salt mill

6 small sweet pickles

1/2 cup light mayo

1/2 cup light miracle whip

1/2 cup light sour cream

2 tsp prepared mustard

4 TB sweet pickle juice

2 TB table sugar

This recipe yields 4 quarts of Mac salad !

1. In a large bowl that fits a sealable lid, mix all liquid ingredients together along with fresh herbs, sugar, salt and pepper.

2. Then add chopped eggs and noodles to the paste, use spatula to fold in the liquid ingredients. Then fold in the chopped vegetables to fully incorporate.

3. Top with decorative slices of hard boil eggs and a few grape tomatoes.

4. Keep cold and on ice bath at the picnic! Don’t forget your food safety !

Banana Nutella Overnight French Toast


1 loaf banana yeast bread TOH ( cup into 1 inch cubes) or any sweet bread

3/4 cup Nutella 

2 bananas ( cut into slices)

4 cups of skim milk

2 eggs

6 egg whites

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup pure maple syrup 

1/2 tsp ground Vietnamese Cinnamon  

9 by 13 oven safe pan and spray with cooking spray 


1.  Place half the cubed bread into 9 by 13 dish. Take every other piece and apply scant Nutella. Face Nutella side up.  

2. Place slices of banana on top of bread. Spread evenly.  


3. Take the remainder of bread cubes and spread scant amount of Nutella on one side of the place and face down. 


Set aside.

4. In a large bowl whisk milk, egg, egg whites, vanilla, maple syrup, and cinnamon.  


5. Pour liquid evenly overtop the casserole and cover overnight in refrigerator. 


6. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to placing in oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake uncovered for an hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until an knife comes out clean. 

Meatloaf Cupcakes


My husband loves meatloaf! By far one of his favorite comfort foods. I always use a very lean ground beef at least 93/7. I added some whole wheat bread crumbs to add some extra fiber and used egg substitute to decrease extra cholesterol and calories.

This recipe yields 6 large muffins sized mini meatloaves.

Leftover mashed potatoes 1 1/2 cups
1 tsp canola oil
1 small onion chopped
2 TB bacon bits
2 TB grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1.5 TB Worcestershire sauce
1.5 TB low sodium soy sauce or liquid aminos if you want to cut the sodium down more
1.5 TB egg substitute or 1 egg white
2 chopped garlic cloves
1 1b 93/7 extra lean ground beef or ground turkey
Pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and cooking spray large muffin tins.

1. Take a small skillet and sauté onions and garlic in oil until onions are translucent on medium heat. Make sure stir occasionally.

2. In a large bowl add beef, egg substitute, soy, Worcestershire sauce, bacon bits, bread crumbs, cheese, and finally cooked onions and garlic.


3. Massage meat with hands to incorporate ingredients. Be careful not to over mix the meat.


4. Use size 8 scoop ( 4oz / half a cup) to perfectly portion the meat mixture into the tins.


5. Now top meat mixture with 1/4 cup of mashed potatoes. (If you want to add extra flavor sprinkle with cheese or fried onions but that will add additional calories for those who are counting).


6. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Or until internal temperature reads 160 degrees.


Pumpkin Long Johns with Cream Cheese Frosting


I have the Wilton Long John Pan and have been trying to think of a good recipe to make to use it. I tend to use the doughnut pan more often when baking a breakfast.

Yields 5 to 6 large long johns

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray with canola oil cooking spray your Long John Pan.

2 Cups of Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
2/3 Cup Sugar
1 tsp pumpkin spice
1/2 tsp good quality Vietnamese cinnamon
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 1/2 tsp of baking soda
1 cup pumpkin puréed
1 tsp if Mexican Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup low fat buttermilk
4 TB Canola Oil
1/2 cup Egg Substitute or 4 Egg Whites

Cream Cheese Glaze:
3 oz Reduced Fat (neufchatel) softened
2 tsp butter
1/2 teaspoon Mexican vanilla
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 TB Skim milk

Walnuts toasted 1/3 cup Chopped (optional)

Place all dry ingredients in bowl and whisk together.


In a separate bowl place the wet ingredients.


Whisk together until incorporated.


Add dry ingredients into wet and whisk together well until there are no signs of flour visible.


Now place batter scant amount in 2/3 cup and add to the long john cooking sprayed pan.


Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until tooth picked inserted into center comes out clean.


Place on wire rack to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Invert & remove from pan and allow to cool on wire rack.


Once cooled completely ice with cream cheese frosting.


For an added touch sprinkle with Walnuts.


Apple Butter Sausage Casserole


My husband loves sausage and the combination of apples. We had my parents over for the weekend and I made this in the morning for brunch. It has a nice mix of savory and sweetness that the whole family can enjoy. This recipe was also inspired by my Mom’s love of apples and cheddar cheese combination.

2 small apples peeled cored and sliced ( I used red delicious that my grandpa gave me from his orchard)
1/2 apple butter
1/2 pound original breakfast sausage ( you can use turkey sausage to cut the fat) cooked drained and blotted with paper towel
3 eggs (or 6 egg whites or 3/4 cup egg substitute to cut extra fat and calories)
3/4 cup skim milk
3/4 cup heart healthy bisquick
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup fat free cheddar or 2% reduced cheddar cheese

Yields 9 servings


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray an 8 by 8 glass dish with canola oil cooking spray.

2. Mix milk, eggs, bisquick, salt and pepper in medium bowl and whisk until incorporated. Set aside.

3. Heat nonstick sauté pan on medium high heat and brown up sausage. Cook until the meat is no longer pink. Drain the meat well and blot with paper towels to remove extra fat and calories. Place the crumbled sausage in the nonstick pan and spread around evenly. Set aside.

4. Take the apple butter and spread it on top the sausage evenly.

5. In the meantime take apple slices and heat them in the same pan used for the sausage prep on medium heat and cook for 2-3 minutes to soften slightly and spread on top the sausage and apple butter in the glass dish.

6. Sprinkle half the cheese evenly on the top. Now pour the milk mixture evenly over top the sausage dish.

7. Back for 30 minutes uncovered and then remove from oven and throw the remainder of the cheese on top and bake for 3 to 5 more minutes until cheese is melted.

8. Remove from the oven and let sit on wire rack for five minutes before slicing into. Enjoy !