Secret Ingredient Fruit Salad…

Secret Ingredient Fruit Salad

Well, after making this (about 80 times now), I can tell you my fruit salad will never be the same! I used to struggle with fruit salads. Unless it was this version, they were just “ok” to me, but never something I’d go out of my way to make or eat. Who knew all it takes is one little secret ingredient to make your fruit salad sing?! :)

My sister told me about this little “tip” a long time ago and thought it sounded disgusting. I imagined overly-sweet, gloppy fruit salad. Not appetizing. However, one evening, I had some really under-ripe, really “blah” nectarines that I wanted to make a fruit salad with, only, they had basically zero taste. I remembered a box of vanilla pudding mix in my pantry and tossed in a small spoonful. WOW, what a difference! It brought out all kinds of flavor from the sad little nectarines, added a faint sweetness, and made everything taste deliciously ‘vanilla-y’ . We inhaled this fruit salad, then I proceeded to make it again, and again, and again.

Secret Ingredient Fruit Salad

2 nectarines or peaches, cut up into chunks
1/2 pint blueberries
handful green grapes, cut into halves
1/2 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 tablespoon instant vanilla pudding mix **

Toss fruit and pudding mix. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serves 4-6.

**feel free to use more pudding mix if you like it really ‘vanilla-y’. I prefer just a hint.

Recipe source: my sister’s coworker

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Summery Lemon Strawberry Trifle…

Strawberry Lemon Trifle

As promised, here’s the second trifle I told you about. And my personal favorite. :) Don’t get me wrong, I love, loooove a good chocolaty trifle, but something about this lemon variety won me over. Maybe the sweet, lemony syrup- soaked angel food cake, or the lemon-vanilla pudding between layers, or the slices of fresh, ripe strawberries…whatever it is, this dessert is a WINNER! And so ideal for a summer cookout! No one wants to turn their ovens on during the hot summertime, so this trifle is where it’s at. No oven required.

Summery Lemon Strawberry Trifle

1 angel food cake, cut into cubes
3 large lemons
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 3.4-oz. boxes vanilla pudding mix
3 3/4 cups milk
1 16-oz. container Cool Whip
1 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced

Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the lemons (be careful not to get the white pith or you’ll end up with a bitter taste). Squeeze the juice from the lemons into a small bowl and set aside. In a small sauce pan over medium-high heat, bring the water, sugar, and lemon peels to a boil and simmer until sugar has dissolved (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to cool. Remove peels.

Whisk the pudding mix and milk until thick, about 2 minutes. Stir in the reserved lemon juice. Set aside.

In a trifle dish or large glass bowl, place half of the angel food cake cubes in an even layer; drizzle with half of the lemon simple syrup. Layer half of the sliced strawberries, then spread half of the pudding, then half of the Cool Whip. Repeat layers. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving. Serves 12.

Recipe source: Sing For Your Supper original

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Decadent Chocolate Trifle…

Chocolate Trifle

This week, I’ll be sharing not one, but two awesome trifle recipes! I know…that’s kinda weird to just randomly post a bunch of trifle recipes, but I have a reason. :) We threw a graduation party for the son of our good friends a couple of weeks ago and when I asked his mother what his favorite dessert is, she told me he loves chocolate cake and my lemon-lime sugar cookie truffles. I wanted to do something unique that incorporated both of his favorite things, and after lots of thought, ended up making two kinds of trifles- chocolate and lemon. They were both a huge success! I really love this kind of dessert, not only because can they be made ahead of time (and should be!), they’re super simple to throw together and the result is always fantastic.

This trifle features chocolate cake soaked with coffee, then drizzled with a bit of hot fudge and layered with chocolate pudding and cool whip. I’m not kidding when I say this is decadent. The best part is, the longer it sits, the better it gets.  I love “soggy” desserts, so naturally, this one ranks pretty high on my list. If you’re looking for a dessert that looks beautiful, tastes amazing, and requires minimal time and effort, this one’s for you!

Chocolate Trifle 2

Decadent Chocolate Trifle

1 chocolate cake, baked, cooled, and cut into cubes (you may have some left over- save ‘em for a snack!)
hot fudge, for drizzling
1/2 cup freshly brewed coffee that has been allowed to cool
2 3.4-oz. boxes chocolate pudding mix
4 cups milk
1 16-oz. container Cool Whip

Whisk together the pudding mix and milk until thick; about 2 minutes. Set aside.

In a trifle dish or large glass bowl, place half of the cake cubes in a single layer; spoon over half of the coffee, then drizzle a small amount of hot fudge over the cake. Spoon half of the chocolate pudding and spread evenly, then half of the cool whip. Repeat layers, reserving one or two small pieces of cake for the top. When layers are complete, crumble the cake and sprinkle over the top of the cool whip for decoration. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Serves 12.

Recipe source: Sing For Your Supper original

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Cookie Dough Greek Yogurt…

cookie dough greek yogurt

It’s pretty hard trying to be healthy when you’re a recovering sweets-aholic. I’ve been almost 100% good over the past few months, but to be perfectly honest, most days I find myself daydreaming about giant slices of dark, dreamy, moist, chocolate cake with chocolate frosting (seriously- have a look at my pinterest boards…). So what’s a girl to do when those (really, really) bad cravings hit?? Recipes like this one save my life!

I love Greek yogurt anyway, but add in smooth peanut butter, vanilla, and mini chocolate chips, and mama’s HAPPY, y’all! I really love this little trick- it satisfies even my worst cravings and helps keep me on track. Plus, the added protein in my diet helps me burn fat and stay satisfied longer! Double win!

cookie dough greek yogurt 2

Cookie Dough Greek Yogurt

1 small container (6 oz.) plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips
1 tablespoon agave nectar, honey, or other sweetener of choice

Mix peanut butter, vanilla, sweetener, and chocolate chips directly into yogurt cup. Eat immediately. Serves 1.

Recipe source: my fridge food

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Avocado Chocolate Pudding…

avocado chocolate pudding2

I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone who reads this blog: I love sweets. Rich, decadent desserts are my thing. Give me a big plate of warm chocolate chip cookies or brownies or chocolate cake and I’m a happy girl. BUT eating all the sweets you want doesn’t really fit into a post-partum way of life. Joel and I are both working really hard on watching what we eat, plus now that Cassidy eats whatever we eat, I’m super picky about what I cook. I don’t want her growing up eating junk food, so I’ve been working really hard at cooking healthy, all-natural meals the whole family can enjoy. But what about my poor sweet tooth?? Am I supposed to just give up sweets cold turkey? I say no.

That’s why I LOVE recipes like this- they incorporate something super good for you, while satisfying the old sweet tooth at the same time! Win-win! I’m not going to lie and say you can’t detect the avocado in this pudding- you can (barely). But for an avocado lover like me, I thought it was awesome. SO smooth and creamy! It honestly tastes so decadent and rich; nothing like you would expect “health food” to taste. Joel and I were both wowed by this pudding and I’ll be making it again and again. And while I’m on this little health kick, maybe next I’ll try black bean brownies!

avocado chocolate pudding

Avocado Chocolate Pudding

2 ripe medium avocados, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup raw agave nectar or honey
1/2 cup milk (regular or almond milk, coconut, etc.)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Blend all ingredients, until smooth, in a food processor or blender. Serve immediately or chill first. Serves 2-3

Recipe source: my friend Nikki at Seeded at the Table; originally from Forgiving Martha

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Quick and Easy Nutella Crescents…

Nutella Crescents

Ok, I realize “World Nutella Day” was yesterday, but better late than never, right?

This is possibly one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever posted, considering every ingredient is store-bought. But hey, sometimes life can get a little crazy and you just need a recipe like this. All it takes is canned crescent roll dough, nutella, and sugar, and in minutes you’ll have a warm, gooey, comforting snack, breakfast, or dessert. Yes, please! These would actually be really cute (and quick!) for the kids’ Valentine’s Day breakfast- maybe even use a little pink decorating sugar and it’s just downright festive!

Quick and Easy Nutella Crescents

1 can refrigerated Pillsbury crescent roll dough
nutella
sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread a little nutella (about one tablespoon per triangle) on each triangle of dough. Starting with the big end, roll into a crescent shape and sprinkle generously with sugar. Arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 8-10 minutes, until golden brown. Serve immediately. Makes 8 crescents.

Recipe source: Sing For Your Supper original

Nutella Crescents2

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Cinnamon-Sugar Crescents for Jessica…

Jessica and I have been friends for over 4 years now. We met on a cooking discussion forum, quickly discovered we had lots in common, then soon discovered we were both North Texas girls! That’s how we went from internet blogging friends to real-life friends. I’ve met her family; she’s met mine. We’ve gone blackberry picking together, she came to see me in one of my operas, I’ve eaten at her family’s favorite place to get fried fish in her hometown, we made macarons together:

…we’ve seen John Mayer together, we’ve visited each others’ houses, we got stood up at a food bloggers’ dinner (man, that one was embarrassing, huh?), we met DORIE FREAKING GREENSPAN together:

…and so many more memories. Too many to list. When I first met Jess, she seemed to be looking for something she hadn’t quite found yet. Fast forward 4 1/2 years later and she’s met the man of her dreams, running stinkin’ half marathons (go girl!), and GETTING MARRIED in less than a month! She’s found everything she was missing in Chris and now they’re going to start a new life together. Wow. I am SO happy for these two I can’t even tell you! And seriously, have you SEEN her engagement photos? Amazing.

Anyway, on to the food! I’m participating in a virtual shower thrown by my good friend Nikki of Pennies on a Platter. A bunch of us got together to throw a special wedding shower celebrating the beautiful bride! I decided to make Cinnamon-Sugar Crescents because a.) I think they’d be great shower food, and b.) I know Jessica loves cinnamon. She’s always baking up yummy treats with those delicious looking cinnamon chips, and of course I’ve always been jealous because I can never find them at my grocery stores! Ugh! Don’t forget to check out Nikki and Jessica’s awesome blogs to see the full list of goodies we all made to honor the beautiful bride! And Jessica, congratulations, dear friend. I love you and I’m so amazingly happy for you.

These couldn’t be simpler; store-bought crescent roll dough, butter, cinnamon, and sugar. But ohhhh boy are they good! Soft, flaky, cinnamon-y goodness.

Cinnamon-Sugar Crescents

1 can store-bought crescent roll dough, such as Pillsbury
2 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 teaspoon cinnamon (or more if you like lots)
2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine cinnamon and sugar. Roll out the crescent dough and brush the melted butter over each triangle. Sprinkle liberally with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Roll each triangle into a crescent shape, then brush the tops with the remainder of the melted butter. Sprinkle with more cinnamon-sugar and bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown. Makes 8 crescents.

Recipe source: Sing For Your Supper original

 

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Sopapilla Cheesecake…

Let me start off by stating a few things: 1.) Happy New Year! 2.) Those of you who have resolved to eat healthier, lose weight, etc, just click away now, because this recipe is neither healthy nor diet-friendly. In fact, it’s pretty much just butter and cream cheese. And sugar. :) 3.) There’s really nothing about this recipe that makes it a “cheesecake” in any way, except maybe the abundance of cream cheese (in fact, it’s more along the lines of a cheese danish), but that’s what the recipe is called, so for propriety’s sake, I’ll continue calling it “sopapilla cheesecake”.

A few weeks ago, at our friends’ Christmas party, the hostess pulled something freshly baked out of the oven. The sweet, cinnamony smell immediately caught my attention and I was first in line to try a plateful. At first glance, it looked like some sort of cobbler covered in cinnamon-sugar, but with one bite I knew what I was eating- the sopapilla cheesecake I had seen plastered all over pinterest. Crescent rolls, cream cheese, butter, sugar. That’s it. And I have to admit, it was stinking delicious. My big pregnant self ate two helpings. Then I immediately came home and made one of my own for my parents to try. Embarrassingly easy, shamefully fattening and ridiculously yummy. A pregnant woman’s dream dessert.

Sopapilla Cheesecake

2 cans Pillsbury crescent rolls
2-8oz blocks cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons butter, melted

Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray. Unroll and press 1 can crescent rolls into the bottom of the baking dish press the seams together.

In a separate bowl blend the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and vanilla; spread evenly over top of dough. Unroll the second can of crescent rolls and place on top of the cream cheese mixture pressing seams together again. Pour the melted butter over top layer of crescents.

Mix the reaming 1/2 cup of sugar and cinnamon together. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture generously over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until bubbly and browned. Allow to cool before serving (personally, I like it better warm, so I let mine cool for only 15 or 20 minutes before serving). Serves 8.

Recipe source: barely adapted from Real Mom Kitchen, via Mommy’s Kitchen

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip…

Going to a party soon? Need something quick, easy and delicious to bring along? I highly recommend this chocolate chip cookie dough dip! I mean, who doesn’t love cookie dough? It’s a big-time crowd pleaser, it’s easy and it can be ready in no time! I took this to a friend’s party this past weekend and it was a huge hit! I’m telling ya…you need to make this!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 8-ounce block of cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips, plus extra for sprinkling

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the brown sugar until it dissolves and the mixture starts to bubble. Stir in vanilla and set aside to cool.
In a separate bowl, cream the cream cheese and powdered sugar together for 60 seconds. With the mixer on low speed, add in brown sugar and butter mixture, then the salt. Mix until combined. Stir in the mini chocolate chips.

Garnish with additional mini chocolate chips. Serve with animal crackers, nilla wafers or graham crackers.

Recipe source: barely adapted from What Megan’s Making; originally from How Sweet It Is

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Homemade Applesauce…

One of my very favorite things about fall is the smell of apples and spices cooking. It really puts me in the perfect “fall” state of mind…even if it is still 90+ degrees outside (we’ll get there, Dallas, we’ll get there!). The other night we had a nice “cold front” (86 degrees instead of the usual 97 or more), so I decided to whip up a quick pot of homemade applesauce. Joel and I both love applesauce, but when it comes to homemade, there’s no contest. The beauty of this recipe is, you can just throw it all in a big pot and leave it. And of course in the meantime, your house will smell amazing!

Homemade Applesauce

4 apples, peeled and cored (I used Red Delicious, but Honeycrisp or Pink Lady would be ideal)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
pinch salt
juice of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup water

Cut the apples into large chunks and put them in a heavy pot over medium heat; add the brown sugar, salt, lemon juice, cinnamon and water. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the apples are extremely soft and mushy. Using a potato masher or fork, mash the apples together until you have an applesauce-like consistency. Serves 4.

Recipe source: Sing For Your Supper

 

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