Category: Recipes/Cooking


This was an experiment- didn’t care for the “pie” part so I added evaporated milk and baked it- not sweet at all, not really a pumpkin pie taste but not bad. I liked the texture but not the taste. Loved the topping and pecans!

1 Recipe Pastry for Single-Crust Pie
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 15 ounce can pumpkin
¾ cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
½ teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup whipping cream
¼ cup mascarpone cheese
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Recipe Candied Pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare Pastry for Single-Crust Pie. On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten pastry. Roll pastry from center to edges into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Wrap pastry circle around the rolling pin. Unroll into a 9-inch pie plate. Ease pastry into pie plate without stretching it. Trim pastry to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold under extra pastry even with the edge of the plate. Crimp edge as desired. Do not prick pastry.
Using the tip of a small sharp knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean. Set seeds aside. In a large mixing bowl beat pumpkin and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Add eggs, egg yolk, cinnamon, salt, ginger, lemon peel, orange peel, nutmeg, cloves, and vanilla seeds. Beat until smooth. Pour pumpkin mixture into pastry-lined pie plate.
Bake about 1 hour or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. If necessary to prevent overbrowning, cover edge of pie loosely with foil for the last 10 to 15 minutes of baking. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill within 2 hours.
In a medium mixing bowl combine whipping cream, mascarpone cheese, granulated sugar, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Spread mascarpone mixture over top of pie. Sprinkle with Candied Pecans.

Candied Pecans
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter
Line a baking sheet with foil. Butter the foil; set baking sheet aside. In a small heavy skillet combine pecans, sugar, and butter. Cook over medium-high heat, shaking the skillet occasionally, until sugar begins to melt. Do not stir. Reduce heat to low; continue to cook until sugar is golden, stirring occasionally.
Pour mixture onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading evenly. Cool completely. Break into pieces.

Pastry for a Single-Crust Pie
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup shortening
¼ cup butter, cut up, or shortening
¼ cup cold water
In a medium bowl stir together flour and salt. Using pastry blender, cut in shortening and butter until pieces are pea size.
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the water over part of the flour mixture; toss with a fork. Push moistened pastry to side of bowl. Repeat moistening flour mixture, using 1 tablespoon of the water at a time, until flour mixture is moistened. Gather flour mixture into a ball, kneading gently until it holds together.
On a lightly floured surface use your hands to slightly flatten pastry. Roll pastry from center to edges into a circle about 12 inches in diameter.
Wrap pastry circle around the rolling pin. Unroll into a 9-inch pie plate. Ease pastry into pie plate without stretching it.
Trim pastry to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold under extra pastry even with the plate’s edge. Crimp edge as desired. Do not prick pastry. Fill and bake as directed in recipes.



5⅓ cups shredded sweetened coconut
¾ cup sugar
6 Tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon salt
5 egg whites
1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
Chocolate Topping
Melt 4 ounces sweet chocolate
1 Tablespoon shortening
Sweetened Condensed milk topping
6 ounces sweetened condensed milk
Place sweetened condensed milk in a double boiler until slightly thickened (About 45 minutes). Keep warm.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or grease and lightly flour the cookie sheet.
In a large mixing bowl combine coconut, sugar, flour and salt. Toss and mix well. Add egg whites and nuts and mix well.
Using a round tablespoon drop macaroons onto prepared cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 23 minutes or until golden brown on top. Place on cooling rack.
Melt chocolate with shortening in microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between each increment until chocolate is melted. Drizzle chocolate over macaroons.
Then Drizzle thickened sweetened condensed milk over the chocolate.



Ingredients and directions for this recipe

1 16 ounce can whole-cranberries
1/4 c Sugar
1/2 c Crushed pineapple
1/2 c Seedless red grapes; split
1/4 c Chopped walnuts
1/4 c Pineapple juice
1 tb Knox gelatin

In a medium saucepan, add cranberry sauce and sugar and stir over low heat
until sugar is dissolved, remove from heat, add crushed pineapple, split
grapes, walnuts and pineapple juices. Then add gelatin to 1 tablespoon of
warm water to disolve, add gelatin to cranberry sauce. Poor cranberry sauce
into container and refrigerate for 45 minutes to set the sauce firm.

This is my favorite!




1 -ounce cranberry juice (sweetened)
1 wedge lime
Champagne or sparkling wine
Cranberries (frozen)


In a chilled Champagne flute add cranberry juice and a squeeze of lime. Top off the glass with Champagne. Garnish with 3 or 4 cranberries.






Rice Krispies Cereal
Mini Marshmallows
Wilton Burgandy Food Coloring
Wilton Orange Food Coloring
Wilton Moss Green Food Coloring
Wilton Brown Food Coloring
Maple Leaf Cookie Cutter

First, melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a medium sauce pan. Next, add two cups of mini-marshmallows to the melted butter and stir until the marshmallows are completely melted. Now add the food coloring. We wanted rich fall colors so we added a lot of food coloring. The color will lighten up when you add the Rice Krispies so the darker the better at this point. Once you have the right color, add 2 cups of Rice Krispies cereal. Pour the Rice Krispie Treat mixture onto a cookie sheet. This amount of Rice Krispie Treat mixture should fill one half of a large cookie sheet. Cover your fingers with a small bit of butter and then use them to spread the mixture evenly into the cookie sheet.Finally, use a leaf cookie cutter to cut out the Fall Leaves Rice Krispie Treats. We only had this maple leaf cookie cutter but this would also look really great on a plate with a couple of different leaf shapes!




Roasted Brussels Sprouts:
3 cups Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, yellow leaves removed
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt, to taste
Roasted Butternut Squash:
1 and ½ pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed into 1-inch cubes (Yields about 4 cups of uncooked cubed butternut squash)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons maple syrup
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Other Ingredients:
2 cups pecan halves
1 cup dried cranberries
2-4 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)


Roasted Brussels sprouts:
Preheat oven to 400 F. Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly grease the foil-lined baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Make sure Brussels sprouts have trimmed ends and yellow leaves are removed. Then, slice all Brussels sprouts in half. In a medium bowl, combine halved Brussels sprouts, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt (to taste), and toss to combine. Place onto a foil-lined baking sheet, cut side down, and roast in the oven at 400 F for about 20-25 minutes. During the last 5-10 minutes of roasting, turn them over for even browning, the cut sides should be nicely and partially charred but not blackened
Roasted butternut squash:
Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly grease the foil-lined baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
In a medium bowl, combine cubed butternut squash (peeled and seeded),1 tablespoon of olive oil, maple syrup, and cinnamon, and toss to mix.
Place butternut squash in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning once half-way through baking, until softened.
Note: You can roast both Brussels sprouts and butternut squash on 2 separate baking sheets at the same time, on the same rack in the oven.
In a large bowl, combine roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted butternut squash, pecans, and cranberries, and mix to combine. (OPTIONAL): For more sweetness, add 2 or 4 tablespoons of maple syrup, if desired – do not add all maple syrup at once, start with 2 tablespoons, then add more, if desired, and toss with the salad ingredients to combine.




This weeks meal plan… a lot of the same stuff. I need to work on variety.


Health Recipes/Cooking

The owner of the Windy Hill Orchard told me about a Pumpkin Doughnut Bread Pudding recipe using doughnuts (found here: We decided to modify this and make our own version using our apple cider doughnuts because we often have them leftover. What I came up with is a mixture between bread pudding and apple crisp, to give a nice contrast in texture with the streusel topping. It is totally optional to add the topping and you can change it for some sort of glaze or caramel sauce, if desired. I brought this into to work so I wouldn’t be tempted to eat the whole thing… LOL. I will be trying this with 1-dozen pumpkin doughnuts from the orchard this week.



Apple Doughnut Bread Pudding with a Streusel Topping:

12 apple cider doughnuts, cinnamon sugar kind (I get mine from Windy Hill Orchard – these are more of an old-fashioned cake doughnut)
2 apples (about 1 – 1 1/2 cups), diced
6 eggs
2 1/4 cups milk (I use coconut milk)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
Pinch salt
1 stick butter
3 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 cup oatmeal
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Let the apple cider doughnuts get stale for a few days… you want them to become more dense in texture.

Break the doughnuts up into bite-sized pieces and spread in a greased 13 x 9″ pan.

Peel and cut your apples into small squares and sprinkle over the doughnuts.

Crack eggs into a bowl and whisk smooth. Add milk, vanilla, cinnamon and a pinch of salt; whisk together and pour over the doughnut pieces. Let this mixture rest for at least 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the stick of butter and add brown sugar. Continue cooking a few minutes while stirring. Pour this mixture evenly over the doughnut mix.

Now make the topping… mix the dry topping ingredients with 1 cup melted butter, forming a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle over the doughnut mixture and pat down.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until brown. When served, it can be topped with vanilla ice cream.




This weeks meal plan includes some of the following:

  • BREAKFASTS: Green Apple Smoothie (NEW), Orange Smoothie, Mixed Berry Smoothie
  • MID-MORNING SNACK: Hard-boiled eggs
  • LUNCHES: Greek Salads, Garden Salads with leftover soups
  • SNACKS: Carrot sticks, fruit (mostly apples and cantaloupe), nuts, and wheat crackers with cheese
  • DINNERS: Okra Creole (still using up Okra) with field peas, Miso Soup, Green Beans and Tilapia with Dijon Dressing


Family Fitness/Health Recipes/Cooking

21-Day Fix Eating_092615

I made two different soups this past week for the chilly, rainy days we’ve been having in the Carolinas. So far my breakfasts are still smoothies, but I may start making overnight oats again… need something warm in my belly!

This weeks meal plan includes some of the following:


Family Fitness/Health Recipes/Cooking


This weeks meal plan includes some of the following:


Family Fitness/Health Recipes/Cooking


I worked a lot at the orchard this past week, so many of my lunches were either in pizza or pretzel form. 🙁  Not the best choices but they are what’s there or what’s provided for us. We also get an apple-cider donut in the morning that is very hard to resist. These are not the best choices and I hope to do better in the future. But I still have lots of good healthy items in my list this week.

This weeks meal plan includes some of the following:

  • BREAKFASTS: Pumpkin Smoothies, Blueberry Smoothies, and Huevos Rancheros
  • MID-MORNING SNACK: Hard-boiled eggs or fruit (hooray apple season)
  • LUNCHES: Egg Spinach Salad with my non-bacon dressing
  • SNACKS: Carrot sticks, fruit, nuts
  • DINNERS: Ceviche, Green Bean Salad and Shrimp, Vitamix Tortilla Soup with black beans


Family Fitness/Health Recipes/Cooking


Meet Pepe. He was our adventure guide in Cozumel when we snorkeled in brackish water (where the salt water and fresh water meet) and also when we explored the underground river. Since these items were in water, we did not get photos but we did have fun (except the cave with the bats… my mom was terrified). Our adventure also included a trip to Wah Wah Beach Bar for a few drinks and an authentic buffet of cheese quesadillas, potato taquitos, tacos, guacamole and an amazing ceviche!


I loved the ceviche so much that I came home and made one with shrimp.


Shrimp Ceviche:

½ cup fresh lime juice
1 lb. cooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, coarsely chopped
½ medium red onion, finely chopped
2 medium Serrano chiles (or jalapenos), seeded and deveined, finely chopped (optional)
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp. homemade sofrito (optional)
1.2 tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. sea salt

  1. Combine lime juice and shrimp in a medium bowl; mix well. Marinate, covered, in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Combine shrimp mixture, onion, chiles (if desired), and tomato in a large bowl; mix well.
  3. Add cilantro and salt; toss gently to blend.
  4. Serve with chips or have on tacos with some lettuce, avocado and hot sauce.

Recipes/Cooking Travel

Wanted to share this recipe because it is simple and very yummy. This would be great with mushrooms too!


Perfect side dish for dinner or add some chicken and make it a meal!

Spinach Parmesan Quinoa (serves 1)

1 cup baby spinach 
1/2 cup tri-color quinoa, cooked
1/3 cup shredded parmesan
2 Tbsp. raw sunflower seeds
1 clove chopped garlic
1 tsp. Extra-virgin olive oil

Heat the EVOO over medium low heat and add garlic, sauté a few minutes then add the sunflower seeds. Cook the garlic and seeds for 2-3 minutes. Add spinach and quinoa and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the spinach is wilted. Slowly mix in the parmesan and stir until melted. Serve warm.

On my plan, the container counts are: 1 green, 1 yellow, 1 blue, 1 orange and 1 tsp (seen in the photo above with the food in them).