Cherry Apricot Crumble Bars

If you like Cherry Pie, you’ll enjoy this sweet treat by far. I’m not a Cherry Pie fan (gasp, I know) but I still make them for several people. These bars will be a great addition to the Fall line up at our house. If you cut them in smaller pieces you can convince yourself they will last longer , but I doubt they will. This recipe makes 1 dozen , which may or may not include the two I taste tested just to make sure they were good enough for the kids. Someone’s got to test them, might as well be me! Found this from an old issue of Taste of The South. 

3 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
¾ cup butter, melted
1 (21 ounce ) cherry pie filling
2/3 cup chopped dried apricots
Directions. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 13x9inch baking dish with foil, making sure you have it going over the edges of the pan (this way when it’s completely cooled, you can lift the bars right out by the foil edges. Can someone say easy clean up as well? See it’s already a winner)
Combine in a large bowl, the oats, flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Add the melted butter and toss it around till it’s combined. Reserve 1 cup of the mixture and set it aside, this will be your crumble topping.
Press the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake at 350F for about 12-14 minutes until it’s set.
In a small bowl combine the cherries and dried apricots. Spread the fruit over the crust making sure to cover it all. Sprinkle the reserved 1 cup mixture over the fruit and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until slightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before you remove it from the pan.
The sides may stick a little, but pull the foil back a little before you start cutting them into squares.

This is a guest post by Melanie from My Side of Life– who ALWAYS makes me hungry!  She is an avid gardener as well- so if you like to bake and you like to garden, her site is one for you!  🙂
Happy baking!  (and I want some missy!!!! LOL)


Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder and Recipe

We just got this fun product, and we can’t wait to try it out!   
As I was checking out the Nielsen-Massey Vanillas site, and found a whole mess of fun recipes to try out, like this one for Crisp Vanilla Butter Cookies– don’t they look amazing?  My husband and I love to cook and bake, and we can’t wait to try this vanilla powder out! 

Kids are now heading back to school and the transition out of summer mode can be difficult, especially for those who would rather play in the pool than practice their spelling. During the switch from home to school, parents can comfort kids by sneaking homemade snacks—inspired by Nielsen-Massey Vanillas products— into their backpacks. 

Nielsen-Massey’s Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder is a discreet, practical way to add extra flavor to some of childhood’s classic dessert recipes. Give classroom cupcakes an extra punch of flavor by stirring a pinch of Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder into the batter.  Take a brownie recipe to the next level by sprinkling Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder over the treat.  
“Our Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder is extremely versatile and easy to use,” said Beth Nielsen, chief culinary officer of Nielsen-Massey. “When school starts back up and schedules get crazy, using our vanilla powder can be an easy way to quickly enhance flavors.”
For a healthy, delicious treat that is sure to make your child the envy of everyone in the cafeteria, try Nielsen-Massey’s Healthy Fruit Nut Muffin recipe below.
Healthy Fruit Nut Muffins Makes 1 dozen muffins

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup plain yogurt
½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder
½ cup shredded carrots
1 cup coarsely chopped peeled apples
½ cup raisins
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup coconut
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray twelve muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add the egg, yogurt, butter and vanilla powder and mix with a wooden spoon; do not over mix. Stir in the carrots, apples, pecans, raisins, cranberries and coconut; the batter will be thick.
Fill each muffin cup with 1/3 cup batter. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
About Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder: Nielsen-Massey’s Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder is all natural and contains no sugar or alcohol. It is also available in organic form. It can be used in dry mixes, in liquid or color-sensitive products, and as a flavoring for beverages. Use it also to add flavor to fresh fruit or baked goods.

About Nielsen-Massey Vanillas
: Throughout its more than 100 year history, Nielsen-Massey Vanillas has earned its reputation as a manufacturer of the finest extracts in the world. The full line of Nielsen-Massey’s Pure Vanilla products include: Vanilla Beans and Extracts from Madagascar, Tahiti and Mexico; sugar and alcohol-free Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder; Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste; Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar and Certified Organic Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract and Beans.
Nielsen-Massey Vanillas recently introduced a line of Pure Flavors: Pure Chocolate Extract, Pure Almond Extract, Pure Orange Extract, Pure Lemon Extract, Pure Coffee Extract, Pure Peppermint Extract, Orange Blossom Water and Rose Water. All Nielsen-Massey products are Allergen-Free and certified Kosher and Gluten-Free. The company is headquartered in Waukegan, Illinois, with production facilities in Waukegan and Leeuwarden, The Netherlands.

Have fun, and happy baking  🙂 


King Arthur- The Best for Baking!

Its baking time!
So we all enjoy a little sweet stuff every now and then.  Ok well maybe not so much since my diet but I still have to keep the troops happy with some dessert.  So I gave King Arthur’s chocolate lava cake mix a try. 

Dying, right?  UGH!   I have got to say it came out quite good.  This mix was so easy to make and so good it is ridiculous.  It only took about 30 minutes, including the time it too to find the custard cups.  I love how the chocolate flows out of the cake upon first stab.  They are re real good right out the oven and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top…. or so I’ve heard.  My husband loves them and my kids just love the hot chocolate fudge center.  The only thing I will do different next time is get more mix. 🙂

Now onto something a bit more healthy.  I’m not sure if any of you have tried dieting or even eating well in a house of non-dieters, but temptation in the past but it is rough.  You want to eat well, but no one else in the house has to, or is willing to.  So you are stuck either being very jealous or feeding everyone else the diet food too.  Often getting at least one complaint- “this doesn’t taste normal”.  So sneaking in some healthy is a a tricky for somethings.   

King Arthur has made a white whole wheat flour that helps with this.  It has the nutrients of a whole wheat flour but none of the brown and specks of a whole wheat flour.  So it can be used in place of regular flour easily and without fuss, which is of course always the goal of a good meal.  No fuss, no religion, no politics-  will at least give you a good start at the table.   🙂

We have made pizza crust, pie crust, rue, and of course bread.  My personal favorite is the pizza crust.  It came out so good, and it is healthier, so it’s great.  My husband has perfected it.  Its all about good flour, a real hot oven, and a pizza stone.   🙂 


Hoodwinked- Recipies

Are your Little Sister Hood agents-in-training hungry??

In celebration of Anchor Bay Entertainment & The Weinstein Company’s August 16th release of HOODWINKED TOO! Hood vs. Evil on Blu-ray 3D*, Blu-ray 2D, DVD & Digital Movie Download, we present you with some recipes that are sure to delight your agents-in-training!  These kid-friendly recipes transform traditional meals into magical recipes they won’t be able to resist!

Click the link below to get all of the recipes, either one at a time or all at once!  Bon Appetite!


Spike Spices- Review and Contest!

As many of you know, I don’t love to cook. Sorry, I just don’t. I know, I’m a bad Italian! 🙂 But my husband LOVES to cook, so Yippee for that one, LOL. We got to try out this cool bunch of spices from Spike. Spike makes all sorts [Read more…]

Apple Crisp

I love baking 🙂
It is one of my favorite things to do.
Concord Foods sent me this box of Apple Crisp to try out. I actually had never tried it before!

We were going to the local farmers market anyway (we go on weekends- you know how I feel about organic foods and local produce!) so we bought some great, farm-fresh apples to go into our Apple Crisp.

As you can see- Little Man is “helping” pick out produce, lol…
The Apple Crisp was SUPER EASY to make. All you needed was the Apple Crisp mix, butter, (mmmm, butter) and 6-8 fresh apples. You just mix the apples and butter together and sprinkle the Apple Crisp on top! Little Man helped- Kamikaze was at her friend’s house. That is how easy it was. And it was ready in just 25 minutes!

Here is Daddy and Little getting ready for [Read more…]

My Little Man’s Birthday!!!

My Little Man just turned 3- and we had to celebrate!  He is currently really into “Yo Gabba Gabba!”, so mama made him a Brobee cake.  It only took about 2 hours.  (Did I mention I am not an artist?  Haha, I tried!)  It was 2 rectangle cakes, 1 is whole, 1 is cut into pieces.  There are stripes, coconut with green food coloring and green sugar crystals for the stripes, as well as green colored vanilla icing.  The horns are brownies with strawberry frosting, and his smile and eyes are melted chocolate.
We did a party at our school, and one with family at home.  
My Little Man had so much fun.  I can’t believe he is three….where did the time go?  What happened to my little newborn?