Mini Cannoli Cups

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Here’s an easy recipe I made with Nasoya® Won Ton Wraps. I had never used these wraps before, so I was interested in trying them out when I was offered some complimentary product from Nasoya® (they also provided all-natural-won-ton-wraps_0a gift card to cover the cost of other ingredients). I decided to try a dessert-like recipe from their site called Cannoli Cups and I also created my own recipe for an appetizer, which I’ll share with you in my next post. If you’re not familiar with these Nasoya® wraps, they are all-natural and super easy to use! You can find them in the produce section next to Nasoya® tofu and other products.

I made my cannoli cups a little differently from the original recipe, making them mini-size. I also added way more chocolate chips than the original recipe–actually by mistake! For some reason I thought the original recipe called for 1 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (it only called for 1/3 cup), so I started off adding 1 cup and mixing it into the ricotta cheese mixture before catching my mistake! But it was one of those happy mistakes, because the lightly-sweet creamy ricotta filling in these cannoli cups taste great with all those chocolate chips! And the won ton wraps make a nice little shell for this yummy filling. This recipe calls for 1 package of Nasoya® Won Ton Wraps and each 12-ounce package has about 52 wraps in it–this recipe will fill up just about all those wraps so it’s great to make for parties and other gatherings!

MINI CANNOLI CUPS adapted from Nasoya.com

Makes 48-52 cups

  • 3 cups fresh ricotta cheese (I used Part-Skim)
  • 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla or almond extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips, plus extra chips for sprinkling on top
  • 1 (12-ounce) package Nasoya® Won Ton Wraps

Place the ricotta cheese in a medium size mixing bowl. Stir or beat with a mixer on medium for about 2 minutes, until cheese is smooth and creamy. Add in the powdered sugar and blend well, mixing or beating until smooth.

Stir in the chocolate chips, then place in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Place each won ton wrap in the base of a mini cupcake pan, pressing down to create a mini bowl. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from oven and fill each cup with a slightly heaping 1/2 Tablespoon of filling–then return to oven for 4 to 5 more minutes, until the cups are lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool slightly, then put on serving plate and sprinkle tops lightly with additional mini chocolate chips. Serve warm (if serving later, keep refrigerated until ready to serve, then warm them in the microwave). I prefer these warm, but you can also serve them at room temperature.

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These Mini Cannoli Cups are perfect if you’re wanting to serve something sweet and bite-sized. The other recipe I made with these wraps is a savory appetizer that I’m sure you’ll love, so look for it in my next post!

Royal Riviera® Rogue Valley Salad

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A few days ago, I found a nice surprise on my doorstep–a box of beautiful Harry & David® Royal Riviera® Pears! And Harry & David® is also extending a special offer to me and my readers–a 20% discount on your next purchase of anything on their site when you enter the code NANCY20 during checkout! So if you still need some gifts, you’ll want to check out their site!

I learned a little about the history of these pears, too. These sweet and juicy pears, traced back to 19th century France, were brought to Oregon’s Rogue Valley in 1897, where they thrived in the climate there. And for 80 years Harry & David® have been shipping these pears from their southern Oregon orchards.

I was wondering why there was a spoon in the package, and then I saw a note explaining that, in celebration of Harry & David’s® 80th anniversary, and also in honor of National Pear Month (yes, December is National Pear Month!) they were inviting some pear lovers to take the “Spoon Test Challenge” to see if their claim that Royal Riviera® Pears are really “so big and juicy, you can eat them with a spoon” is true. So I did take the Spoon Test Challenge, which involved letting the pears ripen for 1-2 days, slicing them in half, and using a spoon to eat the juicy pear. And I am happy to verify that yes, these pears really are juicy enough to eat with a spoon! They are really, really good. If you like pears or know someone who does, these are a real treat!

Here are some serving suggestions for these pears:

  • Halve, core, and eat with a spoon (makes a wonderful, healthy dessert!)
  • Slice and serve after dinner with an assortment of fine cheeses
  • Slice pears for salads
  • When slicing pears for salads or dessert, Harry & David® recommends peeling them first, then sprinkling with some lemon juice to keep them looking fresh

Here’s a recipe for a salad you can try–this recipe was included in my package of pears, so I thought I’d share it with you. This would make a great salad for your holiday meal! You can also find more salad recipes at Harry & David.com.

ROYAL RIVIERA® ROGUE VALLEY SALAD (recipe and photo from Harry & David)

royalFor the dressing:

  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons Champagne vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon honey (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup walnut oil
  • Whisk together the first 5 ingredients. Gradually whisk in the walnut oil. chill for 20 minutes.

For the salad:

  • 1 head butter lettuce, washed and dried
  • 1 large or 2 small Royal Riviera® Pears, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 2/3 cup Rogue Creamery or other blue cheese
  • 2/3 cup Harry and David® candied pecans, roasted pecans, or roasted walnuts

Gently tear the lettuce into bite sized pieces. Arrange on four chilled plates. Top with fans of pear slices. Sprinkle blue cheese evenly over the pears and lettuce and top with nuts. Drizzle the dressing generously over the salad and serve.

Are you a pear-lover, too? What kinds of recipes do you like to use pears in?

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Cranberry Pumpkin Bread and Mini Loaves

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I hadn’t made anything with fresh cranberries yet this year, so I decided it was time to do something about that! Plus, I still needed to make more mini-loaves for holiday giving. My Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread turned out well, so I decided to try making some pumpkin bread with fresh cranberries added in–it sounded like a great combination for the holidays! These loaves baked up so nicely, with rounded tops and a dense, moist texture. The fresh cranberries add to the moistness and flavor.

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This recipe will make one 9 x 5″ loaf or three 5 x 3″ mini loaves…or double the recipe and make a large loaf for you and your family and 3 mini loaves for giving away! If you do double the recipe, make sure you use an extra-large bowl for easier mixing.

CRANBERRY PUMPKIN BREAD AND MINI LOAVES by NancyC

Makes one (9 x 5″) loaf or three (5 x 3″) mini loaves

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/4 cup light olive oil (or non-GMO canola oil)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease and flour one 9 x 5″ loaf pan or three 5 x 3″ mini loaf pans; set aside.

In large bowl, blend the flour, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together; then add the spices, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, blending everything well.

In medium bowl, blend the pumpkin puree, light olive oil, and eggs, mixing well. Add this mixture to dry ingredients in large bowl, blending well (batter will be thick). Fold in the chopped cranberries, stirring until evenly distributed in batter.

Spoon batter into prepared 9 x 5″ loaf pan or 3 mini loaf pans.

For 9 x 5″ loaf: Bake at 350˚F for 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

For 3 mini loaves: Bake at 350˚F for 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool in pan or pans for 10 minutes, then remove and cool completely on wire rack.

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If you’re giving these loaves as gifts, wrap them individually in plastic wrap and add a ribbon around them tied in a knot or bow to make them look extra special! For inspiration, see these wrapped mini loaves here.

I still have more holiday baking I need to do–wish I had more time! Are you getting all the baking done you want to this season?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy and Inspiration Monday at Your Homebased Mom.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread and Mini Loaves

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I’ve been wanting to make pumpkin bread with chocolate chips in it for quite some time and I thought while I was at it, I’d make some mini-loaves too. Mini-loaves make great food gifts for the holidays, and just about everyone I know loves pumpkin bread and chocolate chips. So you can’t go wrong when you put them together! This Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread is so good and moist, with lots of chocolate chips in every bite, so if you’re a chocolate lover you won’t be disappointed! Be sure to use the mini semi-sweet chocolate chips–they work really well in this recipe. It makes either one large 9 x 5″ loaf or three 5 x 3″ mini loaves–or you can double the recipe and make both sizes–that way you can keep one for your family and give the rest as gifts–a win-win for everyone! :) Use an extra-large bowl for mixing if you do decide to make a double batch!

CHOCOLATE CHIP PUMPKIN BREAD AND MINI LOAVES by NancyC

Makes one 9 x 5″ loaf or three (5 x 3″) mini loaves

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease and flour one 9 x 5″ loaf pan or 3 mini loaf pans; set aside.

In large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, and granulated sugar, blending well; then add the spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, blending everything well.

In medium bowl, blend the pumpkin puree and softened butter, and then the eggs, mixing well. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients in large bowl, blending well. Fold in mini chocolate chips, stirring until evenly distributed in batter.

Spoon batter into prepared 9 x 5″ loaf pan or 3 mini loaf pans.

For 9 x 5″ loaf: Bake at 350˚F for 52 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

For 3 mini loaves: Bake at 350˚F for 32 to 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool in pan or pans for 10 minutes, then remove and cool completely on wire rack.

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If you’re giving these loaves as gifts, wrap them individually in plastic wrap and add a ribbon around them tied in a knot or bow to make them look extra special–just like little mini-gifts! I always seem to have ribbon on hand and I also save pretty fabric ribbons from gifts I’ve received–these usually are the perfect size for tying around homemade loaves!

Do you make food gifts for the holidays? What do you like to make?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy and Inspiration Monday at Your Homebased Mom.

10 Sweet Potato Recipes

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Sweet potatoes recipes are perfect not only for Thanksgiving, but all holiday season long–and actually, some are great year-round! This Thanksgiving, I had made Never Fail Sweet Potato Pie, which was really good, and I thought I’d share a roundup of some other yummy Sweet Potato recipes I’ve made with you!

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These Sweet Potato Biscuits are just the thing for breakfast, with eggs, and they’re also great for lunch or dinner with your main dish and sides!

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Same for these Loaded Sweet Potato Muffins–good any time of day!

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Sweet Potato Bread is nice for breakfast, too, or later in the day as a snack.

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For a delicious side dish, these Maple-Pecan Sweet Potatoes are wonderful!

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Another side, Baked Sweet Potato Fries, are really tasty, and there are a variety of ways you can make them!

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I really like these Roasted Italian Potatoes, which are made with both sweet and regular potatoes.

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This Sausage Potato Bake, a yummy dish for lunch or dinner, is also a two-potato recipe, made with both sweet potatoes and red new potatoes.

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When you’re ready for dessert, you need to try this decadent Sweet Potato Cinnamon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.

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And this Sweet Potato Pound Cake is pretty amazing, too!

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Last but not least, here’s the Never Fail Sweet Potato Pie I made this past Thanksgiving–a very easy recipe and so good!

Hope you enjoy trying these sweet potato recipes out!

Linked to I’m Lovin’ It at Tidy Mom, Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener, and Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

Teatoxy Detox Tea

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Some of you are devoted coffee drinkers, while some of you prefer tea. And then there are some who love both, which is the category I fall into. I’ve been drinking a little more tea lately, though, since coffee tends to keep me up at night!

Recently I received a package of three Teatoxy Detox Teas to try. These teas are created in Thailand from organic ingredients that have detox benefits. As you can see from the photos, they’re really pretty teas–almost as pretty as potpourri!

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The Morning Blend, designed to boost metabolism and increase alertness, is a blend of lemongrass, rose hips, peppermint, apples, rooibos, blackberry leaves, hibiscus, and marigolds. The soft peppermint flavor is refreshing–a nice way to start the day.

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The Energize Blend is an organic blue detox tea blend created with lemongrass, Pandan leaves, Moroccan Rose Petals, Bluechai, and Lavender, which is designed to increase energy, fat burning, and suppress your appetite. It has a nice mild flavor and a pretty blue color which turns purple if you add some lemon juice.

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The Calm Me Blend includes organic hops, hibiscus, peppermint, cornflower, marigold, goji berries, and dried lemon slices. It’s supposed to help promote better sleep and is rich in antioxidants. I liked the light lemony flavor of this tea–it’s very soothing. I think this blend was my favorite!

If you like tea, you may want to try these out. They would also make a great gift for any tea drinkers you know!

So which category do you fall into…coffee drinker, tea drinker, or both?

Never Fail Sweet Potato Pie

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This time of year is sweet potato pie time! I’ve never made my own homemade sweet potato pie, so I decided this would be the year to do it. When I received some vouchers for complimentary products from the Sager Creek Vegetable Company recently, I decided to try a sweet potato pie recipe from their website. They call this recipe Our Best Never Fail Sweet Potato Pie. That sounded like the perfect recipe for me, since I’m not a very experienced pie-maker! This recipe makes three, yes three, sweet potato pies, so it’s perfect if you’re needing to make lots of pies for the holidays. I used the Sager Creek Vegetable Company’s Princella cut sweet potatoes for the filling and they worked out great! And you can use unbaked frozen pie shells, which also saves time (you need to thaw them before using). I just happened to have three of those in my freezer. So I guess making this recipe was meant to be! :)

I changed the recipe slightly by adding some additional spices–in addition to ground cinnamon, I also added nutmeg and ginger. The sweet potato filling has a really great flavor with the combination of these spices. It’s really yummy and a great recipe to keep in mind when you want to make a batch of pies! The pie crust edges do brown quite a bit, but you can keep them lighter by covering the edges with foil when baking.

NEVER FAIL SWEET POTATO PIE by NancyC, adapted from SagerCreekVeggies.com

Makes three 9″ pies

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 (40-ounce) can Princella sweet potatoes, drained and mashed
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 6 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 15 ounces evaporated milk (I used three 5-ounce cans)
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 (9-inch) deep dish unbaked pie shells (I used frozen pie shells, thawed–I actually used two deep dish and one regular size because that’s what I had on hand)

Preheat oven to 400˚F.

In large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add beaten eggs and stir. Then add mashed sweet potatoes and blend everything well.

Next, stir in ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cornstarch; then add in evaporated milk, vanilla, and salt, making sure all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.

Pour mixture into the three pie shells and bake at 400˚F for 15 minutes. Lower heat to 350˚F and continue baking for an additional 25 to 30 minutes, until the tip of a knife inserted in center comes out clean.

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Of course some whipped cream on top of your pie is always a good idea, too!

Hope you and your family and friends enjoy a wonderful meal and time together this Thanksgiving! And may this holiday remind us of the many blessings we have to be thankful for!

Come before Him with thankful hearts. Let us sing Him psalms of praise. PSALM 95:2 Living Bible (TLB)

Cheesy Green Bean Casserole

ncChsyGrBnCass2nm We all know and love that Green Bean Casserole, don’t we? It’s so good, I’m not sure why I only make it at the holidays–there’s no reason why you couldn’t make it any time of the year, right? But it’s especially nice at times like Thanksgiving and Christmas, when it’s cold outside and everyone is wanting to include warm and comforting side dishes in their holiday feast. There are many variations of this recipe, and when I make mine, I always add cheese, sour cream, and Half & Half (light cream) to make it extra cheesy and creamy. I love this casserole with cheese added in, and if you’re a cheese-lover, I think you will too! So here’s my version of this classic side dish and I hope you enjoy it!

CHEESY GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE by NancyC, adapted from French’s Makes a 9 x 13″ pan

  • 2 (10 3/4-oz.) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 1/2 cup Half & Half (light cream) or milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (regular or light)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder (or substitute garlic powder)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 4 (14.5-ounce) cans green beans (or substitute 7 1/2 cups cooked cut fresh green beans or frozen and thawed green beans)
  • 1 (4-ounce) can sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 2/3 cups (or 2 2.8-oz. cans) French Fried Onions, divided

Preheat oven to 350˚F. In large bowl mix soup, Half & Half (or milk), sour cream, black pepper, onion powder, and soy sauce. Stir in green beans, mushrooms (if using), cheese, and 1 1/3 cups (or 1 2.8-oz. can) French Fried Onions (save the other can for sprinkling on top after baking). Spoon mixture into a 9 x 13″ pan or 3-qt. baking dish. Bake at 350˚F for 27 to 30 minutes or until hot and bubbling at edges. Remove from oven, lightly stir the mixture in the pan or baking dish, then top with remaining 1 1/3 cups onions (or the second 2.8-oz. can). Bake an additional 5 minutes until onions are golden.

ncChsyGrBnCass1nm Do you make Green Bean Casserole for your holiday meals? With or without cheese? And what other side dishes do you like to serve?

Linked to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener,  I’m Lovin’ It at Tidy Mom, and Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

Autumn Bouquets

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I am such a jar and bottle-saver! I save glass jars and bottles of all shapes, sizes, and colors. I was starting to get quite a collection and running out of space to put them, so I thought I’d make … Continue reading

7 Easy Fall Treats

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If you’re looking for ideas for sweet fall treats, here’s a roundup of some I’ve made before. They’re fun and colorful and very easy to make, which is a plus! Have fun trying some of these out! Candy” Corn Pay” … Continue reading

Caramel Apple Coffee Cake

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Caramel apples are the best…I love the combination of gooey, buttery caramel and crisp, slightly sweet and tart apples. Yum! What could be better? Maybe nothing. Or maybe this Caramel Apple Coffee Cake! It has yummy bits of caramel and chopped apple, and … Continue reading

Aunt Bee’s Sour Cream and Cheese Potatoes

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Do you remember Aunt Bee from the old Andy Griffith Show? She was aunt and housekeeper for Sheriff Andy and his young son Opie. She was quite a cook and there is actually an Aunt Bee’s Mayberry Cookbook with lots … Continue reading