Archives for November 2012

Skinny Eggnog Pie {With a Gingersnap Crust}

Remember the other day when I made a lightened up version of my favorite holiday drink – eggnog?

Well, before I guzzled the entire pitcher, I saved a little bit out to make this pie.  Because what are the holidays, really, without a little bit of indulgence?

I suppose calling this pie “skinny” is a bit of a misnomer, although it certainly has fewer calories than many of the other holiday treats I make this time of year.  I mean, considering I love making fudge with sweetened condensed milk and eating nearly the entire batch on my own, a slice of this pie almost seems like negative calories.

If you really want to lighten it up, use low-fat graham crackers for the crust rather than the gingersnap cookies. I just love the pairing of gingersnaps and eggnog, so that’s what I used.  And, if you’re looking for a fast holiday dessert, skip making your own crust altogether and use a store-bought one.  I won’t tell.  😉

Hey, as much as I love to make things from scratch, sometimes those shortcuts come in handy–especially during the holiday season.

Someone explain to me how it’s less than one month until Christmas.  Anyone else in panic mode?

Skinny Eggnog Pie {With a Gingersnap Crust}
For the crust:
  • 1 cup crushed gingersnap cookies
  • ½ stick butter, melted
For the Pie:
  • 4 ounces fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • ½ cup confectioner's sugar
  • ½ cup lightened up eggnog
  • 2 tablespoons light sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1½ cups sugar-free whipped topping
  1. For the crust, combine crumbled cookies and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 9" pie plate and freeze for approximately 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese, butter, and confectioner's sugar until creamy. Add in eggnog, sour cream and pumpking spice, and beat to combine. Fold in whipped topping. Spread into crust.
  3. Cover and freeze for4 hours or until firm. Remove from freezer about 15 minutes prior to serving.
  4. I garnished mine with some additional gingersnap crumbles, whipped topping, and some cranberries for color.

If you like this pie, here are some other quick and easy recipes you might want to add to your holiday list:

Toffee Cream Pie


Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Pie 

If you’re interested in participating in the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, stop by Brenda’s blog to sign up!

I’m linked up at these great parties this week: Show Me Your Plaid MondaysCrazy Sweet Tuesdays, Trick or Treat Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesday, Whip it Up Wednesdays, Watcha’ Whipped Up Wednesdays, Eat, Pray {Read}, Love, Sweet Treats Thursday, Mrs. Fox’s Sweets, Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons, Itsy Bitsy Paper, Crumbs and Chaos, I’m Lovin’ It Fridays, Weekend Potluck, and Six Sister’s Stuff!



XO, Ashley


Maple Bacon Pecan Cinnamon Rolls {and What’s in Your Kitchen Wednesday}

I’m throwing a party today.  And I’m hoping you show up and share some treats of your own.

But I couldn’t show up to my own party without sharing something fun with you.  These cinnamon rolls are easy, no fuss, and make an awesome presentation on your breakfast table.  They also make an awesome presentation in your mouth.

These rolls turned out light and fluffy, with just the right amount of sweetness from the brown sugar, maple syrups, and the bacon.  I suppose you could easily make a glaze to drizzle over the top, but I didn’t want anything to detract from my candied bacon.

Maple Bacon Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
  • 12 frozen white yeast dinner rolls (like Rhodes)
  • 10 slices bacon
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1 small box butterscotch cook-and-serve dry pudding mix
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 stick butter
  1. Thaw frozen rolls in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 350. Cut bacon into small pieces and brown over medium heat, about 4 minutes; drain. Mix syrup, brown sugar, and pecans. Stir in bacon and divide among 12 cupcake tins sprayed with nonstick spray.
  3. In medium bowl, mix buterscotch pudding and cinnamon. Melt butter. Roll thawed rolls into melted butter and then into butterscotch mixture. Place 1 roll over top of syrup mixture in each cup. Let rise until double in size, about 1 to 2 hours.
  4. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately invert onto a baking sheet. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
from The Wichita Eagle Holiday Cookbook

Okay, on to the party!  Since this is my very first one, I would love it if you would help me spread the word. A party isn’t a party without all of your best bloggy friends, right?  So I would be thrilled if you would invite your friends – tweet, Facebook, blog, and Instagram your friends and tell them to come link up!

I’m partying here!

XO, Ashley

Jalepeno Popper Turkey Chili

Oooooooh, baby.

I’m a sucker for hearty soups this time of year, and if you’ve been around my blog for any length of time, you know how I feel about spicy food.

So for me, it’s only natural to combine the two.

{As a side note, you can make this soup as spicy or not-spicy as you’d like.  Not a fan of heat?  Just omit the seeds from the jalepenos!}

Had I had any leftover Thanksgiving turkey to use in this soup, I would have.  But I didn’t.  So I used ground turkey instead.

And it was pretty much awesome.

You could certainly use ground beef, ground chicken, soy crumbles…whatever floats your boat.  Just promise me you’ll add in the cream cheese at the end.

Because holy bowl of wonderfulness, this stuff was

Even better?  This comes together in a flash – I’m talking under an hour – so it’s perfect for a quick and easy weeknight meal. Score!

Jalepeno Popper Turkey Chili
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 jalepeno peppers, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can corn, drained
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can fire roasted tex-mex tomatoes (I found mine at Wal-Mart; if you can't find it, just use regular diced tomatoes)
  • ½ cup salsa
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can broth (I used chicken, but feel free to substitute with beef or vegetable broth)
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • garnish with Mexican cheese, additional cilantro, jalepeno and sour cream, if desired
  1. Heat oil in a large stock pot. Add diced onion, jalepeno, and garlic, and saute until veggies are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Add the ground turkey to the pot and brown all over. Add the taco seasoning and cook for a minute longer.
  3. Add beans, corn, tomatoes, salsa, broth and cilantro. Allow the chili to simmer lightly, and cook for 30 minutes.
  4. Add cream cheese to the chili and stir until melted and creamy. Garnish with cheese, cilantro, sour cream and jalepenos, if desired.
adapted from the totally awesome Bev Cooks
Nutrition Information
Serving size: serves 4 to 6

Have a great Tuesday, everyone – and I hope to see you tomorrow for my first link party: What’s in Your Kitchen Wednesday!

I party here!

XO, Ashley

{Lightened Up} White Chocolate Pumpkin Nog

Egg nog is sort of one of those love it or hate it kind of things.

I love it.

Maybe a little bit too much, considering I could drink a carton of it by myself in just a matter of a few days.  And I am a person who doesn’t like milk.

Well, unless it’s chocolate.  Or noggy.

Even if you’re not a fan of eggnog, you should seriously try this. I made it last year during the holiday season as an experiment to see if it was a decent substitute for my favorite Southern Comfort brand.  And it is.

It totally is.

We made this no less than half a dozen times last season, and we’re well on our way to at least that this year.

Also?  I don’t feel one bit guilty drinking it.  This drink uses light vanilla soy milk, dry pudding mix, pumpkin puree, and lots of seasonal spices.  The pumpkin and the pudding mix thickens it up nicely, and the vanilla soy milk makes me feel like I’m drinking something healthy.  🙂

No cooking required, no worrying about salmonella.  Just five minutes and a blender, and you’re good to go!

{Lightened Up} White Chocolate Pumpkin Nog
  • 5 cups light vanilla soy milk
  • 1 small package sugar-free instant white chocolate pudding mix
  • 6 packets sweetener
  • ⅔ cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon rum extract, if desired
  1. Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Refrigerate approximately 2 hours prior to serving, to allow mixture to thicken slightly.
adapted from Hungry Girl 1-2-3

If you haven’t already, be sure to enter my giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card.  I love online shopping!

Also, I’m hosting my very first link party on Wednesday, so I’d love it if you could stop back by and link up what you’ve been making in your kitchen!

Thanks for visiting, and have a great Monday!

I party here!

XO, Ashley

Black Friday $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

I’m not into the Black Friday thing.

Number one, I don’t like crowds.  Not even a little bit.  There is really no “deal” out there good enough to entice me to get up at some insane hour, vulture for a parking space, and muscle my way through the aisles to {hopefully} snag the last whatever-the-hottest-item-of-the-year is.

Number two, I don’t like crowds.

And if you’re like me, you don’t like ’em either, and would rather just do your shopping online.  So I’m offering one of you a $25 Amazon gift card to get your holiday shopping started. Gift CardsI wish I could give you all one, because you guys that come hang out with me are some really awesome people, and make this blogging thing a whole lot of fun.

To enter:

log in to the rafflecopter below, and follow the prompts.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

XO, Ashley

Peppermint Blondies with White Chocolate Peppermint Frosting

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I’m thankful for a million things this year.  I can’t list them all, because I’m seriously blessed and we’d be here all day looking at my crazy long list.  But here’s the top few:

The Tall Boy and Doodle, who fill my days with joy;

All of my family and friends – the best bunch of people who ever lived;

My really awesome {non-blogging} job; and


I am not sure if they are technically blondies, since they don’t use brown sugar.  They do, however, use 12-ounces of melted white chocolate in the batter and another 6 ounces in the frosting.

So, yeah, a diet food these are not.  But we’re heading into the holiday season, a time when the word “diet” has no place in my vocabulary.  🙂

These blondies are definitely not for the faint of heart.  They are dense and decadent, soft and chewy, and with just the right amount of peppermint.

It’s Christmas, right in your mouth!

I garnished the top of mine with Andes peppermint baking chips.  Doodle loves to “help” in the kitchen, typically by sampling the baking chips, licking the bowl, et cetera.  After eating a few of the peppermint chips he said, “Congratulations to whoever made these.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Peppermint Blondies with White Chocolate Peppermint Frosting
  • 12 ounces white chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
For the frosting:
  • 6 ounces white baking chocolate
  • 2½ cups powdered sugar, divided
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Andes peppermint chips, or crushed candy canes
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt chocolate over low heat until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted. Whisk in the sugar, eggs, and extracts until smooth. Stir in the flour to combine. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, or until the top is light brown and the edges begin to pull away from the side of the pan. Immediately sprinkle mini chocolate chips over the top. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
For the frosting:
  1. In a small saucepan, melt the white chocolate over low heat until melted and smooth. Set aside until lukewarm. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and 1¾ cups of powdered sugar. Beat on low speed until combined. Add in sour cream, extracts, and salt and beat until combined. Beat in additional 1¾ cups powdered sugar, and melted white chocolate until combined.
  2. Stir over cooled bars and top with peppermint chips or candy pieces, if desired.
from Better Homes and Gardens, Christmas Cookies 2012

Have a wonderful holiday, everyone.  And be sure to stop by on Friday for my Black Friday giveaway.  You won’t want to miss it!

If you’re interested in participating in the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, stop by Brenda’s blog to sign up!

I’m linked up at these great parties this week: Crazy Sweet Tuesdays, Trick or Treat Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesday, Whip it Up Wednesdays, Watcha’ Whipped Up Wednesdays, Eat, Pray {Read}, Love, Sweet Treats Thursday, Mrs. Fox’s Sweets, Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons, Itsy Bitsy Paper, Crumbs and Chaos, I’m Lovin’ It Fridays, Weekend Potluck, and Six Sister’s Stuff!


XO, Ashley

Scrambled Egg Spinach Casserole

Well, my weekend totally did not go as planned.  After watching my number one ranked college football team lose on Saturday night, I needed some serious cheering up Sunday morning.

 “Cheering up” typically translates to food in my book.

Sometimes it’s not even sweets – anything will do.  Especially a hearty breakfast.  🙂

You know, one with sausage, eggs, feta cheese, and some spinach thrown in for good measure.  I don’t know when exactly I turned into a spinach-eating adult, but I’m all about this green!

Also, Doodle is still battling the crud, which means little sleep for me and not much energy left over to do a lot of fancy kitchen work. Actually, I’m not a fancy kitchen kind of person anyway–I like dishes that are quick and easy to prepare, and require very little thought early in the morning.

That’s why I’m partial to breakfast casseroles.  Mix it up the night before, take it out of the fridge in the morning and throw it in the oven…and in about an hour, you have a fabulous breakfast/brunch dish that tastes and smells like you’ve been slaving all morning.

This casserole can easily be lightened up – in my recipe, I used turkey sausage.  Egg substitute, if you want to go that route, can certainly be used as well.

And since we’re huge feta cheese eaters at my place, that’s what I used here, but feel free to substitute your favorite cheese if you’re not into feta.

If you’re having company over the holidays, this is a perfect recipe to have at the ready so you can spend time with your guests instead of in the kitchen.  Unless your holidays are like Clark Griswold-esque family events, and then you might want to choose a dish that requires a little more kitchen time.

Scrambled Egg Spinach Casserole
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon plus ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • ⅛ teaspoon plus ¼ teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ pound bulk sausage (I used turkey sausage)
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 12 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons half-and-half
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1½ cups crumbled feta cheese
  • ½ cup soft bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Melt butter in a small saucepan. Stir in flour, nutmeg, and ⅛ teaspoon each salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil, and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
  2. Meanwhile, cook sausage, onion, and remaining salt and pepper in a large skillet. Drain; and transfer mixture to a greased 13x9 inch baking dish.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and half-and-half. Stir in spinach, feta, and the cooled white sauce. Pour over sausage mixture. Cover dish and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. For topping, toss breadcrumbs with the butter and spinkle over the top of the casserole. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand approximately 10 minutes before slicing.
recipe from Taste of Home

Have a great Tuesday, everyone! Thanks for stopping by!

XO, Ashley

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Pie

Eek! Do you notice anything different around here?

I am so excited right now, I can’t even tell you. After being frustrated with a designer-challenged (that’s me, folks) theme and unpolished branding, I finally decided to get a blog makeover. And I am so, so glad I did.

I’ve been thinking about making some changes for a while, and in the little over a year that I’ve been blogging, I’ve learned a ton about the technical aspects of design. My old header, sidebar titles, and so forth were designed by yours truly, and I was quite proud of myself for figuring out how to do those things on my own (well, with the help of some really great tutorials from Ashton at Something Swanky).

But I had a bigger vision in mind, something that I knew I wouldn’t be able to tackle on my own. And let’s face it–I’m not a graphic designer; I know very little about HTML coding, and I really just want to show up to my pretty little piece of the internet and share my recipes.

Then last month while attending Online BlogCon, I stumbled on Vanessa over at Nifty Thrifty Things.  My greatest apprehension to have a designer work on my blog was that I would not be able to translate what I had in my mind to someone else. However, Vanessa took all of my requirements and feedback and designed a site that was truly what I had envisioned–and is totally me.

I’m in looooooove! Hop on over to her site and tell her what a great job she did for me, would you?

You know what I’m also in love with? This pie. Cheesecake. Cheesecake pie. Whatever you call it, I could eat it all day long.

By the way, see the buttons in the left side-bar? The ones that say “What’s in Your Kitchen Wednesday” and “Featured On”? I’m going to give hosting my own linky party a go, starting next week. So please, come back then and link up some goodies, would you? And tell your friends so I don’t show up alone to my own party. 🙂

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Pie
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick butter, melted)
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice, divided
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup seedless raspberry jam
  1. Preheat oven to 300.
  2. Mix together graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter until well combined. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate.
  3. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and flour until smooth. Beat in sweetened condensed milk and 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Add egg; beat on low until just combined. Pour half of the filling into crust.
  4. In a small bowl, combine jam and remaining teaspoon lemon juice. Drop two-thirds of the mixture by teaspoonful over filling; use a knife to swirl through. Top with remaining filling and jam mixture. Swirl again.
  5. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes or until center is just set. Cool on wire rack for one hour. Refrigerate until chilled. Garnish with fresh raspberries, chocolate sauce and whipped cream, if desired.
from Taste of Home

Have a wonderful Monday, and thanks for stopping by!

XO, Ashley

Cherry Cordial Cookies

Usually I’m not a fan of fruit in my cookies.

It seems kind of weird to me. If I’m going to eat a dessert, I want it to be filled with chocolate, or peanut butter, or Biscoff, or some other high calorie ingredient. 🙂

So I stuffed these with Hershey’s Cherry Cordial Kisses.  It was maybe one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

These cookies baked up soft and pillowy, with just a hint of chocolaty sweetness from the surprise kiss inside.

The Tall Boy loved these cookies–which if you know him at all, says a lot, since he doesn’t typically have any interest in sweets.

{He’s weird.}

In fact, we loved them so much that we polished them off pretty quickly…and while I technically made these for a Christmas post, I’m seriously thinking of making them again next week for Thanksgiving.  🙂

They were that good.

As in really, really good.

Cherry Cordial Cookies
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup chopped maraschino cherries, well drained and patted dry
  • 36 Cherry Cordial Kisses
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheets with a Silpat or parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 30 seconds. Add the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in the egg and almond extract. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in the rest by hand, if necessary, as well as the cherries.
  3. Divide the dough into 36 equal portions. To achieve this, I rolled out my dough into a rectangle, and cut into 6 equal rows and then cut each row into 6 portions.
  4. Shape each portion into a ball around a Kiss. I chilled my dough for approximately 30 minutes prior to baking.
  5. Place balls 2 inches apart on your baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the bottoms are light golden brown. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.
from Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookies Special Edition, 2012

If you’re interested in participating in the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, stop by Brenda’s blog to sign up!

And if you missed them, here’s what I made over the last few weeks:

{Week One}: Apple Pie Bread
{Week Two}: Double Chocolate Oatmeal Bars
{Week Three}: Melting Snowmen {Chocolate Mint} Cookies
{Week Four}: Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies
{Week Five}: Homemade Gumdrops
{Week Six}: Gingerbread Cookie Dough Peppermint Bark
{Week Seven}: Vanilla Nougat Candy Bar Bites

I’m linked up at these great parties this week: Crazy Sweet Tuesdays, Trick or Treat Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesday, Whip it Up Wednesdays, Watcha’ Whipped Up Wednesdays, Eat, Pray {Read}, Love, Sweet Treats Thursday, Mrs. Fox’s Sweets, Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons, Itsy Bitsy Paper, Crumbs and Chaos, I’m Lovin’ It Fridays, Weekend Potluck, and Six Sister’s Stuff!


Peppermint Malted Hot Chocolate

Let me tell you about Kansas weather.

Peppermint Malted Hot Chocolate - better than any drink you can get at Starbucks, and cheaper, too!   #recipes #beverages

Last Saturday, it was nearly 80 degrees and I was out running errands in capri pants and flip-flops.

Sunday we had out our winter coats, gloves, and scarves.

A nearly 50 degree temperature change in less than 24 hours.

And along with the cold weather?  A cough and congestion for Doodle–who subsequently informed me that, “Grammie made me hot chocolate and it made my cough go away for awhile.”

So guess what I’ve been making the last few evenings?

I’m a huge hot chocolate fan, and it is sooooo easy to make these fun, special drinks at home–and they are so much cheaper than the $4+ drinks at Starbucks.

And quite honestly, this tastes even better.

Peppermint Malted Hot Chocolate - better than any drink you can get at Starbucks, and cheaper, too!   #recipes #beverages

Peppermint Malted Hot Chocolate
serves 1
  • 1 cup milk (I used 2%, but half-and-half would be awesome if you're not worried about calories)
  • ⅓ cup powdered malted milk (like Ovaltine or Carnation)
  • 1 tablespoon Andes peppermint chips
  • 1 generous palmful peppermint marshmallows
  • ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • whipped cream, if desired
  1. Combine milk, Ovaltine and peppermint chips in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until peppermint chips are melted. Add in marshmallows and stir constantly until marshmallows are melted.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in peppermint extract. Pour into a mug and top with whipped cream and additional peppermint chips, if desired.

Have a wonderful Wednesday, and thanks for stopping by!