Kinda crazy, kinda silly day – but I’ll elaborate on that if anything comes of it! 🙂 But baking wise, I needed a tiny bake break in the middle of my day to keep me going. Plus, I’m not gonna lie, I wanted to lick the spoon…. and eat the extra m&ms.
This was another quick & easy baking stint. In fact, couldn’t have been easier. As I said the other day, I’m doing quite a bit of baking for my mom, and this is just one more. Her annual winter quilting retreat is next weekend and she’s “hired” me to do a dessert-bar bar. Since my life is hard to plan lately, I figured I’d pound out the easiest of the treats this afternoon. So easy that it involved the following:
Yep. That’s pretty much it. One box of Dark Chocolate Betty Crocker family-sized brownies and one bag of Dark Chocolate Valentine’s Day M&M’s. Ok… I also used 2 eggs, 1/4 cup of water and 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, a little Pam in a can and parchment paper, but that’s it.
Now, I am a true baker, BUT, I always make brownies from a box. This is not something I hide from anyone. I honestly love them and think that homemade brownies can be a little dry. Betty’s red box are my faves, but I like the blue Pillsbury ones too, even the store brands are good. There is just something about boxed brownies that is delicious and SOOOO easy! Also, I’m pretty sure boxed brownies are the first dessert I was actually “good” at making. It is a little known fact that my initial attempts in the kitchen were failures. I couldn’t shape a cookie for my life and half of my cakes constantly stayed in the pan when I tried to flip them. I was also extremely impatient and while frosting, I would tear the tops off… granted that was with canned frosting, which I refuse to use. But that was all a long, long time ago… eww almost 10 years ago! Now I’m a pro, or at least I know what I can and cannot do, but either way I’m sticking with my boxed brownies. They’re a constant success, and their ease makes it super fun for me to pump them with something extra – today’s extra’s being the M&M’s. And like I said, I needed the batter and the rest of that giant bag in my tummy to finish my day 🙂
After having quite the two weeks of being sick and injured, I finally made it back into the kitchen tonight, again for a meeting of my mom’s. It’s super helpful for me that she is the ConKerr Cancer Chicago coordinator and also hosts quilt retreats because she often has mini get-togethers that I can bake for. Since my dad lives in Canada Monday-Friday and my waitressing schedule is so sporadic, baking generally gets saved for special occasions these days – so I’m hoping special occasions keep coming up!
So for her meeting tomorrow I made raspberry scone drops and caramel-apple muffins. The “quick & simple” part of this title goes to the scones. This really isn’t baking… my mom had a mix in the cabinet for at least 6 months and I finally mixed it with water. Seriously, that’s all it took to make these.
Just 3/4 cup of water and the dry mix yielded 12 scone drops. I decided to make these little guys into drops instead of wedges so that there were be more of them. 12 instead of 8. They smelled good, the batter tasted good and the crumbs that fell off were yummy too, so I hope they’re a hit, though as I said, I can’t take much credit.
The second snack I made is the sticky reference. Since my mom and some of her friends do Weight Watchers, I sometimes have to fall back on low-fat recipes – because, like I said, sometimes she’s the only one here! So today I tried this caramel-apple muffin recipe, because they looked pretty cute and we had all of the ingredients. Plus, as a weight watchers points value of “3,” it’s roughly 150 calories, so it has yummy-potential. This recipe was quick & simple, but tremendously sticky. The note at the bottom warned me, but I didn’t realized how stuck my fingers would be! If I make these again, I will make sure to divi up the batter and then add the apples because mixing in was kinda a pain. (Stickiness intensified by caramel glaze, too!)
In the end they looked and smelled super good too – I’ll have to have the ladies comment on this post with their reviews of the treats, and I’m hoping to get a few more recipes baked this month. I just got the new Paula Deen magazine and there is a super cute idea for Valentine’s Day – get excited!
We all want to start the new year happy and healthy, right? This cheesecake took care of both of those goals!
I tend to make cheesecake for new years because I don’t like it. I am always on total sweets-overload after Christmas and want to make something for my family to enjoy and not be too tempted myself. Problem this year: the cheesecake was too delicious! And I tried to make it completely unappealing for me, but super appealing to my dad & sister – the lemon lovers. Turned out to be healthy and yummy so everyone was pleased.
I based this recipe on a Kraft foods lemon cheesecake recipe, but made some changes due to ingredients on hand.
First step – crust change. My dad LOVES Jingles, a gingerbread-y holiday cookie. Although this is a little bit of an insult to such a homemade baker… I decided to use half the box he had in the cabinet to make a ginger-y crust. It was amazing, and I don’t even like Jingles.
Next I changed the cream cheese to fat-free because that’s what we happen to have in the fridge, I added quite a bit of lemon zest and fresh lemon juice, baked the cake, refrigerated for a few hours and topped with powdered sugar, whipped cream and more lemon zest. Between the six of us eating, we devoured it. Even Madeline wanted more!
One more thing that made this dessert delicious – pairing it with raspberry sherbet.
A fruity, healthy and fun way to start the new year – mmm!