I am a sucker for anything sweet. I always have to have something in my fridge I can grab to enjoy for that sweet fix.
My chocolate nut log is another super fast treat to make that you can adjust to include what ever you have in your cupboard. This recipe is full of some great healthy fats and lots of chocolatey goodness from the raw cacao. I hope you enjoy making this the next time your sweet tooth calls!
Chocolate Nut Log
1/2 cup of raw cacao powder
1/2 cup of raw coconut oil
Few pinches of good quality pink salt
1 heaped tsp of peanut or almond butter
1/4 cup of rice malt syrup * see alternatives
Large handful of macadamia nuts and almonds
Handful of shredded coconut
Turn your oven on and toast the nuts and coconut until the coconut is slightly golden.
Keep an eye on it as it can burn fast. Should only take about 10 minutes.
Melt your coconut oil and mix in all the other ingredients including your nuts and coocnut together in a large bowl.
Line a small dish or tin (I use a loaf tin) with wax proof paper and pour your chocolate mix in making it even and level. Then set in the fridge for at least an hour.
Cut into small squares and keep in fridge.
I have also made this log using walnuts and brown rice puffs. I’ve even skipped the cacao & sweetener altogether and used carob powder instead. So feel free to play with this recipe and add your favourites. Just keep it healthy!
If you can’t find rice malt syrup then add any sweetener that you enjoy.
maybe 2 -3Tbs of maple syrup tasting as you go and add more or less as needed.
I wanted to rename this recipe Renee’s Awesome Coffee Cake, because the recipe is from my sweet friend Renee. She served it to me one day with a cup of coffee, and I was in coffee cake heaven. I decided to keep the original name, despite what the cake means to me, which is memories of sitting with my dear friend in her dining room and getting loved on several times now with this same cake recipe. Renee was sweet enough to share her recipe with me, so of course I had to share it with all of you.
This cake is so very good. It is dense but moist at the same time. The crumbly top is a sweet cinnamon-sugar streusel type topping. My favorite thing about this cake is that it uses ingredients already on hand and can be thrown together in a super fast and easy way. It is a great recipe to bring out when you have unexpected guests and just need to whip something up that will make the whole house feel warm and inviting because it smells amazing! I love to make it on a Saturday morning, as it is a great way to get the family to roll out of bed and sit around the table eating slow, for some quality morning time together.
Gramma’s Crumb Cake
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 Tablespoons coconut oil (original recipe calls for shortening, could also use butter)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and baking powder. Cut in coconut oil (or shortening or butter). Reserve 1/2 cup of dry, crumbly mixture and set aside. Place beaten egg in a measuring cup and add enough milk to equal one cup. Add vanilla & combine with flour mixture, mixing well. Pour into a greased 8×8 pan and sprinkle with reserved dry mixture. Dot with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon & sugar (use your judgement, I used about 4-5 tablespoons of butter) Bake for 25 minutes at 375 degrees. Serves 8.
Now that she is 12, I rarely see that stubbornness used in negative ways, but boy do I see a strength in my girl that is going to take her far. There is a resoluteness about her, a grounded-ness that shows the world that she is more concerned for others than herself. She has not gotten caught up in trying to impress those around her with artificial-ness, but instead shows her love through deeds and gifts…most of which are homemade, whether through the arts or through her amazing ability to bake.
She lives for a celebration, whether a holiday or a birthday, because that is where her gifts thrive. She goes around this house, usually in a sneaky manner so to ‘surprise’ those she loves, and will go all out in her creations to signify that what we are celebrating at the time is important. She will spend hours on Pinterest coming up with ideas of what would be the best way to love on her family, and will come to me, perch on the end of my bed in the evenings when she has the most of my attention, and whisper her best laid plans. She shares with me as I am the one who has the car keys to get the supplies she would need, and she knows I too, love to love others in this way. There is always a carefully drawn-up list of all that will be needed, and discussion led by her of how to make it the most frugal.
My girl had to take the reins in planning her own birthday this year, as I have been down and out the past 2 weeks with medication side effects that I won’t bore you with in this post. I will say it was severe and knocked me down harder than I have been knocked down physically since my chemo days.
Because I was not well, Avery was extra independent in her birthday planning, but still would come and sit at the end of my bed to fill me in on updates, as that had become just about the only place she could find me the last 2 weeks. She was so sweet in reassuring me that she didn’t mind making her own birthday treats and plans.
We celebrated her birthday this past Sunday, and the day could not have been better. The day before, my symptoms had let up in the early evening enough for me to get my girl out with her list and to buy her birthday supplies. It was sweet time with her, the day was warm and it felt so good to get out. I was slower than usual, and honestly, the forced slow pace made the time even sweeter.
She had her list in her hand and was on a mission at Target, and I followed with my heart just bursting with pride for my girl. She chose some fun chevron napkins that had a color in them that matched some leftover party balloons we already had at home. She chose some Starburst candies to sprinkle on the table, careful to get the kind that had wrappers to match the napkins.
Her birthday plan was to come home from church, eat one of her favorite meals with lots of treats, then go with the family and a friend to a place in town called Defy Gravity. It is an indoor trampoline park that is fairly new in town. I loved the plan. It was simple and doable. I prayed that my stomach would feel well enough to watch my lovlies and their friends bounce up and down.
With her list in hand, we bought all the groceries we would need to make her favorite sandwiches.
I saw her eyeing some fun easter mini-cupcakes, and she had been so sweet about being frugal that I told her to grab them. They came a dozen and would be perfect to stick 12 candles in. Her eyes and face lit up at my suggestion, and that alone was worth the artificial color and ingredients, plus the $2.99 they cost.
She scoured the dollar section for some treats to make treat bags for her friend and sisters. She looked over some super cute treat bags, then said she didn’t need the fancy bags that cost over 3 dollars. She came home and made her own adorable treat bags out of brown paper sacks and washi tape. Again, my heart almost burst. What a sweet, creative, frugal girl.
When we got home, Avery got busy making the table festive & blowing up her balloons, then got to work on the cake pops. I thought she would be in the kitchen for hours making those cake pops. Well, she wasn’t. She made the cake part and we watched a family tv show as it baked. When the cake cooled and it was time to make the pops, I left her alone in the kitchen and hoped she would have good luck. It was not even 30 minutes later that she brought the finished cake pops up to me. They were perfect and so cute. She told me she had read up on how to make the perfect cake pop and how all the tricks that she learned really helped make it easy.
Here is the recipe she used, with tips from my Avery to follow:
food coloring (optional, to tint candy melt if desired)
styrofoam (to hold the pops upright to dry)
Prepare a boxed cake mix as directed on the box. (Avery used a chocolate cake mix.) Let the cake cool, then crumble the cake into fine crumbs with your hands in a large bowl. Mix in about 1/3 cup of icing (Avery used store bought milk chocolate frosting) using your hands. The mixture should be dense but not gooey. Using a cookie scoop (Avery used a 1 T scoop) scoop out mixture. Roll the mixture into your hand and pack it tightly into a ball. Continue until mixture is gone. It should make about 18 cake balls.
Add about 5 candy melt morsels into a small jar and melt them in the microwave. This will be used sort of as ‘glue’ to hold the cake onto the stick. Dip your stick into the melted candy melt and quickly stick it into a cake ball at least half way down. Repeat with remaining cake balls. Set the balls onto a cookie sheet and freeze for about 10 minutes.
Put the rest of your candy melts into a microwavable jar and melt according to the package instructions. If you are wanting to color your candy melt different colors, used several different jars and add desired color after the candy is melted.
Dip the cake pop into the jar, evenly coating it. Let the coating drip off. If using sprinkles, add immediately before coating sets. Place the cake pop right side up onto styrofoam. Repeat for remaining pops.
Tips From Avery:
~using the candy melts as ‘glue’ is key. Don’t skip this part!
~smaller balls are easier to work with…don’t make them too big!
~when dipping, just tip the stick in several directions instead of swirling. This is a more gentle motion that will keep that cake ball on the stick.
~using candy melt coating is key! It easily covered dark chocolate and has the perfect consistency.
Her birthday morning came around and I woke up quite sick, still from side effects of medications. I sent the family on to the early service at church, and knew I had a couple hours to get myself together as much as possible. The kitchen was a mess from late night cake pop making, and I still needed to put together the sandwiches. We had a 12:30 appointment at Defy Gravity and would spend about an hour and 1/2 there, so eating needed to take place between church and jumping.
I prayed the nausea would subside, and got to work. I did fine until dealing with the slimy slices of ham. Not the best texture or scent when one feels sick! I just buckled down and did what I had to do. I took a bit of anti-nausea medication, had a few friends praying that I would feel well enough for the party, and prayers were answered. I started to feel better just as everyone was eating their sandwiches, and I got to go watch my sweet girl jump and jump and jump! She even let her sisters bring a friend, so it was a lot of fun for everyone. I am so thankful it all worked out, that I got to go, and that I am here to see my sweet girls grow up and celebrate these milestones with them.
Avery Rose – I am so proud to be your Mom. You make me smile every single day. Keep being you and remember how very much you are loved!
Do you know what July and February have in common?
The 4th of July & Valentine’s day both give us an excuse to eat lots and lots of STRAWBERRIES!
Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries are a super great way to celebrate a holiday. They are special, beautiful, and a nice change from chocolate-covered strawberries. Can’t give your Chocolate Covered Strawberries up? Then mix the 2 on a beautiful platter and get ready for the oooo’s& ahhhh’s !
My 11- year- old Avery is quite the pastry chef and loves any excuse to get her pastry bag out and do some filling or decorating. She made these beauties for her sister’s birthday which is at the end of January, and we loved them so much we are going to make them again for Valentines Day.
I love recipes that have a bit of natural, healthy goodness along with a sweet. This recipe is just that. Nature’s goodness with a creamy sweet addition.
Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries
2 lbs. fresh strawberries
8oz cream cheese
1 tbsp sour cream
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Wash the strawberries and pat dry with a paper towel. Use a melon baller to remove the stems and create a small hole in the strawberries for the cheesecake to sit. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and sour cream until fluffy. Add in the vanilla and powdered sugar. Beat until smooth and combined. Place cheesecake mixture into a piping bag or
zip close bag, with the corner snipped off.
Squeeze a bit of the cheesecake mixture into each strawberry. Place on a wax paper lined baking sheet when done and let chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Place on a pretty tray to serve.
There are certain recipes that just never get old. Fruit pizza is one of those recipes in my book–an oldie but goodie.
I remember having Fruit Pizza for the first time back during our newlywed days — 16 years ago! We were at a social gathering with a group from our church, and were eating potluck style. Someone brought Fruit Pizza and I remember thinking it was such a pretty dish! I will never get over the beauty of the color and texture of fruit. Put it on top of a sugar cookie crust and it becomes one of my favorite desserts. All that nutritious fruit helps me feel better about the sugar.
This recipe takes the classic Fruit Pizza and adds a simple glaze to make it shine! It is a great finishing touch that makes the pizza even more beautiful.
Blend all the ingredients in your food processor and roll into around 12 balls. Flatten with a fork and pop in the fridge to firm up a little before you devour them.
If you prefer them rolled into balls you can do that also. I like the cookie shape better.
If you have a high speed blender you can whip up your very own natural peanut butter in minutes. If buying peanut butter from the store, read the labels. It should not contain anything other than peanuts. Organic is always a better option if available.
My husbands favorite candy bar is Butterfinger. He loves them! He makes grunting noises when he eats them–no joke.
My youngest wanted to make him a fun, homemade gift for his birthday, and was determined to find a recipe that utilized her Daddy’s favorite candy bar. She has become quite the baker this last year, and it is one of her favorite ways to show love to others. It is a bonus that she gets to lick the spoon and bowl and serve herself a sweet piece of whatever she makes for others. I have yet to convince her to make a vegetable dish. She is all about desserts!
She got busy searching Pinterest for a Butterfinger candy bar recipe. I was happy when she found this recipe for Butterfinger Cookie Bars–happy that it was simple, only used 2 ingredients, and wouldn’t mess the kitchen up too much. This would not be a recipe that we would work at making healthy–not when a candy bar is the main character! Instead, we embraced the junk food as a way to celebrate the most special man in both of our lives.
As you can see from that smile, he loved them!
Butterfinger Cookie Bars–Recipe Inspiration from Pip & Ebby
Ready in: 40 minutes
16.5-oz. package refrigerated sugar cookie dough, at room temp
6 Butterfinger bars, 5 whole and 1 coarsely chopped
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 8×8-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
2. Press half of the cookie dough into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Top with 5 whole Butterfinger bars. Top that with the remaining cookie dough mixture. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until dough is cooked through (test with a toothpick).
3.Remove from oven and top with remaining chopped Butterfinger bar. Let cool and cut into small squares.