Raspberry Cheesecake Bars with Brown Sugar Walnut Crust

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Ingredients:

For the Crust:

  • 1/3 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 Tbs. butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Cream layer:

  • 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream (unwhipped)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest or lemon grass
  • 6 oz. cream creese
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Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

Looking for a good cookie to have with your morning coffee? These cookies have just the right amount of sweet and crunchy to be nice anything but I love the combo of luscious butterscotch and dark coffee. They are pretty healthy (for a cookie) with not too much fat or sugar and the butterscotch could be substituted for nuts or toffee bits and that would work quite well. I brought these with me on a trip to go see my brother in college and they didn’t even make it to the next morning! Those boys ate the whole batch the instant I got there.

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Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup loosely-packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbs butter, softened
  •  1 Tbs peanut or almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup butterscotch chips

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Sift together flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt
  • In a seperate bowl thoroughly beat together sugars and butters until well combined (3-5 minutes)
  • Beat in egg and vanilla
  • Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until combined
  • Mix in butterscotch chips
  • Bake on greased baking sheet or parchment paper for about 11 minutes or until lop of cookies are golden

Happy Summer 🙂

Grandma’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Nothing beats a good chocolate chip cookie.. except a great chocolate chip cookie. The right amount of soft and crisp, balance or chocolate and and sugar is hard to come by. But of course, my grandma, one of the greatest bakers I know has almost perfected the recipe. She used just shortening though, and as a butter lover I thought it was wrong to completely leave it out of any cookie recipe, so I adapted it slightly.  This is my go to recipe for the classic comfort food chocolate chip cookie. The smell of these freshly baked cookies is simply irresistible as, for the moment I took them out of the oven I had to have one with some milk. I added walnuts but they can easily be left out or replaced with butterscotch chips, cashews, ect.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup butter softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (or more)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Sift Flour, salt, and baking soda
  • In a seperate bowl cream shortening, butter, and sugars
  • Beat in vanilla and egg
  • Add the sifted dry ingredients
  • Stir in nuts and chocolate chips
  • Roll into balls and bake on greased cookie sheet or parchment paper for about 8 minutes

Who’d have thought so much happiness and comfort could come from a simple cookie… even more reason to have more than just one!
Happy Summer

Whole Wheat Strawberry Scones

Summer means fresh fruit, specifically fresh strawberries. After making several fresh strawberry desserts including strawberry tart and strawberry shorkcake my the remaining strawberries were not quite as good as they were initially. So I figured I would bake them into some scones and wanted to have fun adapting a classic scone recipe to add whole wheat and cut down on some of the fat and sugar while still keeping the classic scone taste. In they end they were perfect! I drizzled them with a bit of white chocolate (so much for decreasing the sugar) and had one with a bit of almond butter too!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 Tbs. sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 2 Tbs. applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 3-5 Tbs. Milk (I used 2% anything from skim to heavy cream will work)
  • 1/2 cup strawberries (or any fruit)
  • beaten egg for coating the top and sugar

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 F
  • Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.
  • Cut in butter and applesauce until mixture resembles fine crumbs
  • Stir in egg
  • Gradually add milk 1 Tbs. at a time until dough is just moist enough to leave side of bowl -should still be somewhat crumbly
  • Add in strawberries
  • Put dough on floured surface and roll into a circle about 1/2″ thick
  • Cut into 8 (or 12) pieces
  • Brush top with egg and sprinkle with a bit of sugar
  • Bake for about 14-19 minutes or until golden brown on top
  • Immediately remove from cookie sheet
  • Drizzle top with melted white chocolate or serve with butter, peanut butter, nutella (my favorite), lemon curd, really anything

Healthy Brownies

Don’t fear the “healthy” in the title. These are so moist, chocolately, and decadent; they will definitely fulfill your brownie cravings. They are gluten free and even oil/butter free as well. I found a recipe (through pinterest) that used black beans as a base for it’s brownie recipe and I couldn’t wait to try out my own healthy black bean brownies! These are filled with good things and I sprinkled some dried fruit, nuts, and yogurt chips on top to make them really a healthy snack that is soooo good and super chocolately! What more could you want?

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Ingredients;

  • 1 can of black beans (15 oz.) rinsed and drained
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 Tbs. applesauce
  • 2. Tbs. Vanilla Yogurt
  • 1 Tbs. canola oil, olive oil, or melted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar or sugar substitute
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 or 3 Tbs. peanut butter or almond butter

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F and grease an 8×8 baking pan
  • In a food processor blend the rinsed black beans until smooth
  • Add the rest of the ingredients
  • If you want to add in some dark chocolate chips, nuts or any other addition fold it in now
  • Pour into pan and bake for about 25 minutes
  • I sprinkled on some trail mix in the last minutes of baking to add some crunch

These bars really are moist, delicious, and good for you. They are easy to make and travel well! I take them up hiking in place of a granola bar

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Pie

For Father’s Day it was only appropriate I made a dessert that included my dad’s favorite flavor combo- chocolate and peanut butter. Chocolate coated graham cracker crust is filled with a smooth peanut butter mousse, whipped cream, chocolate drizzle, and some Reese’s crumbles to top it off. It can be thrown together pretty quickly and if you really are pressed for time you can buy a store bought crust and cool whip instead of whipping cream. I had time to make it but… couldn’t wait to dig in before getting a picture of the whole pie! Whoops! (this way you can see the layers of pie better) What a perfect way to end a great day of fishing, hiking, and tennis playing out with dad 🙂
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Ingredients: 

For the crust

  • 1 1/4 cup graham cracker or pretzel crumbles
  • 3 Tbs sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • chocolate chips

For the filling:

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar plus (1/4 cup for topping)
  • 2 cups of heavy whipping cream (unwhipped) about 4 cups whipped
  • Chocolate syrup and Reese’s cups or peanuts for the top

Instructions:

For the crust:

  • Mix together the cracker or pretzel crumbles (I even put a bit of gound nuts in my crust) with the sugar
  • Melt the butter and stir it into the mixture
  • Press into pie pan evenly and firmly
  • Bake in 350 F oven for 10-13 minutes or until light brown and you can really smell the crust
  • If you want a chocolate bottom sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the bottom
  • Place back in the oven for another 2-3 minutes and then spread the melted chocolate chips evenly across the bottom

For the filling:

  • Whip whipping cream until just whipped and set aside
  • In a seperate bowl mix together peanut butter, room temperature cream cheese, and vanilla
  • Gradually add in powdered sugar
  • Once thoroughly blended together fold in half of the whipped cream to make it fluffy- Don’t mix too much!!
  • Add filling to the cooled crust
  • Add 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and a dash of vanilla to the remaining whipped cream and whip just a bit more
  • Put Whipped Cream on top of the peanut butter mousse
  • Drizzle with chocolate syrup or ganache and top it off with some Reese’s Cup crumbles

We were so eager to dig in to this pie I forgot to get a picture before it was half gone!  The mousse is so smooth and very peanut buttery! If you aren’t a peanut butter fan-I don’t know how that is possible- I would recommend only putting in 2/3 cup of peanut butter into the filling and if you really texture crunchy peanut butter works well too! This pie is pretty quick to through together for an extremely scrumptious dessert! Enjoy and Happy Summer! 🙂

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Healthy Banana Nut Bread

This is my favorite Banana Bread recipe-not just because it is healthy (that is just a bonus) but because it still taste so good! The recipe is very versatile which I love because you have the freedom to add nuts, chocolate chips, raspberries, different spices or yogurts,or whatever is lying around and it will pretty much always taste good! It is moist enough as it is to have plain but I have always enjoyed my banana bread with a bit of almond butter or cream cheese!

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (not packed)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons greek yogurt or low-fat sour cream
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat white flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • a dash of nutmeg
  • 3 whole over-ripe bananas, blended so that they’re liquid
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Sift together the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg and set aside
  • In a seperate bowl cream together the sugars, butter, applesauce, and yogurt
  • Beat in egg and vanilla
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet
  • Add mashed bananas and walnuts
  • Put in greased loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes or until top is golden brown and no longer doughy

Enjoy and Happy Summer! 🙂
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