Dreamy's Delights

It's all about the food!

No-Bake Nibbles

As most of you are aware, I cook when I’m bored. Which for some odd reason usually happens at bedtime. *shrug* Anyway, tonight I wanted something sweet but I’m trying REALLY hard to go back to eating low card. I also didn’t want to spend very much time on it. A couple of weeks ago I ran across a recipe for protein bars that used almond butter. It sounded really good so I picked up some almond butter at Whole Foods. Unfortunately I didn’t remember any of the other ingredients lol. As I was sitting here in bed inspiration hit and I came up with a use for that almond butter. And speaking of inspiration, I’m obviously lacking in that department for the recipe name. Please post suggestions on what you think these should be called!!

Recipe (as always, I forgot to do much measuring so these are approximations)

1 cup nut butter (I used almond butter but peanut, macadamia, sunflower or hazelnut would all work)

2 ounces unsweetened shredded coconut, plus more for rolling the nibbles in (you can use sweetened coconut but they won’t be low carb and they’ll be much sweeter)

1/2 cup raisins

2-3 TB honey

1/2-1 tsp ground cinnamon (to taste)

 

Put the nut butter in a medium bowl. (You can also use a mixer which is what I’ll do next time.) Add the honey, cinnamon, and coconut. Mix well. At this point the “dough” should have a very thick, almost bread dough like, consistency. I recommend doing this by hand just like adding raisins to bread dough. You can use the mixer but the raisins are likely to get somewhat smooshed. Next form the dough into small balls, about 1/4 ounce each. This is a nice small size that is easy to pop into your mouth. Roll the balls in shredded coconut and place on a plate or baking pan. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen. It depends on how many you eat as you go 😉

NobakeNibbles

 

And that’s it. These are low carb, a little bit sweet, and have a rich combination of flavors to tingle the taste buds. I imagine they’ll make a great breakfast treat too. Lots of protein to keep your body fueled.

The next batch I make I’m going to add more cinnamon. I think I was on the lower end and by the time I had enough raisins in the dough, they overwhelmed the cinnamon. Like a total noob, I didn’t taste again before shaping them.

Another reason I love this recipe is the flexibility. You can use any kind of nut butter, you can add extra spices. I’m going to add some ground cloves to the next batch. I might even try adding some cocoa powder.

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Sliced Peaches in a Honey Glaze

You all should know that it was my friend Terri who convinced me to post this recipe. I made it the first time a few nights ago and Jene was kinda meh about it. I usually don’t post stuff unless he really likes it and would want to eat it again.

However, Terri mentioned that she wished she could find something sweet to eat that wasn’t full of sugar and other bad stuff. So I told her about this. She made it that very night and raved about it to me the next day. So on her word that’s it’s excellent, here it is!

Recipe

16 oz frozen peach slices

1 TB butter

1/4 tsp cinnamon

pinch of ground cloves

1 TB mild honey (it really does need to be mild so it doesn’t over whelm the flavor of the peaches)

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the peaches and saute until they’re mostly thawed. Add the cinnamon and cloves, stir them in. Then add the honey. Continue sauteing until the honey forms a nice glaze.

honeyglazedpeaches

Tah dah! A fix for your sweet cravings that isn’t all that bad for you.

I do want to add a couple of notes. Since it’s coming onto stone fruit season, you can use fresh peaches or even nectarines, just make sure they’re still firm. They also won’t take as long to cook because you’re not thawing them.

The second note is this… a splash of Elderberry Liquor is a nice touch too. Splash it in and then go ahead and flambe it to remove the alcohol flavor. I don’t consider it vital to the recipe but I happen to really like the stuff lol.

Oh yes… you can also use them to top ice cream, cakes and even brownies. I just like to eat them out of the bowl lol.

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Apple Spice Dump Cake Crumble: Perfected!

I’ve posted about dump cakes before. It’s certainly not a new idea. However, I think that dump cake is “make your teeth hurt” sweet. So I’ve been working on making a dump cake that is a little less sweet and a little more sophisticated. I’ve finally perfected it 🙂

The occasion for making this was a party to meet a dear friend of mine face to face for the first time. Doug and I have been friends for something like ten years but (like my husband and I) we met online playing a video game. Since Doug lives in Japan, there hasn’t been a chance for us to meet in person before. In celebration of seeing him, I cooked. Anyone who knows me at all, knows that means I cooked a LOT lol. I smoked four tri-tips, made my Greek style quinoa salad, a pan of my brownies and two pans of this dump cake. We managed to eat three of the tri-tips, about two thirds of the brownies, most of the salad and one of the dump cakes. This means that I currently have an entire dump cake in my kitchen. No one else wanted to take something quite that calorie and carb laden lol. Imagine that! 😉  However, it received rave reviews so I’ve posted the recipe for everyone to enjoy.

Recipe

1 box Spice Cake Mix

3 cans More Fruit Apple Pie Filling

1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats

1 1/2 sticks cold butter

1/2-1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground cloves

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish.

Open the cans of pie filling and dump them into the baking dish, spreading them out evenly. Sprinkle the cinnamon and cloves over the apples. This gives a nice little bit of extra spice to the apples.

Pour the cake mix into a gallon ziplock bag, add the rolled oats. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the bag. Press most of the air out of the bag and shake it several times to mix the oats, cake mix and butter. Now comes the fun part! Squeeze the bag between your fingers to break the butter into smaller pieces. You could use a pastry cutter to do this (like making biscuits or pie crust) but I found that this is easier and less messy. You can just throw the bag away when you’re done.

Once you have the butter broken up into the cake mix/oats, pour it over the top of the apples and spread it evenly.

Bake for about 45 minutes, until the pie filling is bubbly and the top of the cake is golden brown.

When the cake is done, you’ve got something that sort of resembles an apple cobbler or an apple crisp. It’s not quite as cakey as cobbler or as crumbly as crisp. The rolled oats help to cut the sweetness of the cake mix down to something that I find much tastier.

A more traditional dump cake would only use one stick of butter but I’ve added another half stick to help account for the rolled oats. Plus, I love butter lol.

Please let me know if you try this and what you think. 😀

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Squash Pie

This recipe has been in my family for I don’t know how long. I know my grandmother made it, my mom makes it, and I make it. (Plus my sister and at least one of my brothers lol) The title is squash pie but today I used pumpkin. Any hard winter squash will work, pumpkin, butternut, kershaw, banana, etc. Squash has a milder flavor but pumpkin was on sale and I had a budget. Being the cook I am, I cooked my pumpkin from scratch as opposed to opening a can. It is perfectly ok to open a can of pumpkin and use that. Canned pumpkin is probably smoother and moister than freshly cooked pumpkin unless you puree it in a food processor or blender. All that said, here’s the recipe.

Recipe

1 10″ unbaked pie crust

2 cups mashed cooked squash (or pumpkin) cooled

1 can evaporated milk (12 oz)

2 eggs (3 eggs if the squash is really thick)

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar (in place of the white and brown sugar, you can use 3/4 cup honey)

1 1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ginger

Preheat oven to 425F.

Use one egg white to coat the inside of the pie crust and dump the rest into the mixing bowl. The egg white helps keep the crust from getting soggy.

Mix all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl until smooth. Pour into pie pan. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F and bake for another 50-55 minutes.

I doubled the recipe and used a total of six eggs because my pumpkin was really thick. I’m not sure if it was the pie crusts or the batter but I managed to get three pies out of a doubled recipe. Normally it only makes two pies plus a bit to cook in a dish as a custard.

I’ve agreed that the boys can have a slice of pie tonight because they were nice enough to bring me pizza for dinner and Jene has been keeping the kitchen clean while I cook.

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Oatmeal Blondies

It’s really hard to lose weight and be fit when you have a sweet tooth… sigh. For example, I was happily snuggled up in bed this evening when I had a sudden craving for baked goods. I wanted something that was easy to make and had some texture to it. I’d been thinking about blondies for awhile. They’re similar to brownies but don’t have the cocoa. So I did what I always do when I’m looking for inspiration, I surfed the internet! I found the recipe for Milly’s Oatmeal Brownies on allrecipes.com. It fit the bill perfectly for my current craving. I adore oatmeal so this was just what I was looking for.

Recipe

1 cup butter at room temperature

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar (I was out so I subbed in 1 cup of turbinado sugar)

1/2 cup white sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups rolled oats

chocolate chips (optional)

raisins (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9×18 baking dish.

In a large bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until thoroughly mixed and creamy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract until well mixed, and mix in salt, baking soda, baking powder, flour, rolled oats, plus chocolate chips, raisins, and chopped nuts if desired. Mix well to moisten all ingredients, and spread into the prepared baking pan. I used white chocolate chips and toffee bits. The batter was VERY thick and I had to smoosh it into the pan with my hands. However, it baked up beautifully.

Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before cutting into bars.

Now… using the turbinado sugar made a bit of a change in the texture and flavor profile. Instead of a cakey sort of brownie it came out almost caramely if that makes any sense. Turbinado sugar is made from sugar cane but minimally processed. It’s a golden brown color and comes in large crystals. It’s got a slightly richer flavor (I think) than brown sugar. It has more moisture in it than traditional brown sugar so that contributes to the ooey gooey factor in the blondies. The toffee chips don’t hurt than any either lol. The oatmeal adds just that perfect, chewy texture. Basically, I loved this recipe. I will admit it’s just a trifle bit too sweet but then again, it’s only too sweet if I’m eating a quarter of a pan at a time… Obviously,  I would never do something like that (pay no attention to the empty pan).

 

 

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Puto (Filipino Steamed Cake)

This is one of my all time favorite Filipino desserts. It’s made with rice flour and coconut milk then steamed instead of baked. LOVE this dessert! I got this recipe from cooks.com. It’s a super easy recipe. I’ve made this one about three times now and need to experiment with some other variations. If you click on the “Recipe” it’ll take you to the original website.

Recipe

1 c. rice flour
1 stick butter
3 eggs
1 1/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 c. Bisquick
1 (19 oz.) can coconut milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. milk
1/2 tsp. salt
Mix all the ingredients to form a batter and pour in a deep baking pan (round) 2/3 full and cook in a steamer for 45 minutes.
So I did a few things differently. 1. I used 2-13.5 ounce cans of coconut milk and left out the cows milk. 2. I used small tart pans to steam individual sized portions. I then put the tart pans, six at a time into a steam pot and cooked them for about 20 minutes a batch. Tonight, I’m experimenting by putting 24 tart pans in a roasting pan with a bit of water and baking/steaming them. If it’s faster then I’ll do them all that way in the future. 🙂
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Triple-Cherry Cheesecake

Our friends Monica and Jolly are having their engagement party today. I told them I would bring something special to help celebrate. This cheesecake definitely falls into the “special” category. It is rich, luscious, fruity and well, pretty much perfect. The recipe comes from The Bon Appetit Cookbook (2006) pg 533. I did not actually use the cheesecake part of the recipe, just the cherry sauce recipe. The cheesecake is from Philadelphia cream cheese and the crust is my own.

Cheesecake

1 cup Nilla wafer crumbs

3 TB sugar

3 TB melted butter

5 8-oz packages of cream cheese , softened

1 cup sugar

3 TB flour

4 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1 TB vanilla (I used 1 tsp of almond extract this time to accent the cherries. Always use less almond extract than vanilla because it’s a much stronger flavor.)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Mix together cookie crumbs, 3 TB of sugar and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 9″ spring form pan. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and flour at medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in sour cream and vanilla. Pour over crust.

Carefully fold a large single piece of aluminum foil around the pan. Heavy duty foil works best for this. When you fold it up around the sides of the pan, make sure there are no folds or creases that can allow water into the foil. Then place the baking pan in a larger pan with hot water coming about 1″ up the sides of the pan. This water bath technique helps prevent the top of the cheesecake from cracking.

Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Loosen cake from rim and let cool to room temperature then refrigerate overnight. Do NOT cover with plastic wrap. The residual heat of the cake will cause condensation on top of the cake and make it soggy. So make sure you don’t have anything garlic/onion flavored in the fridge lol.

Cherry Sauce

3/4 cup dried tart cherries

1 1-lb bag of frozen, pitted Bing cherries, thawed, drained and juice reserved

1/2 cup cherry jam/preserves

2 TB brandy

1 TB cornstarch

Combine dried cherries and reserved juice in a heavy, medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for 20 minutes.

Mix cherry jam, brandy and cornstarch in a bowl. Stir into dried cherry mixture. Add thawed cherries. Stir over medium heat until mixture boils and thickens, about 1 minute. Cool slightly then refrigerate until cold. (Can be made two days ahead, keep refrigerated.)

 

It is really important to make the cake a day before you’re serving it. It needs the time to chill in the fridge. When you’re ready to remove it from the pan, remove the outer ring, place a smooth piece of plastic wrap over the top of the cake. Place a large cutting board on top of the cheesecake and carefully flip it upside down. The bottom of the pan is most likely going to be stuck to the crust. The best way to do this is to take a dish towel, wet it down, warm it in the microwave for a bit and then put the hot towel on the bottom of the pan. This melts the butter in the crust allowing the pan to be lifted away. Once you have the bottom of the pan off you can place a decorative plate on the bottom of the cheesecake and gently flip it right side up. Remove the plastic wrap and top with the cherry mixture, leaving a 1/2 border along the edge of the cake.

This picture shows the cheesecake upside down on a cutting board after removing the bottom of the pan. As you can see the cutting board is bigger than the cake which is important. If your cutting board isn’t big enough, the edges of the cake can break off.

The picture on the right shows the cake right side up and placed on a pretty plate. I get these plates at Bed Bath and Beyond for about $1.50 each. They are the perfect size for a 9″ cake and cheap enough that I don’t mind leaving them behind.

 

 

And here’s the finished product. 🙂

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Nibbling

Some days cooking just doesn’t happen. Especially if there is lots of food in the fridge lol. Today was one of those days. I was going to smoke some ribs but didn’t get them in the smoker until 3pm (they’ll be done around 9 or 10 tonight.) I was going to fry up some of the duck confit and just ran out of energy (again). So I made up a cheese plate with five different types of cheese, baked a dump cake and smoked some fish. Now my brother, Jene and I can nibble on whatever sounds good.

The cheese plate consisted of Havarti with dill, Gouda with wasabi, a cheese from a local place that is half goat’s milk half cow’s milk, chedder with stout and mustard seeds and marinated mozzarella.

Aaron had some trout and tilapia that needed to be used up so I rubbed them with some honey, sprinkled with salt and pepper and a bit of lemon juice. Put the fish in the smoker for a couple of hours. It came out quite tasty.

The dump cake was made with apple pie filling, dried cherries, spice cake and ginger ale. It’s a little sweeter than I really enjoy but still good for all that. A nice way to end the day.

Tomorrow we’ll eat the ribs for dinner 🙂

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Taking a Dump… Cake!

Anyone who’s ever been associated with the Girl Scouts probably knows what a “Dump Cake” is. Everyone else is probably confused lol.

A Dump Cake is a wonderful way to make a quick, easy, sickeningly sweet dessert. I love to take them to parties because it’s usually a total surprise and actually surprisingly good for something that only took about 5 minutes to put together.

The name “dump cake” comes from the fact that you dump the ingredients in the pan and bake it. No stirring, no mixing and no work! You can make this in just about any flavor you can imagine. So here’s the basic idea behind a dump cake.

Recipe

1 Box Cake Mix (any flavor you want. Today I used French Vanilla)

2 Cans pie filling (flavor is up to you. I used Strawberry.)

12 oz soda (use whatever works best with your cake mix. today i used 7-up) OR 1 stick butter

9×13 cake pan

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the cans of pie filling into the pan and kinda spread it around evenly. Pour the DRY cake mix over the pie filling, gently spreading it evenly. DO NOT MIX it into the pie filling! Next, gently pour the soda over the top of the cake mix. It’ll fizz up and look kind of funky. This is NORMAL. You can very gently use a fork to sort of mix the soda into the cake mix but be careful not to mix in the pie filling. The other option for this part is to slice very thin pieces of butter and put them all over the top of the cake mix instead of using the soda. I actually like to use both, I just use less butter (about a half a stick today).

Bake for about 30 minutes until the top is starting to brown and the cake mix has a cobbler like look to it. It might appear dry and crumbly in places… This is NORMAL!

Take it out, let it cool and eat it.

So some other variations that have been very popular are yellow cake mix with 1 can cherry pie filling and 1 can of crushed pineapple (undrained), Chocolate cake mix with cherry pie filling, and french vanilla with blackberry. I have plans to give spice cake and apple a try at some point in the future.

Today’s strawberry was sort of a random thing. I was at Raley’s (a grocery store) and saw the strawberry pie filling. It sort of grabbed me and so I bought it lol. Today’s birthday party gives me a good excuse to make it. 😀 I was actually surprised at how good it tasted when I opened the can. I’m excited to try the cake when it’s done.

I’ll add another picture later to show you what it looks like served 🙂

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Chocolate-Cherry Brownies

I’m going to brag… my brownies are AWESOME! It is the number one thing I am requested to make. So I’m going to share my recipe and maybe OTHER people can start making them lol.

The recipe I started with is from King Arthur Flour. They have amazing baking recipes and I own several of their cookbooks. This recipe grabbed my eye because it makes THICK fudgey brownies instead of the insipid thin little brownies other recipes make. This recipe is NOT low fat or low calorie but omg it’s good. The recipe can be found at http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/fudge-brownies-recipe

Fudgy, cakey, fudgy, cakey… can’t make up your mind? If you’re looking for a brownie that’s right in between those two styles, you’ve found it. These brownies combine a fudge brownie’s ultra-moist texture with a subtle cake-like rise, for the best of both worlds.

Our guarantee: These brownies, deep chocolate brown inside with a lighter-colored top crust, will be about 3/4″ to 1″ tall when cut. They’ll be ultra-moist without crossing the line into gooey/underbaked.

Read our blog about these brownies, with additional photos, at Bakers’ Banter.

  1. Volume
  2. Ounces
  3. Grams

Directions

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan
2) In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Or simply combine the butter and sugar, and heat, stirring, until the butter is melted. Continue to heat (or microwave) briefly, just until the mixture is hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it’ll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating the mixture to this point will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.
3) While the sugar heats a second time, crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla till smooth.
4) Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth.
5) Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Note: If you want the chips to remain intact in the baked brownies, rather than melting in, let the batter cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before stirring in the chips.
6) Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9″ x 13″ pan.
7) Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.
KAF guaranteed recipes

Recipe summary

Hands-on time:
12 mins. to 15 mins.
Baking time:
28 mins. to 30 mins.
Total time:
40 mins. to 45 mins.
Yield:
Two dozen 2″ brownies.

Tips from our bakers

  • When testing to see if brownies are done, take a cake tester or the tip of a sharp knife and carefully poke it into the center of the pan, digging around just enough to see the interior. You should see moist crumbs, but no uncooked batter. Yes, you’ll be left with a small divot in the center of your brownies; just cut around it when you’re cutting the brownies into squares.
  • Want to make whole-grain brownies? Check out our recipe: Tasting is Believing Whole-Grain Brownies.
  • This recipe is written using Dutch-process cocoa. If you use natural cocoa, your results may be different; the brownies may taste slightly acidic, and might be denser.

I’ve been playing with this recipe for years and there are lots of variations that can be made. I follow the basic recipe (I do NOT use the espresso powder) but I use a saucepan on the stove instead of the microwave. I prefer the control it gives me over cooking the sugar. I also don’t use another bowl for mixing the eggs and cocoa together. I remove the sugar/butter mixture from the stove and mix the cocoa/salt/baking powder/vanilla into the sugar right in the saucepan. I then add in the eggs one at a time. You have to mix the eggs in quickly because the cocoa/sugar mixture is going to be warm and you don’t want to curdle the eggs. Then you mix in the flour and chips. This helps cut down on the number of dishes I get dirty 🙂

So, you’re probably wondering when I’m going to explain what I do to make my brownies so awesome… the answer is NOTHING! This recipe is that amazing! Well.. ok, I do start making some changes with what I put in for the “chips” part. A favorite is 1 cup of butterscotch chips and 1 cup of white chocolate chips. Another is Heath toffee bits or peanut butter chips. The kitchen sink version has walnuts, pecans, chocolate chips (milk and dark) white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and butterscotch chips. The idea is that the additions should equal about 2 cups worth of additions. I “might” have occasionally gone beyond that amount lol.

Today’s pan of brownies is my Chocolate-Cherry version is takes a bit of extra work. Start by taking 8oz of dried bing cherries and soaking them in 1/4 cup of Amaretto liqueur. Let them soak for at least 20 minutes, overnight if possible. What this does is release some of the cherry flavor into the liquid which will then be added to the brownies and infuse the batter with cherry flavor. It also adds a nice almond flavor to the cherries. Cherries and almond go together SO well. It’s one of my favorite combinations.

The next step is going to be adding 3/4 teaspoon of almond extract to the batter with the vanilla.

Add the cherries after the eggs are mixed in but before you add the flour and chocolate chips.

Mix in the flour and chocolate chips. I use milk chocolate but if you like your brownies really dark you can use semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips. I prefer to use Ghirardelli or Guittard chocolate chips. Both are much better quality than Hershey’s. I am a chocolate snob but that’s for another post… Let’s just say that better chocolate makes better brownies.

From this point it’s just following the instructions and baking the brownies.

If you’re going to take these to a party, make two pans people will be going back for seconds and thirds!

 

 

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