Vanilla Pound Cake with Cinnamon-Vanilla Cream Glaze

I know it’s taboo to post sugar the first week of the new year, with everyone on the diet train and all, but since it’s the SECOND week in January…I think we all deserve a treat for making it this far. Am I right, or am I right?! First, I have to admit that I’m am so not a vanilla person. I will choose chocolate every time. Or maybe lemon. But never vanilla. However, my daughter had a friend over recently and it was the little girl’s birthday. Me, being the awesome mom that I am (so says I), offered to bake a cake. The girl requested vanilla. I was like “huh?” She said she didn’t like chocolate. So I made her leave. Just kidding…but seriously?

Vanilla Cake with Glaze

Well, I may just be a vanilla convert. I never knew the quality of the vanilla would make such a difference. I mean, you usually only add a teaspoon or so to baked goods, so what’s the big deal right?

Nielsen Massey Mexican Vanilla

It makes a difference. Trust me! I was sent some Nielson-Massey Mexican Vanilla to sample and used it in this cake…it was so good! Granted, the predominant flavor of this cake, is in fact, vanilla. So it would make sense that a good quality extract would up the yumminess factor.

vanilla pound cake without glaze

The cake itself is lighter than a traditional pound cake, but still nicely dense. It has a good flavor and would be excellent with a chocolate ganache, lemon glaze, or pretty much anything you want to top it with. It’s even good plain!

Vanilla Pound Cake Pin

I decided I would go all-out vanilla, and added vanilla cream glaze, with a little cinnamon.

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Recipe Source: Cooking Light

So what are you…a chocolate or vanilla person? Or lemon, or strawberry….we can still be friends.

I was provided a sample of the Nielsen Massey vanilla mentioned in the post but was not compensated nor obligated to right about them. All thoughts expressed are my own. 

This Vanilla Pound Cake was featured at the Moonlight & Mason Jars Party, Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, and chosen as a host favorite at Daily Dish Magazine!

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage  Daily Dish Magazine

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) Little Miss DexterousThe Tumbleweed ContessaI Should Be Mopping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Pocket Change GourmetNaptime  Creations, Memories By the MileVMG206The Cookie Puzzle (Wednesday) Sew Crafty AngelThe Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterGinger Snap Crafts (Thursday) Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Project InspireJust Us FourDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,Close to HomeWalking on SunshineVintage ChicDaily DishThe Diary of a Real Housewife (Sunday) My Husband Has Too Many Hobbies

Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Cookie Bars & GIVEAWAY!

I was provided with a Krusteaz Holiday gift pack to facilitate this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

My Christmas baking list is quite long (shortbread, gingerbread, fudge, sausage balls, and so much more!) & I have been in a cookie baking frenzy. Well, I was. Until my 7 year old had a terrible asthma flare up that has been going on for weeks now. Several doctor visits, multiple medications, and let’s not forget – NO SCHOOL. I have three kids, and one of them is not in school with only a couple more weeks till Christmas! Do you see where I’m going with this?

Cookie gifts

BUT, there is one thing I do not need to panic over, and that’s the holiday treats. With the help of Krusteaz Cookie Mixes, we can have all the fun Christmas cookies, without all the time & effort on my part. Not to mention, I don’t have to stress over gift giving. I have a few options to share that will help you if you are short on time this holiday season as well. And seriously, is there ever enough time?!

Oatmeal Scotchie Food gift

Food gifts do not always have to be prepared ahead of time. Many people have lots of goodies on hand during the holidays, so packaging up mixes that can be easily prepared later is a fun gift. You can mix up a homemade cookie mix, or you can save yourself some time and package up a Krusteaz mix. Just place in a mason jar (because everything looks cute in a mason jar) add a bow and some instructions on how to bake! I added red, green & chocolate chips to the above jar of mix. You could also layer the chips in the jar with the mix. (Provided you don’t start layering, then knock the jar over so that they get mixed up. Not that I would know about that. *ahem*)

You can also add some Hot Chocolate Mix, because we all know hot chocolate goes great with cookies!

Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Bars

On the other hand, baking up treats to take to a friend, neighbor, teacher, etc. is always fun too. Save yourself some time with shortcuts, like using Krusteaz Shortbread Mix to make these yummy Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Cookie Bars!

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shortbread bars

The pan size will determine the thickness of the crust. I used an 8 x 11. You could also add nuts. I added just a few to one end, since my son is allergic.

Christmas Food Gifts

Package your treats in a food safe container, lined with festive tissue paper and a cute tag! My tags & tissue paper came from Zazzle.com, and the little tree clips and plastic container came from Target.

Krusteaz & I would like to help decrease your holiday stress level as well! We have a huge cookie prize pack to giveaway! It includes:

Krusteaz

  • Two boxes of the following mixes: Shortbread, Gingerbread, Snickerdoodle, Butter Vanilla Sugar and Oatmeal Scotchie
  • Some fun holiday baking items like an apron, tote bag, cookie cutters, frosting decorating pen and a mason jar (for gifting and storage!)
  • Holiday cookie recipe ideas for inspiration

Please enter via the rafflecopter form. This giveaway ends soon so that we can (hopefully!) get the winner their cookie prize pack before Christmas (No guarantee on that.) Open to US residents, 18 years or older.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) The Tumbleweed Contessa, The Dedicated House, Skip to my LouI Should Be Mopping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Naptime  Creations, Memories By the MileVMG206The Cookie Puzzle (Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterGinger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Project InspireJust Us FourDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,Close to HomeWalking on SunshineVintage ChicDaily DishThe Diary of a Real Housewife

Toffee Brownies {4 Ingredients!}

I love quick and easy recipes and this one satisfies a chocolate craving with just 4 ingredients. It’s a take on one of my blog’s most popular recipes, Chocolate Pudding Dump Cake but uses one of my favorite candies…Heath!

4 Ingredient Toffee Brownies EAH
I’ve shared the recipe for these deliciously easy Toffee Brownies over at Eat At Home, where I am a contributing writer. I’d love for you to head over and check it out!

Orange Creamsicle Pie

Yes, I’m still alive! I know it’s been three weeks since I’ve posted anything, but as usual, it’s been busy around here. The kids may be out of school for summer vacation, but it sure hasn’t slowed down much. We’ve still been going strong with sports…the long days of summer when we complained of how bored we were have disappeared for today’s youth it seems. At least for mine!

Creamsicle Pie

However, in the midst of practices, tournaments, and camps we have still found time to enjoy some fabulous desserts. I will always have time for dessert. This Orange Creamsicle Pie is perfect to have during this hot summer weather. It’s cool, light, and refreshing with it’s creamy orange flavor that will take you back to hot summer days eating frozen orange pops with the white ice cream center. With this pie however, you don’t have to worry about it melting down your hand, leaving it sticky, and no wooden sticks to contend with! (Is it just me, or does anyone else hate the flavor you get next to the wooden stick on a popsicle? It always grosses me out.)

Orange Creamsicle Pie

We loved the orange, but you could make other variations by changing out the jello flavor and fruit I’m sure. Also, I made my whipped cream (it’s so easy!) but you could use Cool Whip if desired. I went with a store bought graham cracker crust, but you could easily make your own there too.

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Recipe Source: Real Housemoms
Other “no bake” pies you might enjoy:
 2- Ingredient Lemon Pie

Desserts – 4 ingredients or less!

Y’all have probably figured out by now that I love easy recipes. If it has just a few ingredients, especially if it’s a dessert…I’m going to give it a try. Here is a round up of quick and easy desserts, with just 4 ingredients or less!

I’m always amazed how something so simple can turn out so well! I shared these a while back over at Eat at Home, where I am a part-time contributing writer, and forgot to post here to let you all know. I’d love for you to head over at check them out!

If you are also a fan of the quick and easy, here are some other recipes that are low maintenance, yet tasty. Keeping a few items on hand will always allow you to whip something up at a moment’s notice. Your friends will think you are a master in the kitchen, but you will know you are the master of the shortcut!

 

Cake Mix Cookie Bars {4 ingredients}


Shortcut Lemon Brownies {3-ingredients}


3-Ingredient Cookies (no cake mix)


Chocolate Pudding Cake {4-ingredients}


Dump Cake {3-ingredients}


Skinny Apple Angel Food Cake {2-ingredients}


Bubble Up Apple Pie {4 ingredients}

Chocolate Kahlua Coffee Pound Cake

When I see a title that includes chocolate, Kahlua, coffee AND pound cake…it gets my attention. And it goes in the “must make” category. My mom also loves chocolate and coffee, so I made this on an occasion I was visiting so we could share in the rum/chocolate/coffee fabulousness together.

I’m considerate like that. And it might have been Mother’s Day. I’m pretty sure I was the favorite child until my sister went and had the most adorable baby you have ever seen…but this cake definitely puts me ahead of my brother. haha

Chocolate Kahlua Coffee Pound Cake

1 box Devil’s Food Cake Mix
1 small box instant chocolate pudding
4 eggs, room temp
3/4 cup brewed coffee, room temp (leftover coffee is fine. I usually re-use my morning’s K-cup)
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup Kahlua coffee liqueur
chocolate covered coffee beans, chopped (optional)

Glaze:
2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup Kahlua*  – add in small increments until glaze reaches desired consistency. Mine ended up being a little too thin.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a bundt pan or spray well with baking spray.
  • Whisk together the dry cake mix with the dry instant pudding mix.
  • Add the eggs, coffee, oil and Kahlua to the dry mix. Stir until combined, then beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  • Pour mix into prepared bundt pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until done. Cake should spring back when lightly pressed and toothpick should come out clean when inserted into middle of cake.
  • Let cake cool for 15 minutes in pan, then invert onto cooling rack to finish cooling.
  • Pour glaze over cooled cake, top with chocolate covered coffee beans if desired.
Recipe Source: Chocolate, Chocolate and More (the name alone can tell you why it’s one of my favorite blogs!)

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) Nibbles By NicThe Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouI Should Be MoMypping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Mandy’s Recipe BoxSowdering About in SeattleNaptime Creations, Memories By the MileVMG206Anyonita NibblesThe Cookie Puzzle (Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterGinger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Project InspireJust Us FourDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,Close to HomeWalking on SunshineVintage ChicDaily DishThe Diary of a Real Housewife,Play.Party.Pin

Low Carb Cheesecake (with optional Blueberry Topping)

For those of you following a low carb diet, or have ever tried following a low carb diet, you know how hard it can be to satisfy those cravings for something sweet. I have attempted to low carb it many times, each time failing miserably! My husband however, has been eating low carb for years now to help control his diabetes. This cheesecake is one of his favorite indulgences, minus the blueberry topping…he prefers his plain.

Low Carb Cheesecake

3 (8 ounce) packages Cream Cheese, softened (I usually use 2 ‘regular’ cream cheese and 1 reduced fat)
 
3 eggs, room temperature
 
3/4 cup Splenda (or artificial sweetener of choice. I’ve had good luck with xylitol, but haven’t used it for this yet.)
 
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  • Lightly spray pie plate with cooking spray.
  • Mix together cream cheese, Splenda, lemon juice and vanilla until well blended.
  • On low speed, add eggs, one at a time, mixing until just blended after each one.
  • Pour mixture into pie plate, bake 45 minutes or until center is almost set (but still slightly jiggly)
  • Cool, add fresh fruit or fruit topping if desired (see below for blueberry topping)
Recipe adapted from Kraft
Blueberry Topping
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 Tablespoon desired sweetener (less if berries are very sweet)
1 Tablespoon water
Heat on medium high heat until berries are bursting and sauce begins to thicken. Reduce heat and let simmer to desired thickness, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly and add to top of cheesecake.
This is a crustless cheesecake, but you could always add a low carb almond crust.
Anyone out there low carbing it? How’s it going? What’s your favorite low sugar treat?

Strawberries – A recipe round-up

Are you seeing bright red, delicious strawberries everywhere right now? Maybe you want to grab some and make one of these recipes for Father’s Day! Or for tomorrow…because why wait?!

Strawberry Spectacular – this has sweetened condensed milk AND cream cheese…so you know it’s gonna be good!
Strawberry Zucchini Marmalade – this doesn’t actually have fresh strawberries in it, but maybe you have zucchini piling up…you will be surprised at how yummy this is!
I’ve got a few others on my “to make” list as well, like this Strawberry Upside Down Cake, Farmhouse Strawberry Pie, and Strawberry Pretzel Salad – which is definitely my kind of salad.
What’s your favorite strawberry recipe?

Paddle Boarding & Very Strawberry Shortcake {#SweetSwaps #IC #ad}

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for the SPLENDA® Brand. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation. All opinions and reviews are my own.

I, for one, am SO glad the summer season is upon us!! School is out, the heat index is rising, and it’s time to break out the pool floats, dust off the lounge chairs, and rinse out the coolers. Oh…and bathing suits. It’s time to break out the bathing suits…and for many of us (and by “us” I mean “me”), that can be majorly a little traumatic. BUT, the great thing about warm weather is that it is much easier to MOVE MORE! The blue sky, warm sun, and birds chirping just beckons us to get outside…maybe it’s working in the garden, walking around the block, yard work, etc. For my friends and family, it’s swimming, kayaking, boating, and now, paddle boarding!

 This was my first time on a paddle board, and I was surprised by how easy it was! I was expecting it to be much harder to stay balanced. Of course, I kept a slow and steady pace, but it was fun! And obviously, after spending the day with friends swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding…you work up an appetite. And nothing is more important to a backyard barbecue than dessert. Am I right, or am I right?!
Thankfully, it’s also strawberry season!! We have several farmer’s markets nearby that offer freshly picked strawberries, or you can go pick the strawberries right out of the field yourself.  Even my local grocery store (yes, that’s singular) has had some pretty good looking berries this year.

Since we had all spent the day in bathing suits (mine covered up by swim shorts and a tank), and getting some exercise in, the last thing we needed was a heavy, sugar laden dessert that would weigh us down…literally! I was happy to find a yummy SWEET SWAPS™ recipe that fits nicely into our lifestyle. 

You can save loads of calories by swapping out full sugar for SPLENDA®Sweetener Products. Being that my husband is diabetic, it is also nice to be able to make special treats that he can enjoy without all the sugar as well. *Fun Fact* Swapping one cup of sugar with one cup of SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated can save more than 600 calories.  
 
Very Strawberry Shortcake
 
Strawberry Filling
  • 3 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Shortcakes
  • 2 1/2 cups reduced-fat biscuit mix
  • 1/3 cup SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
  • 1 cup plain fat-free yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup fat-free frozen whipped topping, thawed (I used homemade whipped cream)
  • 12 sprigs mint sprigs (optional) (I omitted)
DIRECTIONS
Strawberry Filling:
  1. Stir together strawberries, 2 tablespoons SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated, and balsamic vinegar; let stand 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Shortcake:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Combine biscuit mix and 1/3 cup SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated, in a large bowl.
  3. Stir together yogurt and vanilla; add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.
  4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead 3 or 4 times. Pat dough to a ½-inch thickness. Cut with a 2 1/4-inch round cutter, reusing dough scraps, if necessary. Place shortcakes on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes. Serve warm with sliced strawberries and whipped topping. Garnish with mint springs, if desired.

Reprinted with permission from SWEET SWAPS™. Check out SPLENDA® on Pinterest for more great swaps and recipes.

What’s your favorite way to “move more” in the summer? Have you ever tried paddle boarding?

3-Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies {no cake mix!}

What if I said you can make delicious chocolate chip cookies with only 3 ingredients, and it does not contain cake mix? Yep, I’m for real. I’m the Queen of quick and easy recipes. Five ingredients or less, I’m in…3 ingredients? Even better.

My kids and I have made these a few times now, and each time I am surprised by how tasty they are. And how EASY!
All you need are graham crackers, sweetened condensed milk, and chocolate chips. Seriously!
They have a nice hearty texture (similar to oatmeal cookies), and I love the graham cracker and condensed milk flavor combo. I could seriously polish off that plate right now.

3-Ingredient Cookies

16 whole graham crackers (approx 3 1/4 cups coarse crumbs)
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups chocolate chips
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats (this is needed to prevent sticking)
  • Crush the graham crackers into coarse crumbs (a food processor makes easy work of this. I do not recommend using store-bough graham cracker crumbs or pulsing the graham crackers super fine, unless you cut back on the amount of crumbs used.)
  • In a large bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips. Batter will be pretty thick.
  • Scoop tablespoon sized cookie balls onto prepared baking sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown around edges.
  • Allow to cool before removing from pan.
You may also be interested in my 2-Ingredient Apple Angel Food Cake or this 4-Ingredient Chocolate Dump Cake!