Thursday, December 11, 2014

Healthy Dog Treat Cookies

These healthy dog treats are good enough for humans to eat. You could add in some chocolate chips or your favorite dried fruit.
Now for your dog, you can add in about ¼ cup parsley, that would help freshen your dog’s breath or substitute dried mint for half the parsley. Don’t hesitate to adjust the size of the treat to accommodate a very small or very large dog. Baking them a few minutes more or less, as needed.


·  1 cup peanut butter

·  1/2 cup honey

·  1 cup flour


Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. and  line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, stir together the peanut butter and honey. Mix in the flour, then form a ball and roll out on a floured work surface.

Using a rolling pin, roll out into a 9” inch circle and using a 3 to 4 inch dog bone cookie cutter, cut out cookies and place on a lined cookie sheet. Reroll dough pieces until all dough is used up.

Bake for 7 to 9 minutes and watch cookies they will tend to get brown very quickly. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes on cookie sheet and then remove to cooling rack.
Hope your dog enjoys or maybe you! Our dog, Dolce can't wait to try one!
I mailed some dog treats to my sister, Kimberly in Virginia for her dog, Zoey. As you can see, her dog is enjoying them, too.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Pita Piata (Italian Nut Rolls)

Pita Piata is an Italian traditional dessert, usually served during the Christmas holidays. This recipe is easy to make, because of the few ingredients and yeast isn't used in this dough. The raisins are soaked in your favorite sweet red wine for 10 hours or overnight. Also, the dough is flavored with red wine which gives it a pleasing scent, as it is baked in the oven. Once the rolls are baked you can drizzle orange blossom honey or agave nectar over the top and then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar to complete this tasty dessert.

Ingredients for the dough:

5 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup sweet red wine
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup half and half

Ingredients for the filling:

12 oz. box raisins
1 cup sweet red wine or more to cover the raisins
1 cup walnuts (measured after finely chopped)

Ingredients for the topping:

Orange blossom honey or agave nectar (for drizzling)
1/4 cup sugar
1 or 2 tablespoons cinnamon (your preference)

Utensils needed:

2 cookie sheet pans lined with parchment paper.
Rolling cutter with a zig zag edge. You can order here.
Small glass dish and sifter.
Small glass dish for additional canola oil ( 1/2 cup) and a basting brush.
Round wood toothpicks.


In a medium bowl, soak the raisins in wine for 10 hours or overnight, covered it with plastic wrap and leave on counter. When it is time to mix the dough ingredients, drain the wine from the raisins and reserve for the cup of wine that is needed for the dough.

In a food processor, finely chop the walnuts and reserve in a medium bowl, covered with plastic wrap and leave on counter.

In a small bowl, mix together the cinnamon and sugar with a fork and set aside. If you don't have a sifter cup like the one above. You can use a small sifter that sits on a small glass bowl like this below.

Mix all the dough ingredients together in a standing mixer bowl and attach a dough hook to the mixer. Combine the ingredients on low and continue to run the mixer on medium speed and if needed add more flour a little at a time until it is not sticky. Remove dough from mixer and put on a floured work surface and shape into a round ball. Put the dough ball on a plate the cover with a kitchen towel.
Take a knife and slice a portion of the dough. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out on a floured work surface, flipping it over a few times and shape into a rectangle approximately 10''x12'' and 1/8" inch thick.

Brush oil on the rolled out dough. Be very generous with the oil.
Next, sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar mixture.
Sprinkle next layer with the chopped nuts.
Sprinkle last layer with the raisins. 

Take the rolling cutter and cut a strip 2" inches wide. Fold over the edges to trap the stuffing inside, and roll the stuffed strip into a rose shape and secure with a toothpick. Place the rosette on a lined cookie sheet and start the process over again with another portion of dough until all the rosettes are made.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and bake until golden brown. About 25 to 30 minutes. Check the rosettes after the first 15 minutes and just turn the cookie sheet around in the oven for even baking.

When done, remove from oven and immediately, drizzle honey or agave nectar over the rosettes and sprinkle on more cinnamon mixture. After they have cooled a little, place the rosettes on cooling rack. Enjoy!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Mini Maple Pumpkin Muffins

Fall is around the corner, it's time to start baking with pumpkin. This is a simple recipe for the season. It has all the flavors for Fall, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and of course pumpkin. I used maple syrup for the sugar in the batter, which has a higher concentration of minerals like manganese and zinc in it. Also, the maple syrup had more of a caramel flavor, which made  a tasty little muffin!
For the muffins:
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking power
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
For the cinnamon sugar topping:
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven 350 degrees F and line 2 mini muffin pans with 24 liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside.
In a larger bowl, whisk the oil, maple syrup, and pumpkin.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
Use a small scoop and divide among the lined muffin pans.

Bake 13-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes on rack. Remove muffins from pan and sat on cooling rack.
Mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl. Remove the paper liners from each muffin and dip the top of the muffin in the melted butter and then dip in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Enjoy!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Chocolate Cake for Two

This cake is made in one bowl which makes it simple to make and it tastes rich and decadent. Especially, since I added some delicious chocolate icing. It makes a perfect after dinner dessert for two.
Ingredients for cake:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup seedless raspberry (or other berry) jam
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon white sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and lightly flour a 6-inch springform pan.
In a medium bowl (large enough to hold all the batter), melt the butter in the microwave in short pulses.
Once the butter is melted, stir in the chocolate chips. Stir the chocolate constantly until it melts completely into the butter. Next, add the jam and sugar and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. It's ok if some of the jam doesn't melt into the batter. Add the egg and stir in very well. Finally, sprinkle the flour, baking powder and salt over the batter and stir just until well-combine.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake 44-46 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out with only moist crumbs clinging to it. Remove from oven and let sit for 8 minutes and remove from pan and cool on rack.
Ingredients for frosting:
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
In a medium bowl, melt butter in the microwave. Stir in cocoa. With hand beaters, alternately add powdered sugar and milk beating on medium speed to spreading consistency. Add more milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. Makes about 1 cup of frosting. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Shortbread Cookies

My husband and I have friends that visited Scotland and brought back some Walkers Scottish shortbread cookies. My husband just loved them and ask if I could make him some cookies. So, I looked on the back of the cookie box for the ingredients of flour, sugar, butter and salt. Of course, I had all those ingredients and it seemed pretty easy to whip up the batter to make the cookies.
My first try they came out a little bland, they needed some vanilla extract for more flavor. So, the second time I made them, my husband was pleased, he said, "they tasted just like Walkers cookies and they were buttery and crisp."
3/4 pound unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons raw sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla.
Add the sifted flour and salt to the butter mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together.
Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough 1/2 inch thick and cut with a 3-inch round cookie cutter. Place the cookies on a lined baking sheet and sprinkle with raw sugar.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until edges begin to brown. Allow to cool on rack to room temperature. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Italian Easter Bread

Easter bread was always a family tradition that my mother made during the Easter holiday. My mother used a spice called anise seed that gave the bread a slight liquorice flavor that made the house smell like the holidays. This bread can be very versatile, you could make toast with melted butter on it or French toast with real maple syrup. This recipe is easy and very forgiving for first time bread makers.


1 package Rapid Rise (instant) yeast (about 2-1/4 teaspoons)
1-1/4 cups whole milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup white sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour (approximate)
1 teaspoon anise seed
1 large egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon of water


In a small saucepan, warm the milk and butter together, just until butter melts.
In a large mixer bowl, combine yeast, salt, eggs, and sugar. Add the warm (not hot - it will kill the yeast) milk and butter. Add about half the flour and the anise seed and beat until smooth with dough hook. Slowly add the remaining flour to form a stiff dough. Don't worry about how much flour it ends up being, just keep adding until dough is not sticky anymore. Knead until smooth with either dough hook attachment or turn out on floured board and knead. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in the oven, but do not turn oven on. Just turn the oven light on and it will double in size, about an hour.
Punch dough down, divide into 6 pieces. Roll each piece to form a 2 inch thick rope about 12 inches long and taking two pieces, twist to form a "braid", pinching the ends.
Place on three baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Cover and let rise until double, about an hour again.
Brush each bread with beaten egg wash. Bake 350 degrees F until golden about 20 minutes. Cool on rack. Enjoy!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Chicken Thighs with Red Chard

I did a change up from spinach to using red chard with a red pepper, a Cubanelle pepper and a Vidalia onion that brought out a flavorful taste to the chicken thighs. This is an easy recipe that you could serve with brown rice or whole grain pasta or a side salad.


4 to 6 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on
2 tablespoons extra virgin oil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 red pepper, sliced
1 Cubanelle pepper, sliced in rings
1 Vidalia onion, sliced
1/2 cup Marcona almonds
2 bunches red chard, rinsed, dried, roughly chopped
1 fresh bay leaf


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Sprinkle the chicken thighs with salt. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, add the oil and brown the thighs skin-side down for 4 minutes per side. Season with the paprika on both sides. Then remove the chicken and set aside.
Add the garlic, peppers and onion to the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Add the almonds, red chard, bay leaf, 1 cup of water and a liberal amount of salt and bring to a simmer. Top with the chicken skin-side up and bake for 25 minutes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spring Risotto

This risotto is easy to make and it serves two which is nice for a quick week night dinner. Since it is Spring, I thought asparagus would be a flavorful addition to the recipe. Also, I added a little sweetness with some Medjool dates and to finish, I stirred in a little Chavrie goat cheese that added a mild, tangy taste to the risotto.


3 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons minced shallot
3/4 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
8 Medjool dates, sliced
1/2 cup asparagus, chopped
4 ounces Chavrie goat cheese
Salt and pepper to taste


Bring chicken stock to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to low and keep hot.
In a medium sauté pan, melt butter over medium heat then add onion and sauté until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add rice then stir to coat in butter. Add wine then stir until nearly absorbed by rice. Use a ladle to add 1/2 cup chicken stock to pan and stir continuously until stock is absorbed. Add sliced dates and continue adding stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until nearly absorbed before adding more.
When there is about 3 additions of stock left, add asparagus and continue stirring until all stock is used.
To finish, stir in goat cheese and then add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!


Friday, April 18, 2014

Cherry Almond Scones

Scones are always a nice addition to a breakfast or brunch. These scones are made with frozen pitted cherries that are thawed and drained. This was easier then removing the pits from fresh cherries. I added almond extract to the mix to give the scones a rich almond flavor and I sprinkled some turbinado sugar on top of the dough to give the scones a little extra sweet taste.


2 cups plus 1 tablespoon flour, divided
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup cherries, thawed, halved and drained
2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon almond extract


2 tablespoons low-fat buttermilk
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
1 tablespoon sliced almonds


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Sprinkle cubed butter over flour mixture and use a pastry cutter to cut in evenly until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Place cherries between layers of paper towels and press gently to remove moisture. In a small bowl, combine cherries and 1 tablespoon flour, toss with a fork to coat.
Add cherry mixture to flour mixture, folding in gently.
In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg and almond extract, add to flour mixture and fold in just until moist.

Use a spatula to scrape dough out onto prepared baking sheet, lightly flour hands and pat dough into an 8-inch circle.
With a long sharp knife, score dough into 8 wedges. Put 2 tablespoons of buttermilk in a small bowl and with a pastry brush, spread all over top of dough. Sprinkle dough with turbinado sugar and sliced almonds.

Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until golden. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to wire rack to cool before slicing into wedges.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and warm before serving. Enjoy!

Yields: 8 scones

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Healthy Apple Crisp

I was hungry for an apple crisp. So, I had two Fuji apples that I put together a recipe to help out that sweet tooth without being sorry that I ate something sweet and this did the trick! The aroma of the cinnamon and honey in the apple crisp baking in the oven made the whole house smell like the holidays and the taste of the topping and apples together was delicious.
2 large Fuji apples, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup oats (quick or old-fashioned)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 tablespoons honey
For the filling:
In a medium bowl, mix together apples, lemon juice, cinnamon and honey. In a small bowl, mix water and cornstarch and mix into apple mixture.
Pour the apple mixture into two small 4 1/2 inch pie dishes.
For the topping:
In a medium bowl, combine oats, salt, cinnamon.
In a small bowl, combine vanilla, oil, and honey. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry. The mixture will be crumbly. 
Sprinkle the topping over the apple mixture.
Bake lightly covered with foil at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, until apples are soft and topping golden brown. Enjoy!