Whole Wheat Apple Cranberry Pecan Muffins

Whole Wheat Apple Cranberry Pecan Muffins

I was in the mood for muffins this week.

I decided on these partly because they were gorgeous and partly because of the amount of yummy goodness that is in them. If I actually ever fulfill my dream to have a food truck (Yes, this is an idea that runs through my mind a few times a week) these will be one of the first thing on the breakfast menu.

Whole Wheat Apple Cranberry Pecan Muffins

1 large apple, sliced

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, uncooked

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of cloves

2/3 cup chopped pecans

2/3 cup dried cranberries

1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt

2 eggs

1/4 cup whole milk

3 Tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup natural applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

12 –  4 inch parchment paper squares

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Peel and dice 3/4 of the apple. Cut the remaining into 12 thin slices for garnish and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves). Stir in pecans, diced apple and dried cranberries.

In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, milk, butter, applesauce and vanilla. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir until combined.

Place parchment paper square in each cup of a 12 cup muffin tin. Divide batter among cups, topping each with an apple slice, cranberries and additional oats if desired. Bake until muffins begin to brown around edges and are firm to the touch – approximately 25 minutes. Remove muffins from tins and enjoy.

S’More Bars

S'More Bars

The weekend is here friends! I am pretty excited about it. My Saturday involves a long run in the morning followed by lunch with one of my favorite people in the entire world. I can’t wait.

If you are looking to do a little baking this weekend, I would love to recommend these S’More Bars from Handle the Heat. They are nothing short of fabulous.

S’More Bars

20 full graham crackers
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Fudge filling:
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

Marshmallow topping:
2 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the crust:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with foil.

Place the graham crackers, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add the melted butter and pulse until the mixture is moistened. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

For the filling:
In a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, combine the chocolate chips and condensed milk. Heat until the mixture is melted, thick, and smooth, stirring constantly. Pour over graham cracker crust. Place in the refrigerator while making the marshmallow topping.

For the marshmallow topping:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to cook until a candy thermometer registers exactly 240°F. Immediately remove from heat. Turn the mixture on low speed and carefully and gradually drizzle the syrup into the egg whites. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture is thick and glossy and looks like marshmallow fluff, about 7 minutes longer. Add in the vanilla and beat until combined.

Spread the marshmallow topping evenly over the chocolate fudge layer. Use a kitchen torch to gently torch the marshmallow layer until lightly golden. Alternatively, place the pan under the broiler and broil for 1 minute, or until lightly golden.

Refrigerate the pan for at least 1 hour before cutting into squares and serving. The squares can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Red Velvet Brownies

Red Velvet Brownies

It’s Valentine’s Week! These Red Velvet Brownies are a great way to celebrate!

I love the color and flavor of red velvet, really for any time of year, but it seems more appropriate than ever for Valentine’s Day. The one downside about red velvet is that it takes A LOT of color to achieve a deep beautiful red. I often times will use less than the recipe calls for, but either way, the color can affect the flavor. You can opt to leave the color out, but what fun is that? This past Christmas I stumbled upon this Red Velvet Bakery Emulsion from Lorann Professional Kitchen. It adds flavor along with color. You can find it Hobby Lobby…your baked goods will thank you.

Red Velvet Emulsion

Red Velvet Brownies
from NewlyWeds Blog

1 cup  unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1-2 oz red food coloring (optional)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour an 9 X 13 clear glass baking pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, then stir in food coloring (if not using food coloring add 4 T of water or milk) and vanilla, mix until the color is fully incorporated. Mix flour, cocoa and salt in a separate bowl.  Slowly add in the flour mixture being very careful not to over mix..  Do not over mix.  The batter will be very thick.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir up the batter with a rubber spatula once or twice just to ensure all of the flour has incorporated from the sides of the bowl and there isn’t anything stuck on the bottom of the bowl.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes. 35 minutes for a thin crust on top and gooey underneath.  Set aside to cool, cut into bars and serve.


Red Velvet Puppy Chow

redvelvetpuppychowValentine’s Day is a perfect time for cute and tasty gifts for friends and family.

I have had my eye on this Red Velvet Puppy Chow Recipe for a while and wanted to try it out…because I am a HUGE fan of red velvet and puppy chow. Put in a clear bag, add ribbon and a tag and it is a cute way to say Happy Valentine’s Day!

Red Velvet Puppy Chow from Your Cup of Cake

5 C. Rice Chex or Crispex cereal
3/4 C. white chocolate melts or chips
1/4 C. chocolate melts or chips
2 oz cream cheese, room temp
1 1/2 Tbsp. milk
1 C. Red Velvet Cake mix
1/2 C. powdered sugar
Valentines colored M&M’s or other candies
Heart sprinkles for extra decoration and cute-ness


Measure out Rice Chex cereal and place into a large bowl. Place cake mix and powdered sugar into a large plastic bag or tupperware with a lid. Melt chocolates together in the microwave or on the stove top. Careful not to burn and stir until smooth. Stir in cream cheese and milk (the chocolate will get thicker, but it’s okay) Pour chocolate over Rice Chex cereal and stir until coated. Dump cereal into the bag or tupperware with powdered sugar and cake mix. Shake, shake, shake until coated. Dump onto a cookie sheet and let cool. Mix with extra colorful candies and serve!

Because of the cream cheese, I would recommend eating it the day your make it, or tell your Valentine to store it in the fridge. You can also omit the cream cheese all together if you wish…if you do that, you don’t need the milk either!

Hurts Donut Company

Hurts Donut 1

Hurts Donuts 2

I finally made it to Hurts Donut this past weekend. I am going to be honest, I was actually there twice taking pictures, but that is kind of beside the point. For those of you who haven’t heard of Hurts, it is this super cute donut place right off the square. If you live in the Springfield area or if you are visiting the Springfield area…you should stop by Hurts Donut. The donut creations (made with amazing cake donuts) are are so tasty and creative. They also make a really fun unexpected gift…if you can resist them for yourself.

Below is my little buddy Lucas enjoying his donut. He enjoyed all of it…and some of his sister’s too!

Hurts Donut 3

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Vanilla Extract

This Christmas, I made some homemade vanilla extract for gifts. I have to say, it ended up being one of my favorite gifts to give. It is unique, smells amazing, something everyone uses…and it makes an extremely cute gift. It would also be perfect for any time of year!

Homemade Vanilla Extract

I have seen lots of pins on pintrest for homemade vanilla extract, but I did my research at Tidy Mom.

Here is what you will need:

Bottles – These Wheaton Bottles from Amazon are my favorite. I did purchase some at Hobby Lobby too when they had glass 1/2 off…those are pictured below.

Vanilla Beans – I purchased my vanilla beans from Olive Nation, they were on sale. There is also Beanilla. I would recommend getting them online, they are super expensive at the grocery store.

Vodka – It can be the cheap stuff.

Lables and Ribbon for decorating

The Process

Wash and dry bottles.

Using a sharp knife, slice each vanilla bean in half. Tthen starting about 1/4″ from one end, cut the vanilla bean lengthwise.

Place 6-8 vanilla bean pieces (that would be 3-4 whole beans) in each 8 ounce bottle. Using a measuring cup or funnel, pour vodka into each bottle completely covering the beans in the liquid.

Next, place the lids on tightly and store bottles in a cool, dark environment. Shake them about once a week. The vanilla will be ready to use as soon as 6 weeks, and the longer you allow it to age, the darker it will become and the more intense the vanilla flavor will be. My vanilla took the entire 8 weeks, you could literally smell when it was ready!

After 8 weeks the majority of the extraction process is complete and the vanilla is ready to use. The vanilla beans can be removed or you can leave the vanilla beans in the jar for the flavor to continue evolve. I remevoed the vanilla beans for most of the ones I gave as gifts. I ended up removing the beans and running the vanilla through cheese cloth just to refine it. I do still have the vanilla beans in the bottle I am using in my kitchen and I love it!

The price per bottle of vanilla extract comes out to around $6-8 each.

I appologize for the picture quality, but this is the only one I have from the day I began the vanilla extract process…back in October.  I will probably be making some more soon…if my friends and family don’t get tired of it!

Vanilla Extract 2

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Sandwiches


Hey Friends! It has been quite a while.  (I feel like I always say that) I sincerely hope you had an amazing holiday season! I spent so much time in the kitchen baking for the holidays, I just got insanely lazy about blogging (and taking care of a 20 month old & 4 year old…that tends to keep one busy!) One of my new years resolutions is to blog a bit more than I did in 2013…We shall see, but I do have a few recipes to catch you up on!

Kicking off 2014 with these Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Sandwiches. This recipe uses my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe with a cookie dough buttercream in between. They are so rich, but oh so good!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Sandwiches

The Cookies

I have been using this recipe since I was a little girl…I have adapted a few things slightly over the years, but it is my favorite.

2 1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

A pinch of salt

1/2 cup butter at room temperature

1/2 cup shortening

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs lightly beaten

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla (honestly, I never measure vanilla)

1 12 oz package semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix flour, soda and salt together and set aside. Combine butter, shortening, sugars and vanilla and beat until creamy. Add beaten eggs and flour mixture. Mix well. Sir in chocolate chips. Roll into balls and bake 8-10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Cookie Dough Buttercream

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup mini chocolate chips

Beat together butter and browned sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in flour, powdered sugar, and salt until combined. Add heavy cream and vanilla until fluffy. Stir in chocolate chips.

Once cookies have cooled completely. Sandwich the cookie dough buttercream in between two cookies.

Makes 18-20 sandwiches