Monday, November 30, 2009

Carmelita Bars

The story behind this recipe goes like this...

A couple of years ago...for our anniversary we took a trip to Cape Cod. It was October and alot of the restaurants were closed or closing. But our favorite little pizza place was still open & we found out, that trip.. that it is open all year round. It's a small little new york style pizza place in a tiny little plaza in Orleans.

After dinner, while we were headed to the door to leave... I caught a glimpse of a small shelf with desserts on it. One caught my said "Carmelita". Most people who know me, know- that I don't usually go for dessert. I am more of a frozen yogurt type of person..not a cake, cookie...dessert person! (isn't that funny!!!) Anyway, I walked up to the counter and ordered one of the carmelita's...and I FELL IN LOVE. My husband & I walked to the car and we both tasted it... It was DEVINE! It was SO good that, I had him go back in to buy 2 more. One for my mother in law to taste (she LOVES dessert) and one for my work out buddy (who doesn't really eat dessert either!). Let's just say.. my work out buddy never had the chance to come for tea and taste the flakey oatmeal crust filled with chocolate chips, nuts, and mouth watering caramel because I ATE the entire bar. IN FACT.. I savored that bar...and it took me 3 eat it...piece by piece.
 WELL, I had to know how to make it.. So I tried out a few different recipes...but they just were not the same. Right before I perfected my own version of the Carmelita, I had the bright idea of calling that restaurant... from my home in Connecticut. I thought that I would just ask the restaurant owners for the recipe. "What could it hurt?" I thought to myself. Of course they would share their recipe ...right??? Wouldn't you???


NO, was the answer they gave me. I was standing in my kitchen, when the women on the phone... so nicely told me she didn't sell or share her recipes! She was very nice... I must say...
What did I do next...


Here it is.. the most mouth watering dessert I have ever had...I hope you try it out and enjoy it as much as I do!

Carmelita Bars

Carmelita Recipe

Click here for the story behind..the carmelita bars!
Oatmeal Crumb Crust:

1 1/2 stick of unsalted butter (very soft but not completely melted)
1 cup flour
1 cup instant oats
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Middle Layer:
1 cup  milk chocolate chips
1 cup of walnuts
3 tablespoons of flour
1/2  bag of kraft caramels (unwrapped) w/  about 3 of tablespoons of milk, melted (I found that kraft caramels works the best)

First: Combine ingredients for the crust until it forms into crumbs.
Next, place 1/2 oatmeal crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9” square pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until it becomes a golden color.
(REDUCE heat if you are using a dark pan.)

Take out of oven.

In a seperate bowl, mix the chocolate chips and nuts with the flour.
Then sprinke chocolate chip/nut mixture over the crust.
Next, pour the caramel mixture over the chocolate/chip nut mixture.
Lastly,sprinkle with remaining oatmeal crumb mixture over the caramel.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Keep an eye on it, make sure you don't burn that yummy caramel.

Once the pan has in fridge to cool and harden.

When your yummy carmelita's have completely cooled and hardened, cut into bars.

These taste FABULOUS with a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt (or ice cream) on top...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Peanut Butter and Jelly Pancakes

Last week RC (my son) had his friend over.  It was about lunch time and I offered a menu of items to choose from. (LOL) One of the choices was peanut butter & jelly. Well, that must of sent off a spark in RC's friends mind..because he began telling us about these peanut butter & jelly pancakes that he saw on tv. As I watched RC listening to his friend's description of how good these pancakes tasted...I could almost smell the oil from the gears in his mind rotating...

What do you know..that night before bed he asked if we could get up early (it was a work day for me) and try to make the pancakes ourselves.
...And of course I could never deny a mini-cook in the kitchen the excitement of coming up with his version of a recipe.

Here is what we came up with (very simple!)

2 cups of bisquick (you can use the low fat or regular)
2 eggs
1 cup of milk (we use organic skim milk)
2/3 cup of peanut butter (we use organic)
jelly (we use low sugar smuckers concord grape)

Warm up your skillet or pan on low to medium heat. Make sure you spray it with some cooking spray. We use Pam olive oil spray.

First, in medium-large bowl, mix the bisquick, eggs and milk together.     When the batter is formed & you have most of those little lumps out, add the peanut butter. We chose to use a fork (instead of a whisk) to mix the peanut butter.

When your batter is mixed well and the pan is ready...
Use a large spoon and dollop your batter onto the pan. When you begin to see little bubbles forming & they reach the edge of the pancakes...
it's time to flip.

Once you have made all of your pancakes... put your jelly on top!


Saturday, November 21, 2009

fall cookies

These are the fall cookies I've been working on... will post more once I am finished.
They are homemade sugar cookies with royal frosting piped onto them! FUN!

They are drying on wax paper!!

Decorating with Royal Icing.. 
You can find royal icing at any place that sells wilton products...
You can make your own.

Powdered Sugar

YES! That's all you need!!! I am serious! You will have to get it to the consistency that you like. So start off by only adding a little of milk at a time. Then mix into the sugar..(it's kind of a messy process!) 
If you want to add color...I use the wilton color paste. (you will need to only add a little at a time for that too!)
GET YOUR ARMS MUSCLES READY!!! This will be a workout!
You will do a lot of mixing! But it will be worth it! When you mix your own you are guaranteed to have just the right consistency that you need and the perfect color!
TRY IT OUT!! The possibilities are endless.



Saturday, November 14, 2009

Dirt Bombs

I remember waking up early at Nickerson State Park campground. If you know the rules of the have to be REALLY quiet until 8 am. VERY difficult for a tent of 4 little girls.

I remember waiting for my Dad to wake up.  My sisters and I usually didn't leave the tent until my parents woke up.  We knew the deal, the local bakery usually delivered FRESHLY baked donuts, already packed in boxes, to the campground store..but they ran out fast and you couldn't pick your own.

As soon as we heard Dad's loud stretched out yawn... we would quickly unzip the double zippers of our nylon tent. The air was always dryer and cooler as we popped our head through the door and stepped onto the dirt and pine needle covered ground, one after the other...(ok..maybe not one after the other...maybe it was a after the other...and one of us..would still be laying there sleeping)

Dad would be standing outside his tent in his p.j. pants, his hair sticking up like a parrot...and we would line up, one girl next to the other and watch, as he rubbed his eyes. With his elbow bent and pointed upward, he would peek through his turned fist and you want to go get donuts???
We would all race to the caravan and he would take us straight to the bakery where we could pick out whatever donut we wanted.

The sweet smell of cinnamon and sugar fill my kitchen while baking these little sugar muffins. It reminds me of those summer mornings where Dad would take us to the bakery on Cape Cod.


3 cups of flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of all spice
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of milk (whatever you have in the fridge will do)
2 eggs
1 1/2 stick of UNSALTED butter

2 sticks of butter 
1 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

Oven temp 400 degrees. If you are using a dark muffin pan make sure you reduce the heat a little bit.. I baked it on 375 and mine were a little dark on the bottom.

Also, You will need to make sure you pan is coated with either butter,spray, or oil. I use usually use cooking spray (but I tried butter this time)..just make sure all those little crevices on the bottom part of the  muffin tin are covered. You definitely don't want these yummy treats to stick to the pan.

                                             (my little sidekick, RC, coating the pan with butter)

First mix the butter and sugar in your mixer. When they are nice and fluffy slowly add your eggs. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and all spice.

Add the dry ingredients slowly into your mixer with the wet ingredients alternating with the milk. Starting and ending with the dry mixture.This batter is thick.(THESE TASTE LIKE DONUTS!! DENSE DOUGH)

Fill your muffin tin 3/4 of the way... my  batch made 6 regular size muffins and 13 mini muffins. (as a friend once said to me..when you eat the mini one's--- you feel less guilty..until you eat..too many!) 

(can you see my spoonula?? somehow it mysteriously broke?? How does that happen?? I will come back the that!)

Bake these for about 25 minutes. Check on them...they will be done when they are a nice golden brown. ( You can also do the tooth pick test..stick a tooth pick in..if it comes out w/ dough on it.. they are not done..if it comes out clean..then they are FINISHED BAKING!)

Ok now you are going to have coat these little sugar muffins.
FIRST: Put your melted butter into a bowl and your sugar cinnamon mix into a separate bowl.

NEXT: Dip your muffins into the butter and immediately dip and roll them around in the sugar mix.

These are soo yummy! Try them out...share them....
and enjoy.

Friday, November 13, 2009

3 tiered chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling and buttercream frosting.

This is the cake that I made for a special friend. His girlfriend's parents were celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary
I was so happy when he asked me to make this cake.
My first 3 tiered cake...for a big event!
I even found the original cake topper on EBAY!! AMAZING!!! 
I couldn't believe it!

I used fresh ingredients. Homemade chocolate cake, chocolate mousse from scratch, and the most delicious tasting crusting buttercream frosting you will ever have... 
you will want to lick the bowl clean..
Right Mom??? Jess???


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Buttermilk Biscuits

seriously delicious.. 


2/3 cup of flour (you can substitute 1/3 cup with whole wheat flour if you want to be healthy.)

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 large egg white
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1/4 cup of low fat buttermilk (you can use regular low fat milk if you have that in your fridge)

Oven temp 450 degrees

1) First  mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
2) In a separate bowl whisk together oil, milk, and egg.
3) Add the wet mixture to the flour mix and stir until combined.

4)Then make place 4 scoops of dough onto cookie sheet and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Laying around??

Well you could take all those yummy chocolatey candies and add them to your favorite
CHOCOLATE CHIP Recipe and make some delicious treat filled

MY little helpers made these this morning! Don't they look yummy!??

Talk about extra sugar!! 
It was fun..I love having my helpers in the kitchen.

That's not all you can do...

How about DONATING that extra candy to our  
Service Men and Women 

What do you think about that?

My helper number 1, RC, just sent a bunch of his Halloween candy into school and they sent a package over seas.

I found this link.. it's called Operation Gratitude. (I am looking into it)

This holiday season my family and hopefully some friends will be preparing some care packages for our soldiers over seas.
Let's support the our service men and women (and their families)  together, to show our gratitude for the sacrifices they make.

I am waiting on some information from a Navy friend overseas..apparently service men can sign up to get care packages while they are away. As soon as I find out more information I will post it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chicken Stew Recipe

I know it might sound weird...usually you hear Beef Stew. But I just love chicken stew! Almost the same as the beef stew...just with CHICKEN!!
You can cook this on the stove or in your slow cooker (crock pot)

3 full chicken breast
2 sweet potato's chopped into large chunks (if you have red potato's or regular potato's in your cabinet...hey use those! I always have sweet potato's...they are my fav!)

1 large onion (I love red onions!!--use what you have!)
3 carrots chopped into large chunks (oh yeah, peel them!)

About 3 or 4 cups of broth
small can of tomato puree
salt and pepper to taste

tablespoon of garlic
2 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
1/2 a can of tomato paste
1/2 a teaspoon of basil 
2 tablespoons of flour

So I'll be honest and tell you that...I throw it all in the crock pot first thing in the morning and let it sit all day on low! Then when I get home from work, I take out the chicken and cut or pull it apart (then put back in) usually just falls's so good!

But if you can't do that..
Cut the chicken into chunks and brown it up, with the garlic and onion. ( be careful not to burn the garlic!)

Then throw in the rest of the ingredients - except the flour- on medium heat. When your stew starts to bubble.. IN A SEPARATE BOWL, take some of the liquid out and carefully mix it with the flour. (I think this is what you are call a RUE) Then add this flour mixture back to your stew and stir. Now let cook until your veggies are cooked.

It's so easy!
I like to serve this with some delicious molasses rolls. (that recipe is on it's way!)

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Sidekick one...RC has been begging me to post his Taco Pizza Recipe.  Friday night is homemade pizza night at our house. Check out his step by step process. (LOL) He came up with this recipe using leftovers!! We had taco's during the week & RC thought since taco's are one of his favorite dinner's... it would be a great idea to make a TACO PIZZA!

Pizza dough
 (you can use store bought..we make our own family pizza dough recipe!)
Your choice of taco sauce
(RC prefers medium)
Grated Taco Cheese
Cooked ground chicken with taco seasonings
(left overs!!!!)
 Fat free Re fried beans
(I think we used Amy's Organic)
Chopped up green or red pepper
(we use peppers right from the garden)
Taco Shells (or tortilla chips)-broken up
Add any other ingredients you have left over! RC

Spread out  your dough onto a cookie sheet and let rise for about 10 minutes.  

Put a thin layer of cheese on the dough. Pour the taco sauce over the cheese and spread with a spoon. 

Place the ground chicken over the sauce and cheese. Then dollop your refried beans over the layer of chicken. (You can add your extra toppings..such as onions or peppers..etc.)

Place the crushed up taco shells over the refried bean layer. Then add a little more taco sauce and taco cheese for your top layer.

Place in the oven at about 375-400 degrees for 20 minutes.
(check after 15)

Let cool, then slice and enjoy!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chocolate dipped cake Acorns!

Ok! I made the pumpkin cake... Click here for the recipe! But FIRST... check out these acorns I just made!

They are going to be part of a little surprise I am working on for a special friend! Aaah. November...what a great birthday month!

Pretty fun! And very tasty!!

Edible decorations!!!!
For this special treat...
Happy Birthday.

Pumpkin cake with Cream cheese frosting. Acorn Cake Bites & Sugar Paste leaves.

First try on the sugar was a tricky but fun! I didn't have any leaf cookie cutters. So I had to do it by hand.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Chicken and Broccoli in a White Wine Sauce over Pasta

This is a favorite in my house! Easy and we always have the ingredients either in the fridge or in the garden. Fresh broccoli from the garden is great... we still have some growing! Hope you like this recipe.

Chicken and Broccoli Over Pasta

Ingredients: You can really make the portion size whatever you want..depending on how many people you are having.

chicken breast (one or two) cut up into cubes

broccoli (cut up into pieces you can pick up with a fork!)

teaspoon???minced garlic-- use as much garlic as you like!!

olive oil
white or pink wine
2 bullion cubes (or 2 cups of broth)
parmsan cheese about a 1/2 cup or so... little more little less

1 pound of pasta---Any pasta you want..(the fresh pasta is of course FABULOUS with this..but for a quicky dinner... boxed is the way to go!)

Put the olive in the pan and brown up your chicken... then take out.
You might need a little more olive oil...then add your garlic and onions.(Don't burn them!) Let your onions sweat and when they are translucent... add about a cup of wine. While the wine is burning off the alcohol.. put your water on for pasta and start getting that ready.
Next add the chicken back, about a cup and a half of water and the bullion cubes. (If you use broth just add about a cup and half of broth) Let simmer for about 5-7 minutes.
Next add your broccoli. (I use alot of broccoli..a crown or too... we like it!) If you think you need more liquid add the rest of the water.
Once your broccoli is bright green (don't let it get mooshy) Turn off your heat (hopefully your pasta is done by then... and put if over your pasta. Mix your parmesan cheese in w/ the pasta mixture.

Warm Crunchy Italian bread goes great with this! YUM

Pumpkin cake and cream cheese frosting!

Today I am going to bake a pumpkin cake with a cream cheese frosting...
I good does that sound? Perfect time of year for pumpkin. This recipe was given to me by a co-worker. When I make the frosting... I like to add EXTRA cream cheese. I love that cream cheesey taste on top of the cake. I thought this time I would try out some cake pops. And since It's November... (my birthday month) I thought I'd try out those turkey pops...from my favorite website ... 

Here it is: Pumpkin Cake (Bars) From my coworker E.Zan.

4 eggs
1 2/3 cups of granulated sugar
1 cup of canola
15 oz. can pumpkin
2 cup flour (sifted)
2 teaspoons of baking powder
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda.

Mix the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. In a seperate bowl mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture until batter is smooth...

What a gorgeous color that is!
Next put in a 13x9 pan. Bake at 350. Bake for about 35 minutes. (Reduce heat if you use a dark pan) Wait until it's completely cool to frost!

16 oz cream cheese softened... (I am going to be honest here and tell you I added one more package of cream cheese to this mix.)
1 cup of butter, softened
4 cups of sifted confectioners' sugar (Do you sift?? I don't have time! LOL)
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Are you drooling yet???... well if not..wait til you taste it. It's pretty irresistable...

  •  Mix cream cheese & butter in a bowl with a mixer until smooth

  • Add sugar and mix at low speed until combined

  • Add vanilla

Frost the cake and cut into bars. The icing should be nice and thick!! YUM!!!!