Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownie Bars

When I was home visiting the family earlier this month, my mom shared these super rich peanut butter cheesecake brownie bars.  As a non-coffee drinker, I found myself cutting the sweetness with a diet coke.  I think that was last dessert I’ve eaten and the last diet coke I drank.  I’ve been on a bit of a detox as we enter into the academic year since the week of desserts, where we were eating all the desserts left and right.

As a last dessert, this one served me pretty well.  I don’t know that I’ve eaten something this rich in a long time.  And all the sugar.  Really, everyone should have these at least once in their life, but that might be the only time someone decides to eat them.  So, the next time you’re looking for something that is over-the-top delicious, you should consider making these.

My mom originally printed the recipe from the A Savory Feast blog.  They look even more scrumptious on their web site.  Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownie Bars.jpg

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Cinnamon Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

When I was back in Minnesota earlier this month, we ate dessert, drank whiskey, and celebrated togetherness.  My mom made a couple of great desserts that were worth taking note.  So, while I can’t provide any step-by-step instructions on what she put together, these recipes were definitely worth noting.

The first recipe I’ll note is for Cinnamon Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.Cinnamon Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.jpg

Cinnamon Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

3 eggs
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/2 c applesauce
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 c flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 c shredded zucchini


1 8 oz pkg cream cheese
1/4 c butter, softened
3 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray 9x 13 baking pan with cooking spray.

Beat eggs, oil, applesauce, sugars, and vanilla together in a large bowl.  Add in flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Fold in zucchini.  Pour batter into a prepared 9×13 pan.

Bake 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

While the cake cools, mix together frosting ingredients and spread onto the cake.

Taco Pasta Salad

A few weeks ago the family joined together because my sister and her family were visiting from Ohio.  It was the oldest nephew’s birthday — he turned 5 years old — and he picked the menu for much of the weekend.

One of the items we ate was from my mom’s recipe collection.  I didn’t quite get where the recipe came from, but it was this great Taco Pasta Salad.  The recipe seems great for a potluck, picnic, or as a side during these hot summer months.

Taco Pasta Salad.jpg

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Blueberry and Blackberry Galette with Cornmeal Crust

My birthday buddy came to visit a few weeks ago with his partner.  We got together with my roommate-status friend here in Iowa and after dinner, I invited the crew back to my place for a little dessert.

You may have noticed a trend of berries and/or cornmeal-related item lately.  Berries have been on sale like crazy and after making the biscuits I mentioned in a post a week or so ago, I couldn’t help but look for some more of these recipes which put berries and cornmeal together.

I had never made a galette before.  But, I had eaten one over the holidays at a gathering I was invited to following my dissertation defense.  I figured it was time I put one together.  This recipe came from Cooking Light.  I’m sure it’s in an annual cookbook, but I found it on their web site and recommend you consider making it as well.

Blueberry and Blackberry Galette with Cornmeal Crust

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Garden Medley

Some days I feel surrounded by family.  This fall marks five years since two of my dad’s siblings passed away, within a couple weeks of each other.  I’ve found myself looking to be connected to members of my family, immediate and extended, over the past few weeks.  While having people over and cooking for them, sharing food, I am reminded of family gatherings, where we would often all come together.  We don’t gather as often in the years since my grandparents have passed away, cousins have gotten married, and the number of family members has increased significantly as younger and younger kids have been added.

In this quest for family, I pulled out a cookbook that our family put together in 1995 and was looking to add something to the Grilled Honey Lime Chicken Sandwiches when the director of residence life and his family.  I found this recipe that was submitted to the Anderson Hand-Me-Downs cookbook by my Aunt Kathy.  She was an amazing woman, and she loved all of her nieces and nephews a bunch.

In one of those stories/things of note that  sticks with me as a truth, but could have been a one-off experience, Kathy brought deviled eggs to the only Easter celebration I remember celebrating at my grandparents’ house before my grandfather passed away.  That holiday is the only memory I have of my grandfather that isn’t a story about his stoicism and matter-of-factness passed down from other relatives.  Therefore, in my mind, Kathy always used to bring deviled eggs for Easter.  She doesn’t have a recipe for these eggs in our family cookbook, but I do think of her every time I make or eat deviled eggs.

This salad is even better than I remember those eggs being.  And, better yet, throughout the week I kept adding more vegetables to it until the dressing was gone.  Anything that was fresh in the garden was added and the salad made for a delicious, and slightly sweet, accompaniment to the other items I was eating throughout the week.Garden Medley.jpg

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Cucumber with Mint and Pomegranate Seeds

It has been a bountiful cucumber harvest at my place.  I’m always afraid there are not going to be enough cucumbers, so I over plan, and then the harvest comes and I am searching for the recipes that will help me to enjoy them in the best way possible.

This recipe from Art Smith’s Healthy Comfort Cookbook turned out to be a great recipe.  I was able to use my new favorite kitchen gadget — the mandoline — and put together a yummy and unique salad for lunch one day. Cucumber with Mint and Pomegranate Seeds.jpg

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