Posts Tagged ‘Nuts’

I am sooo excited to share this recipe with you guys!!  Not only is it AMAZING but it’s a family recipe!  We make it every year for the holidays, a family tradition for sure.  I always remember my mom making it once the holiday season was in full swing.  She would have a bowl with her morning coffee and perhaps a handful after dinner.  About 5 or so years ago I started making it as well because there was no way I could wait until Christmas week to partake.  There are many ways I follow in my mom’s footsteps and this is no exception.  Piping hot coffee in one hand, small bowl of caramel party mix in the other.  Life is good!

This caramely mix has made an appearance at numerous holiday parties and been given as countless homemade gifts.  It’s always a hit!!  I like to think the obsession goes somewhat like this for a newbie:  “Caramel Party Mix…hmm…sounds pretty good.  First few pieces are consumed, this stuff is GOOD!  Another few pieces maybe even a handful later, what is this??  It’s so addicting!  Email is composed and the recipe is requested!”  2 years ago I made it for some co-workers and got a request from them the next year to have another bag, and if I could make that bag bigger than last year that would be great!

Enough talking it up….what does it taste like?!?  Well……it’s sweet and caramely and crunchy and addicting!!!  Soo addicting!  Don’t be turned away by the hour baking time.  It’s well worth the every -15-minute stirring process.  If you have some left over cereal from making salty party mix, give this one a try!  You will be hooked.  Coffee drinker?  Start your morning off right and add this to your pre-breakfast roundup.  It’s especially yummy sitting in front of a fire on a crisp winter morning.   Not that it changes the taste, but it creates a relaxing picture, doesn’t it??  I hope you enjoy this sweet treat as much as we do!!

(Printable Recipe)

Caramel Party Mix


  • 10 cups cereal (cereal recommendations listed below)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 stick butter, unsalted
  • 1/3 cup light Karo syrup
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
Cereal Recommendations
  • 2 cups rice chex
  • 2 cups corn chex
  • 2 cups bugels
  • 1 cup kix cereal
  • 1 cup cheerios
  • 1 overflowing cup of pretzels
  • 1 cup peanuts OR you can do 1/2 peanuts 1/2 cashews


1.  Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  Place cereal in a large foil pan.  Set aside.

2.  In a large saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, light corn syrup and vanilla extract over medium-low heat.  Stir frequently until butter is melted and mixture is combined.  Allow mixture to come to a rolling boil, allow to boil for 45 seconds to 1 minute.  Remove pan from heat and add baking soda.  Stir quickly to combine, the mixture will expand which is what you want.  Pour caramel mixture over cereal.  Stir cereal and caramel until well combined.

3.  Bake  for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Allow to cool.  Store in an airtight container.



  • I use a turkey roaster pan to make the party mix in.  You can find foil ones at Wal-Mart for about $1.  The nice thing about the foil pans, they are disposable.  It looks similar to this. 
  • While cooling, stir occasionally to make sure mix doesn’t stick to pan.  
  • Sample Often!  

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I’m still trying to get my sugar levels back in check after coming off a 2 month binge of sweets and savory meals – which is totally worth every single bite, don’t get me wrong!!  It’s going to be especially hard today/tonight/this weekend because it’s my (cough cough….30th) birthday!!  I figured I would start off the day on the right foot, knowing very well that it will quickly lead me to something sinfully wonderful temptation later on.

One of my favorite fruits in oatmeal are apples.  Usually I just chop up an apple, nuke it in the microwave and then add it to my oatmeal.  But this morning called for something a little extra special and fun –  a cupcake!  Aren’t these the best guilt-free cupcakes ever!  Just love them!!

(Printable Recipe)

Baked Apple ‘Cupcakes’


  • 1 apple, cored
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup water
  • dash of cinnamon
  • toppings: granola, peanut butter, maple syrup, blueberries, banana (options are endless)

1.  Preheat oven to 375.  Core apple about half way down.  Place apple in an 8×8 glass baking dish and cover with foil.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until apple is starting to get soft but not mushy.

2.  Once apple is done baking, combine oats and water.  Place in microwave for 1 min 30 seconds.  Once cooked, add in cinnamon to taste.

3.  Cut apple in half horizontally and core the bottom portion until core is completely removed.  Place half of the oatmeal on top of half of the apple.  Repeat with other half of each.

4.  Add any toppings you desire and enjoy!

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Chocolate Lovers beware!!  These cookies are dangerously chocolaty, dangerously chewy, and dangerously delicious!!!  I have been searching for a new chocolate cookie recipe for a while.  I had another failed attempt over the weekend but I was hopeful that I would find one soon.  Chocolate was the theme this week for My Baking Addiction and Good Life Eats Holiday Recipe Exchange and for some reason I was set on cookies.  I headed over to one of my new favorite blogs, Bakers Royale, to search through her masterpieces.  Everything she makes always looks wonderful and usually they are bite size which I LOVE!!  She raved about how good these were so I gave them a shot and I am soo glad I did!!

These cookies have a slight outside crisp (but not crunchy) and chewy center!  They are basically a brownie in cookie form – kind of the best of both worlds, don’t ya think??!?  I gave Brent a few options for add-ins and he went with chocolate and peanut butter chips, but you could add about anything you wanted and they would be divine!  If you have some chocolate lovers coming over, whip up these cookies.  They will adore you for it!!  Thanks for stopping by!


(Printable Recipe)

Chewy Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies


  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 8 tbsp butter (1 stick), cut into cubes
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dutch process cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups (8 oz) chocolate and peanut butter chips
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2.  Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

3.  Melt the butter and bittersweet chocolate over low heat or in a double broiler.  Remove from heat and add the vanilla.

4.  In a separate bowl, on medium speed beat sugar and eggs until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Reduce speed to low and beat in chocolate mixture until well combined.  Add the flour mixture and gently stir until just combined.  Fold in chocolate and peanut butter chips.

5.  Place 1 1/2 tablespoonfuls of dough onto prepared cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes on pan before transferring to a cooling rack.


**My cookies baked for about 10 minutes and cooled on pan for about 2-4 (depending on how long I forgot about them).  Cookies will be very soft when you transfer them.  They will set up as they cool.

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Pumpkin Granola

One of my favorite fall breakfasts is warm apple with granola.  I slice up an apple, heat it in the microwave for 30-45 seconds and then top with cinnamon, granola, and dried fruit.  Quick, simple, easy and wholesome!!  Last year my mom was on a granola kick and since I haven’t been home in awhile to grab any of hers, I decided to try to make my own this year.  It was like it was fate or something because the day I was thinking about this, I hopped over to a blog that I read all the time and she had posted this recipe.  If that isn’t a sign, right?!?!

The smell of the granola while it was baking was so wonderfully fall!!  I might even make this before people come over just because the house smells amazing!  The recipe came together very quick and the thing I liked most about it was that it didn’t call for butter or oil.  Granola can be tricky like that sometimes and hide stuff that’s really not needed.  One word of caution I will give you is this recipe makes A LOT!  The first time I made it I put it all on one pan and it was too crowded and never got crunchy.  I would suggest spreading it out onto two pans or half the recipe.  Other than that, this pumpkin granola has been a staple in my breakfast all week.


(Printable Recipe)

Pumpkin Granola

Recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod


  • 5 cups rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pepitas

1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine oats, spices, and salt. Mix well.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract.  Whisk until smooth.  Pour wet ingredients into oat mixture and stir until the oats are evenly coated. They will be moist. Evenly spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.

4. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and stir. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the granola is golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and stir in dried cranberries and pepitas. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.


  • Make sure granola is evenly spread out on pan while baking to achieve crunchy results.
  • May need to bake longer than time recommended.  I checked mine every 5-10 minutes after (40 minutes recipe calls for) and stirred between each time.
  • Granola will continue to crisp up a little more after you remove it from the oven.

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I mentioned that I stocked up on pumpkin, which seemed a little bizarre to be doing.  I’ve been hearing numerous rumblings that there is a good possibility of a pumpkin shortage this year.  So as I was checking out at Trader Joe’s, I asked the cashier and he said they had just gotten it in 2 days ago and it was flying off the shelves.  CRAZY!!  Hopefully I don’t bake my way through this stash too quick.

Immediately my head started thinking of different recipes to try.  For some reason I was in a brownie mood so why not give it a shot.  Luckily we were going up to visit a friend this past weekend which was a perfect excuse to bring something for her 2 adorable kids.   This little bites are a perfect size snack for kids and adults!!  Not knowing what everyone would like, I did different 4 different toppings.  (Mini Chocolate Chips, Mini Chocolate Chips and Pepitas, Pepitas alone, and plain).  My personal favorite were the ones with the pepitas on top.  I love those little green seeds.  The top of the brownie bite is soft and airy and the bottom is chocolatey and chewy.  I found it was a little difficult on some to get the brownie completely out of the bottom.  Make sure you prepare your pan well and be patient while taking them out.  Other than that…..ENJOY!!!


(Printable Recipe)

Mini Pumpkin Brownie Bites

Adapted from Martha Stewart


  • 4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used semi-sweet chocolate chips)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup, plus 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp solid-packed pumpkin
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Optional toppings: pepitas, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, etc

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray mini muffin pan with non-stick spray.

2.  Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth.

3.  Whisk together flour, baking powder, cayenne, and salt in a large bowl; set aside. Put sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat until fluffy and well combined, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in flour mixture.

4.  Divide batter between two medium bowls (about 1 cup per bowl). Stir chocolate mixture into one bowl. In other bowl, stir in pumpkin, oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Fill bottom of muffin pans with 1 tbsp of chocolate batter. Next top with 1 tbsp pumpkin batter.  Repeat layers in smaller portions if you want more of a layered look.  Work quickly so batters don’t set.  Sprinkle with extras if desired.

5.  Bake until set, 22-30 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.

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I’ve been seeing baked goods with zucchini all over the blog world lately and I finally jumped on the bandwagon.  The texture of these soft pillows of sugary sweetness remind me a lot of pumpkin cookies.  Unlike a traditional cookie, these are cakey and chewy from the applesauce and zucchini.  Which also means they are a healthy cookie, no?!?  The butterscotch chips was a great add that I highly recommend!  Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!!  Thanks so much for stopping by!


(Printable Recipe)

Oatmeal Zucchini Cookies

Recipe from Trout Towers


  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups grated, unpeeled zucchini
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • 4 cups total of any/all of the following: butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, raisins, chopped nuts, etc

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Cream butter and sugars.  Add applesauce, cinnamon, salt, vanilla, and eggs.  Mix in grated zucchini.

3.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, soda, and oatmeal.  Mix into butter/sugar concoction.  Fold in chips, raisins, nuts and whatever you want.

4.  Drop rounded spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheets.  Lumps should be roughly the size of large ping pong ball.  Wet the palm of your hand and flatten the lumps.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until they look almost done.  Allow to finish cooking on cookie sheet before transferring to cooling rack.

Buttercream Frosting

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk

1.  Cream together butter and shortening.  Add in vanilla.  Beat in sugar 1 cup at a time until all is combined.  While mixer is on medium/high speed, beat in milk 1 tbsp at a time until desired consistency is achieved.


  • Cookies are great without the frosting as well!
  • I baked mine for 12 minutes and then pulled them out of the oven and allowed them to sit on the cookie sheet for an additional 4 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

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