Roasted Potatoes with Tomatoes, Basil, and Garlic


2 pounds red potatoes, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
3/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
3 cloves garlic, pressed
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

2. In the prepared baking dish, toss the potatoes, tomatoes, basil, and garlic with the olive oil. Sprinkle with the rosemary.

3. Bake 20 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, turning occasionally, until tender.

Why it’s time to unshackle yourself from old ideas about ‘the stages of life’

Rudi Westendorp, University of Copenhagen

It might seem too simplistic to equate old people with old cars, but the comparison is a valid one. Everything ages. It is the accumulation of damage that we incur simply by being here. As with cars, our bodies break down with time, not because of any manufacturing defect, but due to wear and tear. The damage suffered by our biological machines over the years, makes them liable to break down even at normal, moderate levels of use. Such appliances are simply old and in need of repair.

Charles Darwin understood this. From a biological perspective, there is no reason for us to get old. Humans need to reproduce and care for their children, so that they – in turn – can reach maturity and produce offspring of their own. It is not us but the DNA, the blueprint for our bodies that creates an “eternal” life cycle, something that Darwin called fitness. Therefore we are all subject to strict biological programming to conceive, bear, and raise children. And of course to have sex.

Around age 40 to 50, our body begins to deteriorate. Permanent strains and greying hair are just the beginning, soon followed by glasses and hearing aids. Women become infertile, and other losses in function leaves us needing pacemakers and hip replacements.

All this biological degradation happens as our useful life is over, at least in the evolutionary sense. Darwinian logic is no different than economy; it is much more profitable to invest available resources in youth and sex than keeping up repairing bodies that will ultimately fail.

A more self-determined life

A cardiologist once told me that in old age “our bodies simply rot”, but this is an untruth. Swift progress in medicine and technology means that thinking of ageing only in terms of the biological is increasingly outdated.

From the 16th century, a popular motif in engravings was the “Ages of Man”, where the stages of a man’s life were represented on a rising and descending staircase, charting the chronological ascent from birth to a climax at the prime of life, and then descent towards eventual death. Men were depicted at the apex of their career at 50, while women were already sidelined by 30. For a long time this calendar age bound the ageing process, health, and social standing together.

Modern aged man.
Man by Shutterstock

But chronological, biological and social age are now becoming increasingly uncoupled. Sex and reproduction, that until recently had been directly linked to chronological and biological age, has now become a matter of choice. The contraceptive pill gave both women and men the power to choose whether and when sex should lead to reproduction. At the other side of the spectrum, IVF now allows women to have children at an age that was previously impossible. After having frozen some of your eggs you could even think of deferring your pregnancy till postmenopausal age.

We now have more time. In developed countries we’ve already doubled our lifespan from 40 to 80 years, have increased our odds of reaching retirement to 9:10 , and when we retire there is still another 20 years to go. Our sequential development may be genetically fixed, but ageing is not programmed and actually unfolds more erratically.

Every day we are getting better at finding ways to prevent and repair damage. We can now lower blood pressure and cholesterol with medication such as statins if your genes have endowed you with too much of it. Think of the quick fix when the cardiologist reopens your coronary arteries when you suffer an alarming pain in your chest and prevents tissue death from a lack of oxygen.

All these modern mechanics not only prevent you from dying off early, but also prevent your organs from dysfunction and keep your performance better for longer.

It is now that 75 is the new 65, not only in terms of life expectancy but also the functional capacities of our bodies. The certainty that most of us will reach old age with well-functioning bodies should unshackle us from the stages of life that have helped structure our societies in the past, but are now completely outdated.

Why nervously rush our children through the educational systems when they are most likely to become a centenarian? Many of us have a strong desire for a more self-determined and individualised life trajectory. Never before has fiction and reality come so close. Fertility, health and age have at least in part, become disconnected from each other. This asset however, is too little exploited so far.

While we may appreciate an explosion of life, we still don’t have a clue what to do with it.

The Conversation

Rudi Westendorp is Professor of Medicine at Old Age at University of Copenhagen.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

Amazing Hummus

Yield: Makes 4 cups


1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
3 garlic cloves, peeled
3/4 cup sesame seed paste
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, and more to taste
Cayenne or hot Hungarian paprika
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 teaspoons olive oil



1. Rinse the soaked chickpeas well and drain them before putting them in a saucepan and covering them with plenty of fresh water. Bring to a boil; skim, add one-half teaspoon salt, cover and cook over medium heat, about 1 1/2 hours, until the chickpeas are very soft (you might need to add more water).

2. Meanwhile, crush the garlic and one-half teaspoon salt in a mortar until pureed. Transfer the puree to the work bowl of a food processor, add the sesame seed paste and lemon juice and process until white and contracted. Add one-half cup water and process until completely smooth.

3. Drain the chickpeas, reserving their cooking liquid. Add the chickpeas to the sesame paste mixture and process until well-blended. For a smoother texture, press the mixture through the fine blade of a food mill. Thin to desired consistency with reserved chickpea liquid. Adjust the seasoning with salt and lemon juice. The hummus can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.) Serve, sprinkled with paprika and parsley and drizzled with oil.

Chocolate Amaretto Crêpe Cake

Yield: One 9-inch cake.


Note: Have ready a pastry brush and a little cup of melted butter before you begin cooking the crepes. This is for brushing and the pan with butter.

6 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup confectioners sugar

Chocolate-Amaretto Filling:
1 1/3 cups heavy whipping cream
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
2 Tbsp. amaretto liqueur

Chocolate-Amaretto Ganache:
Note: This recipe can be halved if you don’t plan to make the amaretto truffles.

9 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur


1. Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or a blender and process until well combined. The mixture will be the consistency of heavy cream.

Two Ingredient Strawberry Cake


1 box strawberry cake mix
12 oz. diet 7-up



1. Combine the cake mix and the 7-up in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until well blended.

2. Bake as directed on box. (I decreased the temp to 325° and decreased the time by 5 minutes.) Cool and frost with Cool Whip or any frosting of your choice.

Chicken Rolls


1 (8 ounce) package refrigerated crescent rolls
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese with chives, softened
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup shredded cooked chicken
3/4 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 cups seasoned croutons, crushed
1/3 cup drippings from a roast chicken
1 tablespoon minced onion
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons chicken stock
salt and ground black pepper to taste



1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Roll out and separate the crescent roll dough on a large baking sheet.

2. Mix together the cream cheese and butter in a bowl until well blended. Stir in the shredded chicken, mushrooms, and lemon pepper. Fill the crescent rolls with a tablespoonful of the chicken mixture. Roll each piece up beginning with the wide end; press and seal the top of the rolled dough. Brush the rolls with butter, then roll them in the crushed croutons. Return the coated rolls back to the baking sheet.

3. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

4. Heat the drippings in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion and wine; cook and stir until most of the wine has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Pour in 1 cup of chicken stock and continue to cook and stir until the sauce has reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Mix the cornstarch and remaining 3 tablespoons of chicken stock in a small bowl. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the skillet until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Spoon the hot gravy over the chicken rolls before serving.

Homemade Chicken and Dumplings


2 cups Flour
½ teaspoons Baking Powder
1 pinch Salt
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 cup Milk, A Bit Less Than A Full Cup
2 quarts Chicken Broth
3 cups Cooked Chicken


1. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a fork or pastry blender. Stir in the milk, mixing with a fork until the dough forms a ball.

2. Heavily flour a work surface. You’ll need a rolling pin and something to cut the dumplings with. I like to use a pizza cutter. I also like to use a small spatula to lift the dumplings off the cutting surface.

3. Roll the dough out thin with a heavily floured rolling pin. Dip your cutter in flour and cut the dumplings in squares about 2″x2″. It’s okay for them not to be exact. Just eye ball it. Some will be bigger, some smaller, some shaped funny.

4. Use the floured spatula to put them on a heavily floured plate. Just keep flouring between the layers of dumplings.

5. To cook them, bring the broth to a boil. Drop the dumplings in one at a time, stirring while you add them. The extra flour on them will help thicken the broth. Cook them for about 15-20 minutes or until they not doughy tasting. Add the cooked chicken to the pot and you’re done!

6. For more pictures and instructions, see the related link above!

Sausage & Pepperoni Pizza Puffs


3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 cup whole milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
2 oz mini turkey pepperoni, (about 1/2 cup)
4 oz low-fat sausage, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup pizza sauce



1. Pre-heat the oven to 375°. Grease a 24-cup mini-muffin pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, garlic powder and baking powder; whisk in the milk and egg. Stir in the mozzarella, sausage and pepperoni; let stand for 10 minutes.

2. Stir the batter and divide among the mini-muffin cups. Bake until puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, microwave the pizza sauce until warmed through. Serve the puffs with the pizza sauce for dipping.

Zucchini Cakes


1 large zucchini, grated
1 large egg
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Salt/pepper to taste
1 tbsp Adobo spices
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated



1. Remove excess liquid from freshly grated zucchini by placing them between paper towels and squeezing.
** There will be a LOT of excess liquid, so I suggest you squeeze over the sink.

2. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients. Mix thoroughly.

3. Heat a large pan on medium, and spray with Pam. Shape spoonfuls of the zucchini batter into 2-inch (diameter) patties, and drop onto the sizzling pan. Cook each side for about a minute and a half, or until the outside is golden brown.

4. Finish the cakes off in the oven — stick them on a baking pan and broil them for 1-2 minutes.
** Note: I skipped this step when I made my cakes, so the sides were still kind of soft — not really a problem in terms of taste, but if you want a nice crust to form on the sides too, finishing them off in the oven should do the trick.

5. Serve hot, alone or with ranch dressing.

Pretzel Chicken with Citrus Sauce & Baked Potato


4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1-1/2 pounds)
1 potato
Frozen broccoli florets (as many as desired, I believe I used almost 2 cups)
Newman’s Own Organics Hi-Protein Pretzels


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Dip one 3-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast in 1 beaten egg and then in 1/4 cup crushed pretzels.

3. Bake chicken and 1 small potato for about 40 minutes. Whisk together 2 tablespoons orange juice with 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.

4. Drizzle baked chicken with orange sauce and top potato with 2 tablespoons yogurt. Serve with 1 cup steamed broccoli.

Cinnamon-Apple Cake


1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup stick margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ounces block-style fat-free cream cheese, softened (about 3/4 cup)
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups chopped peeled Rome apple (about 2 large)
Cooking spray



1. Preheat oven to 350°.


Pan-Roasted Chicken With Lemon-Garlic Green Beans


6 tablespoons olive oil
2 lemons, 1 thinly sliced, 1 juiced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound trimmed green beans
8 small red potatoes, quartered
4 chicken breasts (bones left in, with skin, about 3 1/4 pounds)


1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a large baking dish or cast-iron skillet with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Arrange the lemon slices in a single layer in the bottom of the dish or skillet.

2. In a large bowl, combine the remaining oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper; add the green beans and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the green beans and arrange them on top of the lemon slices. Add the potatoes to the same olive-oil mixture and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, arrange the potatoes along the inside edge of the dish or skillet on top of the green beans. Place the chicken in the same bowl with the olive-oil mixture and coat thoroughly. Place the chicken, skin-side up, in the dish or skillet. Pour any of the remaining olive-oil mixture over the chicken.

3. Roast for 50 minutes. Remove the chicken from the dish or skillet. Place the beans and potatoes back in oven for 10 minutes more or until the potatoes are tender. Place a chicken breast on each of 4 serving plates; divide the green beans and potatoes equally. Serve warm.

Pumpkin & Cream Bread

Yield: 2 loaves (14 slices each)



1-1/2 c. pureed pumpkin
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 whole egg
3 egg whites
1 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. Stevia Cup For Cup sweetener
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg

Cream filling
8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 T. all-purpose flour
2 egg whites
1 t. vanilla extract



1. For the Batter: With an electric mixer, beat the pumpkin, applesauce, egg, and egg whites on medium speed until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine the flours, Stevia, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Slowly mix the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture.

2. For the cream cheese filling: Beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, egg whites and flour until creamy and smooth.

3. Grease 2 8x4x2″ loaf pans. Divide half of the batter between the two pans. Pour half of the filling in one pan and the other half in the second pan and smooth with the back of a spoon. Top with the remaining batter.

4. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Don’t overbake or your bread will be dry on the edges. Cool and remove from pans. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Braided Spaghetti Bread


1 Loaf Rhodes Bread Dough or 12 Rhodes Dinner Rolls, thawed to room temperature
6 oz spaghetti, cooked
1 cup thick spaghetti sauce
8 oz mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2 –inch cubes
1 egg white
Parmesan cheese
Parsley flakes


1. Spray counter lightly with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Roll loaf or combined dinner rolls into a 12×16-inch rectangle. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 10-15 minutes.

3. Cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain and let cool slightly.

4. Remove wrap from dough.

5. Place spaghetti lengthwise in a 4-inch strip down center of dough. Top with sauce and cheese cubes.

6. Make cuts 1 1/2-inches apart on long sides of dough to within 1/2-inch of filling. Begin braid by folding top and bottom strips toward filling.

7. Then braid strips left over right, right over left. Finish by pulling last strip over and tucking under braid.

8. Lift braid with both hands and place on a large, sprayed baking sheet.

9. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and parsley.

10. Bake at 350°F 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly and slice to serve.

Bacon Cheese Potatoes


1/4 pound bacon, diced
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
4 medium potatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 pound cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
Green Onions (optional)




1. Line crockpot with foil, leaving enough to cover the potatoes when finished.

2. Layer half each of the bacon, onions, potatoes and cheese in crockpot. Season to taste and dot with butter.

3. Repeat layers of bacon, onions, potatoes and cheese. Dot with butter.

4. Cover with remaining foil.

5. Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours.

Trashy Brownies


chocolate chip cookie dough
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1/3 c. butter, room temperature
1/3 c. vegetable shortening
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
6 oz. chocolate chips

1/2 c. oil
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

One package Oreo cookies



Chocolate Chip Cookies
1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Cream the butter and shortening with the sugars in a large bowl, scraping sides as needed to fully incorporate.
3. Add egg and vanilla and mix well.
4. Measure flour by spooning into cups and leveling with a knife. Add to wet mixture along with salt and baking soda, and mix well.
5. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto a cookie sheet, and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Makes about 3 dozen cookies, if you don’t eat any dough.

1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray an 8-inch square baking pan. (This recipe easily doubles for a 9×13 pan.)
2. In a large bowl, mix together the oil and sugar, then add the vanilla extract.
3. Mix eggs in one at a time.
4. With he mixer off, add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt to the wet ingredients; mix well until fully combined and almost smooth. There will be some lumps.
5. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Test with a toothpick; it should come mostly clean when done.

1. Preheat oven to 375 and line a 8×8 inch square pan with parchment paper. Spray the paper.
2. Make the cookie dough, then spread it in the bottom of the pan evenly.
3. Place Oreo cookies on top of dough, pressing in slightly.
4. Make brownies, and pour batter over top. Spread evenly in pan.
5. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes. The top will look done and cracked. Cool slightly and enjoy warm with a tall glass of milk. Optional: Write a blog post while shoving them in your mouth.


Butterscotch Cake


For the butterscotch icing
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup corn syrup
8 tablespoons butter
3 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons dark rum
For the cake
3 1/3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
18 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 1/4 cups very fine turbinado sugar or granulated brown sugar (such as Domino’s Brownulated Sugar) or very fine turbinado sugar)
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup dark rum
1 cup milk, preferably whole


Make the butterscotch icing
1. Combine the sugars, corn syrup, butter, cream, and salt in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan to which you’ve attached a candy thermometer. Place it over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring continuously, until the butterscotch mixture comes to a boil. Have another pot of a similar size ready and on the side, off the heat. When the butterscotch mixture begins to boil, stir it frequently, taking care not to scrape the side of the pan. Cook at a full boil until the mixture reaches 242°F (120°C).

2. Immediately pour the butterscotch into the empty pot. (Do not scrape the sides or bottom of the saucepan with the spoon, as this could cause the icing to crystallize.) Immediately and carefully add the vanilla and rum to the icing, pouring from a good height above the pot. (If you pour from too close to the pot, the icing will steam and potentially burn you.) Stir to combine. Let the icing cool for 20 minutes, at which point it should be thick yet pourable.

Make the cake
3. Cut ten 8-inch circles of parchment or waxed paper. The baking will progress more quickly if you have at least three 8-inch cake pans. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

4. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg in a medium bowl and whisk lightly to combine. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Reduce the speed to low and add half of the flour mixture. Blend well. Add the vanilla, rum, and milk and mix just until the liquid is incorporated. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until smooth.

5. Work with 3 cake pans at a time, pour a heaping 1/2 cup of batter into each pan. Use a spatula to evenly spread the batter in the bottom of the pans. They will be very skinny cake layers. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when lightly touched. Cool the layers in the pans slightly, then invert the cakes onto a wire rack to cool completely. Wipe the pans clean and continue to fill and bake with the remaining batter. You will need 9 layers for this cake.

6. When all the cakes have been baked, line the inside of a clean, dry cake pan with plastic wrap. (If the plastic wrap sticks out above the rim of the cake pan, fold it over the outside of the pan.) Peel the paper from the top of one cake layer and invert the layer so it’s upside down in the pan. (Or really, right side up, given that it was upside down on the wire rack.) Ladle about 1/4 cup of the warm butterscotch icing over the cake. Top with another cake layer, paper removed. Continue ladling the filling evenly over each layer. The cake will grow higher than the cake pan as you fill; the cake pan is there just for a little foundational stability. Don’t worry if the edges of the cakes are a bit ragged; you’ll trim them before icing the sides of the cake. Just make sure the cake layers are evenly stacked, as it’s difficult to move a layer once it’s been placed on the icing. If at any point the butterscotch icing becomes too thick to pour easily, place it over low, low heat. Do not top the last cake layer with butterscotch. Refrigerate the cake until chilled completely through, at least 1 hour.

7. Place an 8-inch circle of parchment on top of the cake. Carefully invert the entire stack of layers onto a wire cooling rack. Remove the pan and the plastic wrap. Hold a long, sharp knife lengthwise alongside the cake and trim about 1/4 inch evenly all around, making sure you are not tilting the blade. The cake should be uniformly shaped, not wider at the bottom than the top.

8. Gently reheat the remaining butterscotch icing and pour it over the top and sides of the cake. Let stand until the coating is firm. Slide a metal spatula under the cake and transfer it a serving platter. This cake is best if made a day ahead, although it keeps beautifully for up to 5 days. Let it come to room temperature before slicing and serving.


Triple Berry Pie


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. granulated white sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1/4 – 1/2 cup ice water


1. Combine flour, sugar and salt in a food processor (or bowl, if that is what you have to work with). Add butter and pulse to combine until resembles course crumbs, about 10 to 15 seconds (if using bowl, cut the butter in with a pastry blender). Add ice water in a steady stream, starting with just 1/4 cup. Process just until the dough pinches together. If necessary add a little more water until you get to this state. You should not need more than 1/2 cup nor require longer than 30 seconds processing.

2. Turn the dough out onto your work surface and divide in half. Shape into flattened discs, wrap each into plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. (The dough can be frozen for up to a month; thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.)

3. Take one disc and roll it out onto your floured work surface until about 12″ in diameter. Roll from the center out and rotate your crust quarter turns occasionally to avoid sticking. Transfer the crust to a 9″ pie pan. (To transfer, I gently fold the dough into quarters and unfold in the pan.) Trim the edges, leaving about 1/2″ overhang and then fold them under. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

4. Take the second disc, and roll it out as above. Cut about 3 to 5 long, thin pieces from the middle. Transfer to a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Gently pinch each piece all along the length, and then roll so it is rope-like. Do not roll it very hard, as the idea is not lengthen the piece, just round it. Using a small flower-shaped cookie cutter, cut out and transfer about 7 flowers to the cookie sheet. With the remaining dough, use an almond-shaped cookie cutter to obtain as many pieces as you can. From the scraps, cut out small circles that will be the center of your flowers. For this last part, I didn’t have anything just the size I wanted, so I roughly cut the circles and shaped them with my fingers. To finish off the leaves, use a knife or clean razor blade to lightly etch “leaf lines” into each almond-shaped dough piece. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

5. In the meantime, continue on to the berry filling.

Slow Cooker Angel Chicken


4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1-1/2 pounds)
1 8-oz. pkg. fresh button mushrooms, quartered
1 6-oz. pkg. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced
1/4 cup butter
1 0.7-oz. pkg. Italian dry salad dressing mix
1 10-3/4-oz. can condensed golden mushroom soup
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 of an 8-oz. tub cream cheese spread with chives and onion
Hot cooked rice or angel hair pasta



1. Melt butter in a saucepan.

2. Add in italian dressing packet

3. Stir in soup , wine and cream cheese until it combines and melts

4. Cut up mushrooms (I used all button…because I had them)

5. Mixture is combined.

6. Place mushrooms on the bottom of slow cooker…top with chicken….pour sauce on top.
Close top and cook on low for 5 hours….yummo!!!!

Oreo Owl Cupcakes


For the Cake:
1/4 cup coconut oil
2/3 cup cocoa powder
8 oz. 70% dark chocolate
2/3 cup maple syrup
1 1/4 cup quinoa flour
2 Tbsp. flax meal
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 eggs, separated
1/3 cup applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup coconut butter
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. chia seeds

2 Oreos
2 brown and 1 orange Smarties (or Reece’s Pieces) – you might want to have more colourful owls and in that case you pick whichever colours you like!


For the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bring coconut oil and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a saucepan; remove from heat. Whisk in cocoa powder, chocolate, and maple syrup. Let cool.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together quinoa flour, flax meal, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together chocolate mixture, egg yolks, applesauce, and vanilla. Add chocolate mixture to dry ingredients and combine thoroughly.

3. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites at medium speed until stiff but not dry. Gently fold egg whites into cake batter. Spoon batter into nonstick (preferably silicone) muffin pans, filling cups about halfway. Bake for 15 minutes.

For the filling:
1. Process coconut butter, brown rice syrup, vanilla, chia seeds, and 2 Tbsp. water in a blender to combine.

2. Chill mixture in the refrigerator while cupcakes cool.

1. Untwist an Oreo then carefully push two brown Smarties (or whichever colour your would like for the eyes) onto the white part of the Oreos.

2. Place the Oreos onto the cupcake – these will be the owl’s eyes!

3. Put an orange Smartie on its side between the eyes to make the owl beak. And there you go, enjoy!

Chick-fil-A Bites with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce


2 large chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces and seasoned with salt & pepper
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup pickle juice
1 egg
1 1/4 cups flour
2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup peanut oil, divided (or canola or vegetable oil)

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce:
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1 1/2 Tablespoons yellow mustard
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons honey


1. Whisk together egg, milk and pickle juice, and pour into a large ziplock bag or bowl. Add chicken pieces and marinate in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.

2. Combine flour, powdered sugar, salt and pepper in a large ziplock bag. Shake to combine. Remove chicken from the marinade and add into the bag. Shake to coat the chicken completely.

3. Heat half the oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat (6 or 7 out of 10.) Test the oil by dropping in a bit of the flour mixture. If it sizzles, the oil is ready, if it pops, lower the temperature a bit.

4. Gently place chicken pieces into the oil with tongs. Do this in 2 batches, as you don’t want to overcrowd the pan. Cook the chicken for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown on one side. Turn the chicken over and allow to cook for 3-4 more minutes. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate. Heat the remaining oil and continue with the other half of the chicken pieces.

5. Stir together the honey mustard dipping sauce ingredients, and serve with the hot chicken bites.

Homemade Marshmallow Recipe


2 envelopes (17g) powdered gelatin or 17g sheet gelatin (8 to 10 sheets)
1/2 cup (125ml) + 1/3 cup (80ml) cold water
1 cup (200g) sugar
1/3 cup (100g) light corn syrup
4 large egg whites (1/2 cup, 110g), at room temperature
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon vanilla paste


1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the 1/2 cup (125ml) of cold water to dissolve and soften. If using leaf gelatin, soak the leaves in about 2 cups (500ml) cold water.

2. In a small saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, mix the sugar and corn syrup with 1/3 cup (80ml) of water. Place over medium-to-high heat.

(Note that you will use this saucepan twice, to make the syrup and melt the gelatin, eliminating the need to wash it between uses).

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, pour in the egg whites and beat on low speed until frothy. Add the pinch of salt.

4. When the syrup reaches about 210ºF (99ºC), increase the speed of the mixer to high and beat the whites until they are thick and fluffy.

5. When the syrup reaches 245ºF (118ºC), slowly pour the hot syrup into the whites, pouring so that the syrup does not fall on the whisk since some of the syrup will splatter and stick to the sides of the bowl.

6. Scrape the gelatin and water into the pan that you used for the syrup, or put the gelatin sheets and 2 tablespoons of the water into the pan and swirl it to dissolve. (There should still be residual heat left in the pan from making the syrup in it to dissolve it).

Pour the liquified gelatin slowly into the whites as they are whipping. Add the vanilla extract or paste and continue to whip for 5 minutes, until the mixture is feels completely cool when you touch the outside of the bowl.

7. Dust a baking sheet evenly and completely with a generous layer of the marshmallow mixture. (I use a sifter to do this.) Make sure there are absolutely no bare spots.

8. Use a spatula to spread the marshmallows in a layer on the pan. Allow to dry for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, uncovered.

9. Put about 1 cup (140g) of the marshmallow mixture into a large bowl.

Dust the top of the marshmallows with some of the marshmallow mixture. Use a pizza cutter or scissors (dusted as well with the marshmallow mixture) to cut the marshmallows into any size or shape pieces that you’d like and toss the marshmallows in the marshmallow mixture. Shake the marshmallows vigorously in a wire strainer to remove the excess powder.

Alternatively, you can dust a baking sheet and put scoops of the marshmallow on it, and let them cool, as shown in the post.

Monkey Bread


1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cans (16.3 oz each) Pillsbury® Grands!® Homestyle refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, if desired
1/2 cup raisins, if desired
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted



1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 12-cup fluted tube pan with shortening or cooking spray. In large -storage plastic food bag, mix granulated sugar and cinnamon.

2. Separate dough into 16 biscuits; cut each into quarters. Shake in bag to coat. Arrange in pan, adding walnuts and raisins among the biscuit pieces.

3. In small bowl, mix brown sugar and butter; pour over biscuit pieces.

4. Bake 28 to 32 minutes or until golden brown and no longer doughy in center. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Turn upside down onto serving plate; pull apart to serve. Serve warm.

Tortellini Vegetable Soup


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small zucchini, diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
5 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon dried basil (more if fresh)
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 to 9 ounces fresh or frozen tortellini
(cheese or meat filled)
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Black pepper, to taste


1. Heat the olive oil in a medium soup pot or large saucepan. Add the onion, zucchini, and carrot. Saute over moderate heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until the onion is soft and translucent.

2. Add the stock, basil, bay leaf, tomatoes, and salt to the pot. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a low boil. Add the tortellini and bring the soup back to a low boil. Cook it for 2 minutes, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5 to 6 minutes longer. Gently stir in the parsley and pepper during the last minute or so. Makes about 5 servings.

Pumpkin Dessert Bars


1-3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1-1/3 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
5 eggs
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
Whipped topping and ground nutmeg, optional


1. In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and 1/3 cup sugar; stir in butter. Press into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish.

2. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and 2/3 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in 2 eggs just until blended.

3. Pour over crust. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack.

4. Meanwhile, separate remaining eggs and set whites aside. In a large saucepan, combine the yolks, pumpkin, brown sugar, milk, salt and cinnamon. Cook and stir over low heat for 10-12 minutes or until mixture is thickened and reaches 160°. Remove from the heat.

5. In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over cold water; let stand for 1 minute. Heat over low heat, stirring until gelatin is completely dissolved. Stir into pumpkin mixture; set aside.

6. In a large heavy saucepan, combine reserved egg whites and remaining sugar. With a portable mixer, beat on low speed for 1 minute. Continue beating over low heat until mixture reaches 160°, about 12 minutes.

7. Remove from the heat; beat until stiff glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved.

8. Fold into pumpkin mixture; spread evenly over cream cheese layer. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or until set. Garnish with whipped topping and nutmeg if desired. Yield: 15 servings.

Homemade Cracker Jack

Yield: About 10 cups of popcorn



10 cups of freshly-popped popcorn (or 3.5-oz bag of microwave popcorn, plain)
1 cup light brown sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons water
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup lightly salted peanuts


1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

2. Pop the popcorn. Coat a large mixing bowl with nonstick cooking spray, and then transfer the popcorn to the bowl; set aside.

3. In a small saucepan, whisk together the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, salt and water, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Continue to simmer, stirring often, until the mixture reaches 250 degrees F on a candy thermometer, about 3 to 5 minutes.

4. Turn off the heat, and whisk in the vanilla and baking soda. Immediately pour the hot mixture over the popcorn. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the caramel into the popcorn until all of the popcorn is coated. Gently stir in the peanuts, and transfer the mixture to the prepared baking sheet, spreading it out.

5. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, and cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Gently break up the popcorn. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Oven Baked Tater Tots


6 Russet Potatoes, peeled and diced
1/4 cup milk
1 cup flour
2-3 eggs, beaten
2 cups crushed Pop Chips


1. Preheat oven to 400˚F.

2. Boil potatoes in a large pot until barely fork tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and return to pot.

3. Gradually add the milk and mash the potatoes with a potato masher until mashed, but still lumpy. You might not need to use up all the milk. It is important to keep the potatoes lumpy and a little dry so it is not so messy to roll into balls.

4. Separate the eggs, flour and potato chips in three bowls; set aside.

5. Form the potato mixture into 1-inch balls and place on wax or parchment paper. Roll each ball first into the bowl of flour, then the egg and finishing with the chips. Once coated, form the balls into the tots formation. Place on baking sheet.

6. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until crispy and golden brown.



To make the cookies:
3 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
3 3/4 ounces sugar
1 1/2 ounces brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
4 ounces all purpose flour (or rice flour), sifted
3 ounces cocoa powder, sifted

For the filling:
2 ounces shortening or unsalted butter at room temperature
5 ounces powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt


To make the cookies:
1. Using a hand or stand mixer set to medium speed, cream together butter, both sugars, salt, baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder, and vanilla extract until combined. With mixer still running, add in egg yolks one at a time. Once incorporated, shut off mixer and scrape bowl down with a rubber spatula.

2. Turn mixer to its lowest setting. Dump in flour and cocoa all at once. The mixture will be stiff. Continue mixing until uniform. Shut off mixer. Use a spatula to scrape the dough from the bowl and knead lightly to form a smooth ball. Use your hands to flatten into a disc.

3. You may begin rolling the dough right away, or you may wrap it with plastic and refrigerate for up to a week.

4. If you’ve kept the dough refrigerated, let it sit at room temperature to soften before starting to roll.

5. Preheat oven to 350°. Sift some cocoa powder onto the counter (using cocoa instead of flour gives the Fauxreos their uniquely dark color). Use a rolling pin to roll the dough to 1/8″ thickness.

6. When finished, slide a metal spatula between the dough and counter to loosen. This will prevent the cookies from sticking.

7. A 2″ round cutter makes perfect “Oreos” but use any cutter you like. Cut out the cookies and use a metal spatula to lift and transfer to cookie sheet.

8. Arrange cookies on ungreased cookie sheet. (If the cookie sheet is dinged up or uneven, line with parchment paper first.) The cookies will not spread during baking, so they may be arranged quite close together. Set the sheets aside.

9. Gather up, knead, and re-roll the remaining dough scraps, likewise cutting and arranging on a cookie sheet.

10. To add texture to the cookies, place any remaining dough in a mixing bowl. Mix with a hand or stand mixer and add about 1 tsp of hot water or coffee. Continue adding hot water/coffee, a teaspoon at a time, until the dough has thinned into a paste. You can always add more liquid, but you can’t take it away. Add slowly and let each addition mix in fully before adding more. When the mixture reaches a frosting-like consistency, use a spatula to scrape it out. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a very small tip, or a heavy duty Ziploc bag with a tiny hole poked in the corner.

11. Pipe some sort of design atop each cookie. A tight cornelli design gives the impression of an Oreo. But anything will do, have fun with your designs!

12. Once the cookies have been decorated, bake for about 12 minutes, or until firm to the touch. If your oven has an uneven heating element, rotate the cookie sheets after six minutes. Once the cookies have baked, cool thoroughly, directly on the cooling rack.

13. To make the filling: With a hand or stand mixer, cream together shortening/butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt. Cream on medium speed for five minutes; use a rubber spatula to scrape the bowl down periodically. The long mixing time aerates the filling, making it especially white and less gritty.

14. Using a spatula, transfer the filling to a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip. Alternately, portion with a melon-baller sized ice cream scoop, or by using Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off as a makeshift pastry bag.

15. To assemble the cookies: Flip half the wafers upside down. Onto each, pipe or scoop 1 teaspoon of filling (specifically: 1/4 oz for Double Stuf, 1/8 ounce for regular) directly into the center. To finish, top with remaining wafers and press down with your fingers, applying very even pressure so the filling will spread uniformly across the cookie.

16. Transfer cookies to an airtight container and refrigerate for several hours. This is crucial. After whipping the filling, it will be quite soft. Refrigerating it (especially if you’re using butter) will solidify the filling, restoring its proper texture, and bonding it with the wafers. Serve.

Homemade Fritos


1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon oil


1. Put the cornmeal and salt into a bowl; pour the boiling water over the cornmeal. Stir really well and add the oil. Stir to combine. At this point, I felt like the dough was a little too thin, so I added some more cornmeal, a teaspoon at a time, until I had a fairly stiff dough.

2. I lined a cookie sheet with parchment paper and put the dough on that. Then, I put a piece of wax paper on top of the dough so I could roll it without the doough sticking to my rolling pin.

3. I rolled it out to about 1/8 inch thick, then I cut it into frito shaped pieces. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Protein Bars


1/2 cup Protein powder (I used vanilla)
1/4 cup Peanut flour
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Salt
2 tbs Applesauce, unsweetened
1/4 cup Skim milk (or milk substitute of choice)
1/4 cup Egg whites (or egg white substitute)
4-5 Packets stevia (or sweetener of choice to taste)
1/4 cup Low sugar/ No sugar added strawberry jelly or jam


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

2. Place all of the ingredients in a bowl, (except for the strawberry jelly), and whisk until everything is well combined. Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Drop jelly over the top of the batter, and swirl into batter.

3. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until protein bars are set. Cut into 8 bars and enjoy!