Want to wreck your diet?

How about cancel out all that hard work you put in at the gym this morning? These cookies may just do it for you.

In November/December when I was a baking fiend, I was spending a ridonkulous amount of money at the grocery store on flour, sugar, butter, and all that good stuff. Gold Medal flour happened to be on sale quite a bit. The bag also had a coupon for Hershey's Chocolate Chips and a recipe for Caramel-Pecan Snappers. When I bought the first 3 bags, I saved the coupon, but didn't think much of the recipe. After buying a few more bags the recipe grew on me. When I got the urge to bake last weekend, I knew exactly what I wanted to make.

After I'd started on these I realized I was out of Cream of Tartar. I just threw in a little more vanilla to make for that. The cookies turned out good, but I really want to make them again with the Cream of Tartar. The cookie part itself isn't really a sugar cookie, it reminded me of a shortbread cookie. The topping of pecans, caramel, and chocolate was perfect. It was just enough sweetness without overpowering the actual cookie. This is sort of like Turtle Candy.

My only gripe with this recipe is the amount it's supposed to yield. The recipe says 3dozen cookies. I got 17 cookies.

Caramel-Pecan Snappers
Source: Gold Medal Flour Bag

3/4 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Shortening
1/ Cup Butter, Softened
1tsp Vanilla
1 Egg
1 1/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
3/4 Cup Pecans, Chopped
36 Caramels, unwrapped (I used a bag of the caramel bits)
2 Tablespoons Milk
1 Cup semisweet chocolate chips


Heat oven to 350. Mix sugar, shortening, margarine, vanilla and egg in large bowl. Stir in flour, cream of tarter, baking soda and salt.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place about 3 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with greased bottom of glass dipped into sugar. I didn't like the way that turned out, so I ended up using the back of my cookie scoop. Press pecans onto cookies.

Bake 9 to 10 minutes or until set, but not brown. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack.

Place caramels and milk in small microwavable bowl. Microwave uncovered on High 2 to 3 minutes, stirring every minute, until smooth. Spoon over cookies. Melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl on high 1 to 2 minutes, stir until smooth. Spoon melted chocolate over caramel. I put the chocolate in a plastic bag and piped it over the caramel, then with the back of a spoon smoothed it out. Cool completely, about 30 min. YIELD: 3 dozen cookies

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto & Chicken Pasta

I saw this recipe recently over on Julie's blog. If you haven't checked her out yet you really need to. My blog totally has a crush on her blog. She is a wonderful cook and an excellent hostess. I love going over to her house, I always know I'll get some tasty food, tons of laughs, and I'll get to stare at her pretty serving dishes. (I'm so jealous of those!)

I knew I had to make this for two reasons...

1) It just sounded good
2) It would give me a chance to hang out with my new friend, Frannie Food Processor.

The dish was very good. It had a wonderful flavor, I loved the pesto. It just a little dry for my taste. When I eat pasta it has to be coated in a ridiculous amount of sauce. (So healthy, I know) Now, the reason this could have been a little dry is because I couldn't find sun dried tomatoes in a jar at the grocery store. How annoying! We shopped at the Walmart Market to save a few $$ and the only sun dried tomatoes I could find were just in a package "ready to eat", no oil or anything with it.

While I was making the pesto, I did add some oil, but I guess just not enough. Since this is originally a CL recipe though, the pasta probably isn't supposed to be drenched in anything. If I make this again, I can just add less pasta. Matt loved this. He loved it so much he had it again for dinner or lunch the next 4 days. One night was plenty for me.

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto & Chicken Pasta
Found On: Julie's Foodie
Originally from: CL
(no pictures, it just wasn't very pretty)

1 (7-ounce) jar oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves
1 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 (6-ounce) bag prewashed baby spinach
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated fat-free milk
1 (3-ounce) package goat cheese, crumbled (I used mozzarella, I had it on hand)
6 cups hot cooked cavatappi (about 4 cups uncooked pasta) (I used rotini, I had it on hand)


To prepare pesto, drain sun-dried tomatoes in a sieve over a bowl, reserving oil. Place 2 tablespoons reserved oil in a food processor. Place remaining oil in sun-dried tomato jar; reserve for another use. Coarsely chop 1/4 cup drained tomatoes; set aside. Place remaining drained tomatoes in food processor. Add basil, water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 2 garlic cloves to food processor; process until finely minced.

To prepare pasta, heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken from pan.

Add minced garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add balsamic vinegar and baby spinach; cook for 2 minutes or until spinach wilts. Stir in pesto and evaporated fat-free milk. Bring to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes.

Add crumbled goat cheese; cook until cheese melts, stirring constantly. Return chicken to pan; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Combine chicken mixture and pasta, tossing well to coat. Sprinkle with reserved 1/4 cup chopped drained tomatoes.


HG's Chicken Pot Pie

Growing up I loved Chicken Pot Pie. My favorite kind of pot pie was not homemade, but from Marie Callendar. That woman knows how to cook. :) However, I couldn't even tell you the last time I ate one, have you seen the "nutritional" info on those puppies? Go take a quick peak. 430 Calories... 30.6g of Fat (12.6 saturated)...1041.3mg Sodium... YIKES! So as soon as I found Kickin' Chicken Pot Pie in HG's book, I marked it to make right away.

This recipe has 4 ingredients and is super simple to make. It does taste pretty close to a real pot pie. I did make a few changes.. added more veggies, added a tiny bit of chicken broth and greek yogurt. Next time I make it I think I might try it out with Cream of Chicken Soup rather than celery. Even with my changes though, I know it is still MUCH healthier than other chicken pot pie options out there.

HG's Kickin' Chicken Pot Pie

8 oz. raw boneless skinless chicken breast; cut into bite-sized pieces
3 cups frozen mixed vegetables (I used Birdseye SteamFresh Baby Potato Blend)
1 can (10.75 oz.) Campbell's Condensed Soup, 98% Fat Free Cream of Celery
3 servings Pillsbury Reduced Fat Crescent Rolls (unprepared) I wanted a thick crust so I used the entire thing.
Because I added more than 3c veggies, I also mixed in about 1/4 c reduced sodium chicken broth and maybe 2 tbsp of greek yogurt and some S&P.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute chicken pieces for several minutes in a pan spritzed with nonstick cooking spray, until chicken is light brown/cooked but still tender; set aside.

Heat frozen veggies in microwave according to package. Mix chicken, vegetables and soup together and put in a 9" round baking dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

Place dish in oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly (stir about halfway through).

While dish is cooking, unroll 3 crescent rolls. Combine pieces together with hands to make one large ball of dough. With a rolling pin, roll dough out into a circle to cover top of dish. Add dough to the top of the dish and cook for an additional 15 - 20 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Serves 4. Serving Size: 1/4th pie (approx. 7 oz.)

Nutritional Info for the Original Recipe:
Calories: 210
Fat: 6g
Sodium: 800mg
Carbs: 24g
Fiber: 2.5g
Sugars: 6g
Protein: 16.5g



The other night I decided to make fudge. I found a relatively easy recipe on Big Oven and got down to work. My work was quickly interrupted when I realized I only had a bout a 1/2 cup of "regular" (as opposed to white) chocolate in the pantry. That's insane. I always have ridiculous amounts of baking squares, chips, and chunks on hand. I guess I used them all in my holiday baking extravaganza. So rather than making Chocolate Caramel Fudge, I made Triple Chocolate Caramel Fudge using Semisweet Chocolate Chips and Baking Squares, Milk Chocolate Hershey Kisses, and White Chocolate Chips. It turned out pretty good. I rate this recipe a 7, there's room for improvement.

Triple Chocolate Caramel Fudge
Source: Big Oven

3c (18 oz.) semisweet chocolate or whatever chocolate you can scrounge up in the house
1c Chopped walnuts
1can Sweetened condensed milk
1/2c Caramel ice cream topping
1tsp Salt
1 1/2tsp Vanilla


In a saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate pieces with milk and salt. Remove from heat and stir in walnuts, topping and vanilla. Spread evenly into foil-lined 8 or 9 square pan. Chill 2 hours or until firm. Turn fudge onto cutting board; peel off foil and cut fudge into pieces. Makes about 2 lbs.


Just for Nikki...

I received a comment on facebook today mentioning the fact I haven't blogged in forever. So thanks to Nikki I'm blogging.

We've been very busy traveling for Christmas and New Years since my family and my husband's family are both out of town. I've also been busy playing with my new kitchen goodies and trying to relax. My fav food related gifts:

Cuisinart 7 Cup Food Processor
An awesome food scale that weighs food and also gives the nutritional value.

I've become obsessed with weighing EVERYTHING. Who knew calorie counting could be so fun. I got some smaller kitchen gadgets too and I have some BB&B gift cards that are just burning holes in my pockets.

Anyhow, my friend Jamie gave me the Hungry Girl cookbook. I'm sure most of you know of HG. If not, go to her website. The book is full of easy low fat and low calorie recipes. Depending on who you ask, they aren't all exactly healthy seeing as she recommends lots of fat free/imitation type of ingredients. (She's not a nutritionist... just hungry!) I know for some people this is great while others would prefer using real ingredients. I'm right smack dab in the middle of this. My diet usually consists of both. I real ingredients like Butter as opposed to that mysterious margarine. But, I might eat a 100 Calorie Pack to satisfy a craving. In the future, I'm not sure if I'll follow every recipe to a T, but I'll definitely use it as a guide. The book is also good for portion control. It seems most of the recipes are for 1-5 servings. HG also includes little facts about food that will make you think twice before stuffing your face with a huge platter of nachos at the next happy hour.

I've tried a couple recipes and they've been pretty good. My favorite so far is the Big Fat Greek Pita. It's perfect for lunch. My lunches usually consist of some sort of raw veggie/hummus/pita type of concoction. This was a great way to change it up without ruining my eating habits for the day.

Big Fat Greek Pita
Source: Hungry Girl Book

Image from HG Newsletter 10/26/06


1 Whole wheat (or high-fiber) pita
2 oz fat-free plain Greek Yogurt
1 small onion - sliced
1/2 cup sliced red and green bell peppers
2 cups fresh spinach
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
S&P, oregano, and garlic powder, to taste
Optional: Red Pepper Flakes


In a small dish, combine yogurt with salt, pepper, oregano and garlic powder (season to taste). Add red pepper flakes for a super-spicy pita.

In a pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, cook onions and peppers over medium heat for 5 – 7 minutes.

Add spinach and tomatoes, and cook until spinach wilts

Remove from heat, and mix veggies with yogurt sauce. Cut pita in half and stuff with veggie mix