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Monday, May 23, 2022

Magic Cookies

 Magic Cookie Bars
They're easy to make and always a hit no matter the age. So what are Magic Bars? The name really says it all. Magic bars are a rich, delicious dessert bar with a buttery graham cracker crust and layers of chocolate, butterscotch, pecans, coconut, and sweetened condensed milk to make everything gooey and extra sweet.
These company-worthy bars are perfect to take to a potluck, party, picnic, or to make for your family. I believe in magic! Do you? You will after one bite:) basically, dessert heaven with these bars.

So could anything be any better? Perhaps...
Cook's Notes: If you like magic cookie bars (7 layer bars) you are going to love these cookies! They are filled with graham crackers, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut, and pecans. Oh, so good!
Recipe from twopeasandtheirpod and makes 34 cookies

  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt 
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • Garnish: Flaked sea salt coconut, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and pecans
  • Whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  • Using a stand mixer, cream butter, and sugars together for about 1 minute. Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut, and pecans. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes, you can chill the dough for up to 72 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper and set aside.
  • Form the cookie dough into balls, about 2 tablespoons of dough. Place on the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.
  • Bake cookies for 12-13 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden brown, but the centers are still a little soft. Remove from oven and sprinkle each cookie with flaked sea salt. Sprinkle the cookies with coconut and gently press a few chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and pecans onto the tops of the cookies to make them extra pretty.
  • Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.

How to Store & Freeze
  • These cookies will keep in an airtight container on the counter for 3-4 days.
  • You can freeze the baked cookies for up to 3 months. Make sure they are sealed tightly in a freezer bag or freezer container so they stay fresh.
  • You can also freeze the cookie dough. I love keeping cookie dough balls in the freezer so I can bake fresh cookies anytime and all the time.
  • To freeze cookie dough, scoop the cookies into balls and place them on a baking sheet or tray. Put in the freezer until the balls are firm. Transfer the balls to a freezer container or bag and freeze them for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, remove from the oven and add a few minutes to the baking time.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Weekend Round-Up


Looking for some red, white, and blue Memorial Day and 4th of July ideas? Be sure to check out this site

Dessert Tacos
Fruit and Cheese Board
7 layer Salad

Ever Ready Italian Special

A hearty comfort dish perfect for your weekend cooking no matter what the weather. 3 Cheese Tortellini with an Italian red sauce sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. Pair the dish with cornbread or artisan-type bread. 
The recipe serves 5-6 and makes for great leftovers.
Tortellini with Italian Red Sauce
Cooking Tips:
Make the sauce a day ahead for the flavors to meld.
Cook Italian sausage ahead, crumble and refrigerate until needed.
Cook tortellini al dente right before serving.
  • 1 package (20.2 oz.) Buitoni Tortellini
  • 1 jar Marinara sauce (24.5) use a good quality one
  • 2 cans each (14.5) Basil, Garlic, Oregano Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 lb. ground Sweet Italian Sausage 
  • 1-2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1-2 teaspoons parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (add to taste preference) 
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine (optional but highly suggested) 
  • Optional adding in 3-4 cups torn spinach leaves (stems removed) last 10 minutes of cooking time 
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • In a soup pot add Marinara sauce, crushed tomatoes, spices, and sugar. Mix well and simmer on low for 1-1/2 hours. Halfway through cooking time add in the crumbled sausage.  
  • Refrigerate until needed.
  • To serve. cook tortellini al dente, drain and serve with red sauce.  
  • Grate Parmesan cheese over the top.  

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Blueberry and Chicken Farfalle Salad

The spring blossoms make a spectacular display in the cities 
Chicken and Blueberry Farfalle Salad
Cook's Notes: A light spring pasta salad packed with nutritious ingredients. Juicy blueberries, tender pieces of chicken, crunchy almonds, and spinach greens drizzled with a light citrus dressing boost the flavor to the salad mix. Use a precooked rotisserie chicken as a time saver. The recipe serves four.  A prepared lite vinaigrette dressing can be substituted for a homemade citrus dressing. 
Another add-in to consider diced cucumbers.  

Salad Ingredients
  •  2 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 cups cooked pasta al dente (about 1-3/4 cups dry pasta)
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup diced mozzarella cheese or white cheddar cheese
  • 2 large scallions, diced or 1/3 cup diced sweet or red onions
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1-1/2 cups torn baby spinach leaves
  • 1/3 cup toasted almonds or packaged candied walnuts (produce section) 
Citrus Dressing Ingredients:
  • 2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar, good quality
Make the dressing in a blender. Refrigerate a few hours ahead for flavors to meld.
Toss all salad ingredients together and drizzle with dressing right before serving.
Explore spring-plan an adventure 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Fresh Strawberry and Rhubarb Mini Pies

Some of spring's finest Rhubarb and Strawberries
Rhubarb's tart flavor goes perfectly with the sweetness of strawberries. When cooked together, strawberry and rhubarb meet in the middle, somewhere between soft and sturdy, for a texture that works wonderfully in everything from pies to crisps to crumbles. The combined flavors also make a delicious ice cream topping and for baking cakes, pies and muffins.
The sauce is superb and any extra left warm slightly and serve over ice cream. I did not have a biscuit cutter as suggested in the recipe but went through my cupboards and found a bowl to use as a tracer. The sauce is enough for 8 mini pies. I did not use the option of red food coloring as sauce seemed red enough to me.
Strawberry and Rhubarb Mini Pies
One mini pie comes in at 155 calories certainly better than a regular slice of rhubarb-strawberry pie but you be the judge as to how you want to splurge. The recipe was adapted from Taste of Home
  • 3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • 4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 2 cups sliced fresh rhubarb
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Saigon cinnamon or 1 teaspoon regular ground cinnamon
  • 2 drops of red food coloring, optional
  • Pastry for double-crust pie (9 inches)
  • In a large saucepan, combine strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, orange peel, vanilla and almond extract, salt, cinnamon, tapioca, and, if desired, food coloring; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes or until strawberries are tender, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a large bowl; cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or until chilled and slightly set.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll one half of the dough to an 18 in. circle. Cut 12 circles with a 4-in biscuit cutter, rerolling scraps as necessary; press dough onto the bottom and up sides of ungreased muffin cups. Repeat with remaining dough. Spoon strawberry-rhubarb mixture into muffin cups.
  • Bake 12-14 minutes or until filling is bubbly and crust golden brown. Cool in pan for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool.
Happy Birthday to my husband
Celebration #1 with Martha and their May birthdays. Thanks to Cathy for the delicious Mayonnaise Chocolate Cake 
and celebration #2 today with my family and enjoying a fabulous fancy chocolate cake! 
Strawberry and Rhubarb Pie is his second favorite dessert after anything chocolate. 

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Catching Up with Ever Ready


Where I come from Ice Out refers to that lake moment many eagerly await each spring. And this year it was touch and go for the fishing opener. But with recent warmer temperatures and lots of wind the conditions were perfect to push the ice off just in time for the weekend.  
Many annual contests are held with prizes to see who can guess when that magical day may occur.
But in the Southwest when the metrologists talk incessantly about Ice Break, it means an accurate prediction when the first day of a new year the temperature soars to 100 or more.
Well, Ice Break occurred today (Sunday) in  Green Valley, AZ as the temperature soared to over 100.  But we missed the event as we made it back to Minnesota for the tail end of the fishing opener.
Full Moon-Flower Moon-Super Moon-Lunar Eclipse 
tonight it's all of these
I follow the blog A recent posting of Burst Tomato Cottage Cheese Caprese Bowl with 20.5 grams of protein and under 300 calories sounded so good and healthy. The drizzle of dark balsamic was just the piece de resistance for me. It was perfect for a light supper but would be great for lunch too. I especially liked the extra touch of roasting the tomatoes. I added banana slices and a few cheese and crackers so it did exceed 300 calories. Some other add-ins to consider are fresh basil and nuts. 
  • Cottage cheese
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Diced cucumbers
  • Good quality dark balsamic vinegar
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place the desired amount of grape tomatoes on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 5 minutes.
  • Start with cottage cheese on the bottom, add cucumbers, and tomatoes, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.  
Parting shots of blooming cacti 

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Spring Vegetables and Walleye Baked in Parchment Paper

Looking for some ideas for your weekend catch? Try these delicious meals. 

Spring Vegetables and Walleye Baked in Parchment Paper.

The French call it "en papillote," the Italians "al cartoccio," but in America, we simply call it cooking in parchment. This recipe serves 2 but ingredients can easily be increased. Be creative using a variety of spring vegetables. Any fish favorite can be substituted for the walleye. Light-bodied wines pair better with lighter foods. Best recommendations include Dry Riesling, Chardonnay, Semillon, or Pinot Grigio. Recipe adapted from Southern Living May 2015
Pair the meal with Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Cake. Recipe was previously posted.


  • ½ lb. fresh asparagus
  • ½ cup mini sweet peppers, diced
  • ¾ cup onion rings
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 baby red potatoes, peeled and diced into small cubes
  • 1 cup carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, Tuscan Herb Olive Oil, Organic Basil or Garlic Olive Oil
  • ¼ teaspoon each parsley, thyme and Rosemary or ¾ teaspoon herbs de Provence
  • 4 walleye fillets or another favorite fish
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • For each packet use a 15 x 15 parchment sheet. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Cut off woody ends of asparagus. In a large bowl add asparagus, peppers, onions, garlic, potatoes and carrots. Sprinkle veggies with spices.
  • Toss veggies with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Divide the mixture between two parchment sheets and center in the middle of the sheet.
  • Top veggies with fish fillets. Sprinkle with additional parsley flakes, and dot each packet with 1 TB. butter and juice squeezed from a lemon half. Salt and pepper fish fillets.
  • Bring 2 sides of parchment paper to the center, fold them together and press down. Twist ends. Use a little water to moisten the paper so it sticks together better.
  • Place packets on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes. Open a small section of the centerfold of packets to check on potatoes and carrots. Return to the oven if more cooking time is needed. If grilling check at 20 minutes. Serve immediately.
Other fish recipes  to consider
Mahi Mahi Grilled Fish Tacos (any type of fish can be substituted) 
Provencal Shrimp and Fish with Vegetables and Creamy Saffron Orzo
Fish Tostadas with Mango Slaw
Rockfish with Creamy Dill Sauce

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Wild Rice with Sausage and Potato Casserole

Looking for a casserole to feed some hungry fishermen/fisherwomen this weekend?  Try this hearty dish with sausage, potatoes, cheese, and wild rice. Pair with a delicious green salad made with roasted cherries.

 Wild Rice with Sausage and Potato Casserole 

Sausage With Wild Rice Breakfast Casserole 
Cook's Notes: This hearty brunch dish loaded with sausage, potatoes, wild rice , and cheesy goodness welcomes your guests to a holiday gathering. It can be assembled the night before making it easy to bake the next day. As a time saver make the wild rice and sausage ahead and chop peppers, onions, and garlic. Cover and refrigerate until the next day. 2 teaspoons of Elote seasoning can be substituted for parsley and Italian herbs adding more of a 'kick' to the dish. 
The recipe serves 8-10.
  • 4 cups diced red potatoes, 1-inch cubes
  • 2-1/2 cups cooked wild rice
  • 3 cups cooked sweet Italian Sausage, drained, and crumbled (about 1-1/2 lbs.)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2/3 cup of each red and green pepper, diced
  • 1-1/2 cups sweet onions, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons parsley flakes
  • 2 teaspoons Italian herbs
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • Bring water to a boil, add potatoes and cook 12 minutes until fork tender but not mushy, drain.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet. Sauté diced peppers and onions for about 3 minutes. Add in garlic, and sauté 1 minute longer. Add in cooked potatoes, cooked sausage, spices, wild rice, and 1-1/2 cups of cheese. Mix well and cook for 1 minute longer.
  • Use a blender and combine eggs. dry mustard, spices, and milk.
  • Grease a 13 x 9 pan. Place the sausage/potato mixture on the bottom of the pan. Pour egg/milk mixture evenly over the sausage mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. 
  • Bake the dish uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until eggs are set. Let rest 5 minutes before cutting.
Balsamic Grilled Cherries with Blueberries and Mixed Greens
Recipe adapted from
Roasted cherries can be made ahead. 
  • 2 cups cherries pitted and halved or substitute frozen pitted dark cherries
  • 2 tablespoons prepared lite Balsamic Dressing or 1-2 tablespoons dark balsamic vinegar (use good quality) 
  • 3/4 cup prepackaged candied walnuts or pecans
  • 8-10 cups mixed salad greens
  • 1 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 pint of blueberries, rinsed and patted dry on a paper towel
  • 2 cups sliced cucumbers
  • 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
  • Prepared Lite Balsamic Dressing to finish off the salad or make your own balsamic dressing
  • Place the pitted cherries in a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of balsamic dressing or 1-2 tablespoons dark balsamic vinegar to cherries and toss well. 
  • Place cherries on a grill pan or tray, grill until tender, about 5 minutes. Use a spatula to occasionally turn cherries.
  • Cherries can also be roasted in the oven at 400 degrees for 8 minutes on a parchment-lined rimmed sheet.
  • Place roasted cherries on a paper towel. In a large bowl, add greens, grilled/roasted cherries, blueberries, goat cheese, red onion, sliced cucumbers, and candied walnuts. Drizzle with prepared balsamic dressing and serve immediately.

Magic Cookies

  Magic Cookie Bars They're easy to make and always a hit no matter the age. So what are Magic Bars? The name really says it all. Magic ...