Santa Hat Cheesecake Bites

I was asked to bring the dessert to our annual Christmas party that my friend holds at her house every year. I tried to come up with something that the kiddos and adults as well would like! I found this recipe online that used these Chocolate Desert Cups…they looked scrumptious but knew I would not find them anywhere locally and had no time to order them online. Put this recipe in the back of my mind and set out to do some grocery shopping to see what I could come up with. Well, low and behold right there in the baking aisle at Wal-Mart there the chocolate dessert cups sat…awesome! Now I can make these super cute Santa Hats!

 Here are the Chocolate Dessert Cups I used…found in the baking aisle at Wal-Mart.

So easy my 6 year old piped in the cheesecake filling in all the cups!!

Santa Hat Cheesecake Bites

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Ingredients

  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese softened
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ⅔ cup heavy cream
  • 1 package of Cheesecake Pudding
  • 1 package of chocolate dessert cups
  • 12 strawberries
  • white sparkling Sugar Sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients except the chocolate cups and strawberries. Beat well on high until the Cheesecake Cream is light and fluffy. Put the mixture into a piping bag and fill each chocolate cup up and over slightly around the rim. Place a strawberry with the top cut off on top of the Cheesecake Cream layer and press down slightly. Put a little Cheesecake Cream at the top for the top of the hat. Sprinkle with some white sugar sprinkles if desired. Enjoy!

Enjoy!!

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Red Velvet Oreo Poke Cake

Valentine’s Day is around the corner and I always throw a little party for my kiddos. This year we are going to order in a heart shaped pizza from the local pizza joint and then enjoy a dessert as the kiddos open the little gifts I got them. I am a poke cake lover and when I ran across this recipe my mouth started watering before I even looked at the recipe! It called for regular Oreos but lo and behold…I found Red Velvet Oreos at the store…I was SO excited!!!

My kiddos loved the cake as did my husband and I. I swore I was going to dish the rest out to neighbors so it wasn’t sitting in my fridge tempting me all week. Nope, never happened. My husband and I snacked on it all week and polished her off!

This is such and easy cake to make and awesome for Valentine Party’s or just plain get togethers! Your guests will think you slaved all day!

Enjoy!

After you bake the cake according to the directions on the box, let it cool and poke holes throughout the cake. Mine is a little sloppy as my daughter is always my baking helper!

My little helper!

Next pour the Sweetened Condensed Milk down in the holes…make sure you get each one!

You are going to melt the chocolate topping and crushed Oreo’s in the microwave for 30 seconds Then pour and spread the mixture on top of the Sweetened Condensed Milk…again, make sure you get it in all the holes!

Whip the Cream Cheese Frosting and Cool Whip together!

Slater it on your cake and plop it in the fridge to cool!

Poke Cake

These are the Oreo’s I used…they must be a Valentine Limited Edition Find…how perfect!!!!

Top it with the remaining crushed Oreos when it’s time to serve! I did this to each individual piece as I served it…that way the left over cake didn’t have any on it to get soggy for my next feeding! J

Look at the chocolate and cookies running down through the cake…oh it is heavenly good!

Red Velvet Oreo Poke Cake

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Ingredients

  • 1 box (18.25 ounces) red velvet cake + the ingredients on the back of the box
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 jar (11.75 ounces) hot fudge ice cream topping
  • 1 cup crushed Oreos
  • 1 cup cream cheese frosting (I used the ready made frosting)
  • 1 container (8 ounces) Cool Whip
  • 1/4 cup crushed Oreos (optional topping)

Instructions

  1. Prepare the red velvet cake according to the directions on the box.
  2. Once the cake is completely cooled, use a wooden spoon to poke holes evenly throughout the cake, making about 25-30 holes.
  3. Pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the cake, trying to fill up the holes.
  4. Combine the hot fudge topping and the crushed Oreos in a medium sized bowl. Microwave the combined toppings for 15 seconds or until melted together and warm.
  5. Spread the hot fudge topping on top of the cake, trying to get some in the holes.
  6. Combine the cup of cream cheese frosting and the Cool Whip in the Cool Whip container. Then spread the Cool Whip mixture on top of the cake.
  7. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. When ready to serve if desired, sprinkle the additional crushed Oreos on top. This makes about 12 large pieces.

Enjoy!!!!

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Salted Caramel Popcorn

Caramel Popcorn 13 I remember making caramel popcorn at my aunt’s house as a kid and how much of a treat my sisters and I always thought it was. However, I do remember it being a big process but so worth it in the end. Well, maybe it was just because I was a kid with no patience but I decided I really wanted to try this with my kiddos. So glad I did…it’s not a long process at all! So easy in fact I would make it every day of the week…if my waste would allow it! Lol This is something I do not have the willpower to say no too. Needless to say…you will see at the end of my blog post here that after my family and I got our bellies full of caramel popcorn, I bagged it up and distributed it to the neighbors. They were super appreciative!!

Below is how I made mine…scroll down for the recipe!  Enjoy!!!

This is all the ingredients you need!!! Pretty much pantry staples. I even have a big popcorn machine in my basement that I order popcorn from a movie theater popcorn supplier but didn’t even use it! I remembered (since my son is in Cub Scouts) that I had an unlimited supply of microwave popcorn! This is about 4 bags here (Approx. 4 cups per bag = 16 cups).  You can also use an air-popper to make it or even on your stove top!  If you do it this way…use about 1/2 cup of kernels to equal 16 cups.

Mix all the ingredients in a pan and boil for 4 minutes…without stirring!

It really bubbles up…but don’t stir!

Pour boiled mixture over your popcorn and mix well. I did this in 3 shifts. I poured 1/3 of my popcorn in another empty bowl and poured 1/3 of the caramel mixture over the popcorn. Stirred it all around until it was completely coated. Poured the coated popcorn onto a foil (or parchment) lined cookie sheet. Then repeated those steps 2 more times until all my popcorn was coated and spread out evenly on the cookie sheet.  Then you can sprinkle with some more salt.

Now it’s ready to go in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes stirring every 10 minutes.

Oh My Goodness…need I say more! Spread out on a lined counter and break into pieces to cool.

Ready to dig in…WARNING…HIGHLY ADDICTIVE!!

Caramel Popcorn 14

Carmel Popcorn 9 All bagged up and ready to be distributed to neighbors!

Salted Caramel Popcorn

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Ingredients

  • ½ cup unpopped popcorn kernels (about 16 cups popped corn)
  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup light corn syrup
  • 1½ - 2 tsp kosher or sea salt, divided

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300°
  2. Line a large baking sheet with foil, parchment paper or a silicone mat. Set aside.
  3. Pop popcorn in microwave, using air popper or stove top and pour into a large bowl.
  4. In a small saucepan melt butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and 1 tsp salt together over medium heat. Bring to boil. Boil for 4 minutes without stirring.
  5. Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and stir to coat evenly.
  6. Pour popcorn into lined pan, sprinkle remaining salt on top (1/2 tsp - 1 tsp depending on your personal taste preference) and place in oven. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
  7. Allow popcorn to cool on a parchment lined counter.

Notes

You can add in 2 cups of nuts to the popcorn before you coat it... if desired! Then coat with caramel.

Enjoy!

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S’mores Bars

Smores Bars 10

Ok…so I know it’s the middle of winter but a girl can dream of summer right!?  Picture this…sitting by the fire on a warm summer evening, beverage in one hand and a marshmallow on a stick in the other sizzling on the fire.  Oh….I cannot wait!  Winter isn’t quite over but with these delicious s’mores bars are wonderful all year long!  These taste just like a s’more but in more of a soft and chewy cookie form. They are melt in your mouth delicious! If you love s’mores you have to give this recipe a try!  I made them for our annual Valentine’s Party last week and they got gobbled up in no time!  If you are having a crowd like I did…you may want to double the batch!  Enjoy…and think summer!

S’mores Bars

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup fine graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 (4.4 oz) milk chocolate XL Hershey Bars
  • 1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow creme

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and 8 by 8-inch baking dish and line with two sheets of parchment paper (or foil), leaving a slight over hang on each side, and butter paper (for easier cutting, you can just butter the baking dish without lining if you wish).
  2. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, graham crack crumbs, baking soda and salt for 20 seconds, set aside. Use an electric mixer, blend together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until creamy. Mix in egg and vanilla extract. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  3. Divide dough in half and press one half of the dough into an even layer in the bottom of prepared baking dish. Place chocolate side by side over dough layer. Top chocolate with marshmallow fluff, spreading into an even layer. Take about golf ball size pieces of remaining dough and flatten into small shingles and layer side by side over marshmallow fluff (work to keep any of the fluff from showing through). Bake in preheated oven 27 - 30 minutes until top is lightly golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares (use parchment (or foil) overhang to lift bars from pan before cutting. You may want to cut just before serving as the filling will begin to run a little). Store in an airtight container.

Smores Bars 1

Mommy’s little helper for ALL our baking!

Smores Bars

And of course…she always has to taste test everything she puts in.

Smores Bars 2 I never have parchment paper on hand so I use foil…works just as good!  Evenly press the crust down in your 8×8 pan (Grease the foil)!

Smores Bars 8  My little helpers favorite part…top with the Hershey Candy Bars!

Smores Bars 3

Smores Bars 9 Spread on the Marshmallow Cream!

Smores Bars 4  And…don’t forget to taste test! 🙂

Smores  Bars 5

Here is what it looks like after you get the cream evenly spread over the crust and candy bars.

Smores Bars 6

After it comes out of the oven.

Smores Bars 7

Ooey Gooey Goodness!

Smores Bars 11

S'more Bars

ENJOY!

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No-Bake Stuffed Cookie Dough Bites

If you are anything like me (and my kids), the best part about making homemade cookiesis a big spoonful of dough! Well, here is a recipe that requires you to eat the raw cookie dough every time you grab a cookie (or ball)! That rightno baking required (obviously) and they are so delicious! Even betteryou have no risk of salmonella poisoning as there are no raw eggs in this recipe.  It’s a beautiful thing!  I stuffed my dough with mini Reese’s peanut butter cups as my kiddos love them, but the possibilities are endless!  You could use Nutella, mini Oreos, snickers, rolos, brownie bites, any mini candy bar reallylet your imagination run wild. You could even have each one a surprise and stuff each one with something different!  All of you cookie dough lovers out there and I know there are tons of youthese are a must make! 

No Bake Stuffed Cookie Dough Bites

18

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Serve bites at room temperature.

Ingredients

  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted softened butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 18 Mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (or whatever you choose to stuff yours with)

Instructions

  1. Place butter and sugars into a stand or electric mixer. Beat on medium high for 2-3 minutes, until nice and creamy. Add vanilla, beating until well combined. Add flour, salt then chocolate chips, mixing until just combined. Place 1 inch scoops of dough onto a parchment lined counter top. With tip of finger or thumb press into the center of each dough making room for filling. Fill each cookie dough piece with your favorite filling then top with enough dough to cover the filling then form into a ball shape.

Notes

If dough is too crumbly to work with...just add a Tablespoon or 2 of milk to help soften it up.Other possible fillings Mini Oreo Cookies Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Mini Candy bars (Butterfingers, Milky-way...) Cubed Brownies Nutella

Kid approved!!!

Cookie Dough Bites 4

A look inside!!!

Cookie Dough Bites 5

 

ENJOY!!

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Granola Bar Bites

I’m always looking for fun and yummy snacks my kiddos will love! Either as an afterschool snack or for taking in their lunches to school! Here’s one that hit the spot…Granola Bar Bites. You can even add or take out ingredients to gear towards what our family love. These little bites are filled with lots of healthy ingredients including peanut butter, raisin,s chia seeds and flaxseed but hidden a bit by some kid approved mini M&M’s, mini marshmallows & rice crispy’s! My kids love them (and mommy does too)!

These are a bit like the Granola Energy Balls I have made so many times…my kiddos love those too but was ready for a little change! Wanted to spice things up a bit if you will!!! I hope you and your family enjoy them as much as we do!

Granola Bar Bites

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups rice crispy cereal
  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts or nut of your choice
  • ⅓ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup mini M&M's
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seed (optional)
  • 1 heaping tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup agave nectar (can substitute honey or karo syrup)
  • Instructions

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl combine, rice crispies, oats, chopped nuts, raisins, ground flax seed, chia seeds, coconut oil and vanilla.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl combine, honey and agave nectar. Microwave for 1 minute 30 seconds
  3. Remove hot honey mixture and stir in Marshmallows until they melt. May need to heat 10-15 more seconds if marshmallow won't completely melt.
  4. Stir peanut butter into honey, marshmallow mixture until well combined
  5. Pour over dry mix and stir until everything is coated evenly
  6. Let rest 2-3 minutes and sprinkle M&M's into mixture.
  7. Using a cookie scoop and plastic bag, form granola mixture into balls. refrigerate or freeze for a couple hours before serving
  8. Keep extras in the fridge or freezer.

Enjoy!

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Skinny Funfetti Cupcakes


Who doesn’t love funfetti? Adults to kiddos alike…we all love funfetti! My husband actually told me that I no longer need to buy him expensive professional cakes for his birthday anymore, he would be more then satisfied with a funfetti cake every year!

Not only is this recipe Weight Watcher friendly (2 pts plus per cupcake) but you seriously can’t tell that they are missing anything…yes, that’s what I said, no oil or eggs! Instead of the oil and eggs you use sprite zero which has no calories and no fat!! For the frosting you use fat free cool whip and sugar free instant vanilla pudding! My daughter helped make these little heaven puffs so needless to say, our frosting ended up purple (her favorite color)! These cupcakes are super light and fluffy and since they are so low in fat…you have my permission to eat 2. Believe me when you have one…you will want another! They are SO Yummy!


Skinny Funfetti Cupcakes

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Ingredients

    Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg. Pillsbury Funfetti Cake Mix (just the powder, not the recipe on the box)
  • 1 (12 ounce) can Sprite Zero
  • Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 ounce) container Fat Free Cool Whip
  • 1 (1.5 ounce) pkg. Fat Free Vanilla Jello Instant Pudding (just the powder, not the recipe on the box)

Instructions

  1. [Cupcake Directions:] Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 cupcake tins with paper liners. In a large bowl, combine cake mix and Sprite together. Continue to mix until the batter is smooth without any lumps. Pour approximately 1/4 cup of batter into every cupcake wrapper. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Let cool before frosting.
  2. [Frosting Directions:] In a mixing bowl, add Cool Whip and pudding. Mix with a whisk by hand or an electric hand mixer until smooth. I put mine into a ziplock bag and closed it, then squished it all down to one corner, cut a tiny piece of the corner, and then made a swirl design over the cooled cupcakes. Makes enough frosting for 24 cupcakes.

Notes

(makes 24 cupcakes, 110 calories per frosted cupcake, 2 Weight Watchers Points)

Funfetti Cupcake 2

Enjoy!

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Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars


If you love Apple Crisp, Carmel and Cheesecake…this recipe will be right up your alley! I made this for my families Thanksgiving and boy was it a huge hit! I was asked by several people for the recipe and to make sure I bring it back for Christmas! The fresh apples, streusel and caramel really make these Caramel Apple Cheesecake bars so yummy…and so hard not to devour the whole pan!

Carmel Apple Cheesecake Bars

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Ingredients

    CRUST:

  • 2 cup Flour
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Sticks Butter softened
  • FILLING:

  • 3 packages Cream Cheese (8 oz.) softened
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 3 Eggs
  • APPLE MIXTURE:

  • 3 Granny Smith Apples peeled, cored and diced into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • TOPPING:

  • 1 cup Brown Sugar (packed)
  • 1 cup Flour
  • 1/2 cup Quick Oats
  • 1 stick Butter Softened
  • Caramel Topping (to drizzle)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Line a 9X13 baking pan with aluminum foil be sure to leave overhang on all four sides.
  3. Add flour and brown sugar to a medium sized bowl.
  4. Cut in butter with 2 forks or a pastry blender until your mix is crumbly
  5. Press mixture into prepared pan.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Add cream cheese, vanilla and Sugar to a large bowl.
  8. Beat mixture until smooth.
  9. Add eggs to mixture 1 at a time mixing to combine.
  10. Pour mixture into baked crust.
  11. Add Apples, sugar and cinnamon to medium sized bowl.
  12. Mix together until apples are coated well.
  13. Sprinkle apple pieces evenly over cream cheese mixture.
  14. Add brown sugar, flour, quick oats and softened butter to a medium sized bowl and combine well.
  15. Sprinkle topping evenly over your apple layer.
  16. Bake for 45-60 minutes. Watch for filling to set (I do this by slightly jiggling the pan.
  17. Allow to cool and then place in refrigerator. I let mine set overnight.
  18. Remove from pan and cut into 16 even sized bars.
  19. Drizzle with caramel topping.


Oh look at that ooey, gooey, caramel piece heaven right there!


Enjoy!!!

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Creamy Tomato & Spinach Pasta

Creamy Tomato and Spinach Pasta Posts

This super quick pasta skillet is perfect for any occasion. Quick dinner for those busy nights during the week or even a perfect meal if you are hosting a dinner party. It requires only a few ingredients and cooks up super-fast.

Regular pasta can be used but I used whole wheat adding some extra fiber and nutrients to make it a more well rounded meal. I also added sliced mushrooms and you could also add some grilled chicken breast. Just cook the mushrooms along with the onions and garlic in the beginning. If you have some super picky eaters in the houseyou could always do a plain creamy tomato sauce. Nothin’ wrong with that!

Creamy Tomato & Spinach Pasta

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Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • freshly cracked pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 oz. cream cheese
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • ½ lb. whole wheat penne pasta
  • ½ (9 oz.) bag fresh spinach

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender (7-10) minutes. Drain the pasta in a colander.
  2. While waiting for the pasta to cook, dice the onion and mince the garlic. Cook both in a large skillet with the olive oil over medium-low heat until softened and transparent (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add the diced tomatoes (with juices), oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper to the skillet with the onions and garlic. Stir to combine. Add the tomato paste and a ½ cup of water to the skillet and stir until the tomato paste is dissolved into the sauce.
  4. Turn the heat down to low. Cut the cream cheese into a few pieces and then add them to the skillet with the tomato sauce. Use a whisk to stir the sauce until the cream cheese has fully melted in and the sauce is creamy. Add half of the Parmesan to the skillet and whisk until it is melted in. Add the remainder of the Parmesan and whisk until melted in again.
  5. Add the fresh spinach and gently stir it into the sauce until it has wilted (3-5 minutes). Add the pasta and stir until it is well coated in the creamy tomato sauce. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm.

Creamy Tomato and Spinach Pasta 1

Hope you enjoy this meal as much as my family and I did!!

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Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches (Healthified)

My family goes crazy for these homemade ice cream sandwiches and truth be told, there isn’t even any trace of ice cream in these scrumptious little fellas! Who knew that if you freeze cool whip…it tastes pretty darn close to ice cream! Throw in a few mini chocolate chips (not too many so you can stay on the healthy side) and dollop that between to graham crackers…stick in the freezer for a few hours and there you have it…homemade & healthy ice cream sandwiches!


Here is what you need:

  • Cool Whip (I get Fat Free)
  • Mini Chocolate Chips
  • Graham Crackers

Dollop a few spoonful’s of cool whip onto a graham cracker square. Sprinkle on a few mini chocolate chips. Top with the other graham cracker square. Ignore my horrible manicure! 🙂

Wrap up- I use Glad Press N’ Seal!

Stick them in the freezer! I make up a bunch, I usually go through the whole container of cool whip as my family gobbles them up fast!!

Once frozen…Enjoy!

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