Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip

I needed one more excuse to use my homemade pumpkin puree and homemade pumpkin pie spice mix and this is a GREAT way to use both.  I made pumpkin dip last year and followed a recipe with powdered sugar……it was WAY to sweet.  So, this year I decided to come up with my own pumpkin dip.  I was aiming for rich, creamy and naturally sweetened.  It took me a couple tries to perfect it, and I’m excited to shared it with you just in time for Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Chesecake Dip

Rich, creamy, and sweetened with 100% maple syrup……yummmmm!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1¾ cups pumpkin puree or one 15 oz. can
  • 1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice mix
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • liquid stevia, powdered sugar (optional)
  • Graham crackers and apples for dipping
Instructions
  1. Whip together the heavy cream and vanilla until soft peaks form.
  2. In a separate bowl blend together the rest of the ingredients until smooth then fold in the whipped cream.
  3. Give it a taste, if you think it needs to be sweeter you can add a little more maple syrup or stevia or a little powdered sugar. We usually add about 10 drops of liquid stevia, and that does the trick.

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Fresh Raspberry Dessert Bars

This is a new recipe I tried a couple weeks ago to use up some of the abundance of raspberries from our garden.  I’ve now made 2 big pans of them and will keep this recipe around for fresh raspberries every spring and early summer.

fresh raspberry dessert bars

I’ll let you in on a little secret though….you don’t HAVE to use fresh raspberries, frozen will work too.  So these could really be made any time of the year.

Lets start with the crust. This is my favorite layer because it’s so buttery and yummy!  I should let you know that this will make a 9X13″ pan, so if you don’t need that many bars just cut the recipe in half and put it in a 8×8″ pan.  The original recipe said an 8×8″ pan will give you 16 squares.(but I make mine bigger than that) 😉

Ok, back to the crust: Start by combining flour, powdered sugar and salt, then cut the  cold butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is roughly the size of small peas.  Press the mixture with your hands into the bottom of a 9×13 inch pan and bake for 12-14 minutes at 375 degrees.  It should just be starting to turn brown.

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While your crust is in the oven place a small sauce pan on the stove with your jam in it and heat on medium low heat to melt the jam and make it easy to spread over your crust.  I did not have raspberry jam so I used strawberry and it came out great!  So either kind will work.  Gently spread your melted jam over your warm crust.

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Then take your fresh or frozen raspberries:

raspberry collageadd a little flour to them and sprinkle over your jam layer.

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Last you add the streusel topping.  Mix brown sugar, butter, and flour until you have a crumbly mixture.  Sprinkle over the raspberry layer.

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Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

raspberrybars

Let the bars cool before you cut them.  You can serve them alone or a la mode!

icecream

If you have any left overs store them in the fridge.  Just remember to take them out an hour or so before you want to eat them.  The crust gets a little hard when it’s cold.

Alamode

5.0 from 4 reviews
Fresh Raspberry Dessert Bars
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • Crust:
  • 11/2 cups flour
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • Dash of salt
  • ¾ cup cold butter (one and a half sticks) cut into small pieces
  • Berry Filling:
  • ½ cup of raspberry jam (or strawberry)
  • 4 cups fresh raspberries (or thawed, frozen raspberries)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Streusel Topping:
  • ½ cup of cold butter cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup four
  • 1 cup brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. For the crust: Combine flour, powdered sugar and salt, then cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients with a fork or pastry blender until the butter is the size of small peas. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan and bake for 12 to 14 minutes. It should just be starting to turn brown.
  3. Berry Filling: While the crust is cooking, heat the jam in a small sauce pan on medium low heat to melt and make it easy to spread. Gently spread the melted jam over the warm crust. Mix the raspberries with a couple tablespoons of flour and sprinkle them over the jam layer.
  4. Streusel Topping: Mix together the brown sugar and flour then cut in the butter until you have a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle over the raspberry layer.
  5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool before cutting into squares. This pan will make 24 good sized bars. You can cut this recipe in half and put it into an 8x8" pan. Store in the fridge, remove from the fridge one hour before serving.

This recipe was adapted from: That Skinny Chick Can Bake!

Hope you enjoy this summer treat as much as we do!

Have lots of fresh raspberries?  You might also like this fresh raspberry breakfast muffin recipe.  I made a double batch of these the other day and put them in the freezer so we can pull them out one at a time for a quick breakfast.Raspberry Muffins 6

This post was shared at: Clever Chicks Blog Hop Our Simple Homestead Blog HopWeekend Potluck Simple Saturdays Blog HopThe Art Of Home-Making Mondays

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies

Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies

The other day Mary asked me what my favorite cookie is.  Without much thought at all, I answered “Chocolate No Bake Cookies”.  Then I wondered why the heck I don’t make these more often.  Then I remembered how I can’t stop eating them and it’s probably good I don’t make them very often.  Then I got the ingredients out and whipped up a batch. 🙂

Start by heating up butter, milk, cocoa powder, and sugar in a saucepan on medium heat. (stirring constantly)  Bring it to a boil and keep stirring for 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat, add vanilla & peanut butter and stir until all the peanut butter has melted and is completely incorporated.  Then pour into a big bowl with the oatmeal.

making Choc Cookies

Stir together.

cookies

Then plop a spoon full at a time onto wax paper and let them cool.  It will take 20 to 30 minutes.

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These are sooo stinken easy to make!!  It’s the perfect cookie to make with your kids.  That’s probably why most people have fond childhood memories of these delicious, easy cookies.  🙂

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 3 cups of oatmeal
Instructions
  1. Heat the butter, milk, cocoa powder and sugar in a sauce pan on medium heat. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Let it boil for 3 minutes while continuing to stir. Remove from the heat and add vanilla and peanut butter stir until peanut butter is melted and incorporated. Then pour into a big bowl with the oatmeal and stir. Drop a spoon full at a time onto waxed paper. Let cool for 20 to 30 minutes.

 

Tip: Doing a little prep work before you start making these cookies is a good idea.  I lay out my waxed paper and measure out the peanut butter and oatmeal ahead of time.  Once you take your chocolate mixture off the heat you want to hurry and finish before your mixture gets to cool.  If it cools to much you will end up with chocolate granola instead of cookies.  Chocolate granola is tasty but a little frustrating when you were looking forward to cookies. 🙂

Easy no bake cookies

 

This post was shared at: The HomeAcre Hop The Weekend PotluckSimple Saturdays Blog Hop

 

 

 

My Contributions to Thanksgiving Dinner and a Couple Confessions

I have a confession to make……I don’t like turkey.  There,… I said it.  Let me be clear though, I don’t HATE turkey, I just don’t favor it.  I can eat it, especially in a casserole or on a sandwich.  But when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, I want a big fat plate full of stuffing, a couple servings of salad, and then some more stuffing.  Of course this is all after I have grazed on the veggie trays, fruit trays, deviled eggs, olives, and array of other “appetizers” that will be laying out on the counter before the turkey gets done.  Needless to say by the time dinner is over I will be miserable and useless…..but I don’t think I’m alone here.

So, here are my non turkey contributions to Thanksgiving dinner this year. 🙂

Last week I shared a recipe for homemade thousand island dressing and promised to share my grandma’s special green salad to serve with it.

SaladJust add some baby shrimp, a little crab meat, and some sliced olives to your greens.

Thousand IslandServe it with the homemade thousand island and…who needs turkey!?

At most family functions I bring the deviled eggs.  Not because mine are exceptional or better than others, it’s simply because I HAVE TOO MANY EGGS! (Well,… and mine are fresh!)   So that’s my second addition to Thanksgiving dinner.

Deviled EggsNote: If you also have nice fresh eggs and have a difficult time peeling them, click here to read my little “trick” on how to cook and easily peel farm fresh eggs. 🙂

My next contribution is an easy appetizer…maybe my favorite appetizer.  I call them asparagus wraps.

AsparagusThey are simply softened cream cheese spread on a thin slice of ham wrapped around pickled asparagus….and they are DELICIOUS!

Asparagus WrapsLast Thanksgiving I ran out of time and instead of making these ahead of time I took the supplies and made them after I got to my parents.  They disappeared just as fast as I could make them.

Now for my next confession…..I’ve never made pumpkin pie.  Actually I’ve only ever made one pie in my entire life and that was an apple pie.  It was about ten years ago and it turned out kinda weird??  So this Thanksgiving I have decided to try my first ever pumpkin pie!  I’ll be sure to take pictures and let you know how it turns out.

I am sooooo thankful that my parents now have a large, conveniently located house that is perfect for large family gatherings.  This has not always been the case, and Thanksgiving dinners took place at our house.  I think squished and crazy would be the best words to describe those gatherings.  As I shared, turkey is not my favorite meal and therefore cooking one is not my idea of fun.  The last Thanksgiving we hosted, I spent my morning rushing around cleaning, opening doors and windows to fan the smoke out from the ran over turkey drippings.  Oh, and meanwhile Digger was in the bathroom with a small blow torch trying to melt the spilled wax out of the sink (but that’s a story for another post).  I am much happier to make my additions to dinner at home, pack them in a cooler, and leave my messy house.  Then I can enjoy a wonderful meal with our awesome (and large) family at my parents house….and I’m sure my moms home grown turkey will be wonderful…under tons of stuffing and gravy!

What are your contributions to Thanksgiving dinner?  Do you have the privilege of hosting and cooking the turkey?  If so, my prayers are with you. 😉

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.”  Psalms 107:1

Award Winning Chocolate Chunk Brownies

Brownies 4In the past I have tried to share only recipes that are on the healthier side…this is not one of those!  I feel compelled to share it with you though, because they REALLY are award winning brownies (not to mention easy and delicious).

Brownies 5In 2009 when Little Chef was 6 years old I asked her if she wanted to make some cookies and enter them into the fair.  She said  “no, I want to make brownies”.  So we found a brownie recipe that looked easy enough for a six year old and she went to work (with a little help from mom).  That year she brought home the huge purple “Top Of Show” ribbon.  Over the past four years that recipe has become our “go to” dessert.  If I need a dessert quickly this is the recipe I grab.  I usually grab my daughter too and have her make them! (lots of grabbing going on, sorry)  She never says no to making “her” brownies. 😉  So when her 4-H leader told us about “Food Activity Day”  the natural recipe of choice was………..you guessed it,  Chocolate Chunk Brownies.  On food activity day the kids pick a recipe and bring everything they need to prepare that recipe (or meal).   They set to work while the judge watches.  When they are done and the kitchen is clean they get to share their food with the judge and answer any questions they have.  My daughter was so excited about this day, and she had soooo much fun!  She was asking if she could do it again next year before they even handed out the awards. 😀  She received reserve champion in the Junior class for her brownies and brought home another purple ribbon and a blue ribbon!

Brownies 2They are soooo soft, gooey, and chocolaty rich, and they just melt in your mouth!

Brownies 3

5.0 from 2 reviews
Award Winning Chocolate Chunk Brownies
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter - melted
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 eggs - slightly beaten
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup simi-sweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl add the sugar, vanilla, and eggs to the warm melted butter and blend well. Add flour, cocoa and salt; mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour into a greased 13X9-inch pan.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until set. Let cool for at least 1 hour or until completely cooled before cutting into bars.

As you can see this is not a healthy recipe but definitely worth sharing. 🙂  Well….maybe I just wanted to brag about my Little Chef, that’s not so little any more.

Healthy Homemade Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Muffins 3Berries seem to be everywhere right now, and muffins are a weakness of mine so we’ve been eating lots of them lately.  A couple weeks ago I shared a Fresh Raspberry Muffin recipe that used our homegrown raspberries.  The girls and I made several batches, but now the bushes are pretty much picked clean.  Sadly we don’t have any blueberry bushes (yet), but I did find some for a very good price the other day so I bought LOTS!   I  found this blueberry muffin recipe about a month ago and they looked sooooo delicious I couldn’t wait to try them!  I made a few minor alterations to the recipe and oh yum, yum, yum!

Blueberry Muffins 1In a big bowl stir together the milk (any kind will work), melted butter or coconut oil, egg, vanilla and sugar.  Then mix in the flour, baking power, and salt.

Blueberry Muffins 2Gently fold in the blueberries.  We used fresh berries but frozen would work too. Fill greased muffin tins two thirds full (this makes about 10 muffins).  Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

Blueberry Muffins 4They went really well with my iced coffee. 😀

Healthy Homemade Blueberry Muffins
 
Author:
Cuisine: For breakfast or a snack
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup milk - any kind of milk will work
  • ¼ cup melted butter or coconut oil or olive oil if you prefer
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup organic sugar or sucanat
  • ¾ cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup blueberries fresh or frozen
Instructions
  1. Stir together the milk, butter, egg, vanilla, and sugar. When it's nice and smooth mix in the flours, baking powder, and salt. Then gently fold in the blueberries. Fill greased muffin tins about two thirds full. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. This will make about 10 muffins and can easily be doubled if you want more.

I’m going to make a dairy free version of these for my mom and sister by using almond milk and coconut oil.  I love recipes that you can easily substitute ingredients for people with allergies!

This recipe was adapted from Angela at Hickory Trails.  She took some amazing pictures of her muffins; you should check out her blog!

Fresh Raspberry Breakfast Muffins

Raspberry Muffins 5We have been getting a few raspberries from our garden, but not enough to make jam for canning or freezing or any thing like that, so the kids and I have been eating them as we pick them.  Most of the time they are gone before we leave the garden……..it’s mostly the kids….really!  The other day we managed to pick more then we could eat right then, so they came in the house and went into these delicious muffins.  We’ve managed to make a couple more batches since then, simply because the kids liked the muffins so much they decided it’s worth taking a bowl to the garden when they go. 🙂

Start out by melting the butter, then stir in the sugar, eggs, milk, and vanilla.  Measure in the flour and baking powder.

Raspberry Muffins 1Stir well, then gently fold in raspberries.

Raspberry Muffins 2Raspberry Muffins 3Grease a muffin tin and fill muffins cups two-thirds full.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Makes 12 muffins

Raspberry Muffins 4An easy breakfast or healthy snack with berries strait from the garden….yummmm!

Raspberry Muffins 6

5.0 from 9 reviews
Fresh Raspberry Breakfast Muffins
 
Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup butter or coconut oil - melted
  • 1 cup sugar - I used organic sugar and only put in ¾ of a cup
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup of milk (any kind of milk would work)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1¾ cup flour - I used 1 cup unbleached all purpose and ¾ cup whole wheat
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 to 2 cups fresh raspberries
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter or coconut oil then stir in the sugar, eggs, milk, and vanilla.
  2. Measure in the flour and baking powder - mix well
  3. Gently fold in the raspberries.
  4. Fill greased muffin cups two-thirds full.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.
  6. Makes 12 yummy muffins!

I substituted some whole wheat flour and reduced the sugar a bit.  I wanted a healthier breakfast type muffin.  You can adjust it how ever your heart desires!

This recipe was adapted from: Taste Of Home

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie – Sugar Free

Summer is finally here!  We enjoy smoothies all year, but they seem to be especially good on hot days.  So to celebrate the beginning of summer I’m sharing one of our favorite smoothies,(the girls have been making these daily!)  The best part is I don’t mind them having one everyday, they are a pretty healthy snack, especially if you have organic ingredients. 🙂

Choc PB Smoothie

5.0 from 2 reviews
Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie - Sugar Free
 
This makes enough for one adult size smoothy or two kid size smoothies. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.
Author:
Recipe type: Smoothy
Ingredients
  • ¾ of a cup of milk (any kind of milk)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1½ tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 ice cubes
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 5 to 7 drops of liquid stevia - we use the chocolate flavored (If you don't use stevia any sweetener will work, honey, maple syrup, sucanat ect....)
Instructions
  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender and push the liquify button, blend until you have a nice smoothy consistency. It takes about 30 seconds in my blender.

Chocolate PB SmoothieThis is a very versatile recipe; if you can’t have peanuts just leave out the peanut butter, it’s still yummy.  If you need dairy free, you can use a different milk.  I have used almond milk and rice milk and both worked great.

An easy, healthy, summer treat with chocolate and peanut butter….how could you go wrong? Yummmm!!

Happy Summer Everyone!

The Perfect Eggs for Breakfast Sandwiches

DSCN5058 (578x640)-1I know, I know, you’ve all seen this trick of cooking eggs in muffins tins.  It’s a great idea, don’t you think?  Our family has been enjoying these allot!  The only thing I do differently is cook them in a JUMBO muffin tin.  They are bigger around and fit PERFECTLY on English muffins and biscuits.

DSCN5064 (640x480)-1Crack eggs into jumbo muffin cups (grease them first) add salt and pepper and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes and you have the perfect eggs for those yummy breakfast sandwiches.

Here are some that we’ve been enjoying….the possibilities are endless!!

DSCN5115 (640x480)-1This is a toasted, sour dough English muffin with cheddar cheese, bacon and a perfect egg!

Click here for an easy, mess free way to cook bacon!

 

 

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This is a toasted, whole wheat English muffin with egg and cheese. I had to make my 8 year old stop eating so I could get this picture.  She wasn’t very patient for some reason??

 

 

DSCN6084 (640x480)-1This is a homemade whole wheat biscuit with a sausage patty made with my homemade breakfast sausage seasoning and a perfect egg!

Banana Grilled Cheese Sandwich

DSCN6582 (640x480)-1“Banana Grilled Cheese Sandwich” sounds a little weird huh?  I was going to call them “Delicious Banana Bread and Cream Cheese Grilled Sandwiches” but that’s to long, and Jo likes to call them  “Funky Monkey Sandwiches”.  You can call them whatever you want, but the name that best describes them is “Awesome Deliciousness”!

Start with your favorite banana bread.  I used my recipe for Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins, omitted the chocolate chips and baked it in a loaf pan at 350 degrees for 55 minutes. It turned out great, and I like that there is no sugar in this recipe.

DSCN6478 (640x474)-1This is just like making a regular grilled cheese sandwich except you are using banana bread and cream cheese.  We add a little stevia to softened cream cheese.  You could use honey, maple syrup, sugar, or whatever sweetener you prefer.  My recipe for Homemade Honey Whipped Cream Cheese would work great for these.

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We made these this morning and added chocolate to them.  They were AMAZING!

DSCN6648 (640x480)-1What a great way to kick off a Saturday morning.  Have a great weekend everyone!  😀

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