Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dreamy Oatmeal, Chocolate, Cranberry Bars! Warm & Gooey!

So these were a last-minute throw-together recipe at 10pm, the night before my daughter Sophie's pre-school Halloween party.  The great thing about working with food on a regular basis, is that you can usually discern how things will taste, before you even make them.  That makes it easy to come up with new and wonderful flavor combinations!

Her teachers loved them...and also, I packed up a few bars and sent to my son's lovely 3rd grade teacher, and she stopped me after school to say how much she loved them :) and could she have the recipe?  Of course! Good women- ALWAYS SHARE!! :) 

BAR COOKIES are SO EASY!  It saves you the time of placing each cookie and the pan AND eliminates edge burning, leaving a soft and semi-moist cookie-without dry edges! It's a winner all the way around! 
Recipe to follow: 

Dreamy Oatmeal, Chocolate, Cranberry Bars

  • 2 cup all purpose flour (can use whole grain) 
  • 3 cups uncooked whole oats (not instant)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter-softened
  • 2 eggs-room temp
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract-not imitation
  • 1/2 cup organic vegetable shortening
  • 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped baking chocolate
  • 2 cups dried cranberries


Using hand or stand mixer, beat butter, shortening, and both sugars until creamy; add eggs one at a time; add vanilla extract; and beat until mixed-approximately 1 minute. 

In a separate bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda, and sift together with hand whisk. Slowly, add flour mixture in small batches to wet ingredients and beat on low, until combined. Add in chocolate and cranberries and mix just enough to get evenly distributed throughout batter. 

Spread out mixture in parchment (or wax) lined 9 x 13 baking pan. Keep batter away from edges of pan just a bit, as it will spread out and puff up over sides while baking.  

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and sides look firm.  Okay to have center appear wet.  Remove from the pan and allow to sit at room temperature on counter. Batter will continue to cook for a few, and then cool down.  Wait until almost completely cool to cut into desired size.  Recommended: 1x2" bars. These are nice and rich in flavor, and heavy with oatmeal. Great for breakfast and with coffee, too! 

From Teri and Sophie, with Love...

$25,000 Sandwich Cookie Contest! Link Here!

There is nothing more fun to avid, Mommy-bakers than a great contest with great prizes! 
This one is just beginning...entries due by January 2, 2013.  
See you there!! 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

White Bean Chicken Chili & Honey Corn Bread-My Recipe for the Perfect Saturday in Fall, Meal!

Chicken Chili Recipe: 


  • 1 lb raw chicken (deboned), chopped.  
  • 1 12-16oz bag of beans-prefer white/navy (may use canned-skip soaking process)
  • 4 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cups kale or other greens, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, smash, peel, chop
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 3 Tbsp Cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika (cayenne or other pepper, optional) 
  • Salt (preferable Sea Salt-for better quality and flavor) to taste. I use approximately 1 1/2 tbsp per large pot. Yum! 
 Follow soaking instructions on bean package. When beans are ready, strain out and pour into large stock pan.  Fill pan with water, to cover beans over 1".  Cover pan. Bring to a boil and turn down to Medium heat for 15 minutes. Add chicken and all vegetables. Stir in spices. Turn heat down to Low and simmer until beans and chicken are tender (approximately 2 hours). Stir, occasionally.**Salt! If you use Sea Salt you do not have to worry so much about salt intake, as it is much healthier for you and we need salt! 

I do not recommend using canned chicken! It will lack the depth of flavor that fresh chicken brings. To add even MORE flavor, you could also boil the chicken ahead of time, remove chicken, strain, and return chicken to the pan (removing any bones, first).  Then, use that stock to start your chili. **Do not hyper-boil your beans. Be sure to follow the heat and timing directions. If you cook beans to hot/quickly, they may disintegrate.     

Honey Corn Bread:

  • 2 cups corn meal
  • 1 cup white flour (can substitute rice flour + 1/2 tsp addtl baking powder) 
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs-unbeaten
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt (Sea Salt, preferably)
  • 4 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (real, not imitation!)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 stick butter-for serving
  • Additional honey-for serving

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Butter bottom and sides of 9 x 12" glass pan. In large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients.  Then, add all wet ingredients to the bowl. Stir, GENTLY, just until mixed. Pour batter into pan and bake at 425 degrees for 25-28 minutes.  Remove from oven when sides are slightly brown and a toothpick inserted in center, comes out clean.  While hot, place pats of butter on top and swipe around until melted in the cracks.  Top with honey to serve.  After cooled, covered and store in refrigerator 3 days. 

Using a glass pan will help to prevent burning on the sides. Do not beat eggs, just fold into the batter with a spoon when adding to the wet ingredients. Don't overcook...dry corn bread will fall right apart. Serve warm.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sophie's Pumpkin Spice Cutout Cookies

Sophie was very excited to make these Fall cut-out cookies! She wanted to show all the kids how to make cookies with their Moms, she said.  We stayed in our jammies while we made them. :) 

 These are super rich in flavor, and a bit soft at the bite.  We like this type more than the traditional hard sugar cookie. We added a few extra spices like Nutmeg and Cinnamon, to give it that Pumpkin-like flavor. 

Then, we topped them with a Pumpkin glaze that we made from our frozen Pumpkin puree we made last year-from the pumpkins in our garden! :) 

We were happy with ourselves, about that! 

(click this link to see how to make your own Pumpkin Puree) 

Sophie took over the entire cookie making process, and did every step, except for placing in and removing the pans from the oven. 

First, she mixed the dry ingredients with a whisk. Then, she blended the wet ingredients in the mixer; and then slowly added the dry ingredients. 

She made 2 discs out of the dough and wrapped them in waxed paper and refrigerated for 2 hours. Once they were chilled, we rolled out the dough to a 1/4" thickness and used our cutouts to make shapes. 
Then, Baked them at 375 Degrees for 5-7 minutes, until browned.  Once they cooled, we glazed the tops and we were done!  We ate a few right away and saved the rest for Dad and brother, and one for the dog, Cappuccino. Cappy was very happy with that. 

What Mom likes about these cookies is that they are EASY enough for kids to do most of it themselves, but they FLAVOR is good enough for adults to enjoy! 
Nice and thick, soft and a bit chewy, packed full of yummy fall flavors. 
 We hope you enjoy making these with your kids, too! Read more for recipe...

Sophie's Pumpkin Spice Cutout Cookie Recipe: 


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk or cream
  • Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon 
  • Directions
Sift together flour, baking powder, Nutmeg, Cinnamon and Salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Add a bit more flour if dough is too sticky. Pull off dough with hands and form into a ball.  Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Cut into desired shape, place at least 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet or parchment, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack. 
1/4 cup Pumpkin Puree
1 cup Confectioners (Powdered) Sugar
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
In small saucepan, stir all ingredients together and let simmer for 10 mins. Transfer to bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. Brush over top of cooled cookies and allow to dry approximately 30 mins, until hardened. 
Store in an airtight container 5-7 days. 

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Monday, October 22, 2012

The Very Best Cranberry Conserve! Homemade and Simple! Easy for Busy Moms :)

As women in charge of the households and lives of many, we cannot spend all day in the political realm trying to save the world!
Back to the kitchen's we must love and serve! Thanks be to God! 
So, in the spirit of love, 
let me share with you another one of my favorite recipes! 

My favorite Cranberry Conserve is by Ina Garten @ Food Network! 

I found this recipe years ago and have such rave reviews from family and friends that I serve it without fail at every Thanksgiving gathering! 

It is rich with cranberry taste, yet chunky and full of sweet, nutty flavorings!  It is as simple as throwing the ingredients together and letting them meld over heat. Chill and serve! 

You will LOVE this and so will your GUESTS!!

Ingredients  Makes 4 cups-I always double it! 

  • 1 (12-ounce) bag of fresh cranberries, cleaned
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 orange, zest grated and juiced
  • 1 lemon, zest grated and juiced
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans


Cook the cranberries, sugar, and 1 cup of water in a saucepan over low heat for about 5 minutes, or until the skins pop open. Add the apple, zests, and juices and cook for 15 more minutes. Remove from the heat and add the raisins and nuts. Let cool, and serve chilled.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Cute Thanksgiving Craft Idea from Martha Stewart

Aren't these the cutest?! I saw these in the November 2012 issue of Martha Stewart's Living Magazine.  I am going to try to use the husks from my garden to make these with the kids. 
I thought you might like to see the tutorial in case you want to make with yours for Thanksgiving :) 

Happy Fall! 

Plant Your Garlic This Fall! Now is the Time!

It's a cold, fall Saturday morning here in Michigan and 
I have just gone out to rip up my garden!

I love this part of gardening, as I am able to reminisce about each plant that I helped to nourish and grow and think back to my families enjoyment-as well as mine, and all of the delicious recipes that they inspired! 

Now...however is the time to let the soil re-boot!  Leaving in some of the root vegetables and throwing on top some of the last tomatoes that were left on the vines will help to give some added nutrients to replenish the soil.  

I will also cover the garden with dried leaves and grass to help it over-winter. 
But...I also get to PLANT THE GARLIC!! 

In warmer regions, garlic can be planted in the early spring. But, most experts say that planting in the fall is best and 
gives the roots a good amount of time to grow strong and deep. 

See the best planting and growing guide I have found, here in the link below, 
by Organic Gardening Magazine! 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

An Easy Way to Peel Fresh GARLIC!

Oh! This is a good one! I love garlic! 

 I always use the traditional SMASH AND PEEL method for garlic cloves...but if you have alot to peel, it sticks to your fingers and makes a mess! 

 This is a good tip from Gluten Free Girl ( and her chef :) 

 It's a good blog to follow, too! Check her out!