Sunday, March 24, 2013

Caramel Pretzel Magic Bars

Does it seem like all I have posted lately are sweet recipes? Whenever there's a food day at Tim's office, I take that opportunity to try a new recipe and of course, they are always for sweets! Not sure his coworkers would appreciate vegetables or a salad for food day!!!

I have always enjoyed the combination of sweet and salty.  After eating something sweet, I often want something salty.  Unfortunately, that can become a vicious circle that leads to eating too many sweets. 

I had no idea you could buy caramel bits!!!  They were about the same price as a bag of caramels and so much easier than unwrapping all of those caramels.  These bars remind me of Magic Bars and like Magic Bars, they are so good. 

Caramel Pretzel Magic Bars
Recipe by: Amber (Dessert Now, Dinner Later!)
  • 1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 6 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1-14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 50+ pretzels
  • 20 caramels, unwrapped & cut in fourths (*They now sell caramel bits at the store near the chocolate chips!  So much easier than unwrapping & cutting up caramel squares.  I would try 1 cup of caramel bits if you aren't using the squares.)
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
  1. Mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter.  Press in a sprayed 13x9in pan.
  2. Pour about half the can of condensed milk over crust.
  3. Layer your pretzels as close together as you like over the condensed milk/crust.
  4. Sprinkle caramels, chocolate chips, & coconut flakes.
  5. Pour remaining half of condensed milk on top.
  6. OPTIONAL:  Break up some extra pretzels to put on top, with a few extra chocolate chips so you can see all the colors above the condensed milk.
  7. Bake at 350*F for 20-30 min until lightly brown.  Let cool completely before cutting & serving.
I am linking this to On The Menu Monday, Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday and Foodie Friday!!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Lucky Leprechaun Bark

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!  Earlier today when I went to the grocery store, the cashier said people had been buying beer since 6:00 a.m. this morning!! 

Not being a big beer drinker, I am celebrating St. Pat's Day with this Leprechaun Bark.  I am sure you've seen these bark recipes out on the blogsphere.  There's one for every holiday.  They're fun and easy to make!

Following the recipe, I didn't think there were enough cookies on the cookie sheet.  I doubled the amount of cookies .  In hindsight, I think maybe one and a half would have been just right.  Because I had so many cookies my melted chocolate didn't spread out evenly, so I used a spatuala to even it out.  Like most recipes, I learned something for the next time I make it and there will be a next time!!!

Lucky Leprechaun Bark
Your Homebased Mom

14 whole Mint Girl Scout Cookies, broken up. 1 1/2 C pretzels, broken into pieces.  I used the small stick pretzels.
1 lb. Milk Chocolate Bark, almond bark or melts found in the bulk food section
1 C Green M & M's (the new mint flavor are all green!)
Green and White Sprinkles

Cover a large cookie sheet with wax paper.  Spread broken cookes, pretzels and about 3/4 C of the candy corn onto the waxed paper.  Place white chocolate in a container and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.  Stir and then microwave for another 30 seconds until melted and smooth. 

Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cookie mixture, spreading with spatula if needed to coat evenly.  Sprinkle remaining M & M's and colored sprinkles over the chocolate while it is still wet.  Do not let it harden.  Place cookie tray into refrigerator until set and firm.  Remove and gently break bark into small pieces.  Store in air tight container.

I am linking this to On The Menu Monday, Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday and Foodie Friday.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Smoky Black Bean Soup - Secret Recipe Club

My favorite blog post of the month is always my Secret Recipe Club reveal! It's fun to share the recipe of the blogger I was assigned and always a great surprise to find out who had my blog!!! This month I was assigned, Learning Patience. Corey calls Trinidad home! How amazing is that??!!

 Usually when I visit my assigned blog for the first time, I read through lots of recipes before deciding on the one to make. The recipe I chose from Corey's blog was one of the first recipes I read, I knew immediately, I wanted to try it.  The Smoky Black Bean Soup contains lots of our favorites; chicken sausage, quinoa and black beans.  I am not sure if it was the chipotle peppers or the chicken sausage but this soup was really spicy.  The flavor is delicious and hearty.  If you prefer a less spicy dish, you could easily tame it down by using less peppers.  Speaking of peppers, does anyone know a good way to mince the canned chipotle peppers?  Even with the sharpest of knives, I always seem to smash them more than mince them.

Smoky Black Bean Soup with Chicken Sausage and Quinoa
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 package pre-cooked spicy chicken sausage, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 2 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 canned chipotle chili in adobo sauce, minced
  • ½ bottle beer
  • 2 limes juiced
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • Salt
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • Toppings
  • sour cream
  • lime zest
  1. First, start cooking quinoa in chicken broth in a saucepan – bring to a boil and reduce with a lid on to simmer for about 17 min.
  2. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add sausage in a single layer; cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook 1 minute more. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
  3. Add onion and bell pepper to pan; saute until soft.
  4. Add garlic, cumin and oregano and onion powder; saute 1 minute more.
  5. Stir in beans, broth and chipotle; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer.
  6. Add lime juice, honey and beer and let simmer.
  7. Add cooked quinoa and let simmer on low for another 4 minutes.
  8. Add sausage and stir.
  9. Serve and top with lime zest and sour cream.
I am linking this to On The Menu Monday, Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday and Foodie Friday.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Cookies 'n Cream Chess Bars

Sweets are my favorite food group.  Okay, yes I know they're not a food group but they're still the best!  Even better are those easy to make.   One of favorites is this chocolate cake, using a cake mix as one of ingredients.  If we have friends stopping by and I need a quick dessert, it's my go to recipe.  Looking to add to my list of options, I did a search for desserts using cake mixes and these popped up.  You can use crushed cookies or chocolate chips for the top.  I happened to have a some Joe Joe's (candy cane sandwich cookies from Trader Joe's) leftover and they added a great minty flavor to this dessert.  Thinking mint, these would be delicious using crushed Thin Mints as the crushed topping. 

Cookies & Cream Chess Bars


  • 1 fudge or chocolate cake mix
  • 4 eggs, divided
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) butter, melted
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 3/4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 8 to 12 chocolate sandwich cookies, coarsely crumbled


Mix cake mix with 1 egg and butter; press into greased and floured 13- x 9-inch pan. In a mixing bowl with an electric hand-held mixer, beat confectioners' sugar with cream cheese, vanilla and 3 eggs until smooth. Pour about 2/3 of the topping mixture onto the cake mixture; sprinkle with crumbled cookies (or chocolate chips) then pour remaining mixture evenly over crumbs. Bake in a preheated 325° oven for about 50 to 60 minutes, or until topping is lightly browned.
Cool thoroughly and cut into bars. Keep refrigerated.

I am linking this to On The Menu Monday, Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday and Foodie Friday.