Pull-Apart Pizza Bread

Balls of pizza? Yes, please!

You can take the long route and make your favorite pizza dough and marinara sauce, or the short route and pick up your favorite pizza dough and red sauce from the store. I also read some variations where people use seasoned olive oil or even italian salad dressing. This would also be really good with olives or onion... you can pretty much stuff the balls with whatever you want to complete your pizza experience!


2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (I had a tube of minced garlic that worked really well and was quick!)

4 Tbsp butter

2 lbs pizza dough (I used canned dough, but you can get some from your favorite bakery or make your own! There's a good recipe here.)

6 oz mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes (I had shredded so I just squished it into little balls as I went)

1 package of Turkey pepperoni

2-3 cups marinara sauce, warmed, for serving (Ranch dressing would also be tasty)

I also added some crushed red pepper flakes and "pizza" seasoning from a McCormick grinder.


Heat garlic and butter over medium heat just until the garlic begins to brown. Remove from heat and let sit.Lightly brush the inside of a bundt pan (or other oven-safe dish) with garlic butter.Pull off large marble-sized balls of dough and flatten. Top with a slice of pepperoni and a cube of mozzarella.

Wrap the dough around the pepperoni and cheese, pinching well to seal.

Very lightly brush the pizza ball with garlic butter and place into the bundt pan (I dabbed the pizza balls on a butter-dipped silicon brush to keep butter use low (there will be some leftover) and my hands butter free. Buttery hands make it hard to get the pizza balls to seal. I had some trouble getting them to stay closed without buttery hands!) I sprinkled spices on between layers.

Repeat until all of the dough is used.

Cover and let sit for 30 minutes, while preheating the oven to 400. Bake for about 35 minutes, until the top is very brown. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes.

Turn out onto a platter and serve with warmed marinara sauce for dipping.

Mine looks quite brown, it was the first time I had use my new bundt pan so I didn't know how it bakes things yet! But it was really tasty! I wanted to make sure the dough inside wasn't going to be raw still. I baked mine for 32 minutes.

This would be a great party food and I'm sure kids would love it!

Adapted from original recipe here.

Baked Pumpkin Donut Holes

Today was one of those days where I felt fat. All day. The problem with me on days like this is that I actually tend to be LESS motivated to get off my lazy butt and do something, and more inclined to eat things that are loaded with carbs and sugar. Are you with me, ladies? Anyway, Pinterest doesn't help with that. Yes, there are many random pictures of fitness motivation, lists of foods with "negative calories" and pictures of really attractive skinny people jogging. But that isn't what really draws my attention. I see yummy food and gooey cake and chewy cookies. Oh, and sparkly things, but that isn't really relevant to this post.

At any rate, today I found this recipe for Baked Pumpkin Donut holes. I knew I had some canned pumpkin leftover in the fridge that needed to be used, like, right now. So of course that must have been a sign that I needed to bake these!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 24+ donut holes
Serving Size: 2 donut holes (Hahahaha, yeah, right.)
Source: Pennies on a Platter


For the donuts:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used half whole-wheat flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoons ground cloves
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup canned plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup low-fat milk

For the Coating:
1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 24-cup mini muffin tin with nonstick spray.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves.

In a separate large bowl, combine the oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk until smooth.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Be careful not to overmix the batter.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until passes the toothpick test.

Remove the muffins from the oven and allow to cool for 2 minutes, or until just cool enough to handle. With the melted butter in one bowl and the sugar and cinnamon combined in another, dip each muffin into the butter then roll in the cinnamon sugar to coat. Serve immediately.

Enjoy this yummy fall treat! :D

Veggie Lo-Mein

I love making stir fries. I like to have fresh veggies on hand and cook up some ramen noodles to toss with an impromptu sauce. I keep a variety of soy sauces (low sodium has become may favorite lately,) rice wine vinegar, ginger juice, sambal oleck chili paste, ginger garlic sauce, curry pastes and broths necessary to make a quick, tasty sauce. I also really enjoy adding natural peanut butter and melting it into the sauce to make it peanutty, especially if I make it extra spicy!

I found this recipe on Pinterest (of course, original recipe here) and I thought it looked yummy and I decided to try it. I hadn't really used spaghetti noodles before and I find that I like the way they soak up the flavor of the sauce. I usually boil some ramen noodles and that is always really tasty too! This recipe calls for tofu (which I really enjoy) but you could also use chicken. I used firm tofu because I have found that I like the texture better, but it is a bit more delicate than the extra firm. Make sure you press it before frying it, I used paper towels between two plates to soak up the excess water that keeps it from browning well. I skipped tossing the tofu with the soy sauce because it really didn't need it, and I added carrots to mine for color.

Veggie Lo-mein

Serves 2-4

Salt (for water)
8 ounces each: broccoli crowns, cut into small florets, and sliced mushrooms
1/2 box (8 ounces) spaghetti
7 to 8 ounces drained extra-firm tofu (1/2 package), cut into bite-size chunks
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 recipe Lo Mein Sauce (see below)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium-large onion, halved from pole to pole, each half cut into sixths
1 tablespoon each: fresh garlic and ginger

Bring 2 quarts of water and a generous sprinkling of salt to boil in large pot. Add broccoli; cook until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon. Add spaghetti, cook, stirring frequently, until just tender; drain and set aside.

Toss tofu with soy. Mix Lo Mein Sauce.

Lo Mein Sauce

Mix 1/4 cup each low-sodium vegetable broth and low-sodium soy sauce, 2 teaspoons each rice vinegar and toasted sesame oil, (I used peanut oil because I didn't have sesame) and 1 teaspoon each hot red pepper flakes and sugar. (I used brown sugar, and added a little chili paste and some sriracha!)

Meanwhile, turn on vent fan and heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until very hot. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and the onion; stir-fry until crisp and spotty brown, about 1 minute. Add mushrooms; stir-fry until just cooked, about 2 minutes. Add tofu; stir-fry until lightly browned, about 1 minute longer. Add broccoli; cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Add garlic and ginger; stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Transfer to a plate and add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the empty skillet; heat until shimmering. Add spaghetti; stir-fry until heated through, about 2 minutes.

Return meat/vegetable mixture to pan, along with Lo Mein sauce; stir-fry to combine.

Serve immediately.

There are SO many ways to make tasty, easy stir fries with fresh veggies! Experiment to find what you and your family enjoy!

Homemade Salted Caramels

I seriously debated sharing this recipe. Even though it wouldn't be hard for someone to go out and find a similar one, this is definitely a really, really, REALLY good one, and sometimes it's nice to have something like that in your secret arsenal to whip out and then everyone ooohs and aaahs and tells you how amazing you are for making something so tasty. But I decided if you are cool enough to read my blog you are cool enough to have this recipe. On a side note, I apologize for the crappy pictures. We will be getting a nice, new camera later this year but for now I just have my Blackberry.

These are absolutely one of my favorite things. EVER. I love soft homemade caramels. I want them to be smooth, buttery and melt-in-your-mouth yummy!! I have always enjoyed getting a few when I come across them at a store checkout or gas station, and I was especially pleased when I discovered Bequet Confections outside of Bozeman, but I have never made them before. Until now. And they are amazing, and the fact that I made them makes me even more amazing than normal. My husband says one of the things he loves about me is my modesty. :)


(This is for a full recipe, please be aware that all my pictures are of half a recipe.)

4 cups heavy cream
3 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
3 tbsp unsalted butter
(I also used a splash of vanilla)

About 1 tbsp course sea salt (or to taste, I added a bit more to the bottoms as I wrapped them because I enjoy the flavor)


Line cookie sheet or lasagna pan with parchment paper, spray with cooking spray.

Add cream to a tall pot and bring to just a boil, reduce heat to medium low then add sugar and corn syrup.

Watch for the bubbling up, it will happen. Reduce temperature, then add candy thermometer to pot, and boil on medium low approximately 20 minutes (or maybe more) stirring gently and occasionally. I added a splash of vanilla here as well.

(*It took at least 45 minutes for mine to get up that high. I don't know if it was the elevation or what, but definitely plan on it taking more than 20 minutes.)

At around 240 degrees add butter and gently stir to blend into caramel.

When candy reaches 246 degrees, pour into parchment lined pan. Do not scrape sides or bottom of pot after you pour as it will result in some browned or burned bits in your caramel.

Let stand 10 minutes, then lightly sprinkle with sea salt. (If you prefer to leave them unsalted, skip that step. But if you haven't tried a salted caramel, do it! They are unexpectedly amazing!) Cool completely, about two hours.

The original recipe I used then went on to cut them up and cover them with chocolate. I prefer my caramels pure, so I refrained. The next day I cut them up and wrapped them in wax paper. I cut some bigger pieces and some smaller, and I ate a whole row by myself. I also cut one long strip and wrapped it that way for my husband to take to work with him so his coworkers can cut off chunks for themselves. I would estimate you could get 30-40 pieces from the half batch I made.

These are definitely a little time-consuming, but they are SO good! They would be perfect holiday gifts for friends and family (or yourself!)

Let me know in the comments if you try them and what you think!

(As a side note, I tried melting some of this and eating it with a cut-up apple.... it is DIVINE!! Be careful when heating it, it melts really fast so you literally want to stop it every 5-10 seconds to stir it and check to make sure it isn't trying to scorch.)

Hamburger Soup

This is a really simple soup that my mom used to make a lot when I was young. She shared the recipe with me and I like making it on chilly fall and winter nights. We definitely have plenty of those here! Since you can kind of play around with it the amounts aren't exact. But you can make it however your family will like it!


1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 12-16oz bag of mixed veggies, thawed (size depends on brand, I use a mix that includes carrots, peas, corn, green beans and lima beans.)
1 can diced tomatoes
water and/or beef broth
ketchup and/or chili sauce
elbow macaroni
salt and pepper to taste

shredded cheddar cheese (for topping)

Brown the beef in a large pot. Drain off the fat. Add chopped onion and stir until cooked. Add mixed veggies and tomatoes. Then add water and/or beef broth until you it reaches a very soupy consistency. You want there to be extra liquid because the macaroni soaks up quite a bit when it cooks. I like lots of pasta in mine. Season the broth with ketchup and/or chili sauce and pepper (and salt if your broth wasn't salty.) Simmer until the veggies are some and the flavors are melded, about 20 minutes. Then add 1/2 to 1 cup of elbow macaroni and continue simmering until the mac is cooked. Serve topped with cheddar cheese and enjoy!

I also made some 30 Minute Rolls, which turned out to take about an hour. But they were still tasty and didn't require kneading or anything so that was nice!

Yummy Honey Chicken Kabobs

My husband and I made these last month but I wanted to share the recipe because we really enjoyed it, and if you are doing any grilling while the weather is still nice (or if you live somewhere it doesn't get too cold) this would be a tasty dinner to try! (I got the basic recipe from AllRecipes but I added a lot to it.)

• 1/4 cup vegetable oil
• 1/3 cup honey
• 1/3 cup soy sauce
• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch cubes
• 2 cloves garlic
• 5 small onions, cut into 2 inch pieces
• 2 red bell peppers, cut into 2 inch pieces
• skewers

1. In a large bowl whisk together oil, honey, soy sauce, and pepper. Before adding chicken, reserve a small amount of marinade to brush onto kabobs while cooking. Place the chicken, garlic, onions and peppers in the bowl, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 2 hours (the longer the better).
2. Preheat the grill for high heat.
3. Drain marinade from the chicken and vegetables, and discard marinade. Thread chicken and vegetables alternately onto the skewers.
4. Lightly oil the grill grate. Place the skewers on the grill. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until chicken juices run clear. Turn and brush with reserved marinade frequently.

I doubled the sauce recipe (except the honey) because we had lots of veggies and meat and I wanted to have some for the rice. I made some in our rice cooker. I think we only used 1 whole chicken breast (both sides) and Nic cut them into strips so they would stay on the skewers better. He also had some beef he brought home from work the other day that had been marinating in the fridge. We used mushrooms, red and green peppers and onions for the veggies. Pineapple chunks would be very good with this! We marinated the chicken in one bag and the veggies in another. We also reserved some marinade to baste the kabobs (and afterward I cooked it down a bit to drizzle over the rice.) If you put them in separate bags you can also use the marinade on the veggies still to baste since it doesn't come into contact with the raw meat. And don't forget to soak the skewers so they don't burn! :)

Here are the approximate amounts I used in the marinade:
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 1/3 cup honey, 1T brown sugar
• 1/3 cup soy sauce (low sodium) and 1/3 cup Kikkoman Teriyaki marinade
• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (I just ground some into the mixture)
• 1 tsp sambal oelek chili paste
• 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
• A squirt of ginger juice (fresh grated ginger would also be good!)
• A couple squirts of lime juice (to break down the meat, I always use citrus in marinades)

This was so good, both Nic and I stuffed ourselves. We did take some over to our next door neighbor since we thought it wouldn't be as good rewarmed. She loved it and asked me for the recipe! :) Enjoy!

Green Monster Smoothie

There are many variations of the Green Monster smoothie. You can use pretty much any fruits and juices you want (but it may be a Brown Monster if you add berries.) I suggest frozen peaches, bananas, mangoes, pineapple or any assortment of berries. You can use ice, or no ice. You can add plain or vanilla yogurt, Greek yogurt, or almond or soy milk. Basically the big change is that it has baby spinach blended into it. Everything I read said you could barely taste the leafy greens, and those people were right! It just tastes very slightly, well...green! I don't suggest using frozen spinach as it clumps and does not blend well.

I like to use frozen fruits so I don't have to add extra ice to my smoothies. And I freeze peeled bananas in baggies once they get a little past the point where you want to eat them fresh (unless I plan on baking with them.) You can use whatever you have on hand and end up with a nice tasting smoothie. Additions like ground flax seed or wheat germ could also boost the nutrient level of the smoothie.

I didn't measure exactly but I used:

5 frozen strawberries
5 frozen peach slices
1 frozen banana
A large handful of fresh baby spinach
About 1/2 c of vanilla yogurt
About 1/2 c orange juice (apple would also be good)
About 1/4 c unsweetened almond milk

No extra sugar was needed, although you could use honey if you were using plain yogurt.

Blend and enjoy!

I realize I should have put this in a clear glass to take a picture to show the color, but I didn't think about it until it was too late, and then I just wanted to drink it. :)

*The next day I made one that had pineapple in it and more spinach... and I couldn't taste the spinach at all. I've noticed a lot of the smoothie recipes use pineapple juice, so maybe that's why.

*I have been drinking a lot of these since this first one and I've discovered that I really enjoy adding a splash of lemon juice and ginger juice to my smoothies. I keep the latter on hand in the fridge because I tend to make stir-fries and such things randomly and it's easier than having fresh ginger on hand that goes bad before I can use it up. They sell it at the Co-op here in town so it's pretty easy to get!

Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnamon Syrup

This morning I surprised my husband with a stack of these yummy pancakes. He really enjoys things baked with pumpkin and since it is now October I thought it was time for this happy fall treat. I had made some Buttermilk Caramel Syrup last week for waffles and saved the extra in the fridge. This morning I reheated it and added cinnamon instead of making the syrup the recipe calls for. It was very tasty!

Pumpkin Pancakes
(original recipe here)
yields 6 pancakes

1 cup flour (I used whole wheat, you could also use half)
1 1/2 Tbs brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 Tbs vegetable oil
1 Tbs vinegar

In a bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon and salt. Stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Cinnamon Syrup:
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup water

Stir all ingredients together in a small saucepan. Over medium heat, stir occasionally until boiling. Let it boil for a few minutes while stirring until it thickens. Remove from heat and set aside until needed.



After some prodding from friends and family I have decided to start a cooking blog! I know some people who have them and I have hesitated until now to do it because I didn't know if I would really keep up with it or if anyone really would follow it. But I decided it would be fun! I have been spending a lot of time on Pinterest lately and finding tons of great new recipes to try. (Click here to see my boards) So here goes nothing...