Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Easy Back to School Breakfast "Berry Apple Swiss Oatmeal"

As I am writing this post, I am eating a jar of the Back to School Berry Apple Swiss Oatmeal my eighteen year old step daughter made for her dad and I.  She absolutely loves these jars for breakfast, lunch and dinner , LOL!  I thought it would be a good idea for her to do a run through on the recipe to see how it tasted if someone else made it.  Just as delicious. 

If you're not a breakfast person like me, this is a great alternative.  The flavors are crisp and creamy  from the apples and yogurt and with a hearty flavor from the oatmeal and nuts.  It will keep you full til lunch so you're not snacking. If you are always in a rush in the morning (like me)  packing lunches and get myself out the door, this is a great shortcut. I make them on Sunday night and we are ready to go on Monday morning, just grab a jar and a topping bag and I'm out the door.  Trust me when I say, I make this weekly... my family absolutely loves these jars.  I cannot believe I waited so long to start making them.   But here they are now. So I hope you give this recipe a try...

Happy Cooking everyone!

Easy Back to School Breakfast "Berry Apple Swiss Oatmeal"
Makes 8 jars

3 cups Old Fashioned Oats
3 cups Lowfat Vanilla Yogurt (not Greek)
2 cups  Low Fat Milk (or you can use Vanilla Almond Milk)
4 Tablespoon Honey
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
pinch of salt
3 Granny Smith Apples, cored and sliced into cubes
1 cup sliced Strawberries or 1 cup Blueberries
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup of toasted almond slices
3 tablespoons light brown sugar or 2 tablespoons of white sugar

8-16 oz Mason Jars  (Target is a great source for these)
Cooking Spray
Large bowl

1. In a Large bowl add 3 cups of old fashioned oats

2. Add 3 cups vanilla yogurt

3. Add 2 cups of milk, 3 tablespoons of honey and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Mix everything together

4. Core and Cut up three large Granny Smith apples into 1" cubes.

5. Add chopped apples into the large bowls

6. Add a cup of cut strawberries or cup of blueberries and 1/3 cup of dried cranberries in the large bowl

7. Fold in the cut up fruit into the yogurt/oat mixture

8. Add 2-3 1/4 cups measurements of mixture into each of the mason jars. Tighten lids and put in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours.

9. Turn on oven to 350 degrees.   Add 1 cup a sliced almonds to cookie sheet.  Spray with coconut oil or  vegetable oil.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Bake for 5 minutes, till nuts are golden.   Remove from oven and cool.   Put 2-3 tablespoons of nut mixture in 8 plastic snack bags and serve with Berry Apple Swiss Oatmeal.

10. Oats are good in the refrigerator for 3-4 for days for freshness.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Peach Pie Cookies #thecreativecookieexchange

One of the best things about Summer is definitely the fresh fruit, especially peaches! I love, love, love me some peaches. Peach Cobbler is my absolute favorite dessert (although at certain times of the month, it might be a tie with Chocolate Chip Cookies).

The theme for this month's Creative Cookie Exchange is "Celebrating the End of Summer" and while I'm all about doing a happy dance to celebrate the end of hot Summer days, I am always sad to say goodbye to my beloved peach so of course I just had to pay homage to my favorite fruit.

Peach Pie "Cookies" is just my creative way of saying "peach pie that you can shove in your mouth without looking like an insane person" because that is absolutely what you'll want to do when you bite into one of these babies. I literally almost swooned when I took my first bite. I felt my knees start to buckle and everything, and you know when that happens, you're onto something good.

If heaven were a flavor, this would be it. Who's with me?

Peach Pie Cookies
Makes 12 large cookies or 14-15 small muffin size cookies

Note: For this recipe I used my Whoopie Pie pan but standard size muffin/cupcake pans will work also, you'll just get more cookies

1 9" pie crust (use premade or your favorite homemade recipe)
2 large yellow peaches, peeled and diced (approx. 1/4" in size)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons golden or light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon cornstarch
zest of one small lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Approx 1/4 cup water

Streusel Ingredients:
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed


Spray your whoopie pie pan (or cupcake/muffin pan if using) generously with non-stick cooking spray.

Make the streusel by combining all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl and cutting in the butter with 2 knives or a pastry cutter. Set aside.

Place the diced peaches, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cornstarch and lemon zest in a small saucepan and toss with a rubber spatula to coat. Add the lemon juice and water and stir. Cook over low heat, stirring often, until the peaches start to become tender (approx. 5 minutes). Note: If the mixture becomes too dry/thickened while you're cooking it, add a little more water.

Remove from heat, place filling in a bowl and allow to cool to room temp.

Cut the pie dough into 12 circles (if using a whoopie pie pan) using a cookie cutter or approx. 14-15 if using standard muffin/cupcake pans. The dough should fit into the bottom of each well without any gaps. Tip: You don't want the pie dough to be too thin because it is the "base" of your cookie. I cheated and used a premade dough and just unrolled it without rolling it out any further. Keep this in mind if using homemade pie dough.

Place the cut circles of dough into the bottom of each greased well. Evenly divide the cooled pie filling into each well and top with the streusel. Then spray the tops with canola oil spray.

Bake at 350 for approx. 20 minutes or until the streusel is set and browned. Tip: You want to make sure the crust is nice and crispy so the cookies are easy to remove and the bottom is a sturdy base for the filling.

Remove from oven and place the pan(s) on a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Gently run a thin/sharp knife around the edges to loosen the pies and remove to a cooling rack.


These cookies are best enjoyed the day they are made.

Summer is almost over, and we have cookies to remember it by! Hint: a lot of these cookies could be made and frozen, to pull out a slice of summer in February! You can also use us as a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:

Pineapple Carrot Muffins

My first test run on this muffin recipe was a few months ago when we were having a breakfast at Faye's (the brains behind LiveBakeLove).  She had invited a few friends and their kids to just hangout and have breakfast.  She asked me to bring muffins since we were going to have kids around.  I have a basic muffin recipe which I have posted on LivebakeLove a few times using different flavor combinations, love the recipe.  Since pineapple is in season right now, it's cheap and perfectly sweet so I thought this would be a good starting point for a muffin.  I was going to follow my normal recipe and add pineapple  and carrots when I realized I didn't have enough all purpose flour, but I did have wheat flour and cake flour.  So I said, what the heck.. let me give it a try. There you have it, the creation of my Pineapple Carrot Muffins!
Honestly, these muffins are so delicious, no wonder the kids at the party loved them so much. And the funny thing is they were eating fruit and veggies without knowing it. 
I decided to remake the recipe this past weekend and brought it to a potluck party.  I sprinkled a little powdered sugar on top of them and served them as "cupcakes" without frosting, well... a hit again!  The flavor of the fresh pineapple and carrots with a hint of cinnamon makes these muffins delicious. Not overly sweet, but just enough sweetness to satisfy your sweet tooth.
I hope you give these muffins a try.
Happy Cooking Everyone

Pineapple Carrot Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

3/4  cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 tea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup grated carrot
1 cup fresh crushed pineapple
1 egg, room temp
3/4 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
powdered sugar to sprinkle on top (optional)

1. Carrots- I took, grated carrots you find already packaged at the store and put them in my food processor for about 1 minute. Love the way the carrots grate down to little bits. You will need 1 cup of these grated carrots.

2. Pineapple- I took fresh pineapple which I had cut into chunks and put them in my food processor for about 1 minute. Once done, I drained the excess juice.  You will need 1 cup of the crushed pineapple.

1. In a large bowl, whisk the three flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together the egg, milk, cooking oil and vanilla.  Whisk until smooth.

3. Add the carrot and pineapple to flour mixture and toss with a rubber spatula until combined. Mixture will appear crumbly.

4. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture, stir just until moistened, but do not over mix or you will have tough muffins.

5. Divide mixture evenly between the 12 muffin cups

6. Bake for 20-24 minutes at 375 degrees.
7. Muffins will appear fluffy.

8. Serve warm or wait 10 minutes to cool and sprinkle with powder sugar.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Mexican Gorditas (Griddle Cookies)


Most of us have those cherished childhood memories of our moms making us a special treat. One of my favorite memories as a kid was my mom making these Gorditas (Mexican Griddle Cookies). Seeing her make these cookies usually meant we were in for a treat of Gorditas with Mexican hot chocolate... yummy! I can still picture myself as a young girl patiently waiting until they were done... 
  I have to admit, I still consider myself that same lucky girl. My mom is in her late sixties and still makes special treats for her family. I was having a lucky day this past weekend, when both my dad and I asked her to make Gorditas within the same week. I guess great minds think alike! 
This time I made of point of having my mom measure the ingredients as she prepared the dough so I could document it for the blog. One thing about my mom, she doesn't use a single measuring cup or spoon. Trying to get any recipe from her through the years has been a bit challenging. Well this time, you guys are in for treat!  These cookies are tasty and delicious. They have a buttery flavor with a hint of cinnamon.  They are excellent with a cup of coffee or cup of hot chocolate.  They are great for breakfast (which I had this morning) or an afternoon snack.
This is one of my most cherished family recipes and I hope you give it a try.
Happy Cooking Everyone

Mexican Gorditas (Griddle Cookies)
Makes 18-20

4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups salted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
1/4 cup evaporated milk
3 large eggs, room temp

1. Place all ingredients together in a large bowl

2. Knead with your hands until combined


3. The dough will have a shiny look.  Allow the dough to rest 30-60 minutes. This is an important step to allow the flavors to combine.

5. Once dough has rested, divide into18-20 balls (about 2 inches wide)

6. Between two pieces of wax paper, roll the balls into 5 inch circles. Use a Mexican tortilla press if you have one. They work amazing.

7. Cook cookies on a heated griddle about 3-4 minutes on each side. The cookies should appear toasted.

8. Cool on at kitchen towel for about 5 minutes and enjoy! The cookies will get a bit harder the next day, but it makes them even better for coffee.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Pepper Jack and Green Chile Cornbread Madeleines for #thecreativecookieexchange

Have you ever had a savory madeleine? If not, you're in for a treat with my Pepper Jack Cheese and Green Chile Cornbread Madeleines!
The theme for this month's Creative Cookie Exchange was cheese. As most of you know, I can't eat dairy (wah!) except for small amounts of butter or milk/cream in some baked goods, so to be honest, I was unable to eat my own creation. Everyone who tried them, enjoyed them so I am trusting their judgement on this one. I don't think they would steer me wrong!
These madeleines are not the kind you would have for dessert with a cup of tea (although you could if you wanted!). Think of them as the perfect side dish to a bowl of your favorite chili or tomato soup. 
So, c'mon.  Be wild and take a walk on the savory side! You just might find you enjoy it there...

Green Chile and Pepper Jack Cheese Cornbread Madeleines
Makes 24

1/4 c diced yellow onion
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 large egg
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons honey
5 tablespoons butter melted and cooled
1/2 cup diced green chiles
1/2 cup grated pepper jack cheese


Preheat oven to 350 f

Spray a madeleine pan with nonstick spray and set aside.

Heat 2 tsp of olive oil in a small skillet and cook the onions over low heat until softened. Drain and set aside to cool.

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, honey and melted-cooled butter.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the cheese and green chiles.

Spoon enough batter to just fill each madeleine cavity. Bake approx. 10 minutes or until the madeleines spring back when pressed and they are lightly browned.

Remove from oven and cool in pan for about one minute, then remove from pan. Repeat process until all batter is used (be sure to cool the madeleine pan before baking the next batch).

Serve warm or room temp with butter.

As with all Madeleines, these are best enjoyed the day they are baked.

Cheese makes everything better--even cookies! Sweet or savory, you can find them here! You can also use us as a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Summer Fruit & Riesling Pie

Now you can have your wine and eat it too with this Summer Fruit Pie with Riesling in the filling!
I liked that the pie was not overly sweet and the fruit still maintained most of its' shape without breaking down into a pile of mush. You could definitely see the different combinations of fruit that was used in the filling.
The Riesling added a nice fruity note. Be sure to use a Riesling that you would enjoy drinking. I used a J. Lohr Riesling from Paso Robles.
The great thing about pie is how adaptable it is! Use different combination of fruit or the thickening agent of your choice. I used flour because that's what I had on hand, but some people prefer cornstarch or tapioca starch. Also, if you're a pie baker, you may already have your own preferred baking technique. Some prefer to bake at a high temp for the first 15-20 minutes of baking, then reducing the temperature.

If you're looking for a slightly sophisticated dessert that capitalizes on the freshness of Summer fruit and isn't too complicated to make, this recipe is for you. Use a good quality store bought pie crust for a quick short cut to make the recipe even easier!

No matter how you bake it, pie is always delicious!


Summer Fruit & Riesling Pie


Double crust pie crust (store bought or homemade)
Here is my favorite pie crust recipe
Yvonne really likes this store bought crust

6 1/2 cups assorted fresh fruit (I used sliced strawberries, blueberries, sliced peaches and sliced nectarines)
*I cut the strawberries in half and left the skin on the peaches and nectarines and sliced them into 1/4" thick slices)
1/2 cup sweet Riesling wine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
1/2 cup water
Egg wash: one egg beaten with a little water
Demerara Sugar (sugar in the raw) for sprinkling


Place all of the filling ingredients in a medium size heavy bottom saucepan and toss to combine. Cook over low heat until the mixture comes to a simmer stirring often. Simmer and stir until some of the fruit breaks down and the mixture thickens (approx. 5-7 minutes). If you find your mixture is getting too thick, add a little more water.

Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool. To help with the cooling process, stir occasionally to allow steam to escape.

When filling is cool, place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven and preheat oven to 375f

Roll out your crust to approx. 1/8" thick. It should be large enough to fit in the bottom of the pie dish with 1" overhang of crust. Place the bottom crust into the bottom of a glass pie dish (I prefer glass so you can see how done the bottom of the crust it, but metal is fine also).

Scoop the filling into the pie crust lined pie dish. Make sure it is in an even layer.

Roll out the second pie crust to 1/8" thickness. Place the second pie crust on top (you can do a lattice design, cut outs like I did or leave the top crust whole). If you leave the top crust whole, trim the edges then fold under and crimp. Cut a few vent holes in the top with a sharp knife to allow air to escape. If you do a lattice effect you still need to fold the edges of the crust under and crimp. For cut outs, just cut the crust into any shape you want using cookie cutters, then lay on top of the filling making sure you overlap the pieces.

Brush the top crust and edges with the egg wash and sprinkle with demerara sugar.

Place the pie on the preheated cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, loosely tent the top with foil making sure there is space for air to circulate underneath the foil and continue baking for another 15-20 minutes or until the fruit has a slow bubble and the crust is golden brown. If you used a glass pie dish, you can lift the pie high enough to see underneath to check to make sure the bottom of the crust is done too.

Remove from oven and place the pie on a wire cooling rack for several hours to cool before serving.
Serve with whipped cream, ice cream and another glass of wine!

Pie is best eaten same day or next day.

Recipe adapted from Bakeaholic Mama