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911 Emergency Cookies

One thing I’ve learned about cookies is, oftentimes, the more amazing they look, the more disappointing they taste. I am always a sucker for ordering a cookie at a deli or bakery. Poised there behind the glass bakery case, sits a giant cookie that just looks irresistable. I lose all focus on everything else going on around me and all I can think about is why I need that cookie, NOW! More times than I’m proud of, I succumb to the craving. A few bites in, I wish I hadn’t. I leave knowing I should have saved the calories for my own homemade cookies.

So, I realize these cookies do not look like anything special.  But,  if you love chocolate, these are definitely worth the splurge. This recipe actually came from, the food section of, an extremely popular FREE nutrition and fitness website. I receive their daily recipe emails and have loved every recipe I have tried from the site. There are 102.5 calories per chocolate cookie. They don’t look like much, but this cookie has all the taste you need to crush a cookie-craving meltdown.

911 Emergency Cookies

6 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
6 oz bittersweet chocolate (can use dark chocolate), broke into large pieces
1 stick unsalted butter, softened and divided
1 1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Melt chocolates and 1/2 stick butter (in microwave). Cool briefly.
2. Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. Beat 1/2 stick butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until the consistency of wet sand.
4. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix.
5. Mix in chocolate mixture, beating only until combined.
6. Stir in flour mixture, only until combined.
7. Chill for 1 hour.
8. Dip out with an ice cream scoop (I use a 4 teaspoon cookie dipper) onto a greased cookie sheet.
9. Bake 1 sheet at a time for 9 to 11 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Do not over bake.
10. Cool 2 minutes on pan before moving to cooling racks.

48 servings. One serving has 102.5 calories, 4.5 g total fat, 17.9 mg cholesterol, 67.2 mg sodium, 16 g total carbs, .8 g dietary fiber, 1.4 g protein.

Recipe submitted by SparkPeople user MARYHAMILTON.


Cinnamon Ring

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When I have to take a dish somewhere, I always avoid using a recipe I’ve never made before. But when I needed to take a breakfast item to Sunday School recently, I broke my rule.  Actually, I just didn’t have a breakfast recipe on file that I really loved. But I do now. After spending some time scouring the cookbooks on my shelves, I stumbled onto this recipe out of a cookbook put together by a women’s church group in Dawson, Ga., a small city just outside Albany, Ga., where I lived for several years. It’s no secret that cookbooks like this one always have some of the best recipes you’ll find. This Cinnamon Ring didn’t disappoint. The recipe is similar to Monkey Bread recipes, but with the addition of cream cheese. I was really worried that it wouldn’t cook all the way through, but it did and, I think, it turned out beautifully. There wasn’t a crumb left at the end of class. Enjoy! 

Cinnamon Ring
Easy and may be prepared ahead

1 (8oz.) package cream cheese
2 large cans buttermilk biscuits
1 cup cinnamon sugar (2-3 teaspoons cinnamon mixed with sugar)
1/2 cup margarine (I used a stick of real butter)
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Cut cream cheese into 20 cubes. Flatten biscuits; put cube of cream cheese and 1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar in each and roll into balls. Melt margarine in Bundt pan. Sprinkle 1/4-1/3 cup cinnamon sugar and half of nuts in the margarine. Put 10 biscuit balls into mixture. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cinnamon sugar and the rest of the nuts on top of the biscuits, pressing nuts into the biscuits, if necessary. Put other 10 biscuits on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Turn out on plate, cool slightly and slice.

*Recipe provided by Mrs. Billy Thaxton (Gail) and listed on page 51 of A Standing Invitation to Gracious Southern Livingcookbook distributed by the Dawson United Methodist Women of Dawson, Ga.

Sweet Kickin’ Pork

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First of all, let me apologize for my long delay in updating this food blog. Which probably means no one is reading anymore. But this summer was a time of major change at work, which kept me extremely preoccupied. Now that things have settled a bit, I will try to pick up where I left off. So, on that note, here’s a new recipe.

I’m always looking for more exciting ways to cook different kinds of meat for dinner. This is a recipe my mom stumbled onto several years ago that my entire family makes fairly often. There is not an exact science to this recipe, but here’s what I do.

Sweet Kickin’ Pork
1 pork loin (I’m ususally cooking a smaller one to feed just a few people, but this recipe can be adjusted to whatever size you need)
1 bottle of Heinz Chili Sauce (it’s right next to the ketchup on the condiment aisle.)
12-15 oz. of Root Beer (I used diet root beer last time and couldn’t tell any difference at all. Huge reduction in calories.)

My pork loin ususally comes from the freezer, which is good for me because I need it to cook slowly all day while I”m at work. Having it frozen keeps it from overcooking. Drop it in your large crock-pot and cover the bottom of the pot in a few ounces of rootbeer. Put your crock-pot on the 8 or 10 hour setting, or low, and leave it. When you return several hours later, the pork will be falling apart in a string-like way and will smell delicious.

In a sauce pan, combine your jar of chili sauce and the rest of your root beer over high heat. Let it come to a boil and then let it simmer for at least half an hour (stirring often) so that it reduces to a sauce-like thickness. That’s it! Just pour the sauce right over the pork and serve with a side of your favorite veggies. It’s great with sweet potatoes cooked any way you like.

Lemon Posset

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If you’re looking for a great summertime dessert, here’s one for your recipe box. This is another recipe that came my way from my friend at work, West. He found it on The All Recipes picture shows it served in a martini glass, a beautiful way to serve the dessert, especially if you’re having the girls over for dinner. Lemon Posset is so easy, so delicious, and I can’t lie to you, so high in calories. But every once in a while, we all need to splurge. This one is worth it!  You can lighten this dessert up a little. Check out how I did that, below.

Lemon Posset
3 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cups white sugar
3 lemons juiced
3 tablespoons additional heavy cream for topping

In a saucepan, stir together 3 cups cream and sugar. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. Pour into serving glasses and refrigerate until set, about 5 hours. Pour a little more cream on the tops just before serving.

My tips: I lightened this recipe up by using 1 cup of sugar and pouring the mixture into 6 serving ramekins, instead of 5. I garnished it with a few blueberries and a sliced strawberry.

Banana Bread

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I love rotten bananas!
Here’s why… They make the best banana bread. Once again, banana bread is a food I really wasn’t crazy about it until my friend, West, shared this recipe with me. I work with West, so daily I’m subjected to his stories about the fantastic meal he cooked the night before. But I want to give him credit where credit is due. He’s a serious cook. The kind who keeps his own stock in the freezer and delves into recipes that take hours to prepare. This is NOT one of those recipes! And remember what West says… the darker the peel, the better the banana bread.

Banana Bread
(Makes 3 mini-loaves or 1 regular loaf)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together:
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup sugar

2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup banana pulp (about 2 bananas)

Mix together:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Add dry ingredients to banana mixture. Mix lightly until smooth. Fill each greased and floured pan three-quarters full.

Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out of loaf clean. Remove to cool. It is delicious hot, however. Banana bread will not freeze well.

Recipe from Mary Mac’s Team Room recipe book.

My tip: When you have really ripe bananas but don’t have time to make the bread, remove the pulp from the peel and freeze for later.

Pan-Fried Asparagus

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I have always turned my nose up at asparagus, that is until recently. My sister and I found this recipe for Pan-Fried Asparagus online at It is so delicious, so quick and easy to tweak to make it your own. These days, asparagus is on my grocery list every week and is a great go-to veggie side for anything I’m cooking. Honestly, though, I can decide what I love best about asparagus… the taste or how beautiful it looks on the plate! Let me know what you think of this one.

Pan-Fried Asparagus

1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound fresh asparagus spears, trimmed Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook garlic in butter for a minute, but do not brown. Add asparagus and cook for 10 minutes, turning asparagus to ensure even cookng.

Four servings. One serving has 119 calories, 18.5 g total fat, 31 mg cholesterol, 695 mg sodium, 6 g total carbs, 2.9 g protein. My tips: I use less butter, which cuts down on the calories.

Easy Crostini

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I have a confession. As much as I enjoy cooking and sharing recipes, and even as confident as I’ve become in my cooking ability during the past few years, I still panic when I have to take food to someone’s home.

Recently, my Sunday school class provided three days worth of dinners to a couple with a new baby. When I signed up, the only open spot was for a side item on a day when the main meal was going to be potato soup. Ahhhhhhh!!! Of course that would happen to me. What was I going to send to go with soup other than a big, boring salad? (Side note… I can’t stand making salad. It just doesn’t peak my culinary interest.)

So, as often happens in these situations, Kenley stepped in with a great suggestion. Little toasts was her answer to my dilemma, otherwise known as crostini.  As it turns out, crostini, according to Wisegeek, actually means “little toasts.” They are made by thinly slicing bread and toasting or grilling the slices so they become crispy. As often as I’ve enjoyed crostini on the side of an order of soup at Jason’s Deli or The Loop, I never thought about making them myself.  But, at Kenley’s urging, I did and they were yummy. I even slipped a few out of the container when I was on the way to drop them off. (I just couldn’t resist!) Here’s how to make them:

Easy Crostini
Loaf of French Bread (I used Pepperidge Farm because it was small in diameter, so toasts were the size you see in restaurants)
Olive oil
Sea salt
Ground black pepper
Shredded cheese (I used Cheddar, but Parmesan would be great too)

Thinly slice your bread so that it will become crispy when cooked. Combine olive oil, salt and pepper to taste in a ramekin or bowl. Lightly brush the oil on each piece. Using too much could make the bread soggy. Bake the bread according the the package directions. Mine said to bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes. That was perfect for these pieces. Remove the bread from the oven and allow them to cool for a few minutes. Sprinkle a small amount of cheese on each one and put them back in the oven on broil, only long enough to melt the cheese. Serve immediately or store in an air-tight container. They’re good for several days.

My tips: I’m sure there are a million different ways to make these, but this is what worked for me. Also, you could leave off the cheese and serve them with a delicious goat cheese spread. I’ll round up a good goat cheese spread recipe and share it with you soon. If you’ve got one I need to try, send it to me and I’ll post it for everyone to enjoy.