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S’mores Bars

1 Feb

Well I’ve decided to get back into the blogging world, and was trying to think of the perfect recipe to get started with when I stumbled across this one.  Now you don’t have to be camping to have the great taste of s’mores. This is an innovative twist on a classic dessert that works perfectly. These bars are so simple yet great tasting and are an instant hit with everyone. The preparation time is unbelievably short and if you line the pan with tinfoil there is little clean up. There are many variations of this recipe online and I have tried a couple different ones and this is by far my favorite. Enjoy!

1 ½ Cups graham cracker crumbs
2 Tablespoons white sugar
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Cup milk chocolate chips
2 Cups Miniature Marshmallows

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line pan completely with tinfoil
2. Crush up the graham crackers until you have 3 cups of fine crumbs
3. Melt the butter and combine it in bowl with the sugar. Add the graham cracker crumbs and mix thoroughly.
4. Press graham cracker mixture into pre-lined pan and bake for 10 minutes or until slightly golden.
5. Mixture chocolate chips and marshmallows together. Then sprinkle over graham cracker mixture.
6. Bake for 10 minutes or until the marshmallows are golden and the chocolate has melted.  Let cool.
7. Remove tin foil from pan and enjoy!
Makes 9-12 Bars

You can use 3 cups of pre-crushed graham crackers.
You can sub in semi-sweet, dark, r white chocolate depending on your personal taste although I recommend milk chocolate.

For more information see Joy of


Steak Salad

28 Aug

Coming home from vacation is always hard, and with summer drawing to a close, all those free lazy afternoons are leaving too. This is one of my favorite ways to eat steak leftovers, because it is healthy, visually appealing, and fantastic taste wise.  It is easy to make and if you have pre-cooked steak it can take less than thirty minutes. We used to bring this salad to picnics because it is perfect for on the go meals. It works well to have a nice hearty cool meal, especially during the heat. For other variations of this recipe go to Enjoy!

1 Pound Slender Green Beans, trimmed
6 Cups Mixed Lettuce (about 6 ounces)
4 Cups Cherry Tomatoes, halved
½ Cup plus 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
3 8-9-Ounce Flank Steaks
1 Cup Crumbled Blue Cheese

1. Prepare barbeque (medium-high heat).
2. Cut off the tops and bottoms of the green beans, and put them in a bowl of boiling water for four minutes or until crisp and tender. Drain, and then transfer to a bowl of ice water.
3. Mix olive oil and vinegar in a small bowl. Combine strained beans, and tomatoes, and evenly pour the oil mixture over.
4. Brush steaks with the remaining oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. Grill to desired goodness, about four minutes, then slice crosswise into strips.
5. Layer lettuce, followed by the green bean mixture, topped with steak and blue cheese.
Served 4-6

Add in 1¼ Cups Pitted Black Olives.
New York style steak for Flank Steak

Pasta Salad

28 Jul

The summer heat has finally truly arrived and as we enter August, the temperature promises to keep on climbing. When the summer heat starts to really kick in, it is time to bring out cool summer salads. This tangy dressing compliments the tortellini in a unique way and the overall result is delicious! I made this for a light summer dinner, but it works just as well the next day for lunches. Pasta Salad is a family recipe that was inspired by Sunset magazine. It takes ten minutes to make, and can be chilled for twenty-four to forty-eight hours before serving. Enjoy!

4 Cups Broccoli Flowers
1 Jar Marinated Artichoke Hearts
4 Cups Cooked Cold Tortellini or Ravioli
1½ Cups Sliced Mushroom
1 ½ Cups Halved Cherry Tomatoes
1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Dry Basil
2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
½ Teaspoon Pepper

1. Boil water on the stove in a large pan. Add broccoli, and cook until tender-crisp, about one minute. Drain broccoli, rinse with cold water, and drain well. Set broccoli aside to cool.
2. Strain the artichoke hearts, setting aside the marinade. Prepare dressing by adding salad oil to the marinade until the mixture is equal to 1/3 of a cup. Stir in red win vinegar, basil, lemon juice, and pepper.
3. In a large bowl, combine the tortellini, mushrooms, and tomatoes; add the dressing and mix well.
4. Before serving add broccoli to tortellini mixture, and mix lightly. Season with salt to taste.
Serves 4-6

Add the artichoke hearts from the marinade
Add 1 Can of drained, pitted ripe olives

Cupcake Cones

23 Jul

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! This chant is always repeated whenever someone brings out ice cream, and although this looks like a traditional ice cream cone, it is a surprising twist on two traditional desserts. This recipe is one I have wanted to try forever. I was curious of how a cupcake would do while being surrounded by a cone. Luckily I was very pleasantly surprised by how well the crunchy cone complimented the sweet light cupcake flavors and textures. Plus it looks very cute in the end! Not having the cupcakes topple over is hard, second only to getting the frosting to stay up like soft serve.  Don’t let these challenges discourage you, though, the end result is definitely worth it. I love this recipe, as do my friends and family.

1 Box Vanilla Cake Mix
24 Flat-bottomed Cake Cones
2 Containers Butter Cream Frosting
1 Tube Colorful Sprinkles

1. Pre-heat the oven according to the cake box recipe.
2. Prepare the cake batter following the box instructions.
3. Stand the cones upright in a mini-cupcake baking tray.
4. Pour the batter into the cone until two-thirds to the top.
5. Bake the cupcakes following the instructions on the box, watching until they are golden brown.
6. Allow the cupcakes to cool for 10-15 minutes and then frost in a swirling upward motion to have the appearance of soft serve.
7. Sprinkle and enjoy!
Serves 24

Any Cake Mix for Vanilla Cake Mix
Any Frosting for Butter Cream Frosting

Summer Salad

22 Jul

My family and I are active locavores, which means that we try to eat only locally grown food. Obviously there are some exceptions, like my dad won’t go without his morning coffee, and I won’t give up bananas. One of the best parts of eating locally, is that you end up eating seasonally as well. For me, one of the best parts of summer is the seasonal fruit. This summer salad combines five of my favorite summer fruits and whenever I taste it, it feels like summer. I made this for the kids I babysit and they loved it! These kids were not particularly fans of fruit, but they could not get enough of this salad. It takes little to no time, makes plenty to share, and it is a big favorite. This salad is a great side dish for almost anything. I like to pair it with a turkey sandwich and baked chips.

½ Watermelon
2 Cups Raspberries
2 Cups Blueberries
2 Cups Blackberries
2 Cups Strawberries

1. Using a sharp knife slice the watermelon in cubes.
2. Wash and dry the berries, then check for any rotten berries.
3. Chill the salad until time to enjoy.
Serves 6 -7

Honeydew for Watermelon
Any berries for grapes, oranges, or pineapple
-Any berry can be taken out without substitution-

Turkey Spinach Wrap

20 Jul

This recipe is a childhood favorite that is prefect for those hot school days. My mom used to make this for my sister and I, and it is surprisingly simple. In less than five minutes you will have a refreshing and yummy wrap. This wrap is great for lunch on the go or an after school snack, and it always helps me get through those long study hours when all I want to do is go outside. The cranberry and cream cheese flavors blend perfectly with the fresh spinach taste. I recommend baby carrots or pita chips with a little hummus to compliment the wrap’s sweet flavors. Covered with tinfoil, the wrap will stay cool and fresh, and is a great fuel food for extra long days.

1 Large Spinach Tortilla
½ Cup Fresh Spinach
3 Slices Turkey
1 Tbs. Cream Cheese
1 Tbs. Cranberry Sauce

1. Spread cream cheese and cranberry evenly over tortilla.
2. Layer the spinach on top of the cranberry.
3. Spread the turkey over the fresh spinach
4. Roll from one side to the other, then cut diagonally.
Serves 1

Flour Tortillas for Spinach Tortillas
Fresh Lettuce for Fresh Spinach
Chicken for Turkey