Posted in Baked goods, Baking, cookies

Peanut Butter Bites

For those of you trying to reduce the amount of refined sugar and processed white flour in your diet, this is a doozy of a cookie.  I stumbled on a version of this recipe several years ago when the only readily available sugar substitute on the market was Splenda.  Since then, the options are abundant when choosing sweeteners to add to baked goods.  For this particular recipe, I use a mixture of unrefined coconut sugar and a brown sugar substitute blend to sweeten the batter. The result, an absolutely delicious cookie that everyone is sure to enjoy. Tuck them away in a safe place after they’ve cooled or they’ll be gone in no time at all!

Peanut Butter Bites

1 16 oz. jar natural crunchy peanut butter (no sugar added)

1/4 cup unrefined coconut sugar (readily available in grocery stores)

1/4 cup Splenda brown sugar blend

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray two cookie sheets w/ cooking spray. 

In a large bowl, combine the peanut butter, sweeteners, eggs and vanilla extract; mix well.  With a small round ice cream scoop, press the dough into walnut-sized balls and place 2″ apart on the cookie sheet.

With a tines of a fork, flatten the cookies in a criss-cross pattern. Bake 9-10 minutes or until just starting to turn golden brown.  Wait a few minutes before removing from tray to cool on wire racks.  Store in an airtight container.

(Note: If you prefer a sweeter cookie, double the coconut sugar and brown sugar blend to equal 1/2 cup each.)

Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Bread, breakfast, Brunch, Food

Honey and Oat French Toast


This weekend we visited campus to watch our daughter M run in the Purdue Half-Marathon.  The campus came alive early even though the sun hadn’t quite risen and the unseasonably cool air blanketed the town.  After the race began and all of the runners had left the parking lot, my husband and I headed into Lafayette for a bite to eat and to visit the farmer’s market.  We also wanted to cheer on the runners as they made their way to mile eight around the center of town.  

It’s a delight to visit the early morning market in Lafayette.  We made our way around to the booths picking up lots of freshly picked produce, earthy wholesome breads, and enormous honey crisp apples.  Right on schedule, M and others ran along side the market and we were able to get a few good pictures as she made her way back to campus.  

After the race, I shared my bounty with M as she lives in an apartment and always welcomes fresh organic produce for her weekly menu.  I asked her if she would like me to make her some French toast while she showered and changed into comfy clothes.  I had purchased two loaves of hearty whole grain bread that I would cut into thick slices for the dish.  Looking through her cabinets, I found that she had lots of savory spices but none that would work with the French toast.  I have always been a resourceful gal so I opened up one of her peach flavored tea bags (organic peach cobbler) and poured some of the mixture into the eggs.  I thought the peach flavor would pair well with the almond milk. 

 M also had a cylinder of rolled oats on the shelf so I opted to coat the bread to add a toasted crunchy texture.  A drizzle of honey added just the right touch of flavor to the finished product.  

Honey and Oat French Toast

6 thick slices whole wheat bread

4 eggs

2/3 cup almond milk

1/2 teaspoon flavored loose tea ( I used organic peach cobbler spiced tea)

3/4 cup rolled oats


In a shallow bowl or baking pan, beat together egg, milk, and desired spiced tea. Pour the oats into a separate baking pan, set aside. Heat a lightly oiled griddle of skillet over medium-high flame. Dunk each slice of bread in egg mixture, soaking both sides. Then coat the slices with oats.  Place in pan, and cook on both sides until golden. Drizzle with honey.  Serve hot.

M is planning a Halloween Party for her residents as she is a Resident Assistant so we made our way to the pumpkin patch to purchase pumkins later in the day… What a great time we had visiting Purdue this weekend.

Posted in Beef, Dinner, Soup

Cheeseburger Soup

Years ago, when our children were little, we used to hold an annual fall party for family and friends on our beautiful wooded lot.  We’d elaborately decorate the barn and yard with hay bales and pumpkins, colored lights and corn stalks.  I’d cook large pots of soup, chili, baked beans and bratwurst.  A dessert table always displayed an abundance of tasty autumn treats to satisfy all of the guests.  This cheeseburger soup was always a staple recipe made for the festive backyard party. I would double or triple the ingredients and separate the batch to freeze a portion in serving sized containers.  This way, we had a supply on hand to enjoy during the cool autumn and winter months. 

Cheeseburger Soup

2 pound ground beef
1 cup diced  onion

1 cup diced carrots

1 cup diced celery

1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil

1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes

4 tablespoons butter, divided

6 cups chicken broth  (I use chicken soup base mixed with water, as directed on package)

5 cups diced peeled potatoes

1/4 cup flour

4 cups (16 ounces) process cheese (Velveeta), cubed

2 cups milk

1 1/2 teaspoon salt 

1 teaspoon pepper 

In a large soup pot, brown beef; drain and set aside. In the same pot, sauté the onion, carrots, celery, basil and parsley in 1 tablespoon butter until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the broth, potatoes and beef; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt remaining butter. Add flour; cook and stir for 3-5 minutes or until bubbly. Add to soup; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in the cheese, milk, salt and pepper; cook and stir until cheese melts. 

Tip: I make my own croutons to top the soup.  Just cube a few slices of day old bread or leftover buns and sprinkle them with oil, garlic powder and salt (to taste).  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.  Cool; store in an airtight container.