Thanks to Love Life Sugar for this amazing recipe. I doubled everything to fill a 9×13 pan! Enjoy!

Pretzel crust
3/4 cup pretzel crumbs
6 tbsp butter, melted

Brownies
3/4 cup veggie oil
3/4 cup Nutella
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp baking powder

Caramel drizzle
6 oz kraft caramels (about 20 caramels)
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp milk

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom and sides of a 9×9 square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing two sides to stick up so that the bars be lifted out of the pan when done.
2. Mix together crushed pretzel crumbs and melted butter and press into the bottom of the pan.
3. In a large mixer bowl, mix together the oil, nutella, sugar and vanilla extract.
4. Add eggs and mix until well combined.
5. Combine flour and baking powder
6. Slowly add to the egg mixture until well combined. Batter will be grainy.
7. Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly.
8. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
9. Allow to cool completely in the pan, then lift brownies out of pan. Slice into bars.
10. Add caramels, milk and butter to a pan and melt over medium-low heat.
11. Drizzle caramel sauce over the bars and allow caramel to cool.

 

Caramel Pretzel Nutella Brownies

INGREDIENTS

3 medium, firm green tomatoes
Salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
Couple of dashes of old bay seasoning (optional)
1/2 cup milk or buttermilk (buttermilk gives it a little something extra)
1 egg
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup vegetable oil

1. Cut unpeeled tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices. Sprinkle slices with salt. Let tomato slices stand for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place in separate shallow bowls: the flour and Cajun seasoning (if using), buttermilk and egg, and bread crumbs and cornmeal.

2. Heat the oil in a skillet on medium heat. Beat the egg and the buttermilk together. Dip tomato slices in the flour-seasoning mix, then buttermilk-egg mixture, then the cornmeal-bread crumb mix. In the skillet, fry half of the coated tomato slices at a time, for 3-5 minutes on each side or until brown. Set the cooked tomatoes on paper towels to drain.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Yield: 24 cookies

Ingredients:

½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups chilled sweet potato purée (from about 2 sweet potatoes)
1 large egg
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
½ Tablespoon ground ginger
½ Tablespoon ground cloves

For the icing:

¾ cup of mini marshmallows
¼ teaspon vanilla
2 Tablespoons butter
Dash of milk

For the Candied Pecan topping:

¼ pound candied pecans, chopped
1 Tablespoon vanilla
½ cup packed brown sugar

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mix together the oil, sugar, vanilla and pureed sweet potatoes in a medium bowl. Then add the egg.

3. In a separate bowl mix flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix dry ingredients slowly into wet ingredients.

4. Dollop onto baking sheets and bake 10 minutes or until springy (don’t over-bake).

5. Let cookies cool on wire racks. Meanwhile melt marshmallows, butter, vanilla and milk for icing in the microwave. Then drizzle on cookies.

6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Turn the oven up to 375 degrees.

7. For the topping, mix pecans, vanilla and ½ cup brown sugar together and spread over parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes.

8. Remove from oven and let cool. Then sprinkle on top of cookies.

Per serving: 185 calories; 8g fat; 1.5g saturated fat; 10mg cholesterol; 2g protein; 27g carbohydrate; 17g sugar; 1g fiber; 115mg sodium; 30mg calcium.

Sweet Potato Cookies with Sweet Cinnamon Icing

Ingredients

FOR THE FILLING
3/4 cup  brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup  sugar
3/4 cup chopped pecans
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

FOR THE DOUGH
3 cups  all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup  buttermilk – (*note* you can make homemade buttermilk by adding 1 T of lemon juice to 1 cup of milk)
6 tablespoons  unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup maple syrup

FOR THE ICING
2 tablespoons  unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons  maple syrup
1 to 2 teaspoons  milk
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

To make the filling: Combine all of the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add the melted butter and stir with a fork until the mixture looks like wet sand. Set aside.

To make the dough: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Brush a 9-inch cake pan with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the buttermilk, syrup, and 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, and stir until just combined. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead until smooth (it will still be very soft and a little sticky, but will be smoother and less lumpy). Place in a lightly floured bowl, cover, and chill for 20 minutes.

Once chilled, flatten the dough into a rectangle about 12 X 8 inches. Pour 2 tablespoons of the melted butter on and spread around with your fingers. Pour the filling over the dough and spread it evenly over the top, leaving about a 1/2 inch or so border around the outside edge. Press the filling down to pack it on top of the dough.

Starting on the long side of the dough, roll the side up, pressing as you go, to create a tightly rolled log (be gentle, as this will likely stick to the counter a bit). Pinch the seam closed and lay the log seam side down. Cut into 8 even pieces for big roles or smaller pieces to make more, and transfer each roll to the prepared cake pan. Brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Bake for 20 to 23minutes, until golden brown.

To make the icing: In a medium bowl, cream the butter and add the sugar. Mix until the sugar and butter start to come together a bit. Add the syrup and whisk well, until the mixture is smooth. If it is too thick, add a teaspoon or so of milk to loosen it up.

Allow the cinnamon rolls to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. Pour the icing over the rolls. Serve warm.

Gooey Maple Pecan Cinnamon Roles

Sometimes fitting breakfast in on a sports-filled Sunday can be a trying task with all the other preparations that are happening around us. Brunch Cups save the day! This recipe is simple, quick, and all ingredients are interchangeable so you can make them to fit your tastes!

Preheat oven to 475 degrees

Ingredients:

Six egg whites (or 4 regular eggs)
Milk
Spinach
Mushrooms
Pepper
Garlic powder
Shredded cheese

Cut up your vegetables (spinach and mushrooms) into small pieces. In a bowl mix egg whites (or regular eggs) with a splash of milk- as you would with scrabbled eggs. Add vegetables to eggs and season with garlic powder and pepper. Spray a cupcake pan with nonstick cooking oil and pour mixture into cups ( should fill about 6-7 cups). Bake at 475 for 15 minutes. Add cheese to the top of the cups and bake an additional 5 minutes. Remove from cups and serve hot!

Tip: Eat these with hot sauce or salsa to give them an extra kick! You can add any types of vegetables you desire to this dish, however vegetables such as broccoli will take a slightly longer cooking time.

Brunch Cups!

“‘Mangia che ti passa’ – Eat and it will be over, you’ll feel better”

This Italian saying explains the very purpose of food. For all of you who don’t quite understand the power food possesses, please let me explain. Food’s sole purpose is to fulfill us, through the basic aspects of nourishment to the complexities of feeding the soul. It’s said to really enjoy life, one must take big bites. Now, I am against gluttony, obesity and unhealthy habits as much as anyone else who values their quality of life, however I opt for letting food serve it’s purpose. Too many people are fearful of food when they should be embracing it.

Stressed, depressed, over-worked or overwhelmed? I’ve found that food is the foolproof solution, and no I’m not talking about stuffing your face, I’m talking about cooking therapy.

From baking to composing a delicious pot luck meal to getting lost in a cultural cookbook, food is our always dependable escape goat. I will be using this blog to feature recipies from all aspects of life, to explore not only new foods but the stories behind those foods- it’s going to be a real page turner. Most foods will also be highlighting the reality that great tasting dishes can be great for you. That’s not to say however that I will ruin the perfection of previously established recipes (particularly baked goods) by trying to “healthify” them, because sometimes there’s no reason to mess with a good thing.

“Mangia che ti passa”

Who doesn’t love zucchini bread? Since I was a kid it was by far one of my favorite, fresh summer desserts that flew out of my mothers kitchen and no matter how much I try to stay away from breads zucchini bread is something I just can’t avoid. It’s delicious and simple to make and lets be honest, anytime I have an excuse to bake I take it. So here it is, the recipe, the process and the scrumptious finished product.

What’s In the Mix?
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup water
2 cups grated zucchini
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup chopped pecans
The How-To

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, cinnamon and sugar.

In a separate bowl, combine oil, eggs, water, zucchini and lemon juice. Mix wet ingredients into dry, add nuts and fold in.

Bake in 2 standard loaf pans, sprayed with nonstick spray, for 1 hour, or until a tester comes out clean.

Zucchini Bread Perfection

Seeing Through the Rain-Stained Glass

Looking out the windows this morning I was pulled into my own little world. That place you sometimes go and get lost in your thoughts – the place that’s hard to pull yourself out of because the possibilities of what you may discover are too intriguing for you to abandon.

The sky is cloud covered and full of promise. Promise that the day will bring with it change, the promise that no matter how hard we try, we are not fully in control of where the day will lead. With fall trying to make an appearance and summer unwilling to let go, we are graced with unpredictable days – in more ways than just the weather.

It’s often times such as these, when I’m staring through rain-stained glass at a world that is distorted and hard to make out, that many things become clear. When I was younger I used to hear people say that the smallest things will bring your life into focus. For me, it was today. There’s nothing particularly special about today – no life altering events happening or activities that will go down in the history books. It’s been nothing more than a rainy Friday in the beginning of fall. However I found myself treasuring every moment. I woke up in a bed, in a home I own with someone I love. For those reasons alone I find myself ultimately blissful. Today’s been about slowing down. Taking an outside look at the moments I usually blow right past – actually seeing what surrounds me. So maybe today will be a day that I’ll remember, but there will be no noteworthy reason for those memories, other than being simplistically and optimistically happy, and I think that just may be reason enough.

New Things….

I would like to apologize for my absence, it has been over a month since I have last touched base and yet it seems like days. So much has happened in my life in the last few months. I have most recently started a new job at a software company, in their marketing department, I have great hopes of beginning a new journey in the near future with an advertising/marketing firm here in the city, and I have began working with an amazing non-profit organization Stand Up For Kids. It was just a short while ago that I felt as if I were being stretched to my limits, chasing every opportunity yet ending up no where. Now, I feel as if I barely have a spare minute to catch my breath but as my mom says “it’s feast or famine out there so take it while it’s coming at you”. I am so appreciative of all the current opportunities I have been given and I am anxious to see what will come next.

On a slightly different note my little brother, or whom I like to call my little “big” brother- since he is way taller than me- is turning the big 2-1 (21) this week! I am but only 18 months older than them but I have always felt as if I am years older. It is crazy to think that we are all growing and changing so quickly, yet it is inevitable. We can’t stop time anymore than we can predict the future, yet many times we catch ourselves trying to do both. I think that the unpredictability is part of what makes it all so fun!

People say that you will leave college with more questions than when you went into it, to all those people I tip my hat to you because you pegged me again. In this year since I’ve graduated college I have found myself to have more questions about life than I thought I could ever possibly have. I feel better educated, however now I want to take many different directions but all simultaneously. I figured I would go to college, choose a major, study that major, get a job in that field, and live my life that way forever. WRONG. I want to do so many things it makes my head spin. It may just be my personality, but I am never going to be content just doing one thing forever. I may choose to do one thing forever but I will additionally have many other little projects happening too! Hey, why not? You only live once.

So I think I will end this post on that note, we only live once so make sure it’s the life you want to live.