Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bites


November starts off the holiday season in our home. We already have Christmas music blaring and I can’t wait to start shopping for gifts! To kick off the holiday season, I made Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bites for our local Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. These delicious little nuggets are full of Christmas spirit and are small enough to not feel too guilty eating. The mix of semisweet mini chocolate chips with peppermint is the perfect blend to get you in the mood for the holidays!
img_3569
The first step of baking these scrumptious treats is to make the graham cracker crust. I couldn’t find chocolate graham crackers so I added 2 tsp of cocoa powder to the original graham crackers, butter, and sugar mixture. After blending the ingredients, I pressed the crust into the mini muffin tins and baked the crust for 5 minutes just so it comes together.
Once the crust is nice and hard (don’t burn these!), then it’s time to add the cheesecake filling. I combined the crushed peppermint candies, softened cream cheese, sugar, flour, egg and sour cream in my mixer. I mixed it until it was well blended. Then I stirred in the mini chocolate chips and peppermint extract. Pay attention to how much extract you put in because you don’t want your treats tasting like toothpaste! Yuck!
img_3565
img_3566
img_3567
After pouring the peppermint chocolate chip cheesecake batter into the already cooked graham cracker crust I baked them until they were crackly on top. In my oven, it took a little longer than 15 minutes, but I just kept checking to make sure they were still doing ok. When they were no longer jiggly, I pulled them out of the oven to cool on a wire rack. Once they were all cooled, I popped those little suckers out of the muffin tin and topped them with cool whip, chocolate sprinkles and crushed peppermint candies. They are super cute and perfect for a dessert buffet or holiday party!
Ingredients:
8 chocolate graham cracker rectangles, crushed (1/3 package)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
6 peppermint candies
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 egg
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 cup whipping topping
6 peppermint candies, crushed
2 tablespoons chocolate sprinkles
Recipe:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Mix the graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar and the butter in bowl. Press a heaping teaspoon of the crumb mixture in the bottom of each miniature muffin cup coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 5 minutes. Process 6 candies, the cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, the flour, egg and sour cream in a food processor until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips and peppermint extract. Pour in the prepared crusts. Bake for 15 minutes or until small cracks form on the tops. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely. Top each cheesecake with 1 teaspoon of the whipped topping. Sprinkle with the crushed candies and chocolate sprinkles.
Yield: 2 dozen

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bread


Happy November! November is pumpkin season  and what better way to celebrate  than by making peanut butter pumpkin bread from the Savor the Seasons cookbook. I made it for our “Friendsgiving” and it was a hit at the party. It is easy to make and tastes delicious! It is also a good alternative to pumpkin pie if you still want to serve something sweet at Thanksgiving.

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups canned pumpkin
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 10oz package peanut butter chips

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger in a medium bowl. Combine the pumpkin, water, oil and eggs in a mixing bowl and beat until blended. Add the flour mixture gradually, beating constantly until blended. Stir in the peanut butter chips. Pour into three greased and floured 5 by 9 inch loaf pans or seven greased and floured miniature loaf pans. Bake 55 to 70 minutes for the standard loaf pans or 45 to 65 for the miniature loaf pans. You will know they are done when you can insert a tooth pick and the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes.

Yield: 3 large loaves or 7 miniature loaves

Bananas Foster 


Are you looking for a perfect dessert recipe for the holidays? Well I found one easy one for you…bananas foster. This classic and delicious dessert is a favorite amongst everyone. 

Who doesn’t like bananas and some rum?! Anyways, here’s the recipe below and the ingredients you’ll need. Most of them you should have at home as well. Enjoy! 

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar 
  • 1/4 cup banana liqueur 
  • 1/4 cup dark rum 
  • Dash of 151 rum 
  • Dash of cinnamon 
  • 4 firm bananas, sliced 
  • Vanilla ice cream 

Steps to make the bananas foster: 

Melt the butter in a skillet. Stir in the brown sugar. Cook until melted and well blended. Add the banana liqueur, dark rum, 151 rum, cinnamon and bananas. Cook until the bananas are warm and softened; do not let bananas get mushy. 

Scoop the ice cream into dessert bowls and top with hot banana mixture. Serve immediately. 

Pulled Party Pork


The Life of the Party cookbook has become my favorite of all the League cookbooks. I especially love the Pulled Party Pork on page 93. It is a super easy recipe. You put the pork butt and water in a crockpot and let it cook while you complete your day. By the time you come home, you shred the meat and add the last few ingredients to complete your dinner. It makes a huge amount. I have taken this to several friends after they have had a baby and always get rave reviews.

Ingredients:

1 (3-pound) pork tenderloin or Boston butt roast

1 cup water

1 (18-ounce) bottle prepared barbecue sauce

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon each salt and pepper

Combine the pork and water in a slow cooker. Cook on High for 7 hours. Drain, reserving 1 cup liquid. Shred the roast in the slow cooker with a fork. Add the remains ingredients. Add the reserved cooking liquid if necessary. Cook on Low for 1 hour. Serve on rolls for sandwiches if desired.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-10-25-51-pm

image2

image3

image4

Plus, it is kid approved!

Pound Cake with Raspberry Sauce


One Bowl Pound Cake with a Quick Raspberry Sauce

This is a great and easy recipe that is perfect for any occasion. It only requires a few ingredients, most of which are probably already in your pantry, and comes together with very little effort. And don’t forget to make the raspberry sauce, it takes this cake to a whole new level!

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the cake…

2 1/2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 (8oz) container lemon or vanilla yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 eggs

For the raspberry sauce…

1 (12 oz) bag defrosted frozen raspberries

4 or 5 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10 inch bundt pan. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, butter, yogurt and eggs in a large mixing bowl and beat at low speed until blended. Beat at medium speed for 3 minutes. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Serve with Quick Raspberry Sauce. Yield: 8 servings

 

Strawberry Bread


Strawberry Bread

This is an easy bread to make that is great for breakfast, but really can be enjoyed anytime! It’s a perfect thing to make in the winter when strawberries are in season, but I have made it throughout the year and it’s always been delicious.

Here’s what you’ll need:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

1 pound fresh strawberries, sliced

1 1/4 cups pecans (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and sugar in a bowl. Make a well in the center. Add the eggs and oil and mix until moistened. Stir in the strawberries and pecans. Pour into two greased 5×7-inch loaf pans or one 9×13-inch baking pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 20 servings

Pina Colada Muffins 


Happy Saturday! Hope you all are enjoying your weekend. As we are approaching summertime, I thought what better snack to have around then pina colada muffins! Super easy to make and delicious. 

I know I’ll be bringing some to the pool with friends along with real pina coladas ;) 

Here is what you’ll need: 

1 (2 layer) package yellow cake mix

1 teaspoon coconut extract 

1 teaspoon rum flavoring

1 cup flaked coconut 

1 cup chopped nuts (macadamia or pecans) 

1 cup of drained pineapple 

Prepare the cake mix according to the package directions. Stir in the coconut extract, rum flavoring, coconut, nuts and pineapple; do not overmix. Fill greased or paper lined muffin cups 3/4 full. You can also bake it in mini muffin pans. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes. 

Yield: 30 regular muffins or 8 dozen mini muffins