really good recipes

cute coconut cream pies

February 22, 2015
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Another dinner date was on our calendar this Saturday so I saw this as another opportunity to bring sweet treats in jars ~ cue Steve’s eye roll… however he never seems to have a problem devouring these pretty desserts ;-)  A little coconut cream pie was on my crave radar so I tracked down a few recipes and came up this this yummy mix.

coconut cream pie in mason jars

Here’s what you need:

Crust

8 oz butter cookies
6 tablespoons melted butter

Cream Filling

2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
3 cups half-and-half
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whipped Cream Topping

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 cup sour cream (for stabilization)

Makes 8 jars of deliciousness

coconut cream pie recipe

Spread 2 cups of coconut on baking sheet and toast at 350 degrees for around 10 minutes or until light brown.  Crush butter cookies and mix in 6 tablespoons of melted butter, then press in bottom of jars and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

coconut cream pie recipe Combine half and half, eggs, sugar, flour and salt in sauce pan and stir over medium heat until it becomes thick like the consistency of pudding.  Once thick, turn off the heat and stir in 1 cup of toasted coconut flakes and vanilla.

coconut cream pie recipe

Place the cream filling into the 8 jars, cover and cool in refrigerator for 4 hours or longer.  Whip the cream, vanilla and powdered sugar until thick and then fold in sour cream.  Adding the sour cream helps keep the whipping cream thick for a longer period of time.

mini coconut cream pies

Dollop the whipped cream on top of the coconut cream filling and cover with the other cup of toasted coconut.  I made these the day of our dinner date but they will easily keep overnight and will likely even taste better the next day as the flavors continue to meld.

This dessert isn’t very complicated to make but it does dirty up a fair amount of pots, bowls and utensils… but after tasting this heavenly treat I don’t think you’ll mind.

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tempting raspberry cheesecake trifle

February 14, 2015
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We were invited to a lovely little dinner party this weekend and bringing dessert was on my to-do list.  I wanted to whip up something Valentinesque that looked cute and was easy to make.  This raspberry cheesecake trifle caught my eye but I ended up making 7 mini versions of it in mason jars (because doesn’t everything looks more festive in a mason jar?)

raspberry mason jar trifle Here’s what you need:

1 angel food cake (or pound cake if you prefer)
12 oz cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups cream, whipped
3 packages of fresh raspberries

raspberry cheesecake trifle

Whip the cream until fluffy in one bowl.  Whip the cream cheese, milk, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla in other bowl.  Fold the whip cream into the cream cheese mixture.  Cut up cake into 1″ squares.

raspberry cheesecake trifle

Layer 3-4 squares of cake, 5-6 raspberries and a dollop of the cream mixture… repeat and finish with a garnish of raspberries.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  Serve up and enjoy!

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sweets for your sweet

February 9, 2015
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homemade caramels for valentine's day

I always like to send some surprise goodies to my girlfriends for Valentine’s Day and this year I’m throwing in some homemade caramels to the mix.  I made caramels for the first time this past Christmas to give to neighbors and our catching fireflies team and was tickled with how they turned out.

It is a fairly simple process but does involve babysitting the pot of sweetness for about 45 minutes so if patience does not come easy to you, I would not recommend making this sweet treat.

Here is what you need:

  • 3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided (meaning, you’ll add half at the beginning and half later)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • candy thermometer

homemade caramel recipe Put all the ingredients besides the vanilla and cup of cream in a large pot.  Stir and melt them all together on low heat.  Once they are melted, turn the heat to medium-low heat creating a simmer. Place thermometer in the pan.  The recipe I followed says you don’t have to stir the mixture if you have a heavy bottomed pan but I don’t own one so I continue to stir as it simmers to avoid any burning on the bottom of the pan.  Over time the mixture will darken in color and once the temp reaches 236 degrees ad the second cup of cream.

homemade caramel recipe Be patient, it takes about 45 minutes for it to reach 245 degrees.  This is where it gets tricky.  I believe caramels are the goldilocks of candy making.  There are just a few degrees between it being too soft or too hard which makes it tricky to get it just right and I have a zip lock bag full of hard toffee to confirm that ;-)

I use the water drop method in addition to watching the thermometer.  Once the caramel gets close to the 245 mark, have a small dish of cold water nearby and drip the caramel in it.  You will be able to tell how soft or hard it will be when it cools off in the water.  I’ve found maintaining the 245-47 degrees for a few minutes does make them the desired chewiness.  BUT be careful or you too will have a bag of hard toffee.

Mix in the vanilla right before you plan to pour your caramels into a 8×8 buttered dish.  Parchment paper lining the dish works even better… but I didn’t have any at the time.

I place mine in the freezer for a bit to cool down, then peel the large caramel slab onto a cutting board.  I then place it in the fridge to cool more thoroughly before cutting.

homemade caramel recipe

I butter my knife and ‘saw’ through the slab to create my pieces.  This recipe yields 3-5 dozen caramels depending on big you cut them.

valentine caramels

You can wrap them in waxed paper, but it’s much easier to order sized candy wrappers.  I like to add a piece of washi tape to secure the wrapper and make them look more festive.  And ta-da… you can call yourself an official candy maker.  You might become one after all your friends start clamoring for more of your mouth watering caramels!

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cupid-approved recipes for valentine’s day

February 2, 2015
By

Love is in the air! It’s the season of sharing your heart–whether it’s with your better half or someone that is special to you.

heart shaped treats

Here are a few irresistible sweet and savory ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day….

Alison from Pint Sized Treasures took a classic childhood dessert and turned them into Heart Shaped Rice Krispie Treats. Make them portable by just adding a stick…and voila!, you’ve got a Rice Krispie Pop.

Here’s the perfect appetizer if you’re opting for a quiet romantic dinner at home. Check out Beth’s  scrumptious recipe for Mozzarella Cheese Filled Hearts with Red Pepper Pesto. All of the deliciousness without the long wait at the restaurant!

heart cookie

Can’t decide between candy or cookies?  Domestically Speaking shows you how to offer a little bit of both with these pretty stained glass cookies.  

Melt the heart of your favorite chocolate lover by serving up these delectable Cream Filled Chocolate Heart-Shaped Cakes. Carrie from Worth Pinning was inspired to come up with these tasty treats based on her memory of a favorite goody that she enjoyed as a child.

Delight your darling on Valentine’s Day this year with this marvelous Chocolate Bread Pudding with Raspberry Sauce. For the ultimate in decadence, Samantha of Five Heart Home says to serve this while it’s warm and straight out of the oven and top with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

For a heart-y main course, check out Arena’s recipe for Mini Heart Pizzas (topped with heart shaped pepperoni, of course). These single-serving pizzas are also very kid-friendly!

Sophistimom makes ordinary chicken soup extra special by adding these lovely carrot hearts to the mix.

If quick and easy is the name of your game…Emily Grace has the perfect recipe for you. Two ingredients are all that it takes to whip up these Heart Shaped Cherry Pies.  You’ll find the whole scoop on her blog, Grace & Good Eats.

These Heart Shaped Soft Pretzels with Pink Sea Salt are a great alternative to a traditional box of chocolates. Sarah from Say Yes suggests wrapping them up along with a jar of fancy mustard and a bear of honey for dipping and you’ll be sure to thrill your special Valentine.

Like finding sweet ways to celebrate special holidays?  We love finding & sharing fun treats. Don’t miss out on our future finds… simply sign up to receive these blog posts in your email in box

6 delicious dips to make in your slow cooker

January 26, 2015
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Fix it and forget it…sounds like my kind of recipe! All of these mouthwatering, tasty dips are just that–basically combining all your ingredients into your slow cooker, mixing, then walking away.

slow cooker dips

Whether you’re throwing a party for the big game or just having a few friends over, we think these amazing appetizers will impress your guests (with very little work involved)!

You’ll want to make sure you have plenty of toasted crusty bread if you decide to whip up this Slow Cooker Broccoli and Cheese Dip. Head over to Cooking and Beer if you’d like to also find out what beers pair up perfectly with Justine’s dip.

Spinach & Artichoke Dip–have your ever enjoyed this at your favorite restaurant and thought, “I wish I could make this at home”? Well, now you can! Check out Tina’s recipe on Just Putzing Around The Kitchen.

If you’re looking to spice it up a little, check out Sarah’s recipe for 7-layer Bean Dip on her blog-The Magical Slow Cooker. This dish requires a little extra prep work (browning the meat), but just looking at this photo it appears to be well worth the effort.

Cris explains that her recipe has three things going for it….bacon, cheese, and more cheese! If her Bacon Double Cheese Dip looks like something you’d like to try, take a trip over to her blog Recipes That Crock where you can get the whole scoop.

Move over store bought onion dip–and make way for this Crock Pot Creamy Onion Dip. It takes only 2 hours of cook time in your slow cooker to make this crowd pleaser.

Tammilee makes a good point…if you’re having guests over, making your food ahead of time makes sense so that when your guests start to arrive you can actually spend time with them and enjoy the party instead of being stuck in the kitchen. Here’s her timesaver: Crock Pot Buffalo Ranch Chicken Dip.

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7 healthy appetizers that your guests will love

December 27, 2014
By

Need to get an early start to your resolution?  Delicious doesn’t have to mean loads of calories or fat.

healthy appetizer recipes

If you’re looking for a way to lighten up the menu, get the party started with few of these a few of these amazing appetizers that we found on the web from some creative cooks…

The Spinach and Bacon Deviled Egg recipe courtesy of Emily on the Healthy Seasonal Recipes blog replaces mayo with greek yogurt and lots of other unique ingredients. She put a very flavorful spin on a family classic.

You may have to hold everyone back from digging into the Zucchini Carpaccio once it hits the table.  It’s not only delish, but a true feast for the eyes. Find the full recipe on DishTales.

If you take a trip over to Mason Jar Salads, Spinach Broccoli Bites is just one of the healthy and tempting dishes that you’ll find. These bite-size portions are great for kids!

Head over to Peas & Crayons to find out how to turn a pepper into an instant appetizer….these Healthy Humus Stuffed Peppers are a nice crunchy way to add nutrition to your menu.

You’ve probably enjoyed this tasty dip at a restaurant, but now you can learn how to make a slimmed down version by following Monica’s recipe for a Healthy Spinach Artichoke Dip here.

The Cucumber Cream Cheese Tomato Bites from Kara’s Party Ideas can be made in just minutes (these look pretty impressive…and don’t worry, we won’t spill your secret)!

And lastly, a plate that’s full of flavor and packs a lot of punch. Tempt any appetite with these Sweet Potato BBQ Nachos! You can change up the toppings as you wish, but Brita used shredded chicken, cheese and tons of veggies.

Like appetizers that taste great and won’t make you feel guilty?  We love finding & sharing fun treats. Don’t miss out on our future finds… simply sign up to receive these blog posts in your email in box.

6 mocha recipes to warm your heart and soul

November 29, 2014
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Looking for a quick pick-me-up? A delicious mocha fits the bills whether it’s your morning starter or a nice indulgence in the afternoon. There are quite a few variations on this classic drink.

mocha

Now you can skip the coffee shop once in a while and try a few of these at home thanks to these fellow bloggers…

If you love the combination of salty and sweet flavors, check out Carissa’s recipe for a Salted Caramel Mocha on her blog-Pretty Hungry. The added saltreally brings out the flavor of the other ingredients.

Calling all coconut lovers! Sandra from Sandra’s Easy Cooking used coconut oil to create her Coconut Mocha Latte. It’s sure to be a real treat for your tastebuds.

mocha Make way for this rich and velvety Creamy Triple Chocolate Mocha created by Alexandra of A Bright Eyed Baker. She includes directions for fresh whipped cream which really take this drink over the top!

Looking for low-carb or gluten free? Then head over to All Day I Dream About Food to get the scoop on how to make this Low Carb Raspberry Truffle Mocha. It will warm you right down to your toes!

Here’s one for the grown-ups…Evan from The WannaBe Chef combined Irish Cream and Amaretto to create this Hot Amaretto Mocha. You can also make a non-alcoholic version using coffee creamer along with a splash for almond extract for the younger crowd.

My favorite flavor of the season is peppermint, so no mocha recipe post would be complete without a mention of mint. Kimberly from A Night Owl Blog explains how to whip up her version here. (And don’t forget to sprinkle the crushed peppermint on top!)

Like playing barista at home and saving some dough?  We love finding & sharing fun treats. Don’t miss out on our future finds… simply sign up to receive these blog posts in your email in box.

6 superb turkey sandwich recipes

November 24, 2014
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There’s a lot of buildup  leading up to the big Thanksgiving meal, but I must admit…my favorite part of the whole holiday are the leftovers. In the days that follow, being able to open the fridge and graze through the delicious dishes that aren’t normally there  is a real treat!

turkey sandwich recipes

Here are a few scrumptious ways to turn that leftover turkey into a great lunch or dinner…

“Fall in a bite”…that’s how Gina from Running to the Kitchen describes her Turkey Cheddar Apple Butter Panini. The super melty cheese is a delicious contrast to the crispy crunch of the apples and bread.

Check out Leah’s creative use of ingredients in her Double Decker Apricot Turkey Sandwich. She incorporates cream cheese which keeps this amazing sandwich in the low calorie range. You’ll find the full recipe on her blog, So How’s it Taste?

Turn that leftover turkey into a warm sandwich with an Italian flavor! Click here to get the tempting recipe for a Turkey Pesto Panini–courtesy of Vicky from the Avocado Pesto Blog,

If you prefer wraps over sandwiches, then this Turkey Hummus Spinach wrap is right up your alley. The spicy red pepper hummus gives this satisfying meal an extra kick of flavor. Head over to My San Francisco Kitchen to get the full recipe.

Here’s another great sandwich that has an amazing explosion of flavors. Brandie from Home Cooking Memories created her Cranberry and Pecan Turkey Panini with Bacon Spread starting with a base of turkey salad–then added cranberries and pecans to complement the flavors.

Only 250 calories? We know it’s hard to believe but that’s the calorie count on this mouthwatering Turkey and Tomato Panini that Rachael shares on her blog, Spache the Spatula. Fresh basil and parmigiano reggiano make this a sandwich you won’t soon forget!

Like to give your leftovers a new life?  We love finding & sharing fun treats. Don’t miss out on our future finds… simply sign up to receive these blog posts in your email in box.

how to turn a bottle of beer into an amazing appetizer

November 18, 2014
By

That bottle of brew sitting in your fridge isn’t just good for drinking. Beer can add lots of flavor to a recipe.

beer recipes

So, just in time for Turkey Day weekend – here are a few delicious recipes to serve up while everyone is watching football.

These Beer BBQ Meatballs that we found on Sweet & Savory by Shinee are sure to be a hit. Check out her recipe which includes complete instructions on making her homemade meatballs.

If you’re up for enjoying “little slices of heaven”, then head over to The Cottage Market-where you’ll find the recipe for Beer Battered Fried Pickles with Sriracha Dipping Sauce.  Andrea describes this treat as hot and spicy with just the perfect crunch.

Cheese and bread…my two favorite food groups : )  If you’re also feeling the love, then this Beer Dip from Try Anything Once has your name written all over it. Another reason to love it…any leftovers make a great sandwich spread.

You can start these Guiness Braised Short Rib and Cheddar Sliders a day ahead of time, then just heat and assemble them with the finishing touches before you serve them up.  Mary Kay from Homemade Cravings adapted this recipe for the slow cooker, but says you can also create this delightful dish on the stovetop using the low setting.

If you’re a fan of the cheesy bread at your local pizza place, then you’ll definitely want to try Tessa’s recipe for Cheesy Garlic Beer Breadsticks on Handle the Heat. Her take on this appetizer?–“The beer flavor is subtle yet when paired with garlic and cheese it is heaven on your tongue”.

The recipe for this Beer Caramelized Onion & Artichoke Dip was inspired by Cassie’s new paint color for her kitchen walls: Caramelized Onion. Find the full recipe on her blog, Bake Your Day.

beer

If buffalo wings aren’t your thing, give these Chili Lime Beer Chicken Wings a try.  Jackie from The Beeroness certifies this tasty dish as one of her official “football watching foods”.

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7 tasty thanksgiving side dishes

November 11, 2014
By

The Thanksgiving menu has been on my mind…there’s always the star of the meal, the turkey itself–but, this year it’s time to try a few new sides that tantalize the tastebuds.

thanksgiving sides

These mouthwatering recipes are sure to leave your dinner guests wanting more.

Move over hum-drum green bean casserole. There’s a new dish in town–Dijon Maple Green Beans with carmelized pecans, bacon, and feta.  Jen of Carlsbad Cravings sure came up with a winner when she created this explosion of flavors on a plate!

Another twist on a traditional side…Ashley from Spoonful of Flavor used orange and ginger to enhance the taste in her Apple Cranberry Sauce recipe. You can save time by making this one a day ahead of time!

This little gem of a dish~ Garlic-Herb Smashed Potatoes ~ is the best of both worlds…a combination of mashed potatoes and french fries. Just follow Valentina’s recipe from Cooking on the Weekends and your potatoes will be soft, yet crispy on the outside (and don’t forget to add the gravy).

While I would like to enjoy bread at every meal, I don’t. But, Thanksgiving definitely gives me the green light to go a little carb crazy and what better way than with these Pumpkin Dinner Rolls?  And even though these rolls have pumpkin in them, Karen’s Kitchen Stories promises that even the pumpkin haters will love them (there’s no pumpkin flavor…the ingredient just gives the rolls a nice color). Serve them up with apple butter or honey.

I’m all about easy when it comes it cooking, so it seemed fitting to include this recipe for Super Simple Glazed Carrots.  Seriously–4 ingredients and a pan! Thanks to Kelly at The Pretty Bee for sharing this lovely dish.

Becky from The Cookie Rookie says that her Loaded Sweet Potato Skins remind her the loaded sweet potatoes at steak places.  They’re loaded with mini-marshmallows, cinnamon sugar pecans, and honey cream cheese.  Can you say yummmmmm??

Homemade Creamed Corn in the Crockpot 1

Kelly from Mostly Homemade Mom has a warning for you…once you make her Creamed Corn in the Crockpot, there’s no turning back to canned corn again. And it only takes an hour to make this amazing side dish that’s perfect for Thanksgiving dinner!

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April McCrumb

I'm April McCrumb ~ a creative gal from Michigan that loves to share clever gift ideas, simple recipes, my favorite tunes & all things crafty. Thanks for stopping by my whimsical world. I hope you enjoy your visit.

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