Category Archives: Delicious Desserts

S’mores krispies

Right. So who’s ready for some serious summer fun? I know, I know, I sound like the oldest of ladies, but can you believe next week is July already?! Here I am dreading the summer’s passing, but then again, we’ve got some great plans lined up for the Fourth and the week to follow!

That means for you, my loyal and loving reader, that these here posts are about to become more sporadic for the next two weeks. As Himself and I travel to points north of the border, we unplug all the electronics. ALL. Then with our staycation + camping to follow, we’ve agreed no electronic distractions there either ! We’ll see if I shall survive.

I jest of course. We’ve been unplugging from the Interwebs for the most part on Sundays already, and I have to say, it’s pretty dang awesome. It pretty much reinforced a. how glued I am to my phone and b. what a distraction that is.

But before I leave for vacay, my lovelies, I have an awesome dessert you should be bringing to all your Fourth cookouts. What travels better than barsssssss? (Yes those extra esses belong there, try it, say it out loud, there you go, you sound just like a Minnesotan) These are not your average rice krispie bars, oh no. These are like a chilled s’more, ready to pop in your mouth, no campfire required. And they’re dad approved, so you *know* you’re going to love them!

Enjoy!

S’mores krispies from thePenandthePan

S’mores krispies

4 cups rice krispies
2 cups cinnamon toast crunch
5 tablespoons butter
4 cups mini marshmallows
⅔ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup white chocolate chips

Line a 9×13-inch pan with foil or grease lightly with butter. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together rice krispies and cinnamon toast crunch. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt butter and marshmallows over medium low heat. Once marshmallows are completely melted. Remove from heat and add marshmallow mixture to cereal mixture. Mix together thoroughly. Add in semisweet and white chocolate chips, mix thoroughly.

Pat into prepared pan, let cool completely before cutting into bars.

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Raspberry lemonade bundt cake

You know what the best thing about rainy days is? A total excuse to stay inside, vegging on the couch, indulging in terrible Netflix marathons (thank you Bitten). But really, when it’s raining and I found out they turned one of my favorite sci-fi books into a tv series, what more can you expect?! Also, in the world according to me, you need at least one of those days a month. At least. There you go, feel free to quote me the next time someone tries to make you feel guilty about a day spent making BFF with your tv and your couch.

And now here with this post, you all are going to think I am just the laziest. I mean, I made a cake with a cake mix! <gasp> And yes, I do know how easy it is to make a cake from scratch (go on, take a gander at that apple & lime cake I made for you a while back, I’ll wait). But let me paint a picture for you…

A girl with a foodie bent rushes into the grocery store to pick up exactly two items. Just two. And rushes is key. After a long day, she wants nothing more than to get home, get dinner on the table, and get outside. Racing through the store on a mission for corn meal, she lands in the baking aisle. And there, brightly festooned with the word SALE is a lemon cake mix. A brightly yellow cake that screams sunshine and summer and oh, it’s on sale, that means it’s good. And it’s so yellow, you can just imagine the burst of brightness that will dance on your tongue when it hits that first tastebud. Yeah, so that’s what went through my mind, and so promptly without a second thought grabbed the mix. And then like so many impulse buys, returned home, only to look disappointedly at the package, and thought, “huh, what am I going to do with that?”

Well, here’s what you do. You make a cake so delicious and moist and light and sweetly tart that it is like a burst of sunshine and summer in your mouth. So yes, you know what? Sometimes it is ok to make a cake with a mix.

Enjoy!

Raspberry lemonade bundt cake from thePenandthePan

Raspberry lemonade bundt cake

Adapted from the Quick Fixes with Cake Mixes cookbook

1 lemon cake mix
4 eggs
½ cup milk
¼ cup oil
½ cup sugar
1 – 8 oz package of cream cheese
juice of one lemon
1 ½ cups fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon flour

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour one large or three medium bundt pans and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together cake mix, eggs, milk, oil, and sugar on low. Add cream cheese and lemon juice and increase speed to medium, beating 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, toss the berries with flour until well coated. Gently fold berries into mixed batter by hand. Pour batter into prepared pan(s). Bake for 50-55 minutes for a large bundt pan or 40-45 for smaller.

Cool cakes before removing from pan. Turn cakes out onto platter and dust with powdered sugar. Store uneaten (yeah, right!) cake in refrigerator.

Homemade taffy

You guys, I got to go to a gala this week! I’m more than a little excited. You see for years this gal was the one working the galas, and it was pretty rad to finally be the one experiencing it. Even better was the fact that the whole event was a celebration of living in the best place on earth. It was a premier for a documentary showcasing all the hidden gems in the area. Best part? It was staged like a movie premier complete with paparazzi! Who’s feeling glamorous? Check out the teaser/fundraiser below…

I was also feeling a little nostalgic this week. And so taffy. How do those relate? Well, sit back and I’ll tell you. When I was a kid, my mom gave me free reign in the kitchen, as long as I cleaned up afterwards. What did I do with this freedom? Made huge messes of course. This here taffy was one of those messes. It only turned out about half the time, not because it’s a hard recipe, but because kids are easily distracted. Though the recipe comes straight from a kids cookbook that was my mom’s as a kid, I think candy making is more of an adult thing. I mean boiling sugar? It’s a wonder I don’t have horrific scars on my hands.

Oh, here I go trying to scare you off the recipe. Wait, wait, wait. The reason I kept making it, is that when it did work out (when a recipe says let the candy get to 255°, they mean it, whereas the child in me looked at that as a mere recommendation), ok, when it did work out, it was a blast! Pulling taffy is fun! And the flavor combos are fantastic. This is a recipe you make to share, and share right away, because it won’t stay tasty soft forever. So eat it up! in fact, you should totally be bringing this to your Memorial Day BBQ.

Enjoy!

Taffy from the Pen and the Pan-3

Homemade Taffy

from the Betty Crocker Boys and Girls Cookbook (my mom’s cookbook from the 60’s)

1 cup sugar (up the ante with ½ cup vanilla sugar and ½ cup sugar, look real close and you’ll see the flecks of vanilla)
½ cup water
¼ cup light corn syrup
⅛ teaspoon salt

Butter a platter and set aside.

Combine all ingredients together in a heavy saucepan. Slowly heat over medium low until all the sugar is dissolved.

Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue cooking and stirring until taffy reaches 255° on a candy thermometer.

Pour onto buttered platter at once and allow to cool. When taffy is cool enough to handle, butter hands, gather taffy up, and pull until white and firm.

Taffy from the Pen and the Pan-1

 

Pull taffy into a rope, twist, and cut with scissors.

Taffy from the Pen and the Pan-2

If desired taffy can be flavored before pulling. Add a few drops of peppermint, 1 teaspoon of vanilla or fruit flavored extract, or 2 tablespoons cocoa just before you start to pull it.

Cranberry banana bread

Someone may have gotten a tad too much sun today. Someone may be paying the price for an afternoon of awesomeness. Someone also promises to remember that even when cloudy, sunscreen is still required when working in the greenhouse.

This three day weekend was everything it promised to be, and makes those long work days so very worth it. Himself had to work on Saturday, so that and Friday were filled with exactly what I wanted them to be – messing around the house and yard. And then today (the first 70 degree day in AGES), we packed up a picnic and headed north to Scenic State Park, for a very scenic drive and picnic. There are few better ways to spend a Sunday, I tell you. Winding back roads, clear skies, a hint of a chill accompanying the breeze. Through the most roundabout way possible, we arrived at Scenic and found ourselves practically the only ones around. In fact, throughout the meal, we had the beach entirely to ourselves and the gorgeous view of the lake was pristine and undisturbed by boat or man.

Course, I’m not really great at this whole relaxation schtick, but days like these certainly make finding time to relax worth it. (Oh don’t worry, I filled the post-picnic time with plenty of greenhouse chores, hence the aforementioned sun blush). Of late though, I’ve found a rad way to relax, while still having something to show for it – nature (birds really) photography. Sitting still, the only sounds the birds singing their hellos to the sun and wind dancing and skipping through the tree branches. And then suddenly, one of those birds darts just close enough to see what the funny lady lounging in *his* backyard is doing.

Birds-17

Oh, hello there, Mr. Birdy. I see you eyeing me, and posing every so coyly as you glance back over your shoulder. So you want to be model, do you? Well, let me just see what I can do. This is definitely becoming my new favorite, second only to a wonderful picnic with my wonderful husband (I know, I know, but he *does* put up with a lot of crazy).

This here banana bread (more like a cake, really) would have been the perfect finisher to our picnic today had I remembered to pack it. Instead, I’ll remember to pack it in our lunches. Don’t let this be the recipe that you forget to make either. Even I, who doesn’t really love banana bread, was ready to devour it. I love the way the cranberries add a little zing, I mean I do love cranberries in everything, but they really dial back the bananas. And the lightness of the bread, so far removed from the dense, moist banana breads I used to make, changes the flavor completely. No mushiness, just deliciousness, you’re going to love it!

Enjoy!

Cranberry banana bread

Cranberry banana bread

lightly adapted from perfect baking

1 ½ cups plus 1 teaspoon flour
1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup dried cranberries
2 ripe bananas
4 tablespoons yogurt, plain or honey
½ cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 375°. Grease one large or three small loaf pans.

Roughly chop cranberries. In a small bowl, mix cranberries with 1 teaspoon flour, and stir to coat. Set cranberries aside.

In another small bowl, mash together bananas and yogurt. Set this aside too.

Sift together the remaining 1 ½ cups flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Set that aside too.

In a mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well. Add in banana and yogurt mixture.

By hand mix in dry ingredients, being careful not to overmix. Add in flour-coated cranberries. Spoon batter into pans. Bake at 375° for 50 minutes for one large loaf or 35 minutes for three small, or until just golden on top.

Bacon, tomato, and corn pasta

Is it creepy that every day I’m more and more convinced that I moved to the best place on earth? Are you tired of me going on and on extolling the virtues of living in the woods? Well, tough! Cause I love it here, and you get to hear all about it.

That’s not to say that there aren’t things that are tough, but everything seems so much more balanced than previously. I worked crazy long hours this week, but that just means I get a three day weekend. It’s been cold and gloomy this week, but last weekend was gorgeous and this one promises more of the same. We have a lot of yard work and cleanup on the agenda in the coming weekends (having moved into a place that was vacant and had the bare minimum done to the landscaping) but we have a hot tub to sink into after completing the work. See, it’s hard to get cranky when you’re surrounded by awesome.

I also continue to be amazed at the wildlife that surrounds us. Take for example this adorable (and nuisancey) deer. Sure, it means extra protection on the garden and apple trees, but that sight there still takes my breath away. Ok, maybe it’s because I’m screaming, “Cripes! Watch out for that deer!” but still.

Deer-1

So yeah, it’s been a busy, busy week, and I’m ready to collapse with a book (perhaps into the aforementioned hot tub). But that’s ok, because this tasty-asty pasta comes together in a snap. The bacon, of course, is amazing, but the balsamic cuts the richness. And fresh corn and tomatoes, yum! Even if it doesn’t look like spring yet, delish produce is making it’s way into the stores up here. Normally, you’d find me going on about the importance of local vegetables, but let’s be honest, it’s been a long winter, and that “fresh” sweet corn is starting to look awfully good. So don’t wait until high summer to make this, in fact, don’t even wait until tomorrow!

Enjoy!

Bacon tomato corn pasta

Bacon, tomato, and corn pasta

3 ears corn
8 ounces spaghetti
1/2 lb bacon, cut into 1/2 – 1 inch slices
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper diced
1 1/2 cups tomatoes halved
1Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp Chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese for serving

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove corn from cobs and set aside. Place cobs in water and add pasta. Cook pasta to desired doneness. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water. Toss pasta with 1/2 Tbsp oil. Return pasta to pan, covering to keep warm.

Meanwhile, cook bacon over medium high heat until browned. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel. Drain all but 1 tbsp of bacon fat from pan and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Reduce heat to medium. Add onions and green pepper. Cook 1 minute. Add corn and cook about 3 minutes more. Add tomatoes and basil and cook 2 minutes more. Stir in vinegar.

Add vegetables and bacon to pasta, toss with reserved pasta water. Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with Parmesan.

Blueberry lemon cream pie

Ooof. We are in the midst of some serious muck here guys. I mean I am up to my ears in mud, some courtesy of Mother Nature and some of my very own creation. After a gorgeous thaw over Easter weekend, we were treated to some hardcore (but gorgeous) snow.

 

Crazy snow

Said snow melted right quick, helped along by a lot of sunshine and a little rain. And that left us with the biggest mud puddle you ever did have the pleasure of mucking through. It made the yard chores on our list that much more difficult, but a heck of a lot of sloppy fun.

Himself and I managed to make our own little mud pies too. I’ve had my seeds and my garden plan laid out for ages, but with one thing and another only got around to planting now. Sigh. I’m at least three weeks behind where I wanted to be, but at least there was some fun and a lot of cooking crammed into those weeks. But, just look at these. Each of those wee little blocks holds a seed that I’m going to turn into a delicious recipe. No presh, though, right?!

20140427-180849.jpg

I guarantee there’s no mud in this delicious, fluffy pie I want to share with you. I whipped (literally) this pie up for G’ma’s birthday and it was a huge hit! I can’t wait to test it out with other fruits too! A little orange raspberry just may be in Himself’s future. In fact, I’m not sure who loved this pie more, Himself or G’ma. It makes me pretty sure you’re going to adore it too!

Enjoy!

Blueberry lemon cream pie

Blueberry lemon cream pie

Adapted from luckyleaf.com

1 graham cracker crust
1-8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup sugar
1-21 oz. can blueberry pie filling
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed
Lemon zest curls

In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese, lemon juice, and sugar until smooth. Mix in pie filling by hand, being careful not to break the berries. Gently fold in whipped topping.

Spoon blueberry mixture into pie crust. Top with lemon zest. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Apple & lime cake

Oooof. Yup, that about sums up my week thus far. But today marks a rad turning point. This week has been filled with so much awesome (and one less than awesome), but I have a deep, dark secret. Someone might have a wee little (hah!) issue with anxiety.

Who knows what the turning point was, but after feeling like I needed to hide in a hole all week, suddenly today, there was just this sudden moment where I felt GREAT! It surely doesn’t hurt that all week people have been telling me how awesome I am, and admiring my skillz.

All the skillz except walking, that is. Someone may have ended up first on her behind and then secondly in the ER. I’m fine, but I took a tumble and landed on my wrist. Having broken the same wrist almost two years ago to the day (!!!), when it started to swell and bruise in that old familiar way, I hightailed it to the ER. A couple of x-rays and a few tears later, I just have a nasty sprain.

And not to get all gushy on you guys here, but Himself is pretty much the best ever. Despite being one-handed, my to-do list has been long enough for two people. He’s stepped up to the plate and helped with nearly each and every one. So here’s his reward. A delicious apple & lime cake. Made in adorable bundt pans.

Who doesn’t heart things in a miniature shape? I swear it totally makes it taste better. There’s no other excuse for why Himself and I both inhaled our respective pieces. Oh, it could also be the amazing flavor combination of apple and lime. So, if you’re not in possession of adorable, miniature bundt pans, you can still savor the deliciousness.

Enjoy!

Apple lime cake

Apple & lime cake

Adapted from the Perfect Baking cookbook

Cake:
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
5 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
⅔ cup applesauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 egg, lightly beaten

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 – 2 tablespoons lime juice
½ – ¾ teaspoon lime rind

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a deep 7-inch round cake pan or two 6-cup bundt pans.

In a small bowl, mix together flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add applesauce, lime juice, and egg, and mix thoroughly. Slowly add dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly incorporated.

Spoon batter into prepared pans and bake for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cake cool slightly before turning out onto baking rack to cool completely.

When cake has cooled completely, prepare glaze. Adjust lime juice and rind to your preferred intensity of lime flavor. Mix all ingredients together and drizzle over top of cake.

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