Cranberry-Pistachio Cookie Bar

So last week I mentioned having some cookie bars cooling while I was writing. They are all gone, no I didn’t eat them all by myself I had some help. Actually it is kinda funny that my son who doesn’t live here anymore but works with my husband so is here most mornings does a drive-by of the stove and immediately looks to see what might be packaged up to snack on.
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My name is Donna and I am a snack-a-holic. (stop laughing KP) we have not one but two snack drawers and anything homemade goes on the shelf above the stove, mostly to keep my dog from counter surfing. Which he has done a few times.

IMG_3615Back to the cookie bars. I am going to blame the magazines I was going through to try to get rid of a few. Out of a half dozen or so I think I got rid of two. That is not how you clean out your magazines/catalogs. While going through them I came across one that they had me at the title Cranberry-Pistachio bars. One of my most favorite combination of sweet and salty is cranberries, pistachios and white chocolate. I have made cookies, biscotti’s and bark with these three magical ingredients and have NEVER been disappointed.
IMG_3622.JPGThese bars are thick, dense and chewy; not too sweet or salty just the right amount I think. Though they did not list white chocolate I had to add a drizzle of some of it melted on top.

Cranberry-Pistachios cookie bars
Preheat oven to 350’F – line a 9×13 pan with foil, spray non-stick spray

Ingredients
¾ cup butter, melted
1¼ cups light brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated white sugar
½ cup honey
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cup salted pistachios, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries

Directions

In a stand mixer bowl, beat the melted butter, sugars and honey on medium until fluffy about 3-4 minutes. Scrape as needed. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Beat in the vanilla.
IMG_3616IMG_3617In a small bowl, whisk the flour and salt. Add them to the wet mixture, beating until combined. Add pistachios and cranberries till combined.
IMG_3618IMG_3620Press batter into pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes until a wooden toothpick comes out slightly sticky. Let cool completely in the pan. Optional drizzle of white chocolate. I took a handful of chips and in a Pyrex measuring cup; melted them in the microwave for about a minute. Then drizzled them on the cooled bars. Slice and enjoy!
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Recipe adapted from Southern Lady magazine

Prosciutto Mascarpone bites

I am sitting here this morning drinking my tea and trying to figure out what to say. Which is kinda funny for me, as most of my friends and family will gladly tell you; I always have something to say.  Just sharing –  It took me longer to write this than it did to make a platter of these the other night. 
IMG_3590Today is our first frost, last night my Red Sox lost the first game of the series. I used up the last of my balsamic that I brought home from Italy. And I think I might have worn my flip flops for the last time this year. The day has nowhere to go but up – I hope.
IMG_3583I do have a quick and simple appetizer that I probably paid at least 12 euros for 3 little bites in Greece. But I will be adding these to my list of go too App. I have some friends that have been asking me to come up with an appetizer class. They say they always make the same things every time they are asked to bring something. Which I totally understand. You make something that everyone likes why wouldn’t you make it over and over again. I get a sense that I have to bring something different every time I am invited to someone’s home. I am sure I bring most of it on to myself, I write a food blog I can’t disappoint my people LOL.
IMG_3584This recipe is so simple I am almost embarrassed to write a blog about it. But if you want a new app to bring to a party or just make a light snack for yourself; I won’t judge you.

Prosciutto Mascarpone bites

Prosciutto, thinly sliced
Mascarpone, room temperature
Balsamic vinegar
Greens for decoration

There are packages by the deli with pre-sliced prosciutto, slice each one lengthwise down the middle.
IMG_3585I found it easier to work with the Mascarpone when it got warmer. I put mine in a pastry bag. You can use a ziploc bag or skip the bag and use a couple of spoons to dollop some on the end of each piece of Prosciutto.

Roll each piece and stand them on end, drizzle with the balsamic. Adding some greenery finishes off the simple plate nicely. When I make these again I might roll the meat and then fill with the mascarpone using my pastry bag. I think they would look much nicer. 
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Mascarpone, Cream Cheese
Mascarpone simply put is less tangy than Cream cheese

Bacon, Pancetta, Prosciutto – I love all three
Now a quick little lesson in the differences between Bacon, pancetta, prosciutto
Three pork products that look alike, taste somewhat similar, and even get regularly substituted for each other.

All three are cured meat products Bacon (usually found sliced) and Pancetta (can be sliced thin or cubed) are from the pork belly and need to be cooked before eating. Bacon is put through a smoking process where Pancetta is unsmoked. Prosciutto (sliced and cubed) is from the hind leg and does not have to be cooked to be eaten.
I hope this simple explanation clears things up a little for you.
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Zucchini chocolate chip muffins

I am writing this one last blog (Wednesday) before I leave for Greece – weeeeeee
I am hoping to be able to write the next one on one of the Greek Islands and share with you all what I have been eating.
IMG_3121We are leaving the house, dog and business in the kids hands, we are not worried at all. I am slightly concerned about my gardens. The kids have never really been interested in the process; other than eating everything. Hmmmmm I might have failed them – time will tell when they get their own home and yard I hope they will want to garden even if it is not to the extent that we do.
IMG_3112Thankfully the squash plants are starting to fade away. We had a crazy squash season; I think the best we have ever had to be perfectly honest. This will probably be my last zucchini recipe – OK you can stop smiling or rolling your eyes. It is a good one!!!!
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Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins / preheat oven 350’F / makes 12 muffins plus a few smaller ones if you have leftover batter

Ingredients
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup vegetable oil – or substitute ½ cup applesauce
¼ cup milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup shredded/drained zucchini
½ cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup chopped walnuts

Directions
Grease 12 muffins cups or line with paper muffins liners.
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Combine in a large bowl the flour, sugar, soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl mix egg, oil, milk, lemon and vanilla. Stir wet ingredients into the dry till combined. Fold in zucchini, chips and walnuts.  Fill cups about ⅔ full.
IMG_3120Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Adapted from Allrecipes

Buffalo Chicken Boats

I wish you all a very happy healthy new year! Even though I do not make verbal resolutions; I do hope that I try harder to get in shape. Ya I know that doesn’t really scream diet and exercise but I do THINK about it so that’s something right?

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They are so cute!

OK so we spent New Years weekend in Quebec City with a bunch of friends and froze our asses off. Not literally but 11 degrees Fahrenheit below zero is just plain crazy to hang around outside. And that is without the wind which was whipping. We had a great time and the city is beautiful; I would like to go back; when it warms up about 60 degrees.

R - D quebec

Thought I would share how cold it was, and this was during the day


IMG_5652With the fridge and pantry being filled with holiday food from last month and us being away I haven’t been grocery shopping in a few weeks. We were invited over to some friends for dinner and I was to bring an appetizer. Not having time to run to a store, I needed to come up with something with what I had on hand. I was also thinking it should be something a little on the healthy side since its a new year and I was THINKING about being healthier.
IMG_5646I thawed a couple of boneless skinless chicken breasts. Chopped, seasoned, cooked and shredded them. I had a few sticks of celery and a little bleu cheese and voila appetizer.
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Ingredients
1 cup boneless skinless chicken breasts – shredded
Salt
Pepper
Adobo seasoning
¼ cup franks hot sauce
2 Tbs mayo
3-4 celery sticks
Chives

Directions
Season, chop and cook the chicken pieces, once cooled shred the chicken. Mix together the hot sauce and mayo and cover the shredded chicken.  Wash and remove the strings from your celery. I use a potato peeler to remove the strings on my celery. Slice into bite size pieces fill each piece with the buffalo chicken. Drizzle a little bleu cheese or ranch dressing. Dice up a few chives and sprinkle over the boats.
IMG_5656If you are already healthy wink wink than instead of the celery they would taste great as nachos or in a quesadilla – just saying

Baked Jalapeno Poppers – no longer afraid

As little as a few short months ago you couldn’t pay me or my husband to even try a Jalapeno popper – we both just figured they were going to be too hot for us. Now I am making them for my Christmas party. I must be growing as an adult, nah we were at a friends for dinner and they served jalapeno poppers and stuffed mushrooms – ugh I had to at the very least take a “no thank you” bite of each. My husband was going to be OK because he doesn’t mind mushrooms; I think it must be a texture thing for me. We were both super surprised how much we liked the poppers and the mushrooms were not too bad either.
IMG_5601.JPGSo here I was shopping for the party; saw the jalapenos and decided why not! I get home and tell my husband what I was doing and he was psyched. Maybe we are both evolving hahaha stop talking crazy Donna.
IMG_5591This is actually going to be great come summer when I have way too many Jalapenos from my garden; I usually just bring them into to work and put them on one of the kitchen tables for whoever wanted them. Now I have more than salsa and guacamole to use them in.
IMG_560024 +/- jalapeno
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
8 ounce cream cheese – softened
16 ounce breakfast sausage – browned and drained

Slice each jalapeno in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and veins; I use an iced tea spoon, it is small enough to fit right in them. If you are not wearing gloves, make sure not to touch your face or eyes until you wash your hands really well.
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Mix the next three ingredients once the sausage is cooled.
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Scoop about a tablespoon and a half into each jalapeno. Press the mixture into them so it doesn’t fall out.

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My husband saw me writing and said you should tell them “that I Love these”


Place on a sheet pan and broil for about 7-10 minutes but you know your oven better than me so watch them. You want them nice and browned and for the jalapeno to be soft

Macros = 2 pieces
228 Calories – 15g Fat – 10g Carbs – 13g Protein

Bark – chocolate, pistachios, craisins

There is nothing more surprising to me when someone walks up to me or sends me a message to ask a question or make a suggestion about what I blogged about last week or last month. Or when someone I’ve never met makes a comment, hits the like button or starts to follow me.  Thank you for all who reach out, I truly appreciate it and you for taking the time out of your crazy life to acknowledge little ole me.  I am pretty proud of this weekly delve into my food and sometimes personal journey!
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I talked with my daughter about doing a blog of some sort with her for a few years until I finally pulled the trigger on writing about one of both of our passions. While it ended up being more of my food blog I do share this journey with her as she is my strongest supporter, she is my sounding board, my technical adviser, my social media guru and a huge inspiration – thanks sweetie!
IMG_5483So I have been trying to make things a little healthier around here for me and my family but sometimes you just have to have something that just totally rocks – good bad or indifferent I just have to share this ridiculously easy treat that I can’t believe I have never made before.
IMG_5485I saw it a few weeks ago, I can’t even remember where; TV, Magazine, Online I have no idea but I literally went to the kitchen and threw it together.  And I guiltily have made it at least a half dozen times since. Though my first few times were with semi sweet chocolate, almonds and craisins my brilliant daughter called me on her way to work with a batch for her co-workers and said “White Chips, Pistachios, Craisins” if you have never had this combination in anything you need to stop reading this and make SOMETHING – ANYTHING with this combo. We discovered them, well at least in my house, when we made the biscotti recipe I blogged about awhile back. I think they are magical together and this bark is crazy good!
IMG_5490Spoiler alert some of my close peeps that follow my blog might just be seeing some for a little Christmas love this year!

1 cup chips melted – your choice
Dried fruit chopped
Nuts chopped

Yeah its that easy!
IMG_54861 cup white chips melted in the microwave – takes a minute or so
½ cup Dried craisins – chopped a little smaller
½ cup Pistachios – chopped a little smaller

Spread the melted chocolate onto either parchment or if you are lucky enough to have a silpat mat; if you don;t ask for one or two for Christmas, Birthday, Thanksgiving or even Wednesday.

Sprinkle your toppings and place in the fridge till it hardens.  Break apart and enjoy!
IMG_5489I’ll give you the macros for the 2 I have been making; but they are not great. OK! am back I just made a batch so I could give the most accurate measurements.  You’re welcome and Thank you 🙂

Macros = 1 ounce white bark
210 Calories – 11 g Fat – 24 g Carbs – 3 g Protein
Macros = 1 ounce semi-sweet bark
243 Calories – 13 g Fat – 24 g Carbs – 4 g Protein

Pumpkin spice mini chocolate chip protein muffins

Not sure if you noticed that I had written my last 3 blogs on the same day 3 weeks ago. I do try to write my blog about something I had made at some point during the current week but in preparation of being out of commission for about a month because of carpal tunnel surgery I was scheduled for I wanted to get a little ahead of the game.  
IMG_5495I am doing better but still on limited use for another week or so.  I have found it virtually impossible to limit my most dominant hand to 1 lb and limited chopping for a month. For someone who loves to be in the kitchen and garden it hasn’t been easy; don’t tell my doctor but I know I have cheated a little more times than I can count.
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IMG_5496IMG_5497IMG_5498Since we are in the midst of pumpkin season I thought I would share a Pumpkin Spice Muffin with you all. I am still trying to be a little more healthy but without compromising taste; this recipe is low in calories and fat and has a nice supply of protein – for those like me counting macros; you can find them listed at the bottom of this and hopefully most all of my blogs.

Pumpkin spice mini chocolate chip protein muffins

1 cup oatmeal flour (quick oats ground in food processor – see below)
1/4 cup almond flour
1/2 cup Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
3 egg whites
1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 medium banana, peeled and mashed
1 1/2 tablespoon pumpkin spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 container applesauce

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350°
Place liners in one muffin pan and lightly spray with baking spray.
In a large bowl combine egg whites, yogurt, pumpkin puree, honey, vanilla extract, banana, applesauce.
In a second bowl combine oatmeal flour, almond meal, vanilla whey protein powder, pumpkin mix, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Combine flour mix and egg mix together until smooth.
Fill each tin ¾ of the way full, spreading evenly.

Bake for 20 minutes.
Store in the refrigerator

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Macros = 1 Muffin
170 Calories – 5 g Fat – 24 g Carbs – 8 g Protein