Sunday, March 13, 2011

Salted Caramel Bars

I wanted to give you this amazing recipe for Salted Caramel Bars.  These are super yummy and really satisfy the need for that sweet and salty combo....which I love! 

Salted Caramel Bars

For the Salted Caramel Sauce:

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 1/2 tablespoons butter

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. 
Increase the heat and bring to a boil, without stirring. (It is very important to resist the urge to stir..just leave it)  Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Remove the sugar from the heat and carefully whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble. Stir in the unsalted butter, and salt. Transfer the caramel to a dish and cool.

Now for the Bars...get ready for your mouth to water!!


2 cups flour
1 3/4 cup quick cooking oats
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) softened unsalted butter
3/4 cup chopped pecans 
1 cup chocolate chips or you can scrape pieces off a large chocolate bar
2 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups of the Salted Caramel Sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13-inch pan.
Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, and softened butter in a bowl and mix until crumbly. Divide the mixture into 2 equal portions.
Press half the crumb mixture in the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and cool slightly.
Sprinkle the chocolate chips, and chopped pecans over the cooled crust. Mix the salted caramel sauce, and flour together, and drizzle over the chocolate chips, and nuts. (Mixing the flour into the Salted Caramel Sauce allows the sauce to thicken just a bit)  Top with the remaining crumb mixture.
Return to the oven and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until the crust starts to brown. Allow the pan to cool, and refrigerate it until the caramel filling is set.

Cut into bars and enjoy!

Hope that you try these and let me know what you think!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Menu Planning and Almonds

Okay so here is what I like to do to plan my husband thinks that I am a bit OCD and this is where it comes out.  I am a visual learner and therefore like to see what I am doing.

I take a big wall calendar, but you can use any size that fits the post-its, and I usually plan between two and three weeks at a time.  I have 5 different color post-its...I use one color for Chicken dishes, one for Meats, one for Pastas, one for Seafood, and one for Veggie.

I write out the name of the dish, and the book and page number if I am using a cookbook, and place it on my calendar.  The great thing about the post-its is that I can move them around easily and make sure that I am not doing two of the same type of dish in a row.  This is a huge timesaver for me and lets me easily shift things if I need to.  I can also quickly dispose of the post-its with dishes that we do not like and will not want again, while saving the post-its and shifting them down a few weeks when we really enjoy a dish.

Hope that you try this and let me know how it works for you!

Almonds and Vanilla


1 egg white, beaten
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups whole roasted, unsalted almonds

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Beat the egg white with the vanilla extract

Add the almonds and stir so that all the almonds are coated

In a separate bowl combine sugar, salt and cinnamon and then add to the almond mixture.

Bake at 300 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Remove and let cool on wax paper.  It will be tempting to taste but you must let them cool down!!!

Eat and Enjoy, and share if you really want to.

Friday, March 11, 2011

menu planning and salted caramel..

Hey everyone...I don't know about you but menu planning is always a somewhat daunting task.  There are so many choices and on top of that the picky eaters just make it more difficult.  Thank you my oldest child!!  I have got a great idea for you coming tomorrow...let's just say it involves post-its.  Did I spark your interest?

Also, tomorrow I am going to put up a great recipe for a salted caramel and chocolate bar...yummy!

Hope to see you then......

Monday, March 7, 2011

Gorgonzola Artichoke Chicken Pasta

This is a super easy recipe...I used to order this at a place called La Vache in La Jolla before it closed.  I loved this dish and tried several different combos before finding this one.

The recipe varies depending on how many people.  The one below is for 2 people with enough for leftovers.  This recipe usually takes about 15 minutes total to cook.

1/2 box of Penne or any other tube pasta
1 container (usually 6 ounces) of gorgonzola cheese crumbles.  I usually use Treasure Cave because it melts pretty easily
1 can evaporated milk
1/2 cup - 1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 can Artichoke quarters (or 2 depending on your taste)
Cooked Rotisserie Chicken (precooked from the store is perfect)
Some sort of White wine (optional, to taste)
cracked black pepper

Cook Pasta according to the directions

While the water boils remove chicken from bone and cut into cubes and drain artichoke quarters

Heat large skillet and put 1 tablespoon butter in to melt

Add 1 can evaporated milk

Let this heat until a very soft bubbling forms in the center

Add gorgonzola cheese crumbles and stir the mixture (you must stir the mixture often to melt the cheese and keep the sauce from burning)

After crumbles are melted, add in 1/2 cup cream (you can use more evaporated milk instead of cream to cut calories)

Add wine to taste

Add chicken and artichokes to the sauce mixture, you can add mushrooms or other items that you would like at this point

Keep stirring........look at the sauce and if you would like more liquid this is the time to add more cream or evaporated milk to reach the consistency that you would like

Add cracked black pepper to taste

Drain penne or tube pasta and add to the sauce mixture


Sunday, March 6, 2011

I am going to become Amish.......

I am going to become Amish......for at least a few hours a week!

The simplicity of the Amish life is something that I long for, at least for a few hours a week.  I love the life that I live and I certainly enjoy my electric life but for a few hours a week I want to unplug, and let the joy of my children really take me in.

With life being so fast paced every day just seems to fly.  Get home from picking up the boys just in time for dinner, homework, read a book and bed.  When do we truly get to just sit back and enjoy the way their face lights up when they use their imagination.  Many of you might be sitting there thinking what is imagination, everything is done for them through video games and TV.

This is why I am becoming Amish...for those few hours to just let imagination run wild and enjoy the simplicity of life.

On that note,today we went to the La Jolla Farmers Market.  For those of you who have not been to this market, it is GREAT!  The vendors and farmers are fantastic and love to talk about and explain their product.  The kids also love going and certainly try things they would never try if I gave it to them at home. (Walnuts and raw carrots?)  Today we bought some purple carrots, kale, strawberries, and of course Pasta and bread.

We buy all of our fresh pasta from Peggy's Pasta.  They are fantastic and no matter what you use with the pasta, it tastes amazing.  They also have a ton of flavors and something for everyone.  Today we purchased Semolina (eggless) fettuccine....mouth is currently watering. Tomorrow I will put the recipe up for an amazing GORGONZOLA ARTICHOKE CHICKEN PASTA!  This is such a yummy and easy dish that will make you look like you are super talented in the kitchen.

Peggy's Pasta also has sauces, breads, eggs, and avocado oils infused with the most mouth watering ingredients.  This is one place that I stoop every week and no matter what I purchase I find myself wanting to invite them over just to teach me all of their tricks.  DELICIOUS!

Today, on my quest for simplicity, I purchase Amish White Bread.  OH MY.  I tasted this today and it literally melted in my mouth.  I must learn how to make this.  This is also from Peggy's Pasta and let me tell you they are what we should all be looking for.  Their products are all natural, no preservatives, and have no added sugar.  They bake this bread everyday and the one that I purchased at 9 am was taken out of the oven at 5am.  Does it get any better than that?

There is a great quote from Julia Child on the bag, "How can a nation be great if their bread tastes like kleenex?"  Well put Julia!  This bread certainly doesn't taste like kleenex....neither does the fig and honey loaf, or the ciabatta.  I will be trying a new bread next week...because I am a carb addict!

Peggy's Pasta is not only a great company to buy wonderful food from but they are friendly and family oriented.  You truly feel that they know you and that they are cooking and baking so that you can feel at home!

You can go on to their website at: to check them out...and I certainly encourage you to do that.

So until tomorrow....when you come back for the gorgonzola artichoke chicken pasta recipe.....turn off your phone and television...and become Amish for a few hours and check out Peggy's Pasta!