• Easiest Apple Cake Ever

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    This is the easiest apple cake ever!  It’s “healthy” too since the recipe uses a boxed angel food cake mix, and there’s no added fat.  It’s delicious, and everyone loved this treat.

    Top with fresh fruit, like strawberries, or strawberry coulis and add whipped cream.

    Note: when cake cools it does deflate a bit, but it’s just as tasty!

    Ingredients:

    • 1 box of angel food cake mix
    • 1 20 oz. can of apple pie filling (sugar free), cut apples if desired

    Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 350*
    2. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.
    3. In a large bowl combine the angel food cake mix and the apple pie filling (if you want smaller pieces of apple, cut the apple pieces before mixing with the cake mix), and stir to combine.
    4. Poor batter into the prepared pan and cook for 30-35 minutes or until done (knife will come out clean).
    5. Top with fruit and whipped cream.

    Easiest Apple Cake Ever:
    5star

  • Chocolate (Zucchini) Cake with Chocolate Frosting

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    Ssssshhhhhhhhh!  Don’t tell anyone that this chocolaty decadent dessert actually has zucchini in it!!!!!  If someone didn’t tell you there was zucchini in it, you would never ever know, and I’m not kidding.  The zucchini just melts into the cake, and you are left with an incredibly moist chocolaty treat!

    As far as desserts go, it’s on the “healthier” side.  My kiddos devoured it (and so did Steve and I)!

    Recipe adapted from Spend with Pennies.

    Ingredients:

    Chocolate Cake Ingredients:

    • 1/4 c. vegetable oil
    • 1 1/2 c. white sugar
    • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1 egg
    • 2 c. all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 2 tsp. baking soda
    • 2 1/2 c. grated zucchini (about 2 medium size)

    Chocolate Frosting Ingredients:

    • 1/3 c. milk
    • 1/3 c. butter
    • 1 1/2 c. white sugar
    • 1 c. mini chocolate chips (or preferred chocolate)

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350*.
    2. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.
    3. In a large bowl, combine oil, sugar, egg and vanilla.
    4. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder and baking soda.
    5. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and stir well. The mix will be quite dry… TRUST the recipe; then gently stir in the zucchini and spread the mixture into your prepared pan.
    6. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until cake is done.
    7. While cake is cooling, combine butter, milk and sugar in a small pan. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Allow mixture to boil vigorously for 30 seconds; then remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips. Immediately pour over warm cake. Let cool completely before cutting so the frosting has a chance to set.

    Chocolate (Zucchini) Cake with Chocolate Frosting:
    5star

  • Cinnamon Rolls with Frosting

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    When I make cinnamon rolls, I usually make my grandmother’s recipe, which is more like a sticky bun/cinnamon roll.  This weekend I tried a new recipe…one with frosting.  It was a hit.  Everyone loved the frosting!  How could you not love a cinnamon roll with frosting?!?!?!

    I lightened the recipe up by using Country Crock Light spread in place of the butter for both the cinnamon rolls and frosting, and it worked very well.

    Recipe adapted from Temp-Tations.

    Ingredients:

    Dough:

    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 (1/4-oz.) packet active dry yeast
    • 1 cup milk, heated until warm
    • 5 TBSP butter or Country Crock Light, melted
    • 3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 c. Bisquick baking mix
    • 1/2 c. sugar
    • 3/4 tsp. salt

    Filling:

    • 5 TBSP butter or Country Crock Light, softened
    • 1 c. dark brown sugar
    • 1 TBSP ground cinnamon

    Frosting:

    • 3 TBSP butter or Country Crock Light, softened
    • 1 c. powdered sugar

    Directions:

    1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs until frothy. Whisk in yeast, milk, and melted butter and let sit for 10 minutes.
    2. Add the remaining Dough ingredients to the mixing bowl, and mix into a sticky dough. Transfer to a well-floured surface and knead, adding additional flour, just until no longer sticky. Return ball of dough to the mixing bowl, cover, and put in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.
    3. On a well-floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll out dough, until it is a large, 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Spread the softened butter on the surface of the dough to start the filling. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle evenly over the buttered dough.  Roll the rolling pin over the brown sugar and cinnamon to press all of the filling into the dough (and it makes it easier to roll).
    4. Line two jelly roll sheets with parchment paper and spray the parchment paper with nonstick cooking spray.
    5. Grab the short side of the dough, and roll entire length of dough into a pinwheel, pressing firmly as you go. Slice rolled pinwheel into 1 1/4 inch thick rounds and evenly spread about 9 (3 rows of 3) onto the jelly roll sheet.  You may need to pinch the ends so the roll doesn’t unroll.  One sheet may have fewer rolls, but that’s ok. Cover and let rise in a warm place for another 30 minutes.
    6. Preheat oven to 400* and bake cinnamon rolls 18-22 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.
    7. Combine melted butter and powdered sugar to create the frosting. If frosting is hard, microwave 10-15 seconds to soften. Spoon frosting over cinnamon rolls while still hot, and serve.
    8. The next day, microwave your rolls for 15-30 seconds, and it tastes like it’s right out of the oven.

    Cinnamon Rolls with Frosting:
    5star

     

  • Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Maple Frosting

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    These muffins are beyond delicious.  They are moist and flavorful and you would never know that they are healthyish!

    Think banana bread meets maple frosting.

    Think muffin meets cupcake.

    Think delicious.

    I combined two different recipes to create these muffins.

    Muffin recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod.  Frosting Recipe from Crazy for Crust.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 c. whole-wheat flour
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
    • 4 large ripe bananas (about 1 3/4 c. mashed)
    • 1 c. packed brown sugar
    • 1/4 c. coconut oil, melted and cooled
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt
    • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
    • Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling on muffins before baking, optional

    Frosting Ingredients:

    • 3 TBSP unsalted butter, melted
    • 1 c. powdered sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. maple extract
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • Milk or heavy whipping cream

    Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 350*F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners, spray with cooking spray, and set aside.
    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
    3. Peel the bananas and mash with a fork. Place the mashed bananas in a large bowl. Add the brown sugar, coconut oil, egg, Greek yogurt, and vanilla extract. Stir until well combined. Slowly stir in the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
    4. Fill muffin liners three-quarters full. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool.
    5. For the frosting: whisk melted butter and powdered sugar. Add extracts, whisk until smooth. Add milk or heavy whipping cream (to desired consistency…start with just a small amount (1-2 tsp.) at a time and add more, if necessary), whisk until smooth. Immediately frost completely cooled muffins.

    Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Maple Frosting:
    5star

  • Banana Nutella Swirl Cake with Nutella Frosting

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    Bananas and Nutella.

    Need I say more?

    It’s a great use for overripe bananas, and this cake is well, think banana bread meets Nutella….perfection!

    This cake is so good.  Steve said “I’d serve this to company”.

    Recipe adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 c. all-purpose Gold Medal flour
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 c. vanilla Greek yogurt
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 3 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (to equal 1 c.)
    • 1/2 c. Nutella

    For the Nutella Frosting:

    • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 c. Nutella
    • 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
    • 2-3 TBSP milk
    • 1/2 tsp. hazelnut (or vanilla) extract, optional

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease a 9×13 pan and set aside.
    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
    3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the yogurt and vanilla extract. Mix in the mashed bananas.
    4. Gradually add the dry ingredients and mix until flour disappears. Spread cake batter evenly into the prepared pan. Swirl the Nutella into the cake using a knife of toothpick.
    5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (mine took 35-40 minutes, so keep checking), or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely.
    6. While the cake is cooling, make the Nutella frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and Nutella on high until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time. Beat on high until powdered sugar is incorporated. Add the milk and hazelnut extract, if using. Beat until frosting is smooth and desired consistency. If you need to add more milk, add a little bit at a time.
    7. Frost the cake with Nutella frosting. Cut into squares and serve.

    Banana Nutella Swirl Cake with Nutella Frosting:
    5star

  • Mini Orange Monkey Rolls

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    I introduced Ellie to orange rolls this week when we had a mother daughter lunch day, and just like me she is hooked.  Orange rolls are like cinnamon rolls, but instead of the cinnamon there is the delicious sweet orange flavor.

    When I came across this recipe I just knew it would be delicious and it was.  They were inhaled.

    Recipe from The Recipe Critic.

    Ingredients:

    Mini Orange Monkey Rolls:

    • 12 frozen yeast dinner rolls (not the bake and serve in 5-10 minutes kind)
    • 1 c. sugar
    • zest of one orange
    • 1/2 c. butter
    • 1/2 tsp. (I actually used 1 tsp.) Karo syrup
    Sweet Orange Glaze (can omit, if desired):
    • 1 c. powdered sugar
    • zest of one orange
    • 1 TBSP butter, melted
    • 2 TBSP orange juice
    • 1 tsp. vanilla

    Directions:

    1. Take out 12 frozen dinner rolls and allow them to thaw but still be cold.  Cut each roll with a pizza cutter into about 4-6 smaller pieces each.
    2. Mix the 1 c. of sugar and orange zest into a small bowl and set aside.
    3. Preheat oven to 350*.
    4. Melt the 1/2 c. butter and mix with karo syrup.
    5. Spray a muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.
    6. Dip each small piece of the butter and roll in the sugar/orange zest mixture.  (There will be quite a bit of butter and some sugar/orange zest mixture left over.) Put about 4-6 pieces into the muffin tin and fill them about 1/2 way with the small frozen dinner roll pieces.  Let them double in size, about a couple of hours.
    7. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
    8. Let the rolls cool slightly and then use a knife to loosen them up. Remove each roll and place them upside down on a cooling rack as the bottoms will be sticky.
    9. When ready to serve, make the sweet orange glaze: mix the powdered sugar, orange zest, 1 TBSP butter, 2 TBSP orange juice, and 1 tsp. vanilla together.  Drizzle over the tops of each of the orange rolls. (If you don’t want the glaze you can omit).
    Mini Orange Monkey Rolls:
    5star

     

  • Almond Joy Granola

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    Steve eats granola on his yogurt every morning for breakfast.  I usually just buy granola (because really, why bother making your own?), but then I came across this recipe and I knew I had to try it out.

    I am a convert and will now be making homemade granola!

    If you like Almond Joys, you will love this granola!!!  It is so good, and surprisingly easy to make.

    Recipe adapted from A Spicy Perspective.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 c. rolled oats
    • 1 ½ c. sliced almonds
    • 1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
    • ¼ c. brown sugar
    • ¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
    • ½ tsp. salt
    • 1/3 c. honey + additional to drizzle
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1 ¼ c. (more or less to your liking) large unsweetened (you can use sweetened if you want) coconut flakes
    • ¾ c. mini chocolate chips

    Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix the oats, almonds, cocoa powder, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, honey, vanilla, and sweetened coconut in a bowl.  Line a 9×13 jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
    2. Spread the granola out into a thin even layer. Bake for 10 minutes. Mix with a spatula, drizzle additional honey; then spread the granola out again and bake another 10 minutes. (If you don’t mix the sweetened coconut in step 1; then sprinkle the coconut over the top of the granola and bake another 3-5 minutes to toast (if you use sweetened coconut and didn’t mix in step 1 it will take longer to toast). Watch the coconut – it burns very quickly!
    3. Once the coconut is toasted, remove the granola from the oven and mix. Cool completely; then mix in the mini chocolate chips. Store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

    Almond Joy Granola:

    5star

  • Brown Butter Snickerdoodles

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    If you love snickerdoodles, you will LOVE these brown butter snickerdoodles!!!  Yes, they are that good, and I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a better snickerdoodle.  Warning: these cookies will be requested by everyone and will be devoured quickly! :)

    Recipe from Ambitious Kitchen.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 1/2 c. AP flour
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 2 tsp. cream of tartar
    • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
    • 1 c. unsalted butter, sliced
    • 1 1/4 c. brown sugar
    • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1 TBSP plain Greek yogurt
    • Rolling cookies:
    • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
    • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon

    Instructions:

    1. In a medium bowl, Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
    2. To brown the butter, heat a thick-bottomed skillet on medium heat. Add the sliced butter, whisking frequently. Continue to cook the butter until melted. The butter will start to foam and browned specks will begin to form at the bottom of the pan. The butter should have a nutty aroma. Watch the butter carefully because it can go from brown to burnt quickly. Remove butter from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
    3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the brown butter and sugars. Mix until blended and smooth. Beat in the egg, yolk, vanilla, and yogurt and mix until combined. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
    4. Form the dough in a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. You can chill the dough overnight.
    5. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Measure about 2 tablespoons of dough and roll into balls.
    6. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar. Roll the balls in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place dough balls on a large baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Make sure the cookies are about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle the cookie tops with sea salt.
    7. Bake the cookies 8-10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown. The centers will still be soft. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, or until set. Transfer cookies to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.

    Brown Butter Snickerdoodles:

    5star

  • Peach (and Blueberry) Pie

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    I discovered I had a freezer full of peaches that I needed to use up, which worked out great for my “research” finding the best pie crust!  I didn’t have quite enough peaches so I threw in some blueberries.  I love almond extract with the peaches….so good!

    Recipe adapted from Joy of Cooking.

    Ingredients:

    • Recipe of No Fail Pie Crust
    • 5-7 c. ripe but firm peaches (add other fruit like blueberries if you don’t have enough)
    • 1 lemon, juiced(about 3 TBSP)
    • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
    • 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 to 1 c. sugar (depending on how sweet the peaches are…start with a 1/2, taste, and add more if necessary)
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 3 TBSP butter, cut into small pieces
    • 2 TBSP sugar for sprinkling top
    Directions:
    1. Preheat oven to 400*
    2. Peel and cut the peaches into 1/4-inch thick slices (you should have about 7 cups) and toss with the lemon juice and almond extract in a large bowl. Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt in another bowl, making sure there are no lumps. Stir the flour mixture into the peaches and mix well. Let the filling stand at room temperature for 15 minutes to thicken slightly.
    3. Pour the filling into the bottom crust and dot with the pieces of butter. Top with the  crust. Crimp the edges to seal; then cut a few slits in the top crust for steam to escape; then sprinkle top of crust with sugar.
    4. Put pie plate on a baking dish to catch the drips; then place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes at 400*, then reduce the oven temperature to 350* and bake 30 minutes longer, or until thick juices are bubbling through the vents in the crust. If crust gets too dark, place foil around the edges and continue cooking.  Cool completely (or almost completely) on a rack.
    Peach (and Blueberry) Pie:
    5star
  • No Fail Pie Crust

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    I thought I found the perfect pie crust, but I found one that is even closer to Grandma’s pie crust.  This recipe will replace all pie crust recipes.  I will look no further.  This is it folks…happy dance!!!!

    Recipe from Michelle’s Tasty Creations.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 c. all purpose flour
    • ½ c. butter, unsalted, cold and cut into cubes
    • ½ c. butter flavored Crisco, cold, cut into cubes
    • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
    • 1 TBSP sugar
    • ⅓ – ½ c. ice water

    Directions:

    1. In a bowl mix the flour, sugar, and salt.
    2. Add the cubed butter and shortening and using a pastry blender cut into the flour until it’s the size of small peas.
    3. Add the ice water (removing the ice first and discard) a little at a time and using a knife or your clean hands lightly mix until the mixture sticks together in a ball.  It should be neither wet nor dry but a happy medium.
    4. Place two discs of dough into plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.
    5. To roll out the pie crust, place a small amount of flour on a piece of parchment on the counter and roll from the center outward.  Turning the crust continuously so you get an even (ish) circle.  Note ~ When rolling this dough out there will be bits of butter and shortening in the dough.  This makes it flaky.
    6. Using your rolling pin, roll the dough right up on the pin and transfer to pie dish.
    7. Turn edges under a little bit and crimp for a fluted edge.
    8. Makes a two crust pie.

    No Fail Pie Crust:

    5star