Christmas Toffee (aka Christmas Crack)

I love me some Bark this time of year, but then a friend introduced me to Christmas Crack and that’s all she wrote! So for now, it’s move over Bark… there’s a new holiday treat in town! Enjoy and Season’s Eatings!!


  • cooking spray
  • 50 saltines
  • 2 sticks salted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup desired topping (sprinkles, chopped nuts, candy pieces etc.)


  1. Preheat oven to 325. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.
  2. Arrange crackers on the cookie sheet evenly to cover entire surface.
  3. In a small pot melt the butter then add the brown sugar. Stirring frequently, bring to a boil and then simmer for 2 – 3 minutes.
  4. Pour mixture over the crackers making sure all are coated. Use a rubber spatula to spread if needed, although it will naturally spread while baking.
  5. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Pop back into the oven for 2 minutes, allowing chips to melt.
  6. Remove and spread chocolate over the toffees crackers with your spatula.
  7. Add toppings and place in the freezer for a minimum of 15 minutes.
  8. Remove, crack into desired bite sized pieces.
  9. Store in an airtight container, preferably in the refrigerator.


  • I used white chocolate vs. regular for the Christmas Crack pictured.
  • I also used a mixture of unsweetened shredded coconut and sprinkles as my topping of choice!

*Original recipe adapted from

Sweet Potato Pie Bites

It may be too late to make these for Thanksgiving today, but Christmas is coming, lol!!!

Ingredients: Makes 2 dozen

  • 4 large sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 roll of Crescents baking dough
  • 72 mini marshmallows
  • 24 whole pecans


  1. Wash, pierce and microwave the sweet potatoes for 15 minutes on high.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together the brown sugar, heavy cream, vanilla and salt. Scoop the insides of each sweet potato into the bowl (take care, they may be hot!) and mix well.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. Unroll Crescents baking dough on a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to gently flatten. Use a pizza cutter to slice the dough into 24 small squares.
  5. Lightly grease a 24 mini cupcake pan. Gently press a dough square into each well.
  6. Fill each with approximately 1 tbsp of the sweet potato mixture.
  7. Top each with 3 marshmallows and bake for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven, top each with a pecan and bake an additional 3 minutes. Serve warm!

*Original recipe by 

Spiced Crumb Cake

This… perfect for a stormy Saturday morning! Enjoy.

Ingredients: Makes one large sheet pan cake

  • 1, 10 x 15 disposable sheet pan with 1″ sides
  • cooking spray
  • 1 box of spice cake mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray your sheet pan with cooking spray.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together cake mix, eggs, oil and milk. Pour batter into the sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes.
  4. In another bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, spices, salt, butter and vanilla.
  5. Remove cake from the oven and cover with topping using your hands to “crumble” it. Gently press the crumbs into the cake. Take care as the cake will be hot!
  6. Return cake to oven and bake an additional 20 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle with powdered sugar once cooled and serve!


I made two smaller cakes this time around; saving one for our family and sharing one with a friend! I used the same recipe, just divided the batter and crumbs between two smaller pans.


Sorta Light Pumpkin Muffins

Inevitably, as the weather changes and the air cools, so do my cravings and my habits in the kitchen. Not only do I yearn for soups and stews, roasts and gravies; I also want to bake things! Now I’ve said this before, I am much better at cooking than I am at baking, primarily because I hate to measure. Baking is a science and if you don’t measure properly your muffins/pastries/cakes/cookies simply don’t turn out right! With cooking (you need to measure of course) I feel like there’s a little more wiggle room and the opportunity to go off script. Bottom line; not staying the course when baking can be disastrous if you’re not mindful to the changes/chances you’re taking!

I originally found this recipe for Pumpkin Maple Loaf in Cooking Light magazine and it intrigued me because the author found a way to take a classic fall favorite and lighten it up a bit! But by sheer stubbornness I needed to find a way to make it my own and go off script! First, I decided to make muffins with the batter versus a loaf. Second, I didn’t have access to dark maple syrup or dark brown sugar so I used grade A syrup as well as a brown sugar/stevia blend as substitutes. Lastly, the original recipe called for roasted pepitas to top the loaf; I know it defeats some of the purpose of “cooking light” but, I decided to mix in chopped pecans and white chocolate chips instead! Regardless, these somewhat lightened-up, twist on pumpkin loaf-style muffins are the bomb!! Enjoy:)


Ingredients: Makes 12 muffins

  • cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar/stevia blend
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with papers and lightly spray with cooking spray.
  2. Combine buttermilk and oats, let sit 15 minutes.
  3. Whisk together pumpkin, syrup, oil, sugar, extract and eggs and set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl mix together flour, pumpkin spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  5. Add the oats and buttermilk to the pumpkin mixture and stir. Then add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and combine.
  6. Gently fold the pecans and chips into the batter.
  7. Divide batter among the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20 – 22 minutes.

*Recipe adapted from Cooking Light, Lighten Up Pumpkin Bread


A Better Blondie

I was skeptical when I came across this recipe for a “lighter” blondie, but after reading through the intro and ingredients list, I was intrigued enough to give it a try! The only change I made to the original recipe was the type of brown sugar used; it calls for dark brown sugar but I only had a stevia based light brown sugar on hand so I used that instead! These blondies are nutty, almost savory, richly sweet and dense.  Basically, they’re delicious and I highly recommend giving them a try!


  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1, 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp low fat milk
  • 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup pecans, chopped
  • cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt butter over medium heat until light brown. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, blend chickpeas, tahini and milk in a food processor until smooth.
  4. In a operate bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt together.
  5. Stir chickpea mixture into butter mixture and mix well.
  6. Fold in flour mixture, then add the pecans. Stir until incorporated.
  7. Pour batter into a greased 8×8 baking pan.
  8. Bake 25 – 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Cool before removing from pan to slice and serve.

*Adapted from Cooking Light

Power Bites, Take 2!

We’re addicted in this family to having these tiny bundles of goodness on hand!  So much so, that together my daughter Grace and I, created a new flavor combo so we could mix it up and add some variety to the daily grind!  We are in LOVE with these new power bites and we think you’ll agree, they are the perfect combo of sweet, salty and satisfying!

Ingredients: Makes approximately 2 dozen bites

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup toasted, salted pepitas
  • 2 tbsp flax seed
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt


  1. Combine all ingredients (except the coconut) in a food processor and pulse until incorporated.
  2. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Using two hands, form balls from the mixture; each should be the size of a small meatball and should fit in the palm of your rounded hand.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the coconut and sea salt. Roll each power bite in the mixture to coat.
  5. Store in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 1 week.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

I don’t bake from scratch very often, but when I came across this recipe for carrot cake, I knew it was something I had to try and make!  For me, there’s nothing worse than dry cake… but in this case, this cake is particularly moist thanks in part to the addition of crushed pineapple.  The original recipe called for baking it in two 9-in rounds, but I only had one round cake pan on hand so I made a Bundt cake instead!  Because the recipe took into consideration icing two rounds and the layer in between, I cut the quantities of the ingredients in half when making the icing.  This cake will wow you with it’s texture and flavor, plus… who doesn’t love a good piece of carrot cake?!?

Ingredients: Makes one standard Bundt cake

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups canola oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1/2 lb cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/2 stick butter, room temp
  • 1 stp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Generously grease a Bundt cake pan.
  3. In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine sugar and oil.
  5. Beat eggs into the sugar and oil mixture using a hand held mixer.
  6. Stir in the carrots, walnuts and pineapple.
  7. Stir in the flour mixture.
  8. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  9. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  10. In the meantime, prepare the icing by creaming the cream cheese and butter using a stand-up mixer.
  11. Add the vanilla and continue to mix.
  12. Slowly incorporate the confectioners’ sugar, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl if needed.
  13. Store icing in fridge until cake is cooled.
  14. Make sure cake is completely cooled before flipping and transferring it to a cake plate.
  15. Remove icing from the fridge 30 minutes prior to icing.
  16. Ice the cake and then chill entire cake before serving.

*Recipe adapted from