One of the Best (and easiest) Appetizers for Fall…Caramel Apple Brie…just a bite away

Looking for a quick and easy appetizer that wows every time? Butterscotch-Caramel Brie with Dried Apple, Pecans, and Cranberries-This tasty version of caramel smothered brie does just the trick. Not only do the flavors resemble a caramel apple…they take a huge gourmet leap forward by incorporating both sweet and savory flavors!

The tasty supplies:

1 jar of Mrs. Richardson’s Butterscotch and Caramel Topping (you may have to hunt for this in the grocery store, but most mainline stores do carry this. If you can’t find it, it is okay to substitute with a mixture of Butterscotch and Caramel from another company such as Sanders. If you have the time, you can also order Mrs. Richardson’s online from Amazon)

1 bag of dried apple slices

1 bag of dried cranberries

1 cup of whole or chopped pecans

1 wheel of briecheese

How to smother your brie:

Simply heat your Butterscotch and Caramel in the microwave or stove top until warm. Add in your dried apple slices, dried cranberries, and pecans. Pour over the wheel of brie. Serve with crackers. Oh, my goodness! It doesn’t get any better! So simple…so fast…so good! Great for football tailgating in the fall, a Thanksgiving appetizer, or even a winter treat!



Watermelon Juice…Sipping on Tsamma!!!!!

Watermelon tends to be a summertime favorite. Slice it, dice it, cut it into chunks, drizzle it with honey, squirt it with lime juice, sprinkle it with mint…DELICIOUS! Not only is watermelon delicious, it’s a great treat alternative to popsicles, ice cream, and other sugary summertime snacks for your little ones. While I’ve tried just about every recipe with watermelon that you can imagine…I’ve never tried to make watermelon juice; and, now I don’t have to!0079

My watermelon growing friends at Frey Farms have created a new drink that is taking the juice market by storm! TSAMMA Watermelon Juice! While water and milk are my toddler’s main beverages, juice is an occasional treat. Instead of apple juice try this fun alternative. You can also use it to make your own homemade watermelon popsicles!!! Pour it into the molds, stick in the freezer…fun summertime treat! Or, if you’re a traditionalist, a watermelon slice is pretty delicious too! We like to think they grow in our backyard!!!photo 5 photo 1 photo 1

TSAMMA and Frey Farms didn’t ask me to give them a shout out…I just think they’re pretty awesome people with some great products! Available at Earth Fare, The Fresh Market, Whole Foods, and a ton of other local grocery stores. My little one likes to pick her own! For tips on how to pick the perfect watermelon check out this earlier blog…HOW TO PICK YOUR WATERMELONphoto 4 photo 1




Hazelnut S’mores…in the oven!!!!

A little sweet treat never hurt..especially not when it’s S’mores!!!! Don’t feel like starting a camp fire, firing up the grill, or even leaving the kitchen? Indoor S’mores it is!!! You can stick with the traditional Hershey Chocolate bar, but if you’re looking for a gourmet twist try switching things up with Nutella. Get your little ones involved. They can line up the crackers and pile on the 2

Hazelnut S’more Ingredients: 

1. graham crackers

2. Marshmallows

3. 1 jar of Nutella Hazelnut/Chocolate Spread

4. Cookie Sheet

5. Ovenphoto 1 photo 2 photo 4

How to Roast your S’mores in the oven: 

1. Break your graham crackers in half and place them on a cookie sheet

2. Place a marshmallow on half of the graham crackers

3. On the remaining Graham crackers spread a thick layer of Nutella

4. Place the cookie sheet in the oven on broil

5. Keep a very close eye on these goodies. They can burn in just a second. When you notice that the marshmallows are starting to turn a light brown on the top (literally less than 30 seconds) pull them from the oven and put your halves together!!!photo 1

Come rain or shine these indoor S’mores are tasty every time!




Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake with Buttered Caramel Sauce…an English Tradition that Should Never Be Abandoned!

Sticky Toffee Pudding isn’t your typical pudding. In fact, it isn’t anything like American “pudding” at all. Instead, it is one of the best moist cakes I’ve ever tasted covered by an ooey, gooey, toffee sauce. I first tasted Sticky Toffee Pudding when visiting Oxford, England. My English road trip turned from a sight-seeing vacation to a Sticky Toffee Pudding taste-testing trip! I’ve tried several different variations on this recipe, but the simple version from has been a winner every time.


1 3/4 cups pitted, chopped dates

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup boiling water

1/3 cup butter

3/4 cup white sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 1/8 cups self-rising flour

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup butter

2/3 cup evaporated milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extractSticky Toffee Pudding

How to Create England’s Best Dessert:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish.

2. In a small bowl combine the dates and baking soda. Pour enough boiling water over the dates to just cover them.

3. Cream 1/3 of butter with the white sugar until light. Beat in the eggs and mix well to combine.

4. Add the flour and date mixture (including water) to the egg mixture and fold to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.

5. Bake in the preheated oven until a tester (toothpick) comes out clean, 30-40 minutes. Let cool slightly and prepare the sauce.

6. To Make the Caramel Sauce: In a small saucepan combine the brown sugar, 1/3 cup butter, and evaporated milk. Cook over medium heat and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the sauce over individual servings of warm cake.





Rice Pudding Baked to Perfection

Having grown up surrounded by amazing family friends who made gourmet Greek food, I was spoiled by their delicious baked rice pudding each holiday season. Creamy rice pudding sprinkled with ground cinnamon and stirred with dried cherries or raisins is the epitome of holiday comfort food. Give me a spoon…or two…I’m okay with double fisted eating!

What You Need to Bake this Perfect Dessert: 

1 cup of cooked white rice

2 1/2 cups of milk (I’m not going to lie here…whole milk does make a difference)

3 large eggs lightly beaten

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup of dried cherries (or raisins)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamonRice pudding in the ramekin closeup

How to Get Your Comfort Food Baking: 

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Farenheit. Lightly grease a 9 inch glass baking dish. Stir the first 7 ingredients together in a bowl (everything except for your cinnamon and nutmeg). And, please note that you cooked your rice ahead of time! Spoon this mixture into your greased baking dish. Place your glass dish directly inside a larger baking pan (center it) and pour water into the larger pan (the one without your pudding mixture) so that the water is about 1 inch in depth surrounding your pudding pan. Make sure that none of the water goes into the pudding mixture. Carefully slide this set of pans into the middle rack of the oven and bake for 1.5 hours. When it comes out of the oven sift your nutmeg and cinnamon (mixture) over the pudding to lightly cover. DELICIOUS!




Baileys Chocolate Fudge…in 8 minutes

Last year my sister and I were looking for some new holiday fudge recipes. We wanted something quick but delicious….and what can be better than Baileys chocolate fudge that you can throw together in 8 minutes! We stumbled across this great recipe from and decided it needed to be on our MUST MAKE holiday baking list each year.


1/3 cup Baileys Irish Cream (or Baileys Chocolate Mint Liquor)

3 1/2 cups chocolate chips (either milk, dark or semisweet…you choose your favorite)

.83 lbs of sweetened condensed milk (approximately 1 can) Baileys Irish Cream And Mint Chocolate Liqueur

How to make it: 

1. Line a 12 x 6 bar pan or slice pan with baking paper/parchment paper

2. Heat the condensed milk (be careful not to scorch) on the stove top in a sauce pan

3. Melt your chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring after each 30 seconds until fully melted and smooth. Then add the chocolate to the condensed milk. (or you can melt your chocolate using a double boiler on the stove top. Stir frequently.) Next, mix in your Baileys Irish Cream.

4. Pour this mixture into your lined bar pan and set aside.

5. Leave to cool at room temperature or if it is really warm you can even throw it in the fridge to speed things up. (My one caveat is that you may need to let this set overnight before cutting it into squares just to keep things from being too gooey.)

6. Cut into bite size pieces once it has fully set/cooled.

Perfect as a quick Christmas gift…or for your own little tummy!





The Best Shortbread Cookie Recipe Ever…SHH…It’s a Secret!

Shortbread is a must have cookie for every holiday. And, with Christmas only a few days away, and Valentines just around the corner I decided to share the best shortbread recipe ever!!

Ingredients for These Scrumptious Delights: 

1 lb of butter

1 cup of brown sugar

3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

1/2 cup of rice flour

1 jar of maraschino cherries

Wax paperFresh shortbread cookies on a baking tray

How to Bake the Best Shortbread Cookies…Ever! 

Some of the best recipes are simple but sweet! Set your butter out to soften. Then mix all of your dry ingredients and your softened butter together with large mixer. Pull your dough and knead it with flour on a lightly floured surface such as your counter top. Tear off a decent size of wax paper and form your dough into the shape of a log. The ends should be flat. Next roll your dough log up in the wax paper and set it in the freezer for 25-35 minutes. You don’t want it to actually freeze, but you do want it to become firm (not so firm that you can’t cut through it with a knife). Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Farenheit. Next grease your cookie sheets. Pull out your cookie dough log and unwrap it from the wax paper. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into cookie rounds approximately 1/4-1/3 of an inch thick. Place each sliced cookie onto the cookie sheet and add a maraschino cherry to the middle (either sliced in half or whole). Bake for 25 minutes or until just lightly brown. Remove from oven and place cookies on cooling rack. Store in air tight container when cool. DELICIOUS! I’m about to pop some in the oven right now!!!




The Best Caramel Corn Recipe…Ever!

I ADORE caramel corn. “Is it possible to adore food? ” you may ask. Hmm, one taste of this treat and you won’t be questioning my word choice any longer. This recipe, which I have stolen from the classic Betty Crocker Cookbook, is delicious! It even gives the legendary Chicago, Garrett Popcorn a run for their money.Surprised Young Woman Eating Popcorn And Watching Tv In Kitchen

Step aside holiday cookie swap…caramel corn is in the house! This old-fashioned treat has the power to turn girls’ sappy movie night into gourmet snack night; a 2-year-old’s carnival birthday party into the event of the season; and a man’s heart into putty. Need I say more!

Let’s get popping!

12 cups popped popcorn

1 cup packed brown sugar

½ cup butter

¼ cup dark corn syrup

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 ½ cups pecan halves (optional)

How to make the best homemade caramel corn in the world!

1. Either use an air popper or simply grab some unsalted and un-buttered, microwaveable popcorn bags. Pop enough to get 12 cups of popped popcorn.

2. Let’s get things heated up! Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees Farenheit.

3. Divide your popcorn (and pecans if you are using them) between two 13x9x2 inch ungreased rectangular pans. Spread out the popcorn evenly in the pans. (to make clean up easier…line each pan with aluminum foil)

4. Carefully heat your brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt in 3 quart sauce pan. Keep your temp on medium to prevent scorching and make sure to stir occasionally. You want your sauce to become bubbly around the edges. Cook for a total of about 5 minutes while continuing to occasionally stir.

5. After 5 minutes and bubbly around the edges, remove your sauce from the heat and stir in your baking soda.

6. Pour your sauce over your popcorn and stir until all of the popcorn is well coated.

7. Pop your pans into the oven and bake for 1 hour. Wait!!!! Don’t just set the timer and walk away! You need to stir your popcorn every 15 minutes!

8. OMgoodness!!!! Crunchy, Munchy, Caramel Goodness! Bag it up and give it away as Christmas gifts! Throw it in a decorative tin and take it to the holiday party at the office. Keep it in a Tupperware at home and munch all day long!







Sushi Snacks For Toddlers: Fun Recipes To Get Your Little Ones Cooking

Moms are always asking me for healthy snack options for their toddlers. The “same old, same old” gets boring for moms and tots! So, if you’re looking for something fun to throw in your preschooler’s lunch box (aka bento box), or you’d like to get your little one cooking in the kitchen with you, here is a fun way to get started…sushi for toddlers (TOSHI???? Hmm, maybe not).

Throw on matching aprons, pull up the step stool, and get rolling! These are just a few (meatless) sushi recipes from our kitchen. We also love Frushi (fruit sushi) and Vegetarian sushi (especially mango and cucumber rolls)! Get creative with your little one’s favorite healthy foods. With enough chopping and dicing you can roll just about anything into toddler sushi!

Let’s Get Rolling with these 3 Easy Recipes:

1. Almond Butter Banana Rolls with Rice Crisps

This recipe only requires three simple ingredients! Organic Bananas, Organic Almond Butter, and Rice Crisps. Pull out a piece of parchment paper. Peel your banana. Cover your banana with the almond butter in a thick layer using a knife. Sprinkle generously with rice crisps and pat down. Simply lift the parchment paper to roll the banana to the other side. Continue to pat with rice crisps until completely covered. Using a sharp knife, cut into 1/2 inch rounds. Delicious!

2. Nutella Banana Sushi Rolls

This is more of a special treat or dessert sushi recipe:) Of course, this is Ayla’s favorite. Again, only three ingredients needed! Grab some whole wheat tortillas, like those made by Mission, a jar of Nutella, and some Organic Bananas. Spread a THICK layer of Nutella on your tortilla almost to the very edge of the tortilla. Don’t skimp or things won’t hold together-giving you a messy pancake instead of sushi rolls. Place one peeled banana at the edge of your tortilla and roll. Slice with a sharp knife into 1/2 inch thick pieces.

3. Cinnamon Apple and Peanut Butter Sushi Rolls

These rolls are one of my favorite. They take a little extra work but not much. You will need a Fuji or Gala apple, Organic Peanut Butter or Almond Butter, Ground Cinnamon, Honey, and either homemade or store-bought cinnamon raisin bread. Peel your apple. Quarter it and then cut into julienned strips. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. Next, cut the edges off of a piece of your cinnamon raisin bread. Grab your rolling-pin and roll the bread just a few times to flatten it, making it a little more sticky. Spread a decently thick layer of peanut butter to cover the bread almost to the edges. Now, drizzle the peanut butter layer with a thin layer of honey. Place approximately six thin strips of apple in the center of the bread and roll up the sides. Pinch the edges together to secure. Cut with a sharp knife into 1/2-3/4 inch thick pieces. Yummy!!!



Hope your little one enjoys these tasty treats as much as we do! Next up…California rolls:) Let your toddler get involved. You may be surprised by how helpful they can be. Plus, cooking together is spending quality time together. That’s always extra yummy.



Hot Apple Chai…Look out Apple Cider! There’s a Delicious New Drink in Town!

Before you get too cozy with your hot apple cider, cinnamon spiced cider, or pumpkin spice latte…take one sip of this! I promise you won’t be disappointed. HOT APPLE CHAI!!!! For those of you who don’t frequent coffee shops, you can make this in the comfort of your home.Happy Smiling Young Woman Eating Organic Apple in the Orchard.Ba

If you are a Starbucks addict…here’s how to order!

Starbucks had a similar drink a while ago called the Apple Chai Infusion. The only problem was that they infused a little too much chai (in my opinion). It isn’t on the menu any longer and my ratios are much tastier. Here is how to order. “Hello, my friendly barista! I would love a Tall steamed apple juice with 2 pumps of chai, extra hot.” If you are looking for something a little bigger…”I would love a Grande steamed apple juice with three pumps of chai extra hot.” Skip the whip!!! Not worth the calories.SCARSDALE, NY - SEPTEMBER 15, 2013: A tall Starbucks coffee in f

If you plan on making this at home, this is what you will need to make one serving:

12 ounces of apple juice per serving-heat on the stove top

Chai syrup-2 pumps per 12 ounces of apple juice. You can find this on Amazon at this link Torani® Chai Tea Spice Syrup

Simply heat your apple juice to desired warmth and then add in the chai. Stir. Pour into your favorite mug. Sip. Do a happy dance, and then get cozy by the fireplace.

Try it out and leave me a comment with your thoughts!Coffee Cup On Twilight Background

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