junk bar

My family has been making "junk bar" forever! One day my Aunt Trudy was going to make rice crispy treats, but had no rice crispies. Then she just started throwing things in a bowl from her cupboards and called it junk bar. I love making this when I have a show I want to watch, that way I can nibble throughout the entire show instead of just having one serving of something. Anyways this stuff is awesome and everyone that eats it loves it! You can add or take away things you don't like. Below is my favorite combo of ingredients! 

Junk Bar

3-4 cups rice or corn cereal
2-3 cups pretzels
1 10 ounce bag of M&M's 
1 cup cashews 
2 cups Fiddle Faddle (found by the popcorn in most grocery stores)
1/4 cup butter
10 ounce  bag marshmallows

Mix first 5 ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. In a sauce pan melt butter, then add marshmallows and mix until well combined and smooth, dump marshmallow sauce over cereal mixture and combine. (I eat it straight from the bowl, no mashing into a pan and cutting into squares!)

s'mores cookies

I made these for a party this weekend and they were a huge hit.  Not a cookie left.  Everyone loves s'mores, so when you pair that with a cookie, its delicious.  I made this up and used the chocolate chip cookie as a base.  It worked out so good I can't wait to try something else with another cookie as a base.

S'mores Cookies

1 1/2 Cups sugar
2 Cups brown sugar
1 lb butter, softened
4 eggs
5 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla
12 graham crackers
1 bag large marshmallows
1 bag chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375

2. Cream together, sugars and butter.  Add eggs, mix well.

3. Add flour, salt, baking soda, vanilla, graham crackers, chocolate chips, mix well.

4. Scoop out two Tbsp of dough.  flatten in hand and place half a large marshmallow inside.  Seal cookie dough around marshmallow so no marshmallow is showing.  Place on cookie sheet.

5. Bake for 8 minutes.  Let cool on cookie sheet before removing.

sugar cookie bars

We had a family party and they requested sugar cookies.  I was just too tired to roll out the dough and cut out the cookies.  So I made sugar cookie bars.  They were a hit and so easy.  These will definately be made again and again.

Sugar Cookie Bars

Cookie Base

1 Cup butter, softened
2 Cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
5 Cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda


1 Cup butter, softened
4 tsp vanilla
6-7 Cups powdered sugar
5-6 Tbsp milk

1. For the cookie base, mix butter, sugar, and eggs.  Then add remaining ingredients, mix well.

2. Press dough onto greased cookie sheet and cook at 350 for 17-20 minutes.  Edges will become slightly brown.

3. For the frosting.  Mix all ingredients until it is at the consistency you like.  Spread on cookies once they have cooled.

Recipe Source: Adapted from brandysbaking.com

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy 24th!!!  Hope everyone has a safe, fun day filled with BBQ's and family!  I must give a shout out to the hubs who made this yummy treat!!!  He did awesome!  We all love a delicious chocolate chip cookie.  These make a ton so if you need something to make real quick for todays festivities, these are it!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 Cups brown sugar
2 Cups sugar
2 Cups butter
4 Cups flour
5 Cups oats
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
1 tsp salt
2 pkg chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 400

2. Cream together butter and sugars.  Then add the rest of ingredients.  Mix well.  (Seriously how easy is that.)

3. Make dough into tablespoon sized balls and bake for 6-7 minutes.

Recipe Source: Phyllis

asian lettuce wraps

Stu loves the movie Ratatouille. He likes to to pretend he is Remi and sit on my shoulders and pull my hair like Remi does to help Linguini cook. Well, this is getting harder since I am pregnant and Stu is getting heavier. I suggested he actually help make the dinner and he was so excited. He loved chopping the water chestnuts with his little dull kid knife, he loved throwing the ingredients in, and the best part is that he loved the finished product. He gobbled these right up. I think normally there would have been resistance, but since he helped make it I think he was happy to eat it! Mike and I both loved these and they came together really fast, a great week night meal!

Asian Lettuce Wraps
Yield: Makes 6-8 servings
    Lettuce Wrap Filling:
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 lb ground turkey (or chicken, I used turkey)
  • 1 cup minced mushrooms (I omitted these because I don't like mushrooms)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 8 oz. can water chestnuts, minced
  • 1/2 cup minced green onions
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 lemon, zested and then juiced.
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce
  1. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot add minced garlic and ginger. Saute for a minute just until fragrant and then add in the ground turkey (or chicken), minced mushrooms, and salt. Cook until turkey or chicken is cooked through.
  2. Add in the water chestnuts and green onions. Cook for a few minutes. Add in the soy sauce, sesame oil, juice and zest from the lemon, and hot sauce. When everything is cooked through, remove from heat and stir in the cilantro.
  3. To serve, carefully separate the whole leaves from the lettuce. Wash the lettuce leaves and wrap them in paper towels and put them in the refrigerator so they are cold and crisp when serving. Spoon turkey (or chicken) filling onto the lettuce leaf and then roll it up.

*The original recipe gives a dipping sauce, but Mike and I did not like it and thought these were delicious without any sauce!

Recipe Source: adapted from http://www.melskitchencafe.com

strawberries and cream scones

The other night I decided to make omelets for dinner, but I wanted to make something yummy to go with them. I had a lot of strawberries in the fridge so I decided to try these. I have never made scones before (well, at least not these type of scones, I thought scones were fried dough!) but these were so easy  and delicious! My husband and his friend ate all of them in one night! These ended up being a great addition to our dinner.

Strawberries and Cream Scones
Yield: Makes about 8-12 scones, depending on size

  • 1/2 cup diced fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons half-and-half or whipping cream
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 12 pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-2 drops pure orange extract, optional
  • 2/3 cup diced fresh strawberries
  • Glaze:
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon water
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheet.
  2. For the scones, in a blender or food processor, process the 1/2 cup diced strawberries with the sugar and half-and-half or cream until the mixture is smooth. Set it aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Using a pastry blender, forks or your fingertips, work in the butter to the dry ingredients until the mixture is unevenly crumbly with the largest crumbs about the size of a pea.
  4. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the blended strawberry/cream mixture, the egg, the vanilla extract, and the orange extract, if using.
  5. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until the dough just barely starts to come together. Add the 2/3 cup diced strawberries, gently folding them in, using your hands, if necessary, to pull the dough together into a cohesive mass. Take care not to overmix - it will make the scones tough. It's ok to have a shaggy mess of dough as long as it is holding together for the most part.
  6. Lightly sprinkle your work surface/countertop with flour and divide the dough into two halves. Take one half and gently press the dough into a thick circle on the floured surface, about 6-7 inches in diameter. Use a sharp knife or bench scraper to separate the dough into six equal triangles. Place each scone on the prepared baking sheet(s), spacing them about 2 inches apart. Repeat with the remaining half of dough. Alternately, you can make smaller scones by dropping tablespoon-ful sizes of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets.
  7. Make the glaze by stirring together the sugar, water, and vanilla in a small bowl until smooth. If the mixture seems too dry, add a teaspoon of water gradually at a time until the mixture reaches the consistency of a thick syrup. Drizzle some of the syrup over the top of each scone.
  8. Bake the scones until they are just beginning to turn golden brown around the edges, 13-16 minutes. When properly baked, they should be moist (but not gummy) at the center.
  9. Serve the scones warm or at room temperature. The scones can also be cooled completely and stored in an airtight container at room temperature. Just before serving, reheat very briefly in the microwave for 5 to 10 minutes, or tented with aluminum foil, in a preheated 350°F oven.

mint oreo cookie bars

This recipe was kind of an experiment that went REALLY well.  These cookie bars are so good.  Even  better second day.  They are super easy and you will probably have most ingredients in your pantry.  Maybe not the oreos.  Well if you're like us then you will have the oreos in the pantry.

Butter Cookie Base
1/2 Cup sugar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/4 Cups flour
1 Cup butter, melted

Cookie Bar Filling
1/2 Cup butter
1/2 Cup brown sugar
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 Pkg mint oreos

Cookie Bar Topping
1 pkg milk chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 325.  Lightly grease 9x13 pan.

2. In a mixing bowl mix together the cookie base ingredients.  Once mixed press down into 9x13 pan.  Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

3. While cookie base is baking.  Mix together Cookie Bar Filling (except the oreos) over medium heat sitrring constantly for 10 minutes.

4. Crush oreos and place on top of cookie base once it is out of the oven.  Then pour filling on top of oreos.

5. Now is the hard part.  You must let them cool for about a hour.  1/2 hour in freezer.  Then melt chocolate chips and spread on top.  Then let cool before cutting.

Recipe Source: Adapted from cjudithwhite.wordpress.com

razzle dazzle

My family has been making this yummy treat for years, thanks to our good friend Cindie who introduced it to us a long time ago.  We were talking the other day as we were eating it how it must have something magical in it because you cant stop eating it.  Even if you say no more it does not work.  Perfect treat for a movie, or tonight for all you Bachelorette fans!!!

Razzle Dazzle

6 Cups golden graham's
6 Cups rice chex
1 Cup slivered almonds
1 Cup Coconut
1 1/2 Cup corn syrup
1 1/2 Cup sugar
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla

1. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, set aside.

2. Over medium heat mix corn syrup, sugar, butter.  Let boil for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat add vanilla.  Pour over dry ingredients mix well.  ENJOY!!!

Recipe Source: Cindie

crumb cake

I have a huge pan of this goodness still and it will be breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the next few days!!!  Its so good and the crumbs are ginormous!!!  Enjoy!!!

For the Cake:
1 box Pillsbury yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1 cup water
For the Topping:
2 sticks margarine
2 sticks butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
5 1/3 cup flour
2/3 cup plus ¼ cup brown sugar
2/3 cup plus ¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2-3/4 cup confectioners sugar


For the Cake:
Prehat oven to 325ºF. Grease cookie sheet.  Add cake mix, eggs, and water to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (may also use bowl and hand mixer). Beat for 4 minutes. Pour into prepared cookie sheet, and smooth with a spatula. Bake at 325 for 20-25 minutes (remove from oven when done, but leave oven on). While it's baking, prepare crumb topping.
For the Topping:
Microwave butter and margarine in a bowl until melted (whisk together). Allow to cool and then add vanilla and almond extracts. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugars, and cinnamon. Cut the butter mixture into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter (or two forks) until a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle the crumb topping onto the cake and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes at 325ºF. Allow to cool completely and then sift with confectioners sugar before serving.

Recipe Source: Adapted from mylifeasamrs.com

red chile sauce chicken enchiladas

I (Kara) have made these enchiladas twice in the last 3 weeks! They are so good! Both times I made them I had people over and they asked for the recipe. If you have shredded chicken on hand they come together really quickly, go make them tonight!

Red Chile Sauce Chicken Enchiladas
Yield: Makes 12 enchiladas
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 (8-oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 large (or 3 small) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded 
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 12 (6-inch) soft corn or flour tortillas (fajita-size for flour tortillas)
  • cooking spray
  • salt and ground black pepper
  1. In a large saucepan, combine the onion, jalapeno, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and oil. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the onions and peppers have softened, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar, and cook until fragrant, less than 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce and water. Bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes until sauce slightly thickened. 
  2. Strain the sauce through a strainer into a medium bowl, pressing the onion mixture to extract as much liquid as possible. Season sauce with additional salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the leftover onion mixture from the strainer to a large bowl.
  3. Add shredded chicken to the onion mixture in the large bowl. Also stir in 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese and the cilantro. Toss to combine.
  4. Stack the tortillas on a plate and cover with plastic wrap; Microwave on high until warm and pliable, 40-60 seconds. Spread the tortillas on a clean work surface, and spoon 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each. Tightly roll each tortilla and lay seam-side down in a greased 9×13 inch baking dish.
  5. Heat oven to 400 F. Pour the enchilada sauce evenly over the top of the enchiladas. Top with the remaining cheese. Cover dish with foil and bake 20 minutes, or until heated through.
  6. Remove foil and bake another 5 minutes, until cheese browns. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.
  7. Serve with sour cream, guacamole, salsa, additional cilantro, if desired

Recipe Source: adapted from http://www.melskitchencafe.com

brown sugar chocolate pound cake

I (Joni) cannot think of any words to describe this cake, it is that good!!!  You need no reason to make this....just go make one right now!!!  Make sure you have some vanilla ice-cream to go with it.  Taste delicious with the caramel drizzle.  You will love it, and want to hide it so no one will eat it.  This will defiantly be made again at my house!!!

Brown Sugar Chocolate Pound Cake

  • 1-1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 – 8 ounce bag of toffee bits
  • 1-/2 Cups chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 325, grease bundt pan.

2. Cream together butter, and sugars until light and fluffy

3. Add eggs, mix well

4. Add flour, baking powder, salt in a separate bowl, and slowly add to wet ingredients.

5. Add milk, toffee bits, and chocolate chips, mix well

6. Pour into greased bundt pan and bake for 70 minutes.  (Oven times may vary so be sure to check with a toothpick)

Caramel Drizzle
  • 1 - 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Over medium heat, mix together sweetened condensed milk and brown sugar.  Stir constantly until it boils.  Once boiling remove from heat and add butter, and vanilla.  Sitr constantly for 5 minutes.  

2. Drizzle over cake.  (If you are not serving the whole cake, drizzle only on individual slices.  The caramel does harden and can be reheated for another slice.)

Recipe Source: Adapted from ladybehindthecurtain.com

Poolside chip dip

Who doesn't like chip dip!? I haven't met anyone!! I'm always looking for a good recipe to make, and this one doesn't disappoint!! Made this for all the fun yesterday and everyone thought it was yummy! Make it tonight!! 

Poolside Chip Dip

1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 jalapeño (I took the seeds out)
1 can black beans
1 can corn 
8 oz cream cheese
1 Hidden Valley Ranch Packet
1 tsp garlic salt

Chop red pepper, green pepper, jalapeño put in mixing bowl. Add corn (drained) and black beans (drained and rinsed). 

In a separate bowl mix together cream cheese, Hidden Valley Ranch Packet, and garlic salt.  Mix well. Add to vegetables.  Mix well. Refrigerate for 1 hour.  Serve with tortilla chips. 

Recipe Source: Adapted from what2cook.net

4th of july cake pops

With the 4th of July tomorrow I thought it would be fun to do a treat to go along with such a fun day!  Cake Pops are so fun and easy to make and you dont feel as guilty eating one because its not a whole piece of cake!  If you eat 10 then you may have eaten a whole piece of cake!  But I say go for it!  Calories dont count on holidays!  The Cake Pops I made in the pictures below were done with homemade cake and homemade frosting.  A little more work, so I am going to give you a easier recipe so you can make these for tomorrow.

4th of July Cake Pops

1 box cake mix (any flavor)
1 can frosting (any flavor)
2 bags white chocolate chips
sucker sticks

1. Make cake according to box. Let cool.

2. Once cake is cool, brake it up into pieces and put it in your mixer.

3. Add frosting to cake 1 Tbsp at a time.  You only need enough to bind the cake together to form into balls.  Once all is mixed start rolling into 1 inch sized balls.  Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Once done, stick sucker sticks into balls about 3/4 way down.  Place in fridge for about 1 hour.

4. Melt chocolate chips in microwave stirring every 30 seconds. You can add 1 tbsp vegetable oil to help prevent chocolate from burning.  Once all melted take cake pops out of fridge and being to dip cake pops into chocolate, place back onto parchment paper.  If you notice cake pops sliding as you dip, just put them back in the fridge for a longer time to set up.  Once all dipped place back in fridge for about 1 hour.

5. Take out of fridge and do a second coat of chocolate.

6. Add some sprinkles after each time you dip a cake pop for the second time.  If you wait till the end the chocolate will have hardened.  In the pictures I did add a little chocolate on top but just for decoration.  Leaving them white with sprinkles will be just as cute.  Hope everyone has a safe, fun 4th of July!!!

Birthday Cake Popcorn

So much popcorn lately on the blog!!!  Its just too good not to make.  And with so many options than just plain popcorn I find myself making it more often than I should.  This tasty treat was easy to make and taste like birthday cake!!

Birthday Cake Popcorn

15 Cups air popped popcorn.  (make sure to salt it)
18 oz white chocolate chips
1 1/2 Cups white cake mix
3 Tbsp vegetable oil

1. Pop popcorn in large mixing bowl.

2. Pour white chocolate chips in bowl, then add vegetable oil on top.  Microwave until melted, stirring every 30 seconds.  (The vegetable oil prevents the chocolate from burning in the microwave and makes it really smooth to mix on popcorn.)

3. Once chocolate is melted add cake mix and mix until smooth.

4. Pour chocolate mixture over popcorn, mix well.

5. Pour popcorn onto cookie sheet and pour assorted sprinkles on top.  Let set before you eat. (If you can wait!)

Recipe Source: Adapted from mrsschwartzkitchen.blogspot.com