Sunday, September 30, 2012

Check Out These Chex

I have found that Chex cereal is a most versatile ingredient.  20+ years ago, we were all amazed that Chex Mix could be combined with peanuts and pretzels to make a snack.  Boy, did we have limited vision then.  There are all kinds of Chex Mix out there to suit every taste.  So here are just a few that we have tried over the past year.


5 c. Chex cereal (Rice Chex or Corn Chex)
10 oz. (5 sq.) vanilla flavored Almond Bark
1 1/2 c. Funfetti cake mix (any kind of cake mix would work)
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vegetable shortening

Melt almond bard according to package directions, adding vegetable shortening to thin.  Pour the cereal into a large bowl and drizzle the melted almond bark over the cereal.  Mix gently with a large spoon or spatula.  dump the cake mix and powdered sugar onto the cereal and mix gently with large spoon until all the cereal is evenly coated.


4 c. Honey Nut Chex cereal
2 c. Cinnamon Chex cereal
1/4 c. butter or margarine
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
2 T. honey
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon rum flavoring
2 c. miniature marshmallows.

1.  In large microwaveable bowl, place cereals.  In 2 c. microwavable measuring cup, microwave butter, brown sugar and honey uncovered on High 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute, until mixture is bubbly.  Stir in spices and rum flavoring.  Pour over cereal mixture, stirring until coated.
2.  Microwave uncovered on High 3 minutes, stirring and scraping bowl after every minute.
3.  Cool slightly, about 5 minutes.  Stir in marshmallows.  Spread on waxed paper.  Store in airtight container.

16 servings, 1/2 c. each.  140 c., Fat 3 1/2g., Fiber 0., Protein 1 g.

Recipe from


1/4 c. brown sugar
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 c. butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 c. Cinnamon Chex cereal
2 c. What Chex cereal
2 c. Honey Nut Chex cereal
8 oz. pecans

1.  In small bowl, mix brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice; set aside.  In small microwave-safe dish, microwave butter on High about 30 seconds or until melted.  Stir in vanilla.  In large microwaveable bowl, mix all cereals and pecans.  Pour butter mixture over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly distributed.  Add sugar and spice mixture and stir until coated.
2.  Microwave uncovered on High 5 minutes or until mixture begins to brown, stirring every minute.  Spread on wax paper or a cookie sheet to cool.  Store in airtight container.

16 servings, 180 c., Fat 9g., Fiber 2 g., Protein 2 g.

Recipe from


9 c. Rice Chex cereal
3 c. Cinnamon Chips
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Pour Chex cereal into a bowl.  Set aside.  Combine sugars and cinnamon in another small bowl.  Set aside.

In a microwaveable bowl, melt the cinnamon chips.  Heat for 1 minute then stir.  Heat for an additional 30 seconds.  Stir.  Continue with additional 30 seconds until completely melted.  Pour melted cinnamon chips over the cereal.  Stir until cereal is well coated.

Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Toss to coat.  Pour out the cereal onto a cookie sheet.  Continue to sprinkle and toss the cereal with the rest of the cinnamon sugar mixture.

This was on a website called "Just Another Day in Paradise."

The Cinnamon Churro was my favorite.  It was beyond yummy.  The Cinnamon Chips that I used were Hershey brand.  They made the mix and it tasted just like a churro.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dessert Blast From the Past

I don't know if you're like me or my family, but do you ever go through food phases? You know, where you have a favorite side dish that you make all the time...or a go-to dinner that you make quite frequently. Then suddenly, you're on to a new favorite side dish or go-to dinner and your old favorite somehow gets forgotten.

Well, the dessert that I am going to share tonight is one that I remember my Mom making quite frequently when I was a kid...and then suddenly it wasn't the go-to dessert anymore and it got forgotten for years. I ran across this recipe and realized that we needed to add it to the blog. It's such a nostalgic dessert to me. In addition to that, it's delicious, easy to make, and the topping can be altered to suit different tastes.

The dessert is...drum roll, please...Debbie's Easy No-Bake Cheesecake. Yummy! Is it time for dessert yet?

Debbie's Easy No-Bake Cheesecake


1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups whipping cream
1 graham cracker pie crust
1 can favorite pie filling (such as blueberry or cherry)


Blend together cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, and vanilla. Whip 2 cups whipping cream and sweeten to taste with sugar. Combine whipping cream and cream cheese mixture. Pour into graham cracker crust. Freeze at least 1/2 hour before serving. Top with pie filling of choice.

Source: I don't know who this Debbie person is or where my Mom found this recipe. But it's a good one!

I actually found two versions of this recipe. Here is the earlier version that I found:

Earlier Version of Debbie's Easy No-Bake Cheesecake


1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 pkg. Dream Whip or 2 cups Cool Whip
1 graham cracker pie crust
1 (21 oz) can cherry pie filling (or favorite pie filling)


Cream cheese and sugar together. Mix in Dream Whip or Cool Whip. Pour into crust and freeze for 2 hours. move to refrigerator and when ready to serve, top with pie filling.

Source: Granger South Second Ward Cookbook...from long, long ago (before I was born, I think).

Notes: I found it interesting that I discovered two recipes submitted by the same person (whose name I forgot to note) but that the recipe had evolved. I guess we learn from that that recipes can evolve over time. We can also learn that if you don't have all of the ingredients or you have similar ingredients, you should feel free to add, omit, or substitute ingredients to get a similar result. Obviously, you can't do this with ALL ingredients...because after all, if you don't have cream cheese, it won't really be cheesecake.

I personally like this cheesecake with blueberry, cherry, or raspberry pie filling. But you can really top it with anything you want. You could use peach or apple pie filling, leave it plain, top it with caramel creative!


Sometimes I'm just in the mood to make something fun for breakfast. You know, actually make something. Not just a bowl of cereal, frozen waffles, or instant oatmeal. When that happens, a lot of the time I'm in the mood to make crepes for breakfast.

The sad thing is that my youngest son is allergic to eggs, so he can't really enjoy crepes with us. I tried making crepes using egg replacer...but it didn't really work. Egg replacer works in a lot of baked goods. But it doesn't have the right consistency to work in crepes. So, whenever I get in the mood for crepes, my youngest son gets something like cinnamon toast instead.

I found this really great and light crepe recipe in one of my Cooking Light cookbooks. We already blogged a crepe recipe (which I LOVE). It is a much richer crepe. You can find that one here. The crepe recipe that I am sharing today is much lighter (and therefore you can get away with having more of them!).

My favorite way to serve it for breakfast is to fill it with a little vanilla yogurt, wrap it up, sprinkle it with powdered sugar, and serve it with some fresh fruit. What a great breakfast! I like to double this recipe so that we have crepes for lunch too. Sprinkle the crepe with a little shredded cheese and then top with some deli turkey or ham and roll it up for a nice wrap/roll up.

Basic Crepes

A 1/4 cup dry measure scoops and measures the batter at the same time.


1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup 1% low-fat milk (I usually use skim milk)
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
Cooking spray
1 teaspoon sugar (my optional addition)


Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and salt in a medium bowl. Combine milk, egg whites, and egg in a bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add to flour mixture, stirring with a whisk until almost smooth.

Place an 8-inch crepe pan or nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat until hot. Remove pan from heat. Pour a scant 1/4 cup batter into pan; quickly tilt pan in all directions so batter covers pan with a thin film. Cook about 1 minute.

Carefully lift edge of crepe with a spatula to test for doneness. the crepe is ready to turn when it can be shaken loose from the pan and the underside is slightly browned. Turn crepe over, and cook 15-30 seconds on the other side.

Place crepe on a towel; cool. Repeat procedure until all of the batter is used, stirring batter between crepes. Stack crepes between single layers of wax paper or paper towels to prevent sticking.

Yield: 10 crepes (serving size: 1 crepe)

Nutrition information: 41 calories, 0.8 g fat, 2.6 g protein, 5.8 g carb, 0.2 g fiber, 23 mg cholesterol, 0.4 mg iron, 85 mg sodium, 26 mg calc.

Source: Cooking Light cookbook.

Notes: I usually only get 8 crepes from this recipe (perhaps my pan is bigger than what the recipe calls for and thus it uses more batter).  Also, I never layer each crepe between paper towels or wax paper. I just put them on a plate on top of each other. I've never had a problem with them sticking. I really like these crepes. I like a hint of sweetness, so I added 1 teaspoon of sugar to the recipe.

Also, as mentioned above, I like to serve these with yogurt inside, sprinkled with powdered sugar, and served with a little fresh fruit. The perfect breakfast!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sweets From the Garden

So, in February I moved to my new house in the mountains with a lovely-sized backyard and high hopes of planting fruit trees and a garden. I guess we'll have to try again next year, but my garden didn't do so hot. When I asked one neighbor what kinds of fruit trees or plants for a garden grew well up here, her response was "You should get a buddy in the valley because you might as well just spit in the wind as try to grow anything to produce any food up here."  :(

I have one little raisin tomato plant (kind of a mix between a grape and cherry tomato) that has produced valiantly. I also have one little beefsteak tomato plant that will probably yield a total of 5-10 tomatoes (over 5 if I'm lucky). I think I'll be searching for a lot of green tomato recipes this year. I also planted some zucchini up here with the thought that zucchini is like a will grow and flourish anywhere, right? Well, not so much. My two zucchini plants have so far produced one edible zucchini...and a bunch of little zucchinis that died before they reached their edible potential (meaning they got to the length of my middle finger and then shriveled and died).

I'll try again next year (planting earlier, buying bigger plants, watching the weather to cover my plants, etc.). But I don't have super high hopes. It's kind of a let down because I always had visions of canning pears from my own pear tree, making applesauce from my own apple tree, feasting on caprese salad all summer long, and making enough zucchini bread to choke a goat.

But maybe I'll have to buddy up with my Mom in the future and enjoy the excess fruits of her garden!

At any rate, while my little zucchini plant didn't produce much, my Mom's zucchini plant produced enough to choke a whole herd of goats. So, I'm going to share a few of our favorite ways to sweeten up zucchini (two new recipes and an old favorite).

I hope you enjoy them and may your garden produce more bountifully than mine!

Zucchini Brownies



1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional


6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup margarine
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended.

Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda, and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts, if using. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25-30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched.

To make the frosting, melt together the 6 tablespoons of cocoa and margarine; set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, blend together the confectioners' sugar, milk, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Spread frosting over cooled brownies before cutting into squares.

Nutrition information: Makes 24 brownies. Per serving: 209 calories, 8.6 g fat, 1 mg cholesterol, 200 mg sodium, 1.6 g fiber, 2.3 g protein.

Above: You can never have too much frosting.

Source:, submitted by Marian.

Notes: I had never tried this recipe before Sunday, but with 4 1/2 stars and over 1,800 reviews I figured it was most likely a good recipe. Well it is a FANTASTIC recipe! You would never know that there is zucchini in these brownies. The zucchini makes them so moist and sneaks in some veggies into your dessert! These are as rich and tasty as any brownies I've ever had. Oh, and this frosting recipe is my new favorite for brownies!

Lemon-Zucchini Loaf with Lemon Glaze by Nancy Creative (find the original post here)


2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
Juice of 1 lemon (or 2 tbsp lemon juice)
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup grated zucchini (you don't need to peel the zucchini before grating it)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x5" loaf pan; set aside.

In large bowl, blend flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In medium bowl, beat two eggs well, then add canola oil and sugar, and blend well. Then add the buttermilk, lemon juice, and lemon zest and blend everything well. Fold in zucchini and blend until evenly distributed in mixture.

Add this mixture to the dry ingredients in the large bowl and blend everything together, but don't overmix.

Pour batter into prepared 9x5" loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (if your oven tends to run hot, check the loaf after 40 minutes; also, if you make this in an 8x4" loaf pan, your baking time may be a little longer...about 5-10 minutes more). Cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and cool completely. While loaf is cooling, you can make the glaze (recipe found below).

Lemon Glaze


1 cup powdered sugar
Juice of 1 lemon (or 2 tbsp lemon juice)


In a small bowl, mix powdered sugar and lemon juice until well blended. Spoon glaze over cooled loaf. Let glaze set, then serve.

Source: I found this recipe on Pinterest. As noted above, it is from a fantastic blog/website called Nancy Creative. You can find the original post of this recipe here.

Notes: Not only is this one of the most delicious and different zucchini bread recipes I've ever tried, it is also one of the prettiest. It makes an absolutely gorgeous light yellow loaf with beautiful specks of green throughout from the zucchini. And the glaze is equally beautiful and delicious.

Pineapple Spiced Zucchini Bread


3 eggs
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup shredded zucchini
1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple, drained
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup chopped nuts, optional


Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Blend first 6 ingredients. Sift dry ingredients together. Combine the two mixtures. Add nuts, if using. Pour into greased and floured pans (4 small or 3 regular 9x5" pans).

Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Source: This is a recipe that my Mom has been making since we were kids. I'm not sure where she got it from.

Notes: This is your classic zucchini bread recipe. Nothing glamorous. Just a good, old-fashioned zucchini bread.

And as a bonus...

Cucumber Bread!  My Mom made this one and has the recipe, so I will let her add it to this blog post when she gets some time. But this was a wonderful bread. The cucumber flavor is so subtle...but it's very soothing and delicious.

Earlier in the summer, we had a plethora of cucumbers.  Oh, if only some of these could be saved in their fresh state.  I did a web search and found this recipe submitted by Marcella on  It has a surprisingly fresh taste.  I really liked it.  Of course, we left out the nuts per grandson's allergies.

Cucumber Nut Bread


2 c. peeled, seeded, and shredded cucumber
3 eggs
1 c. vegetable oil
2 c. white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 c. coarsely chopped pecans, optional
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 t ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves


Preheat over to 325.  Spray 2 5x9 inch loaf pans with cooking spray.

Place shredded cucumber into a colander and let drain for about 30 minutes.

Stir eggs, vegetable oil, sugar, vanilla extract, drained cucumber, and pecans together in a large bowl.  Whisk flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt baking powder, nutmeg, and cloves in a separate bowl.  Stir dry ingredients into the cucumber mixture until batter is thoroughly combined.  Spoon batter into prepared loaf pans.

Bake loaves in the preheated oven until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of each loaf comes out clean, 50 minutes to 1 hour.  Let loaves cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing from pans to finish cooling on wire racks.

Source: I'm not sure...I'll have to check with my Mom. She's the one who found this recipe.

Notes: We left out the nuts due to my son's tree nut allergy and the bread was just as delicious without them.