dessert

Red, White & Blue Cheesecake Dip

My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing….

Arguably my favorite holiday, since a young child, has been the 4th of July!  I love the comradery of being American with thy fellow neighbor, I love the food and the smell of a lit charcoal grill and I still light up with the sound and sight of popping fire crackers and works!

Let’s also talk about the potluck’s, given everyone I’ve ever met celebrates this holiday outdoors, there is always a picnic of sorts to be had!  This “no-bake” cheesecake dip is the perfect dessert to bring with you to your 4th celebration.  It takes just minutes to prepare, can chill in a cooler if needed and will be gone as fast as it took to make!  Enjoy!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 (8oz) blocks cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 8oz tub Cool Whip, slightly thawed
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice, fresh
  • 1 cup hulled and halved strawberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • Graham crackers and vanilla wafers for dipping

*You can use low-fat cream cheese and whipped topping.  Fat-free is not recommended.

*Can be made with other fruits, color-coordinated for other celebrations or be “New York style” plain!

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Beat the softened cream cheese and powdered sugar together till smooth.  Add in the Cool Whip, vanilla extract and lemon juice; whip till just combined.  Gently fold in fresh fruit; cover and refrigerate for 45-60 minutes.

Serve with graham crackers and/or vanilla wafers for dipping.

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Pink Lemonade Icebox Pie

Well Spring has sprung and Easter is just around the corner…one more week, friends!  If you’re anything like me, you are already coming up with your Easter day menu and may be at a loss come the dessert.  Whelp, I am here to help!!

This pie is like a cheesecake decided to hook up with gelato and had an amazing baby; producing the most tangy, sweet and silky glass of ice cold pink lemonade you’ve ever had!  It will certainly transport you back to your childhood with it’s refreshing flavor and that beautiful pink hue is fabulous for a Springtime sweet!

*Feel free to substitute regular lemonade or even orange juice concentrate if desired.  The OJ will be rich, but similar to a creamsicle. 

*Must be frozen, in my opinion, the refrigerator just won’t firm it up enough.  It also thaws quite quick, so no need to leave out on counter for long.

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 (9-inch) premade graham cracker crust
  • 1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 of a (12oz) can frozen pink lemonade concentrate, slightly thawed
  • 1-1/2 cups Cool Whip (appx 1/2 of an 8 oz container)
  • 3-4 drops red food coloring (optional)

In a large bowl, beat the softened cream cheese with an electric hand mixer (or stand mixer) on medium-high until fluffy.  Slowly, beat in the sweetened condensed milk, lemonade concentrate and food coloring (optional) until combined.

With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the whipped topping and then pour into your prepared pie crust.  Freeze for 4-6 hours or overnight (you can place saran wrap overtop).  To serve:  Let thaw for 5 minutes, slice and garnish with extra lemon slices if desired.  Enjoy! xo

 

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*Thank you to Granbury’s incredible photographer, Shad Ramsey, for the fantastic photos.

 

 

Creamy Crockpot Cocoa

‘Tis the season!  This is a fairly popular recipe for the beloved mug of Christmas cheer and my family’s favorite!  So much so that I’ve been known to make a batch for our Christmas Eve party and another within 24 hours for Christmas Day!  Plus, besides the rich and creamy flavor, the large batch (can be doubled even) allows you to enjoy the gathering and NOT the kitchen while making individual cup by cup for your guests.

If serving for a party, make sure to set up a “Hot Cocoa Bar” with marshmallows, sprinkles, candy canes, flavored syrup and perhaps some Baileys or Schnapps’ for the adults!

*This can also be made in a large pot on the stove top in only 30-40 minutes!  You can serve from there or you can quickly make and transfer to a slow-cooker to keep warm!! 🙂

The Starting Lineup

  • 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1.5 cups of heavy cream
  • 2 cups of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
  • 6 cups milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

So simple!  To your crockpot, add all of the above ingredients, cover and set on low, stirring ever so often till combined, 2-3 hours.  Set on warm and serve with your favorite accompaniments.  Makes about 12 large mugs/24 smaller cups.  Can be doubled if a large party.

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OPTIONAL:

*Peppermint Marshmallow Stir Sticks:

  • Chocolate chips (I prefer semi-sweet, but you could even use white!  Milk chocolate is too bland and artificial, to me), melt in a bowl in the microwave.  Stir every 30 seconds until melted.
  • Stir Sticks or skinny candy canes (stick halfway into the large marshmallow)
  • Large marshmallows
  • Crushed peppermints or sprinkles, etc. 
  • Wax paper

    Dip the “marshmallow-on-a-stick” at least halfway into your melted chocolate of choice, drizzle off excess and the roll into the crushed peppermints or sprinkles or leave as is.  Transfer, stick up, bottom of coated marshmallow down onto a sheet of wax paper.  This can also be refrigerated for quicker hardening of the chocolate.

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*Borrowed pic, courtesy of @RoseBakes. as I forgot to take one!  Oops!

Glazed Cinnamon Sugar Apple Fritter Bread

I do not think that this needs a hefty introduction.  I mean, heck, entire candle lines were built around the scent that will come from your oven…

The above being said, this will make your family happy and your neighbor’s jealous on the smell alone.  Really, what says comfort and Fall more than apples, cinnamon and brown sugar?  Exactly.

So, on your next breezy, crisp and possibly rainy day, bake up a batch of this apple bread and take in the praises from your loved ones. xoxo

The Starting Lineup

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
    2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    2/3 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 cup butter, unsalted, softened
    2 eggs 
    1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 3/4 tsp baking powder
    1/2 cup milk
    2 apples, peeled and chopped , mixed with another 2 Tbsp granulated sugar, 1 Tbsp brown sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon *I used both green and red apples, but feel free to use what you prefer.

Glaze Topping

  • 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
    1-3 Tbsp of milk, depending on thickness of glaze desired

*Chopped walnuts or pecans, optional and encouraged!

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray roughly a 9×5 loaf pan with nonstick spray.  Prepare your peeled and chopped apples tossed in the cinnamon-sugar according to the above listed ingredients (2T/1T/2t).

In a small bowl, mix together the 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon.  Set aside.

In a large bowl (or a KitchenAide mixer), beat the granulated sugar and softened butter together until creamy with an electric mixer.  Next beat in the eggs, one by one, followed by the vanilla extract.

Next, whisk together the flour and baking powder and add in to the creamed butter and stir will well combined.  Finally, mix in the milk till the batter reaches a smooth consistency.

To your prepared loaf pan: pour 1/2 of the batter to the base of the pan, followed by 1/2 of your spiced and chopped apples and lastly, 1/2 of the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture.

REPEAT with the remaining half of ingredients.  With the tip of a butter knife, insert straight down into loaf pan, without scraping the bottom, and give a slight swirl throughout. *This will not only make it “pretty” but will incorporate the flavors throughout.

Place the pan into your preheated oven for at least 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  *In one of my oven’s, this needed to bake for closer to 80 minutes before toothpick was clean, FYI.

Allow to sit out for about 20 minutes, transfer to a serving platter, then drizzle the prepared glaze overtop!

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Brown Sugar Oatmeal Pie

This longtime recipe, Brown Sugar Oatmeal Pie (also known as Amish Oatmeal Pie), is quite similar to everyone’s favorite, the Pecan Pie.  As a matter of fact, this dessert has often been referred to as “Poor Man’s Pecan Pie” since the famed nut can run up your grocery bill, but oats are a fairly inexpensive item.

There are several family variations of this classic mid-western dessert, but I happily bring you mine.  The sugars, cinnamon and vanilla mixed with the eggs and milk form almost a custard that when baked lets the rolled oats caramelize and create an almost crème brulee style crunch on top.  I typically serve it warm with a big scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, but I have to tell you…it has been known to be quite the breakfast treat, better than a donut, right?? 😉

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 store-bought pie crust, unbaked
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 Tbsp butter, unsalted, softened
  • Vanill ice cream (optional for serving)

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and pull out your pie crust (if frozen) or line your pie dish with the refrigerated unbaked pie crust dough.

In a large bowl, add in the 3 eggs and beat together.  To that same bowl, whisk in both the brown and granulated sugar, oats, milk, vanilla, salt, cinnamon and butter.  Stir till completely combined.  *The mixture may seem a bit “loose”… that’s ok!

Simply pour this mixture straight into the unbaked pie shell and transfer to the oven.  Bake for 50-60 minutes or until pie is baked through..it won’t jiggle too much.

Let the pie cool for 10 minutes before cutting into and serve with vanilla ice cream…or even for breakfast at that!  Enjoy! 🙂

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