Need a great dessert or sweet snack to feed a crowd? A friend of mine passed me a version of a recipe which I tweaked to create these Chocolate-Coconut Toffee Bars. These remind me of a cross between S’mores and Hello Dolly bars, but these are a little less fattening. I used low-fat graham crackers as the base with a toffee layer topped with coconut, pecans and dark chocolate. They are so easy to make, and the kids loved them (especially for a study break snack).
I have been on a huge peach kick lately with the juiciest, ripest peaches to choose from in Alabama. I made these Peach-Pecan Muffins this weekend for my kids, and they were quite popular. This recipe can be made with whole wheat or all-purpose flour, and I used medium fresh peaches. Our medium peaches are huge, so you may want to add more if yours aren’t that large (see my picture below from instagram on the iphone). Also, feel free to omit the pecans if you wish, but they do make them pretty and add an additional touch of southern flavor.
I have to apologize that I am slightly behind on my Passover recipes to share with you. I was at the Mom 2 Summit conference last week in New Orleans attending and speaking, and I honestly got behind. Many friends have been asking me about traditional Passover foods and the Passover Seder, so I must share this simple recipe for Haroseth (also spelled and pronounced Charoseth). This mixture of wine, nuts and apples is a symbol of the mortar used by the Israelites to bond bricks while they were in slavery in Egypt. It is traditional to serve this with matzoh during the Seder meal with, and without, horseradish. It has an awesome flavor, and it is always is a hit!
Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is the wonder grain and one of the best plant sources of protein. It’s loaded with protein, fiber and is gluten-free. It’s so versatile, and when my sister came across this recipe in Ellie Krieger’s book, “So Easy”, she told me I had to test it out. I changed the recipe slightly using Pink Lady apples, more cranberries and walnuts instead of pecans. It was out of this world. Her recipe suggests to top it with milk, honey and cinnamon, but it was great all by itself. I love it because it’s so easy, filling and has no added sugar. It’s also bursting with great flavor. My kids loved it too, and I enjoyed serving them a hot healthy breakfast.
Growing up and living in the south, I have always heard eating collard greens and black eyed peas brings good luck in the new year. This year, I had so much fun developing a new, easy recipe for collards for the January issue of Birmingham Magazine. What I really love about collard greens is that they are packed with nutrition and are known as a cancer-preventive vegetable. They offer an excellent source of vitamins B6 and C, carotenes, chlorophyll, and manganese. One cup of collard greens provides more than 70 percent of the RDA for vitamin C. Collard greens are also a very good source of fiber, and several minerals, including iron, copper, and calcium. This 15 minute recipe for Balsamic Glazed Collard Greens has a salty and sweet combination from dried cranberries, toasted pecans and balsamic. Serve with pork, chicken, beef or fish for a tasty and healthy side dish.
Homemade treats and gifts are so comforting during the holidays, and who wouldn’t love a gift that looks like this? I made a few of these, and everyone went nuts over them. I couldn’t make them fast enough. Not only is this the easiest gift in the world to make, but the finished product is beyond awesome (and when I say that, it’s good). You can find one-quart jars almost anywhere, but if you’re having trouble, check Walmart or your local grocery store. These recipes can be made ahead, and don’t forget to make a few extra batches to keep on hand for family munching, drop-in guests, or any time of the year.
Chocolate Butterscotch Bars
Prep: 5 minutes
YIeld: 3 dozen
11/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate morsels
2 cups (12 ounces) butterscotch morsles
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1. Layer all ingredients in a 1-quart jar in order given; tightly seal. Makes 1 gift jar.
Chocolate Butterscotch Bar Cookies: Combine Chocolate Butterscotch Bar Mix and 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk. Press into a greased aluminum foil-lined 9-inch square pan. Bake at 350F for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool completely and cut into squares.
I love spiced nuts! I have been trying to develop a lower fat recipe since nuts have enough fat on their own (but don’t forget those are good fats). This recipe is just in time for the holidays, or you can enjoy them as a snack or also tossed in a mixed green salad with fresh pears and blue cheese. Feel free to use any type of nuts that you want. These are worth every bite, and there’s no oil or butter in the recipe.
Spiced Almonds and Pecans
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Yield: 41/2 cups
2 (6-ounce) packages pecan halves
1 (6 ounce) can whole natural almonds
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
11/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1. Preheat oven to 325°.
2. Combine pecans, almonds and next 3 ingredients in a small bowl. Stir in egg whites. Spread mixture evenly onto a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325° for 10 minutes. Stir mixture; bake an additional 15 minutes or until crisp. Transfer foil to a wire rack; cool almond mixture. Break almond mixture into small pieces.
Note: Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to one week.
If you’re looking for a twist on pecan pie, try these simple Pecan Pie Bars. With ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry, you can prepare these with ease. I put my pecans in the food processor to speed up the prep time on this recipe. If you want to make them lighter, use skim milk instead of whipping cream. Just don’t forget to have a glass of milk on hand and an empty stomach (I’m stuffed as I am writing this).
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Yield: Makes about 28 squares
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2/3 cup butter
3 tablespoons whipping cream or milk (skim milk may be used)
3 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
1. Sift together 2 cups flour and 2/3 cup powdered sugar. Cut in 3/4 cup softened butter using a pastry blender or fork just until mixture resembles coarse meal. Pat mixture on bottom and 1 1/2 inches up sides of a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
2. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool.
3. Bring brown sugar, corn syrup, 2/3 cup butter, and whipping cream (or milk) to a boil in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in pecans, and pour hot filling into prepared crust.
4. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Cool completely before cutting into 2-inch squares.