August 27, 2012

Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies

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I know I've been quiet around here.  Life has been really busy though and I haven't had a lot of time for blogging.  I barely feel like turning my computer on after working all day....and a lot of the time I don't!  Most of my Facebook communication comes from using my iPhone, and even that has become sparse lately.  Suffice it to say, we are still in the midst of a lot of things here and hopefully all will calm down soon.
I happened to be home this afternoon because I had some work done at the hospital that made me unable to "operate heavy equipment".  I guess that means driving my car.  ;)  It sure didn't mean I couldn't make something yummy today though!  I have been thinking about my chocolate coconut no bake cookies for a while now.  It has been a long time since I have made them.  Its more like candy than cookie, though, and when I do make them, it is really hard to leave them be.  Then I started thinking about the no bake cookies we buy back at home from Cindy's Cake Shop.  Grumpy loves the Peanut Butter No Bakes - with no chocolate whatsoever in them.  They are pretty darn good, and I decided that I needed to try my hand at making some of these.  I make them smaller - I use my small cookie scoop to spoon them out onto the wax paper.  Smaller is better when you are eating a concentrated amount of sugar in my opinion.  What I love about these is they taste so much like peanut butter fudge on a health kick.  The healthy whole oats make me feel a lot better about downing more than one of these.  The peanut butter flavor is great with a whole cup of peanut butter in the mixture.  These will be a small treat for Grumpy's lunch box this week.  Oh heck, they will probably make it into mine too!

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Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies
  • 2 cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 cup (or 4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 3 cups Whole Oats
Mix sugar, butter, milk, and salt in heavy saucepan.  Bring to a slow boil and cook until temperature reads 230 degrees (soft boil stage).  Immediately remove from heat an add peanut butter and vanilla.  Stir until almost smooth (do not stir too long after it starts to smooth out or it will start to harden up like fudge!).  Add oats and quickly drop by tablespoonfuls onto waxed paper.  Cool.  Store in airtight container.Note that cook time is approximate, go by the candy thermometer or use the cold water soft ball test by dripping some of the syrup mixture into cold water.  If you can form a soft ball with your finger, the mixture is done.  I prefer a candy thermometer as it works best for me!
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2 dozen

August 19, 2012

Caramelized Onion Mashed Red Potatoes with Bacon and Cheese

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I admit, its a mouthful.  But it is such a yummy mouthful that you can't stop at one bite.  As a matter of fact, I would happily hide these potatoes and hoard them all to myself.  If I was a selfish person.  I first made this recipe in November of 2008.  Like a lot of other bloggers who first started out, I have become a lot more concerned about "how" my photo is portrayed.  While it seems to still be a popular post (even with not the greatest quality photo!), I decided it was time to take a better photo and comfort myself some more :o)

I've been a little melancholy.  Missing my boys, my mom and dad, and other members of my family, and realize just how much I took for granted that they were so close by.  What I would do to be able to see them as often as I did when we lived closer.  We don't plan to go back home until Christmas this year and I'm looking very forward to seeing Justin & Kristina, Isabelle & Maggie (those gorgeous grand puppies!) and seeing them in their first Christmas as being new homeowners!  I am so excited and happy for them!  In all of this homesickness, I have had this major craving for creamy, cheesey, flavor filled, bacon coated mashed potatoes.  Yup.  Mashed potatoes.  Me, the girl caught tossing them in the trash can one Christmas because I hated them.  lol  I don't know what was wrong with me then, but I sure am glad I'm cured of that disease now!  Ha!  I think this is where I will leave you since you are definitely going to want to make these now.  I don't think it matters if its breakfast, lunch, dinner, or midnight snack.  Your going to want these potatoes.  So what are you waiting for? Lets go make them!

Caramelized Onion Mashed Red Potatoes with Bacon and Cheese
Printable Recipe
Weight Watcher Points Value:  4
(200 calories, 9 grams fat, 3 grams fiber)
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25  minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Calories per serving: 200
Fat per serving: 9 grams


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1-1/2 pounds medium red potatoes, quartered
  • garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 1/3 cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons fat free half and half (or milk)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
    Cooking Directions          

    Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat; add onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook and stir 15 minutes or until moisture has evaporated and onions are completely wilted. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook and stir for 30-40 minutes or until onions are caramelized. (If necessary, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if onions begin to stick to pan).           

  • Place potatoes and garlic in large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 18-22 minutes or until tender.

    Drain potatoes; place in large bowl and mash. Add the sour cream, milk, pepper, and remaining salt; mash until blended. Stir in caramelized onions. Transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle with butter; sprinkle with cheese and bacon.

    August 06, 2012

    Guacamole and Spanakopeta

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    I can hardly believe how fast the time went from the morning I received my Secret Recipe Club assignment - until this morning!  Fortunately, I had opportunity the very morning I received my assignment, to make a recipe!  I also was able to squeeze a second recipe in this month.  Thankfully this all happened a couple of weeks ago and the only thing I am guilty of right now is procrastinating the writing of this post.  Yes, even I procrastinate.  If my son Christopher is reading this right now, I guarantee he is smiling.
    When I received my assignment, I immediately went through the different courses.  Chis and Rachel, husband and wife and co-authors of The Keenan Cookbook have some great recipes on their site.  I didn't have too hard of a time choosing what to make because before I found the recipes on their site, I had already planned to make those very items in the near future anyway!  This is why I was so prepared the morning I received my assignment as I already had the ingredients for a guacamole and went with Chris and Rachel's Easy Guacamole recipe!  It was a definite treat for me and I got to consume it all by myself because Grumpy won't touch an avocado.  His loss I say!  I had this on some bean burritos I made for my work lunch as well as as a snack with a few Scoops chips to fend off hunger until dinner was ready
    Then, a week later, I went ahead and made Spanakopeta.  I've been wanting to make this for a while now but just hadn't gotten around to it.  No better time than now since I was joined with Chris and Rachel and they had a recipe for it on their blog.  I absolutely love this stuff.  I basically made the Spanakopeta the way Chris and Rachel did however I used ricotta instead of cottage cheese and grated a little fresh nutmeg into the spinach filling.  I think next time I would saute some onion and garlic to go in the filling also.  In any case, I loved the buttery crispy phyllo dough with the cheesy filling!

    I made slight changes to the guacamole also because I am very much a spicy girl.  I need my heat.  I love my heat!  I added some jalapeno to give it the kick I felt it needed to suit me.  Love. This. Stuff.  Yes, I could eat a whole recipe of this everyday of my life and be happy.

    Chris and Rachel have a great blog with a lot of recipes.  I love the way Chris writes (he is the one who writes most of the posts).  He has a way of making you want to keep reading and not just because of his food but because of the stories incorporated into his posts.  If you haven't been to their little home on the internet, please do go visit them!

    I will leave you with my version of their guacamole but will let you head over to their blog for the Spanakopeta and all the other yumminess over there!

    print recipe

    Fresh and Delicious Guacamole
    a delicious blend of avocado with jalapenos, fresh cumin, tomatoes and onions jazzed up with fresh lime juice
    • 1 avocado, pitted, scooped and mashed
    • 1 lime, juiced
    • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
    • 1 small plum tomato, diced
    • 1 tablespoon finely diced red onion
    • 1 tablespoon finely diced jalapeno
    • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
    Mash avocado and mix with lime juice.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Store in refrigerator.  
    Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1-1/2 cups guacamole

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