Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

Our family has always eaten well, but too much of anything isn’t a good thing. So, that’s why we’ve decided to make healthier eating choices. Now, don’t think that means you won’t see me post deliciously divine desserts from time to time, but eating healthier has been a goal for my family and this recipe is a perfect start.

This is a Weight Watchers recipe that a friend passed along to me.   I decided to try it after she raved about it at a recent lunch.   These muffins with homemade strawberry sauce are amazing and healthy!

I was stunned on how good the strawberry sauce was…..I could have just eaten it alone. The best part is it’s strawberry season in the Ozarks…look for strawberries to be ripe for the picking soon, although I’ve seen two markets already have them for sale.

Try it out for yourself and let me know what you think!

Lemon Yogurt Muffins with Fresh Strawberry Sauce
from Weight Watchers

2 spray(s) cooking spray
2 cup(s) strawberries, finely chopped, divided
2 Tbsp strawberry jam
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp cornstarch
2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp table salt
2 large egg(s)
8 oz Yoplait Original 99% Fat Free Lemon Yogurt, or similar product
1/3 cup(s) sugar
1/4 cup(s) canola oil
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp lemon zest, or more to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 12-hole muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup strawberries with next 4 ingredients; set over medium-low heat. Cook until boiling, whisking constantly, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 cup strawberries; set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, lightly whisk eggs; whisk in remaining ingredients until smooth.

Make a well in center of dry ingredients and spoon in egg mixture; gently fold to combine.

Fill each muffin hole 3/4s full with batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, about 15 to 17 minutes. Remove from oven and serve each muffin with 1 heaping tablespoon strawberry sauce on top.

Read Full Post »

Sweet Potato Muffins

Sweet Potato Muffins

Farm cooks have always had a way of making so much out of so little.  I have visited many farmer’s kitchens across the state and tasted some of the most delectable dishes.  Plus, I’ve learned many cooking skills on my travels.

Today, I want to share one of my favorite recipes that bring back fond childhood memories of cooking in my grandmother’s kitchen.

My grandmother was a farmer’s wife, but she also played an important role of the family’s dairy operation in Ava, Mo.  My grandmother was also one of the founders of the Ava Polk Salad Days Festival, where she and other ladies made delicious dishes incorporating polk from the land that they gathered.

One special treat I recall making with her in the fall was Sweet Potato Muffins.  She tended to a very large-scale garden on the farm, not to sell produce, but to feed their large family.  We would dig up the sweet potatoes and store them in the basement all winter long.

As a child watching my grandmother in the kitchen was like magic and when I was able to help her, I was very excited.  This is a perfect recipe to make with your children- my toddler loves these muffins in the morning with a little butter and a cold glass of milk.

A couple ways I make these muffins even more special is adding a cup of any of the following: pineapple, cranberries or dates.

Southern Sweet Potato Muffins
1 cup Butter, softened
1 cup Sugar
6 Eggs
2 cups Buttermilk
1 tsp. Vanilla
¼ tsp. Fresh Ginger, grated
½ tsp. Cinnamon
1-1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 T. Baking Powder
1 pound Sweet Potatoes, peeled, cooked and mashed

Preheat oven to 350 F.  In a medium mixing bowl combine butter and sugar with a mixer. Next, combine dry ingredients in a small bowl.  Blend in eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon cooked sweet potatoes. Then, add all dry ingredients at once. Use wooden spoon to blend all ingredients well.

Spoon muffin batter into greased muffin tins ( I use muffin cups). Fill 2/3’s full and bake for 23-26 minutes.

Sweet Potato Muffins
Ingredients –
1 cup Butter, softened
1 cup Sugar
6 Eggs
2 cups Buttermilk
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1-1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons Baking Powder
1 pound Sweet Potatoes, peeled, cooked and mashed
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.2. In medium mixing bowl combine butter and sugar.3. Blend in eggs, buttermilk, flour, baking powder and cooked sweet potatoes.

4. Use wooden spoon to blend all ingredients well.

5. Spoon muffin batter into greased muffin tins. Fill 2/3’s full.

6. Bake 25 minutes.

Read Full Post »

Apple Crepes

Cooking at the Taste of Springfield Event

Apple season.  That is when I know that fall is in full-swing.  Baskets of apples, pies and rich cider all make this time of the year so special.

To indulge in the fall spirit I’ve got a simple apple dessert that will bring a smile to your face!  Apple Crepes are easy to make for a weeknight dessert, but elegant enough to serve for a special dinner as well.

I prepared this recipe at the recent Taste of Springfield event, with suggestion from my friend Marina Backes of Circle B Ranch, and the crowd went wild from the smell of simmering apples in butter and cinnamon.  And to top the dessert I drizzle a caramel sauce over the crepe that really gives is a kick.

Around my house we make crepes for breakfast and dessert.  With all the apples I have from some local stops at orchards- I’m going to be making a LOT of these over the next month!

Apple Crepes
3 whole eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour, sifted
2 tablespoons sugar (for batter)
4 tablespoons sugar (for filling)
2 large apples
3 tablespoons butter
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Caramel Sauce and powdered sugar for garnish

Peel, core, and thinly slice the apples. Toss them with 4 Tbsp. sugar and the cinnamon. Melt the butter in a non-stick pan, add the apples and saute until soft. Set aside. Beat the eggs with the milk, add the flour and remaining sugar. Give the batter a few swift strokes to avoid lumping.

Heat a 6-inch non-stick pan almost to the smoking point, add a few drops of oil, then just enough batter to coat the bottom of the pan. Allow the crepe to brown, then flip. Repeat the process until all the batter is used. Lay the crepes out on a work surface, place some apple filling in each and roll. Reheat in the oven or serve at once. Dust with powdered sugar and drizzle with caramel sauce.

Read Full Post »

Cooking with My Son, Caston

I await autumn each year not only for the cooler weather and fall color, but the food. Pumpkin tops the list of some of my favorites: pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin cake…you get the idea.

And, no recipe that calls for pumpkin is complete unless it’s homemade pumpkin puree.  Making your own puree is very simple and freezer bags help you store the puree very easily.  Here is my method for processing pumpkins this fall.  And, I’ve got a special recipe that I made with my son this morning- Pumpkin Cake with a rich and buttery dark brown sugar glaze.  You never know what a little experimenting in the kitchen will bring…

How to Process Pumpkins
Split the pumpkin in half, remove all seeds and strings. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take pumpkin and place in a large cake pan. Place pumpkin pulp-side down into the pan. Add 3 cups of water to pan. Bake the pumpkin for about 1 hour in the oven. You will know when the pumpkin is ready by pushing on the skin and it feels soft to the touch. If the pumpkin is still hard, let it remain in the oven for another 20 minutes.  You may have to add more water throughout the cooking process, so be sure to check on the level throughout.

After you have your pumpkin cooked, remove all the pulp and place in large bowl. I remove the pulp with a large metal spoon and scoop it out.  With a blender add 1 cup of pulp at a time, along with 1/4 cup of water. Blend together.

Let pumpkin cool, add to freezer bags and freeze flat. I like to place 2 cups or 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin in each bag, for cooking purposes.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

Pumpkin Cake with a Buttery Sugar Glaze
⅓ cups Water
2 ½ cups pumpkin puree
2 Large Eggs
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 box French Vanilla or Golden Butter Cake Mix(18 Ounce Box and I always use Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe)
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 cup Dark Brown Sugar, Divided
½ cups Flour
½ cups Walnuts, Chopped
4 Tablespoons Butter, Melted
2 Tablespoons butter
¼ cups Granulated Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
¼ cups Heavy Whipping Cream

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a large bowl mix together the water, pumpkin, eggs, 1 Tablespoon of vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg until well combined. Next add the cake mix and baking soda and mix well.

Pour mixture into a greased 9 x 13 pan.  Then, in a small mixing bowl make your crumbled topping.  Mix together ½ dark brown sugar, ½ cup flour, toasted walnuts and melted butter and mix until the topping resembles chunky cornmeal.  Sprinkle over the top of the cake mixture and bake for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

While the cake is cooking make your rich glaze.  Combine ½ cup dark brown sugar, ¼ cups granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2 tablespoons of butter and ¼ cup heavy cream.  Bring mixture to a light simmer for 5 minutes and remove from heat.

When cake comes out of oven, take a knife and poke holes in the top of the cake.  Pour the glaze over the entire cake and let cake sit for at least 30 minutes.


Read Full Post »

This Blueberry Pie cooking video will help you show off your skills in the kitchen with my tricks to making the perfect pie crust and blueberry filling.  This is a great recipe for the fall when using all those local blueberries you frozen to savor the season.

Read Full Post »

Homemade Apple Butter

I remember watching my grandmother make homemade apple butter in her farm kitchen.  It would take all day, but it was well worth the work!  She used her Crock Pot to slow cook the mixture, which she said made the taste even better.

She and I would make a trip to a market or a local orchard to pick up our apples and pay a visit to a couple of her lady friends, which she would always have extra apples for.

Local apples will start showing up at the farmers markets and roadside stands soon…so be ready!  This is a perfect recipes for those of you wanting to try your hands at making your own apple butter this season.

Local Apple Butter
5 1/2 pounds of local apples – peeled, cored and finely chopped
4 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a slow cooker place apples.  In a bowl mix the sugar, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Pour the mixture over the apples in the slow cooker and mix well. Cover and cook the mixture on high for 1 hour.  Then, reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 hours, stirring about every 2 hours.  Uncover the slow cooker and continue to cook for one more hour and whisk the mixture well.

Spoon mixture into canning jars or freeze.  Enjoy all season long!

Read Full Post »

The Market Lady’s Pound Cake with a Fresh Berry Sauce is perfect with any local berries.  Watch as Lane prepared a homemade pound cake and berry sauce at the Mtn. Grove Farmers Market.  Below find the video and recipe for this crowd pleaser recipe!

Pound Cake with a Fresh Fruit Sauce
Need one 9-by-5-inch loaf of pound cake, already baked and cooled

Fresh Fruit Sauce
1 1/2 cups (Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries  or Blackberries)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 lemons, zested and juiced
¼ tsp. vanilla

Add all ingredients and cook over medium-high heat until reduced and thickened. Stores for up to a week in your refrigerator or for a month in your freezer

Ideas for sauce: Take a slice of cheesecake or a rich chocolate torte and drizzle over a little strawberry sauce, and you will be amazed at how much better it looks and tastes.

Or, for an easy weeknight dessert that your kids will love, just pour it over a bowl of ice cream or make a fruit milkshake.

One of my family’s favorite parts of the summer is to go berry picking with our son.  We pick enough berries to last us through the year and simply freeze the berries in a freezer bag.  If you are looking for a fun and in-expensive family outing this summer- find a local you-pick, load the kids up in the car and head out to the country for fun on the farm.

Read Full Post »

I’ve had this recipe in my inbox for awhile, waiting for the perfect moment to give it a whirl.

That day presented itself yesterday.  While cooking dinner for my family last night I wrote down the simple ingredients and mixed my own little evening refresher – a Watermelon and Cucumber cocktail.

You can find the original recipe on TheKitchen.com.  If you want to make this a non-alcoholic drink, just switch out the alcohol for some club soda or even 7-Up.  But, below was my variation.

Watermelon-Cucumber Refresher
3 parts tequila
1 part triple sec
1 part (1/2 ounce) watermelon-cucumber-mint juice*
1 part (1/2 ounce) fresh lime juice

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a watermelon and/or cucumber slice and/or a sprig of mint.

*Watermelon-Cucumber-Mint Juice
yields one cup

2 parts (I used 2 cups) diced, seeded watermelon flesh
1 part (1 cup) peeled, seeded cucumber
2 sprigs mint (I used 7 leaves)
A couple of pieces of diced jalapenos

Whir all ingredients together in a blender. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer. Discard pulp.

Another great way to enjoy in the freshness that the farmers market offers!  So, get out today and shop local.




Read Full Post »

Peach Cake from Barefoot Contessa on Food Network

I’m a sucker for anything with peaches in it – salsas, cakes, pies, bbq sauces, chutney – if it has peaches – I’m all in!

I came across the peach cake recipe while flipping through my Barefoot Contessa cookbook and knew it had to be a winner.  The special ingredient that makes this peach cake so tender and moist is sour cream.  This is a very simple cake that can be prepared in no time and highlights fresh and local peaches!


Fresh Peach Cake
Recipe courtesy Barefoot Contessa, Food Network
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch-square baking pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 1 cup of the sugar for 3 to 5 minutes on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, then the sour cream and vanilla, and mix until the batter is smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix just until combined. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the cinnamon.

Spread half of the batter evenly in the pan. Top with half of the peaches, then sprinkle with two-thirds of the sugar mixture. Spread the remaining batter on top, arrange the remaining peaches on top and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture and the pecans.

Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Read Full Post »

Grilled peaches from the Christian County Farmers Market

Nothing spells summer like fruit.  And if there is one fruit that symbolize the heat of the summer- it’s peaches.  There are two major types of peaches: “Freestone” and “Clingstone”. Freestone peaches have flesh that slips easily away from the pit. With Clingstones the fruit clings to the pit!

How to tell if the peaches are ripe?

One thing to keep in mind is that once a peach is picked from the tree the fruit will not ripen any further, they only soften.

Softness: unless you like your peaches very firm, pick your peaches with just a little “give” when gently pressed. Peaches at this stage are great for eating, freezing and baking.

Odor: It should smell sweet and ripe!

I’ve picked up some peaches here at the market from a local orchard that are perfectly ripe.  I’m going to be grilling peaches today- one of my family’s favorite ways to enjoy in the taste of the summer.

I grilled up peaches from Ozark Mtn. Orchard in Highlandville, Mo., today at the Christian County Farmers Market and consumers raved about this simple dessert.  My family loves to throw some peaches on the grill while the coals are still hot, plate the peaches and then top with vanilla bean ice cream.

Fresh from the Farm

Grilled Peaches
4-5 peaches
1 stick of butter
Sugar, optional
Vanilla Bean Ice cream

Slice peaches in halve and coat with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon.  OPTIONAL- sprinkle with sugar.  Grill until soft, about 3 minutes per side.  Top with ice cream.

When you come home from the market with a peck of peaches try spreading the peaches on towels and separate any damaged fruit immediately.  Put a couple of days supply into the fridge, wash and cut the others and freeze them up to savor the peach season.

Head on out to the market today and enjoy the sweetness of the season.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »