Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Slow Cooker Kielabsa and White Bean Stew with Tomatoes and Spinach

Happy Halloween!  Hope you are all having a fun and safe day :)  Here's a warm and yummy soup that is healthy and delicious that you can enjoy on cold days such as this one...

Slow Cooker Kielbasa and White Bean Stew with Tomatoes and Spinach

(Makes about 6 generous servings)

1 lb. (2 cups) dried small white beans
1 onion, chopped into fairly small pieces
1 T finely minced garlic
1 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
6 cups homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth
1 can (14.5 oz.) petite dice tomatoes
14 oz. Kielbasa sausage, cut into half-moon slices (use low-fat turkey Kielbasa for South Beach Diet)
4 packed cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)

Pick over the beans, removing any broken ones, and add beans to the slow cooker. Chop onion, mince the garlic, and crush the spices with a mortar and pestle (or meat mallet) and add to the slow cooker. Add the chicken stock and diced tomatoes to the slow cooker and start to cook on low.

Cut the sausage in half lengthwise, and then slice it into half-moon slices. If you're going to be cooking this while you're not home, add the sausage now and cook on low for 8-10 hours (I would say closer to 10 or 11 hours), or until the beans are nicely softened. If you will be home, I would cook the other ingredients about 5-6 hours and then add the sausage. It will work either way, but the sausage will be softer if you add it for the entire cooking time.

When beans are done to your liking, chop the spinach, turn the slow cooker to high, and cook about 30 minutes more. Serve hot, with freshly grated Parmesan cheese for sprinkling on the stew if desired.

Recipe Source:  Kalyn's Kitchen

Monday, October 29, 2012

Butterfinger Blondies

Why not bring you another sweet treat?!  I have been so good about trying sweet treats this month, not so great about trying new dinner recipes.  I have just been making old favorites like Zupa ToscanaCrockpot Ranch Chicken Tacos, and Crispy Ravioli.  I will be working on some new dinner recipes soon...I promise!

Anyhow, back to these bars.  They are delicious...super rich and wonderful.  They are a great way to use a leftover bag of Halloween candy and everyone will love them!  Enjoy :)

Butterfinger Blondies

1 cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp coarse sea salt
2 cups coarsely chopped Butterfinger Bars (approx 16 “Fun Size” bars)

Preheat oven to 350°.  Cream butter and sugars in mixing bowl.  Add the vanilla and eggs and mix until incorporated.

On low add your dry ingredients (flour, salt and baking soda) until just combined.  Stir in your chopped Butterfinger.
Spread in a 9×13 baking dish and bake for 25 minutes until center is JUST set.
Remove from oven and cool completely.


1/2 cup room temp butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 1/2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup chopped Butterfinger Bars (approx 4 “Fun Size” bars)

InstructionsCream the butter and shortening together until smooth.  Add in you powdered sugar on low speed. Turn speed up to medium and mix until smooth.
Stir in your chopped Butterfinger. (I sprinkled mine on top rather than stirring them in!)
Spread on your cooled blondies.

Recipe Source:  Six Sisters Stuff

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Apple Toffee Blondies with Brown Sugar Frosting

I have a serious problem in the fall.  This is my 9th post in a row that is something sweet!  Perhaps I should get back to that diet plan I've been trying to stay on ;)  In any case, we visited the local orchard this past weekend and had so much fun with some friends!  We picked up some delicious Granny Smith and Cameo apples to add to the mix of the Golden Delicious ones we got a few weeks ago.  Now, how to use them?!  I have TONS of apple recipes on my radar, and this is the first of many I will be attempting.  

These bars are great...kind of gave me feeling of caramel apple in my mouth with the toffee bits.  They are super easy to make and will satisfy any sweet tooth!

Apple Toffee Blondies with Brown Sugar Frosting


2/3 cup room temperature butter

2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 eggs2 tsp vanilla
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt1 cup peeled, chopped tart apple (1 large)
1/2 cup toffee bits


1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°.

Spray 9×13 baking pan lightly with cooking or baking spray.
Cream butter and brown sugar in mixer until smooth.Add eggs and vanilla and beat on medium until combined. On low, add flour, baking powder, and salt. Mixing until just combined. Stir in the chopped apples and toffee bits until evenly distributed. Spread in prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes until the center is set (Mine took closer to 40...just check them :).

Let cool completely before slicing or frosting.


Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add brown sugar and milk and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in powdered sugar with a whisk.  Let cool until it thickens enough to spread.Stir before spreading on top of blondies.  Let frosting set for 30 minutes and then cut into bars.

Recipe Source:  Cookies and Cups

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fall Mix Popcorn

I love making seasonal popcorns and almond barks! If you will recall, last year I shared this Halloween bark with you, and this's the popcorn! There are so many variations, so not really a recipe here...just an idea for you to let your creative juices loose :)

Fall Mix Popcorn

1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels, or 2 bags tender white popcorn
12 oz. Plain Vanilla Candy Melts, such as Wilton (or almond bark, or white chocolate candy coating)
1 1/3 cups pretzel squares or sticks, broken into pieces
1 12 oz. bag plain Milk Chocolate M&Ms or Mini M&Ms (for Bunny Bait use pastel M&Ms)
1/2 cup peanuts
about 1 cup candy corns

Pop popcorn in a popcorn popper into a large bowl (or alternately in the microwave if using microwave bags of popcorn) according to manufactures directions. Remove any unpopped popcorn kernels. Toss in broken pretzel pieces, peanuts, candy corns, and M&Ms.

Melt Vanilla Candy Melts in a microwave safe bowl on HIGH power in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth. Drizzle half of melted chips over popcorn mixture, then stir, tossing gently a few times with a rubber spatula. Then drizzle remaining half of melted chips over popcorn, and gently stir mixture until evenly coated (don't over stir though or your sprinkles wont stick if the white chips begin to set and harden). Pour mixture into a single layer onto wax paper. Allow to cool and harden, then gently break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Almonds

Say hello to my snacks the past 2 days :)  Raw almonds are a favorite snack of mine, and when I saw this recipe for pumpkin pie spiced almonds, I knew I was in trouble!  These are gives a little sweet from the honey, and then the perfect combo of spices.  They are great!  So we'll say these are a healthier snack choice than some things.  That is if you can stop yourself after a handful!

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Almonds

2 cups of raw almonds
3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
2 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice seasoning
4 tablespoons of organic agave or honey
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Sea Salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or foil.

Into a bowl place your almonds. Then add cinnamon, spice, agave or honey and vanilla. Toss to coat each nut. Spread the nuts evenly on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Let cool and serve.

Recipe Source: Knead To Cook

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Candy Corn Pretzel Snacks

I love cute Halloween treats.  The best kind are the ones that kiddos can help out with.  I must tell you that my 4 year old made these from start to finish by himself (everything but putting them in and taking them out of the oven, of course :)

They are tasty and delicious for all ages.

Candy Corn Pretzel Snacks

1 bag waffle style pretzels
1 bag Hersheys Hugs
1 bag candy corns

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Spread waffle pretzels over cookie sheet. Place Hug over each pretzel. Place in oven for 2.5 to 3 minutes....NO LONGER! Press candy corn into center and let cool.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pumpkin Toffee Cookies with Salted Caramel Glaze

I have a problem.  This is the 4th pumpkin recipe I have made in only 2 weeks.  And October has only begun!  These cookies are absolutely other way to describe it!  Moist, a little crunch from the toffee bits, and the salted caramel...come on, how could you not like these!  

Your neighbors will thank you after you take a plate of these over...and then ask you for the recipe...and surely they will be making them for themselves soon after!  They are that good :)

Pumpkin Toffee Cookies with Salted Caramel Glaze

yield: 24-36 cookies, depending on the size :)

3 cups all-purpose Gold Medal flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground all-spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups Heath Toffee Bits or chopped Heath candy bars

For the Salted Caramel Glaze:

2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup salted caramel sauce (see below)
2 tablespoons milk

Caramel Sauce:

3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, all-spice, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add in the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in the Heath Toffee Bits.

Using a cookie scoop or spoon, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Place cookies about 1 inch apart. Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges and set. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for two minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

While the cookies are cooling, make the salted caramel glaze. In a medium bowl, combine powdered sugar, salted caramel sauce, and milk. Whisk until smooth. When the cookies are cool, drizzle salted caramel glaze over the tops.

Note-for the glaze, you might need to add more powdered sugar or milk, depending on the thickness of your salted caramel sauce. Just whisk ingredients together until you reach desired consistency. If you use our salted caramel recipe sauce, you will end up with about 2 cups of salted caramel sauce. Store the leftover sauce in the refrigerator.

Recipe Source:  Two Peas and Their Pod

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Oreo Pudding Poke Cake

Simple recipes....sometimes these taste better than the ones that have 20 ingredients!  This Oreo poke cake hit the spot.  Dummy me bought a box of brownies instead of a cake, so we ended up having Oreo pudding brownies, but they were delicious nonetheless :)


1 box chocolate cake mix (oil, water, and eggs according to boxes directions)
2 boxes Oreo Pudding
4 cups milk
Crushed Oreos for topping

Make Cake as directed using a 9×13 panWhile cake is still warm, poke holes into the cake (I used the end of my mixing spoon.)Make pudding as directed on box and pour over cake.Sprinkle crushed Oreos on top. Allow the cake to cool for several minutes, then put it in the fridge to set up for about an hour.

Recipe Source: The Country Cook