Sunday, November 16, 2014

Thanksgiving treat recipes

As Turkey Day approaches, I know I am always on the lookout for new and easy dessert recipes to make for my family. This is why I have decided on the topic of this blog post!

Hopefully, you will find something listed here that you want to try out for the big feast day this year. My goal is to post recipes that are just a little outside of the Thanksgiving box! 
Just click on the name of the recipe and the link will take you directly to it! 















For hundreds of recipes on Facebook, click here

Monday, November 10, 2014

Best of...sweet spots in Raleigh NC

Two of my favorite sweet treats are cupcakes and donuts! So, you better believe I can guide you to some of the best spots in town for both.

I have recently been hired to write about events in the Raleigh area and I have been enjoying writing about all the places I have been to and love!



If you are looking for a good cupcake in the Raleigh area, be sure to check out the top 3 places I recommend...




Donuts and coffee...oh my! Looking for both in Raleigh? Here you go...


The Holidays are coming so you may want to get tasting now! What a treat a box of cupcakes or donuts will be for the Holidays this year! 


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Oprah's chai tea at Starbucks


Orpah's Chai Tea Latte by Teavana (picture taken from Starbucks)

Have you been into Starbucks lately? For someone like me who drinks coffee daily, that is a silly question. They are offering a new kind of chai latte in the name of Oprah! Starbucks has always offered a chai tea latte of sorts, but now that Oprah's name is attached to it, I bet they are selling left and right, making the duo a ton of money!

I have written a piece on where to find a good chai latte in Raleigh, NC and within this article I talk about Oprah's amazing chai latte and provide a link for you to see what is in it and the nutritional info behind it.


If you live in Raleigh, or even if you don't, here is my take on a few of the best places to get coffee:


Here are a few of my latest pieces on coffee:





Happy sipping! 


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The best recipe pages on Facebook



Are you looking for some really great recipe pages to follow on Facebook? I have quite a list for you!

As the Holidays approach, more of us are looking to try new recipes for our family and friends. Now is a great time to try out the recipes to determine if you want to make them for the Holidays!

Here is a list of Facebook pages for you to like or join to get your hands on new recipes:















Enjoy experimenting with all of your new found recipes! 

When you find recipes you like online, try these recipe saving tips:

  1. print the recipe
  2. save the recipe in a recipe file on your computer
  3. pin the recipe for later
  4. save the website on your toolbar
  5. take a snapshot of the recipe with your phone or tablet to have for later
By testing recipes now it will enable you to enjoy more of the Holidays later :)






Tuesday, October 14, 2014

One Bowl Peanut Butter Cookies

If you are looking for a simple, gluten free, rich and creamy cookie recipe, search no further! These peanut butter cookies only have 4 ingredients, are super simple to make and can easily be made organic if you purchase organic ingredients!

They are ideal for an after school treat, Holidays and parties. One batch makes about 12 cookies. You can add a chocolate chip to the top of each cookie prior to baking if you would like to, but these cookies are so filling and rich, you definitely do not NEED to! 

Click here for the complete recipe: One bowl peanut butter cookies



Cookies on prepared sheet before baking.


Delicious cookie after baking! 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Halloween treats and money saving tips!

There are so many options we have to celebrate Halloween! From trick or treating and festivals to parties and baking together.

As a family, we enjoy baking together. Last year my son and I made homemade Butterfinger Candy and it has since became a favorite of my husband. We got the recipe from a Taste of Home magazine, but I would love to share it with you to try this Halloween (with a few changes made by me, of course).

A money saving tip:
Raise.com is a website where you can buy and sell gift cards. We can use this site to help us save money when shopping for ingredients to make our Halloween treats!

Here are links to the pages where you can find many gift cards to buy and sell:
https://www.raise.com/buy-gift-cards
https://www.raise.com/sell-gift-cards

White Chocolate Butterfingers

  • 3 cups candy corns
  • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter, creamy
  • 1, 14 oz. bag of white candy melts (about 2.5 cups)
  • Jimmies, optional


Line an 8x8 baking dish with no-stick foil.
In microwave safe bowl, melt candy corns in 30 second intervals, stirring between each until melted. Stir in peanut butter. Mix until smooth.
Pour into prepared baking dish.
Flatten with spatula.
Let cool and firm up for about 1 hour.
Remove candy from baking dish by pulling out by foil ends.
Cut into 1 inch bars.
Melt candy melts in a double broiler until melted. (If you do not have one, make one. Take a glass bowl that will fit on top of a pat without falling in. Boil water in the pot on the stove and place bowl with candy melts on top. Stir until melted.)
Line cookie sheet with no-stick foil.
Spread melted candy melts over each bar with a butter knife.
Place on prepared cookie sheet.
Sprinkle with jimmies.
Serve or store in an airtight container.

Please read another article I wrote (Try a new tradition this Halloween) that contains easy recipes for:

  • Pumpkin spice muffins
  • Ribbon fudge
  • Carrot cupcakes with cream cheese icing
  • Pumpkin chocolate chunk cookies
  • and
  • Chocolate pretzel candies

There are also more recipe links at the bottom of the article for more easy recipes.

Halloween family time also includes ideas and recipe links for Halloween!


Have a wonderful and safe Halloween with your family this year! 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

It's hot cocoa time!

Other than a warm fire in the fireplace, what is better than hot cocoa on a cool fall evening? Keep it clean people, this is a family friendly blog!

I love making hot cocoa for myself and my family. It is something we can all enjoy together. Often times, I will heat up almond milk on the stove and add milk chocolate chips for a rich and creamy treat.

Something I am looking forward to trying really soon is using coconut milk and almond milk to make hot cocoa! Doesn't that sound fantastic? Add a dab of cinnamon and whaaaalaaaa...a special hot drink for all!

Here are a few recipes to make hot cocoa for yourself, family and friends:

White hot cocoa

Crockpot hot cocoa

Easy hot cocoa recipes

More easy hot cocoa recipes

New hot cocoa recipes are in the works, so stay tuned!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Ready, set...Bake!

Here in North Carolina, fall has sprung upon us in full blast! Gray skies, cold breezes and crisp air...and you know what? I love it! I absolutely love having the windows open and ceiling fans on on a cool fall day. Ahhhh....

My family also loves the fall, but not for the same reason I do. In our home along with the season comes seasonal baking and new recipes. Apples, pumpkin and sweet potatoes mixed with chocolate and cinnamon waft through our home on a regular basis when the season changes. 

I like trying out new crockpot desserts as well as the standard oven baked ones. 

If you are like me and enjoy fall baking or if you would like to start baking by trying out some easy recipes, I can help you today!

Here are some of my favorite fall baking recipes and all are simple enough for anyone to make:







What is a perfect pairing for these desserts? Coffee!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Cookie baking class

Last year I took a baking and ingredients class online through AIB.  It was filled with great information and I made an A on the couse.
They offer many valuable online courses that aid one in the baking process. There is a cookie baking class that I would like to take. I have wanted to take it for some time...since I took the last class, actually. 

But,  then life happened.  I took a new job that not only manipulated much of my days, but stressed me out to the point that when I got home in the evenings my brain was fried and I was exhausted.  Shortly after that, I got pregnant!  I found myself on partial bed rest...One would think that would be an opportune time to take a class, but it wasn't :(

Now, the baby is here and I'm working part time. Maybe now I can make it work! 

Although my husband has gone back to school and works full time, I'm hoping to be able to create a schedule that allows me to take this class.  It will only benefit my baking business: Tastenc.com.  You can find me and like my page on Facebook! 

I say all of that to say. .. don't give up on your dreams. It's all in the timing. :)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Back to school recipes

It is that time of the year again...back to school and the entrance of cooler, breezy, clean and crisp weather!  Some children have already started back to school and some are getting ready to start.
Some children eat breakfast and lunch AT school, while others eat breakfast at home and bring a lunch to school with them. Either way, you will find some helpful tips for lunches and after school snacks in this post :)


Snack options:
Easy banana bread



Instead of buying prepared muffins, make your own. You can either make them from scratch (basic muffin recipe) or buy a bag of muffin mix from the grocery store that will cost less than $1.00 (you will get 6 regular sized muffins or 12 mini muffins from this bag).
Place 1 regular sized muffin or 3 minis in a zip top, plastic bag or a plastic storage container and send your child to school with something homemade with love or store in an air tight container at home for an after school snack.
Try these other snack options as well:
For more great lunchbox ideas, check out: packing the lunchbox
Happy back to schooling!





Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Easy baking recipes

Spring is here and often times when the weather gets warmer some don't like to fire up the ovens and bake as much. Not me! I bake all year long!

However, for those who don't want to heat up the house by having the oven running for hours at a time, here are a few recipes that require very little prep and bake time:

Cherry danish recipe

No bake Reese's fudge recipe

Crunchy peanut butter cookie recipe

Crockpot apple crisp recipe

10 minute apple pie alternative recipe

No bake Italian cream dessert recipe

Gooey cream cheese cookie recipe

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Do "Christians" even know what they are celebrating on Christmas?









After reading post after post on Facebook about how Christmas has become so commercialized and how these people feel the "true" meaning of Christmas is overlooked (the same people who stand in line on Black Friday to get a good deal on their Christmas gifts), I decided to do some research of my own on the subject. This is what I found:

Christmas originated as Saturnalia (sun worship). It was a week long Holiday of pure lawlessness. Roman pagans began this lawless Holiday from December 17- 25. During this span of several days, courts were closed and people were allowed to break laws without any penalties.  Innocent people were mistreated, abused and some were even raped and murdered. 

In 1466, Pope Paul II, for the amusement of Romans, forced Jewish people to race naked through the city streets after feeding them large quantities of food. As they ran, Romans laughed and made fun of them as the Pope stood on his balcony and laughed at what he saw. 

During the 4th century, Christians tried to convert pagans to Christianity by telling them that they could continue to celebrate Saturnalia just as they have been doing for years.  Since Christians realized that there was absolutely nothing godly about Saturnalia, they changed the Holiday to conclude that December 25th was, “Jesus’ Birthday”. If you study this, you will learn that if Jesus was born, he was born sometime between September and November, so the “Christ-mas” Holiday that Christians celebrate today is truly just a masked version of Saturnalia. 

What is the purpose of this post, you might ask? 

You may be a devout Christian who sincerely believes that Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus. If that is the case, believe that Jesus is the son of God…a Holy deity. 

You may believe in your God… that Jesus was a man, a prophet, but not the son of God and celebrate Christmas as a Holiday to spend time with family and friends. 

You may be atheist, believing in no God at all. You may celebrate Christmas simply because it was a family tradition.

Ultimately, it is up to us to decide what is right for ourselves. We should not judge one another. People are constantly pointing fingers at others saying things like:
If you don’t believe what I believe and live as I live you are going to go to hell or if you lie to your kids and tell them there is a Santa Clause you are a bad parent.

Who are we to judge one another? Live your life as you wish and leave everyone else alone. But please, stop pointing fingers and name calling. Everyone believes what they believe is right. It is counterproductive to spend the majority of your life trying to convince others that your way of thinking is the “only” way or the “right” way.

Can’t we all just respect one another?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Homemade butterfingers






 Happy Friday! Yesterday was Halloween and my son and I got in the kitchen together and made our own candy. His favorite candy bar is a Butterfinger...sooooo that is what we made.

The recipe was super easy. I found it in Taste of Home magazine. It used candy corns and peanut butter for the filling.

I melted white chocolate disks for the coating. However, I'm thinking some of the condensation from the double broiler must have gotten into the chocolates.  It did not liquify properly. So, instead of the chocolate covering each bar, I used a butter knife to add it to the top of each piece...almost like an icing. They still came out REALLY good! Just ask the people I work with...as they are eating them today :)

If you are interested in starting to bake your Christmas cookies now and freeze them until Christmas, check out my Christmas Cookie Club page on Facebook! 




Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Allow Halloween to bring your family together

Just as any other Holiday can, Halloween can bring family time to your family. Aside from the, Trick or Treating, there are other things that can be done together as a family to celebrate...or not celebrate.

I love to bake! So, last year I started a new tradition with my son. We bake something together at Halloween time. It allows us time together in the kitchen and this brings us good memories and laughter.

Here is a website that allows you to download a free recipe guide for Halloween treats:

Recipe for Togetherness

This may interest you as well...an article I wrote about starting that new Halloween tradition together in the kitchen:

Try a new tradition this Halloween

No matter what you decide to do, the most important thing is that you create happy memories with your family!



Sunday, September 29, 2013

Tried a new recipe ....And it flopped

The weekends are the best time for me to try out new recipes. This Saturday morning, before I went to the gym, I decided to try a new recipe that I had brewing in my mind for a couple of weeks. I called it: pumpkin spice fudge and it was going to be the easiest pumpkin spice fudge recipe you had ever seen!

Normally, when I make my fudge I make the no bake kind. I am all about easy and tasty recipes...just in case you haven't caught on to that already. I take a:

Bag of chocolate chips
Can of sweetened condensed milk
Dab of vanilla

And pour them all into a 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup and cook in the micro for 1 minute, stir and cook in increments of 30 seconds, stirring between each until everything is all melted together with no lumps. I then pour it into a non-stick foil lined 8x8 baking dish and pop it in the fridge to set. SUPER easy and SUPER good!

I concocted this pumpkin spice fudge recipe in my head...following the same directions as above, but using a:

Bag of white chocolate chips
Can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup pumpkin pure
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Dab of vanilla

Sometimes when I come up with recipes that I JUST KNOW will work, I publish them right away on my Raleigh Cooking Examiner page. But, this one....for some reason...I was unsure about and wanted to test it first. It's a good thing I did!!!!! It was a complete disaster...a complete flop!

Apparently, there are more dark chocolate chips in a bag then there are white ones. And even though I know that white chocolate chips really aren't chocolate at all, I still thought this would work. NOPE! The chips did not melt properly...they were all lumpy and it was a liquid mess. It smelled fantastic, but that did not matter. It would not mix or set, so I labeled it a flop.

Thankfully, this doesn't happen too often. I cant remember the last time I came up with a recipe and it was a disaster as this one was. Well, we live and learn! What exactly did I learn you might ask...let me tell you:

Go with your gut, chances are it is right!
White chocolate chips do not melt as well as dark chocolate chips.
There are less white chocolate chips in a bag then there are dark chocolate chips.
Test your recipes if you are unsure.
Always shop for ingredients where you get the best prices: just in case you need to throw your food away (you won't feel as bad).

I think this was a great learning experience. Now, to come up with that pumpkin spice fudge recipe : /




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