One of the best combos around is apple and caramel and you can’t help but notice those ginormous dipped apples when you go in a store like Wal-mart at this time of year. You know the ones, covered in every sugary things known to man–M&M’s, Oreos, sprinkles, candy corn, gummy bears, three different kinds of chocolate, etc, etc–yeah, those.
The candy is bad enough but the caramel isn’t much better. Let’s take a peak at the ingredients…high fructose corn syrup, milk, sugar, butter, artificial flavors, palm oil and of course tons of preservatives. So essentially it’s crap. But thankfully there are some great alternatives to get your caramel+apple fix and this recipe in my opinion is better than any huge, sugar covered apple you could buy.
The salted caramel sauce has the perfect amount of salt to offset the sweet of the caramel and chocolate and I love the little bites of chocolate chips and pecans sprinkled over all of it. The best part of course is that it’s totally dairy and refined sugar FREE.
Apple picking this year was so fun now that the kids are a little older (2 and 4) and I loved all the healthy recipes I got to make. I mentioned before that I updated my mom’s AMAZING German Apple Cake to be super healthy, came up with these Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars and got to have a little more fun with these Apple Cinnamon Fruit Leather Roll-Ups!
I had the idea to try to adapt my recipe for Dark Cherry Fruit Leather Roll-Ups into something apple-ish and it worked out fabulously! They were easy and delicious! Not to mention so much cheaper than buying them in the store!
I’m honestly not sure who loved them more in our house…the adults or the kids! I think you’ll love them too. 🙂
10 c. (about 9-10 medium) Chopped Apples (I used Fujis...no need to peel if you have a high speed blender)
¾ c. Water
⅓ c. Sucanat
¾ t. Cinnamon
Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large saucepan, combine chopped apples and water and cook over medium-high heat until apples are tender and soft and easily pierced with a fork, about 8 minutes, stirring frequently.
Once soft, drain liquid and transfer apples to a high speed blender along with the sucanat and cinnamon.
Blend until apples are completely smooth.
Divide mixture evenly between the two baking sheets. Use an offset spatula or the back of a large wooden spoon to spread the mixture as evenly and thin as possible without the white of the parchment paper coming through. Spots that are not thin enough, may not cook/dry completely (which isn't a big deal..it will still be edible and delicious!).
Bake in the oven, rotating pans every hour for 5-6 hours or until just slightly tacky. Remove from oven and let air dry on the baking sheets for at least 8 hours.
With the parchment paper, lift and move the fruit leather sheets onto a cutting board. Using a pizza slicer (or sharp knife), cut the sheets into 6 strips each (for a total of 12 strips). Starting at the edge of one sheet gently peel the leather away from the parchment and roll up. Wrap a piece of parchment around each roll-up and secure with string or tape. Store in and air-tight container.
It’s HOT already where I live so baking a lot of desserts in my oven and heating my house up even more is really not too appealing to me these days. Which is why I love this chilled peach soup! It’s the perfect summertime dessert and, oh yeah, it’s AMAZING. The first spoonful of this immediately had me thinking of a peach cobbler like grandma makes except, well, with alcohol and obviously no crust! It’s creamy, cold and just really, really good. Top it with some homemade whipped cream and a couple sprigs of fresh mint and dessert is served!
Place all ingredients except peaches in a large bowl and whisk until well blended and sugar is dissolved. Transfer to a high powered blender (I used a Vitamix) and add peaches (you might have to do this in two batches). Blend on high until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer to an air-tight container and refrigerate until chilled.
I am not quite done with Superbowl recipes (I’ll have another later this week!), but I made these Cherry Pie Bars a couple of days ago and they were so fantastic I couldn’t wait to share the recipe! I love anything cherry and combined with the crumbly streusel topping, they are beyond yummy. And so incredibly easy to make. I think they would make a lovely Valentine’s Day treat!
12-16 oz. Frozen, Unsweetened Dark Cherries (I could only find 12 oz. in my store)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
For the Crust and Topping
Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into ½-inch pieces and add to the flour mixture. Cut in with a fork or use your fingers (my preferred method) until the butter is evenly distributed and the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Evenly press ¾ of the mixture into the bottom of the pan and reserve the rest for topping.
For the Cherry Filling
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, sour cream, flour and almond extract. Gently fold in the cherries and pour over the crust. Sprinkle the remaining topping mixture evenly over the top
Bake for 45 to 55 minutes (mine took 55 minutes) until the top turns golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.
I can’t seem to get enough of the amazing fresh fruit from our farmer’s market this summer. I find myself buying more than I can possibly eat before it goes bad, but I try! Peaches, blackberries, raspberries, cherries, watermelon…there’s just so much summertime goodness right now. And I couldn’t let the whole summer go by without making a cobbler! This recipe was super easy to throw together. I had it in the oven in 30 minutes and it only took another 30 to bake up.
I did make a couple of changes. I wanted some oats in my streusel so I cut back on the amount of pecans and also used less blackberries because the ones that I got were so amazingly sweet, I couldn’t bare to use them all in the cobbler. They were way to good just eaten fresh. But I still liked having a few scattered throughout the cobbler. It was perfect, in my opinion and totally hit the spot, warm and gooey out of the oven with a scoop of cold vanilla ice cream.
5 c. Fresh Peaches, sliced (about 5 large peaches)
½ c. Granulated Sugar
3 T. All-Purpose Flour
¼ t. Nutmeg
1 c. Fresh Blackberries
Lightly grease a 9x9 pan. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
For the Streusel
Stir together the brown sugar, butter and salt in a medium bowl. Add flour, pecans and oats until blended. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, stir together peaches, flour, sugar and nutmeg over medium heat. Stirring occasionally, leave over medium heat until juices have thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and gently stir in blackberries. spoon mixture into pan. Crumble streusel mixture over hot peach mixture.
Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbly and golden brown.
One of Jeremy’s co-workers, Amy, just had her baby, Mr. Cannon Bailey Crocker. He is sweet and perfect and mom and dad are soooo happy he finally showed up. Jeremy’s office is pretty much a bunch of guys (with the exception of Amy) and it’s kind of like one big family…we all know each other, hang out together on occasion and when someone in the office has a baby, the wives make food! So we got a meal sign-up sheet together for Amy and her family and I immediately knew what dessert I was going to make her even before I figured out what main dish I’d be preparing. It’s all about priorities, right??
Amy had mentioned not too long ago that she loves lemon bars. Perfect! I already had a couple of recipes that I’d made before but I wanted to try a new one. So I found this one by Ina Garten and it is so, SO good. Definitely the best lemon bar recipe I have tried yet, by far. I love the ratio of crust to filling. Usually it’s half crust and half filling (which is not enough filling, in my opinion) but this recipe was about one-third crust and two-third filling. The lemon filling was the perfect balance of sweet and tart and the crust was flaky and buttery. This recipe is a keeper!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan.
For the Crust
For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy in the bowl of an electric mixer. Combine the flour and salt and with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Add vanilla. Gather the dough into a ball and press gently and evenly into the 9x13 pan. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
Bake the crust for 18 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on, set to 350 degrees.
For the Filling
For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.
Cut into triangles or squares and dust with powdered sugar.
A few days ago I posted some dreamy ice cream treats, one of which happened to be a Strawberry Icebox Cake. As I mentioned in that post, I have wanted to make an icebox cake forever and decided that now was the time! Add in the fact that I had been OBSESSING about making something with blueberries and lemon and voila! This delicious dessert was born.
So, was an icebox cake everything I thought it would be? Ummm, YES. And more. I can see why these things were so popular with our grandma’s back in the day…super simple to make and unbelievably delicious. Once the cake sets overnight, the layers of graham crackers get perfectly soft and the thick, whipped cream filling is almost mousse like sandwiched between everything.
In my humble opinion this is THE perfect summertime treat…simple, gorgeous and bursting with fresh blueberry and lemon flavor! Enjoy!
Note: If you don’t like lemon, feel free to omit it or substitute almond flavor, etc. It’s a very versatile recipe!
4 c. Fresh Blueberries (reserve about ½ c. for garnishing the top of the cake)
Line a large, 6½x11x4-inch loaf pan with foil, letting the foil hang over either end of the pan to use as "handles". Spray lightly with cooking spray.
In a chilled bowl of an electric mixer (I chill my bowl and my whipping beater in the freezer for at least 30 minutes), whip 3 cups of the heavy whipping cream on high speed until thick and slightly stiff. Beat in ¾ cup powdered sugar and 4 tablespoons of vanilla. Beat in the lemon juice and lemon zest.
Spread a layer of whipped cream in the bottom of your pan. Place 4 sheets of the graham crackers on top of the whipped cream (they may overlap a bit in the middle and that's ok). Cover the graham crackers in another layer of whipped cream and cover the whipped cream with a layer of blueberries. Gently spread a layer of whipped cream over the blueberries. Cover with 4 more sheets of graham crackers, a layer of whipped cream, blueberries, whipped cream and 4 more sheets of graham crackers. Cover with foil and let set in the fridge for 24 hours.
Before inverting the cake onto a plate, whip the remaining 1 cup of heavy whipping cream until thick and stiff. Add the remaining ¼ c. powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of vanilla. Place a large plate or platter over the top of the loaf pan and gently flip over. Carefully remove the pan and then gently and slowly peel away the foil. Quickly cover the cake with the whipped cream (see note below) and garnish with reserved blueberries. Slice and serve immediately.
Note: I only covered the top of my cake with the fresh whipped cream because I thought all the layers were pretty and wanted them to show.
Blueberry syrup reminds me of childhood. When I was a kid, we’d go every year around the beginning of blueberry season to a blueberry patch about 20 minutes from our house and pick buckets and buckets of blueberries…and also eat quite a few in the process. It was so fun. Blueberry picking in the late spring and apple picking in fall are honestly some of my best memories from childhood. Probably because they involved food I guess?! Hah.
So after picking for a couple of hours we’d take our load of blueberries home and would freeze most of them right away but a few fresh ones would be reserved for homemade blueberry syrup. My mom made THE BEST blueberry syrup and pancakes. It was a reason to get up before noon on Saturday morning! So when blueberries, blackberries and peaches started showing up at our local Farmer’s market recently, I definitely had her yummy blueberry syrup in mind.
Although I didn’t have my mom’s exact recipe, this turned out just like I remember hers. Who knows, it might be the same one! And can I tell you it could not be easier to make blueberry syrup? Put ingredients in pot and heat. That’s pretty much what it comes down to! The use of orange juice may seem odd, but trust me, once it sits overnight, all the flavors meld together and you taste nothing but blueberry the next day! It’s thick and quite sweet and just delicious over pancakes, waffles or crepes. Will definitely be making it alot over the next few weeks!
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the blueberries, ¼ c. water, orange juice and sugar. Stir gently and bring to a boil.
In a cup or small bowl, mix together the cornstarch and ½ c. water until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Gently stir the cornstarch mixture into the blueberries so as not to mash the berries. Simmer gently until thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla or almond extract and the cinnamon. Cool completely and refrigerate over night. Serve warm over pancakes, waffles, etc.
Have you heard about chia seeds yet? They are an awesome super food that have so many health benefits, it’s truly unbelievable. From lowering blood pressure and bad cholesterol to helping surpress appetite, I am sold on these little seeds of goodness. Do a quick Google search and you’ll find all kinds of information on them.
The first time I ever saw them was in a water bottle that the cashier was drinking out of at my local health food store. They looks like hundreds of little bubbles in her water. She explained what they were and all the benefits and I was intrigued but didn’t purchase any until recently. I love to put them in my oatmeal and my juicing concoction I make in the morning. I’ve also had them baked into thin, crisp bars (recipe courtesy of my friend Joelle…I’ll be blogging it soon!) and can now add jam to my list of uses for chia seeds! The seeds actually absorb water like crazy so instead of using pectin to make the gel-like consistency of jam, these seeds do all the work! It’s totally amazing and so, so tasty. I just used honey to taste to sweeten this jam, so even though I list an exact measurement, feel free to use however much tastes good to you.
I made three different kinds, Strawberry, Strawberry Pineapple and Peach. I think I like the Strawberry Pineapple the best. Because I made three different kinds, I went ahead and froze two of them, so we’ll see how those hold up after they’re thawed out. So far I’ve enjoyed it by the spoonful, on whole-grain sprouted bagels and plan to make some whole wheat waffles to try the spread on. I am so excited about this stuff…healthy and good for you. Enjoy!
1 c. Fresh Strawberries (or fruit of your choice), finely chopped and slightly mashed (you can also pulse the fruit in your food processor, which I'm going to try next time)
¼ c. Water (I would use a little less if you have a significant amount of juice from your fruit)
2 T. Chia Seeds
3 T. Raw Honey (or agave, stevia or other natural sweetener)
Warm fruit and water in a bowl in the microwave for 1 minutes. Stir in chia seeds and honey and let set on the counter until cooled. Place a jar or other air-tight container and let gel overnight. Top whole grain bread, bagels, pancakes, waffles, etc with the jam...or just eat by the spoonful. 🙂
Hi friends! I decided to take a time-out this weekend for a rare Sunday evening blog post. I was making homemade cherry pie filling for a Cherry Dump Cake earlier this week and thought it would be a good time to share the recipe. I’ve actually posted it before as part of my Cherry Sweet Rolls and Black Forest Cake, but hopefully posting it alone will make it a little easier to find the recipe!
I’ve always loved cherry pie filling but the one my grandma made for her cherry pies was always my absolute favorite. Hers was made with fresh sour cherries from their cherry tree and it makes a filling SOOOO much better than the store-bought canned variety. So once I discovered I could buy canned sour cherries from the store and make my own like my grandma’s, I was hooked. This recipe is super simple and will be your new favorite from the first time you make it! Use it in pies, as a topping for cheesecake, filling for layer cakes or just eat it with a spoon…which is what I find myself doing way too often. Eek!
Enjoy what’s left of the weekend! Our weather is absolutely gorgeous so I’m headed outside–later!
2, 14.5 oz. Cans Pitted Sour Cherries (in water NOT syrup), drained with ½ c. juice reserved
1 c. Granulated Sugar
¼ c. Cornstarch
1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract (or Almond Extract)
Combine the cherries, ½ c. juice, sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Cook over low-medium heat until thickened, stirring frequently. Be patient...it will take awhile but the mixture will magically thicken around the 25 minute mark. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla or almond and let cool completely. Store in refrigerator.
I have to say that this whole new world of baking without flour is really quite exciting to me. I never knew that there were so many options! I wanted to do another gluten-free recipe and also wanted some kind of muffin and was so excited when I stumbled upon this recipe from So Good and Tasty for Cherry Almond Meal Muffins. I only modified it a bit by subbing blueberries for the cherries and throwing in some applesauce and additional spices and extracts. And wow, this muffin is delicious! I absolutely love the taste of texture from the almond meal and can honestly say I think I like it better than flour! Jeremy also loved them which was the real test to me..he could hardly wait for them to cool off before trying one! We ate them warmed up for just a few seconds with a teensy bit of unsalted butter and a drizzle of honey (not needed but oh so good)…mmmmmm!
¼ c. Unsweetened Applesauce (I used all-natural, chunky applesauce)
1 c. Fresh Blueberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a regular size muffin tin with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
In a separate, large bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add in the honey, oil, vanilla and applesauce and stir to combine.
Add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients, stirring just until combined. Carefully fold in the blueberries.
Pour batter into the muffin tin, filling to the top if you want a nice muffin dome. Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in muffin tins for about 5 minutes then remove and place on wire rack until completely cool.
In case you haven’t noticed by now, Fridays have become the designated “healthy recipe” day. And today I have a recipe for a sweet dessert soup to share with you! I’ll never forget the first time I had a fruit “soup” was on the one and only cruise I took to the Bahamas after I graduated high school. They served it with dinner one night and I fell in LOVE. It was sweet and creamy and so refreshing! Just like this delicious recipe! Jeremy seemed really confused by the name and I asked a couple of times why it was called soup…but I honestly don’t know! It’s blended in a blender but it doesn’t have ice so it’s not really a smoothie..so what else would you call it?! Other than amazingly delicious! We enjoyed this for dessert a couple of nights in a row and it is sooo much healthier for you than your typical after dinner fare. It’s got fruit, protein and calcium..almost a meal in itself!
2 T. Agave, or to taste depending on the sweetness of your strawberries
Chopped strawberries and almonds, for garnish
Remove green stems off strawberries, rinse well, pat dry and slice.
In a blender, add the almond milk, strawberries, almond extract and almond butter. Starting on lowest speed, blend until it comes together. Turn up the speed gradually and blend until completely smooth.
Taste test and add your desired sweetener. Blend again to combine. If your blender does not puree the seeds, you can pour the soup through a fine strainer. (or just leave the seeds, which is what I did--I don't mind them)
With blender cover on, place blender in the fridge and chill until very cold, a few hours or overnight. Alternatively, you could chill in a container in the freezer to speed things up. Keeps for a few days in the refrigerator.
Happy New Year!! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend! I’m sure that you celebrated to the max and are now on to thinking about all those New Year’s resolutions, one of which is most likely to lose weight. Now, that’s all good and everything and I believe in you, I really do, but don’t go thinking dessert can’t fit into a healthy diet…in moderation, of course! I mean, you have to have a little treat every now and then or else you’re bound to get so deprived that one day you snap and go to the nearest gas station, raid the candy bar aisle and have a total diet meltdown inside the confines of your car in a very dark parking lot somewhere and find yourself buried in a heap of wrappers and half-eaten Snickers…
Ummmm, ok. Ahem. Where was I?? Oh yes! New Year’s resolutions. I am not going to go totally health conscious on this blog but do want to support all of you out there in your healthy eating endeavors and in order to do so, I am making my very first post of the new year an uber-healthy one! This banana bread is seriously delicious and seriously healthy. I don’t mean low-fat, low-calorie healthy (although it is that also), I’m talking about chalked full of NUTRITION healthy. There is ZERO oil in this bread and a healthy dose of Greek yogurt which is packed with tons of protein. I also used wheat bran, thick cut oats and white whole wheat flour to give it some extra fiber and nutrients. The edges got just a little well done, as you can see, but the bread turned out fabulous and I’ll definitely make this a staple in our household.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, wheat bran, oats, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. In a large bowl, stir together egg and egg white, honey, vanilla, Greek yogurt and bananas. Add flour mixture to wet mixture and stir until just moistened. Pour into loaf pan and sprinkle with oats.
Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack and cool completely.
Believe it or not, there are some people on diets this time of year. Yes, DIETS, preparing/starving themselves for the two month long eat-o-rama that begins around mid-November and doesn’t stop until somewhere around the new year. I myself believe in moderation and balance and try to get plenty of exercise and eat an overall healthy diet (I definitely do NOT believe in starvation and “diet” trends). And I am most certainly planning on indulging during the holidays but in moderation.
So, for those more health-conscious readers out there like myself, I thought I would provide you with some healthy dessert options for you to bring to those family get-togethers. Some are most definitely more healthy than others; there are low-fat, low-calorie, high-protein, low-sugar, etc. Options! That’s what I’m all about. 🙂 I’ll definitely be testing a couple (the Date Bars and Honey-Almond Cake are calling my name!) to see if they are worthy of the upcoming family festivities. I’ll post my results!
Today is National Banana Split Day! Woo hoo, get excited! Personally, I’ve never really been a big fan of banana splits…I mean, if I’m going to have ice cream, I don’t want anything even remotely healthy going on or in it. Give me the sugary, fatty bad stuff all the way. But then I came upon these banana split inspired recipes and OMG I am drooling all over my keyboard. Talk about decadent, over-the-top, gloriously evil, sweet temptation!
Never heard of a Peach Pile? That might be because I made it up. Yep. See, this weekend for my mom’s birthday I made a very special, ooey gooey, deep dish peach pie that was topped with a buttery, sugary, cinnamony oat topping. It smelled delicious, it looked delicious and I just knew it was going to taste delicious. But there was only one problem–it DID NOT want to come out of its pan. Nuh uh. Wasn’t having it. Absolutely refused to be eaten. Unfortunately we had to get a little rough with the pie and ended up with what I could only think of in my mind as a big ‘ole pile of peaches and crust. See below.
I think part of the problem was that in my haste I didn’t wait for the pie to cool down enough (as in all the way), in fact, it was still slightly hot. So while we didn’t have the massively tall, delicously perfect slices of pie I had imagined in my mind, we still had an amazingly good pile of peaches, buttery crust and oatmeal topping that was everything I imagined it would taste like along with some cold, creamy vanilla ice cream. Oh yes, and I did use a store-bought crust only because I think they are quite good and didn’t want to take the 4.5 HOURS to make the pie that a homemade crust would have required.
I will say that not one person cared about what the pie looked like once they started eating it. We were licking our plates clean with this one.
1, 9-inch Deep Dish Pie Crust (I used store bought)
8 Large Firm, Fresh, Ripe Peaches
¼ c. AP Flour
½ c. Firmly Packed Light Brown Sugar
⅓ c. Granulated Sugar
1 t. Cinnamon
⅛ t. Salt
2 T. Cold Butter, diced
Oatmeal Brown Sugar Topping
½ c. Oats
½ c. AP Flour
½ c. Firmly Packed Light Brown Sugar
¼ c. (1/2 stick) Unsalted Butter, melted
½ t. Cinnamon
For the peach filling:
Peel peaches and then cut into ½-inch thick chunks and place in a large bowl. Whisk together flour, sugars, cinnamon and salt and then add to the peaches, stirring to coat. Immediately spoon into the pie crust and dot with the two tablespoons of diced butter. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 and make the oatmeal topping.
For the Oatmeal Brown Sugar Topping:
Thoroughly stir together the oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and melted butter until well combined. Remove the pie for the freezer and carefully press the oatmeal topping onto the pie.
Line a cookie sheet with foil and place the pie on top of the cookie sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake 40 minutes. Cover loosely with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning and bake 25 more minutes or until juices are thick and bubbly. Transfer to a wire rack and cool two hours before serving or until completely cool.
*I found that for peeling the peaches, a potato peeler worked perfectly. Also, the recipe calls to bake the pie on the lower rack of the oven, but I accidentally baked mine on the middle rack and it turned out fine.