Turtle Scones

Turtle Scones

There are times that I really need some baking inspiration.

When that happens, I head to bakeries or farmers’ markets. At both, there are people displaying their wares and their creativity. I need both, believe me!

At the market a few weeks ago, a woman was selling turtle scones. The second I saw them, I knew I had to bake my own. Here they are. Could anyone not want these for breakfast? Nope, didn’t think so!

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Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookie Bars

Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookie Bars

Have you ever met anyone who doesn’t love a chocolate chip cookie?

If you have, you can inform them that they are missing a soul. I’m sorry, I know taste is subjective. But I mean, come on. It’s a chocolate chip cookie!

When you’re feeling lazy, make bars instead. These chocolate chip bars are also full of chopped pecans and topped off with chocolate drizzle. The flair on top is optional, but I love me some drizzle.

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Salted Caramel Pecan Pastry Ring

Salted Caramel Pecan Pastry Ring

Breakfast is such a huge motivator in my life. I don’t let myself eat until after my workout. It’s good to have something to work toward!

Does that work for everyone? Nope. My friend is more of an evening exerciser. By that time, I am done and a half. Can barely move, except to lift the fork to my mouth to eat dessert. That’s my workout later in the day!

When you want a good breakfast treat that is homemade but easy, I recommend turning to refrigerated biscuits. Not to make biscuits with, silly. To make something far more fun. This salted caramel pecan pastry ring is delicious and perfect for the morning, not to mention pretty quick to put together. It takes the usual five minutes or so!

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Pecan Squares

Pecan Squares

Fill in the blank for me: “As American as _____________.”

Did you say “apple pie?” If you did, I salute you. That’s the expression. But I’m not here for apple pie today. I’m here to talk about an oft-neglected staple of American dessert cuisine: the pecan.

We never really think about something until it’s gone, which I learned with the pecan from my sister-in-law’s mother. She hails from Ecuador, and apparently, the pecan action there is rather lacking. She once told me that when she comes to the U.S., she gets her fill of pecans and chocolate chips. They’re not available everywhere. Remember that next time you turn down that slice of pecan pie!

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German Chocolate Brownies

German Chocolate Brownies

Aw yeah. I went there.

Full confession: until a few years ago, I turned my nose up at all coconut desserts. All of them. And then one day, the angels spoke to me and I ate an Almond Joy. Boy, did I feel like an idiot. It was delicious.

Since then, I’ve come to realize how much a heap of coconut on top of a dessert can change the game. And when that heap of coconut happens to be couched in easy, gooey German chocolate frosting, so much the better.

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Turtle Pie

Turtle Pie

I have a cold. My youngest gave it to me by shoving her fingers in my mouth while she was snotting right and left. See, she never wants me quite so much as she does when she’s sick. Maybe she’s just more attached to Mommy when she’s not feeling well. Or maybe she thinks it’s really funny to get Mommy all sneezy and wheezy.

Diseases terrify me, mainly because my house is like a germ incubator. With three kids running around, we get no break between October and May in the sickness department. For the past few years, I’ve averaged 5 stomach viruses per school year. Colds are nothing in comparison.

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Caramelized Pecan And Pumpkin Fudge

Caramelized Pecan and Pumpkin Fudge

Remember when dessert used to be a simple affair? A brownie. A cookie. A piece of chocolate fudge, plain.

Well, folks, them days are over. And thank heaven they are, because dessert is being pushed farther than ever before, all because of food blogging. How can anyone possibly object? We’re baking as fast as genius food manufacturers are developing newer products.

Like Nestl√©’s pumpkin spice-flavored morsels. I saw them at Target and bought 4 bags. I had to play with them! And the first recipe they yielded is this caramelized pecan and pumpkin spice fudge.

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Pumpkin Spice Magic Bars

Pumpkin Spice Magic Bars

Do any of you feel like a trip to the grocery store is a vacation? Especially if you have kids and they’re not there?

You can wander up and down aisles, picking things up at leisure and putting them down. You can try free samples. You can hunt for new products. And if there’s a Starbucks in the store, you can do it all with a lovely hot cup of beverage.

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Magic Twist Bars (Gluten-Free!)

Magic Twist Bars (Gluten-Free!)

Today is my first day back at work. Ah, the good ol’ grind. A week from today, my now empty classroom will be full of sleepy teenagers wondering what in the heck happened to their freedom. I will be annoyingly perky and they will hate me. Heh heh heh.

This is year 15 for me as a teacher, and every year, I love it just a little bit more. Teaching is unpredictable and active and just so much fun. I laugh a lot at work. But then, I find people funny. Kids especially. I know that my own kids get really mad when they think I’m laughing at them (i.e., all the time), so I will do a better job of hiding my smiles at work. Maybe.

To make my esteemed colleagues feel a bit better about returning, I’ve made some treats. One of my teacher buddies can’t have gluten, and guess what? She’s been teaching for over 35 years. So I think she deserves these bars!

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Cinnamon Pecan Crunch Bars

Cinnamon Pecan Crunch Bars

My middle daughter is quite a diva. At age four, she is already demanding in ways I never remember being.

I was doing her hair the other day and she asked for me to do it “just like Elsa’s.” I swear to all the powers above, Frozen is doing me in. My hair is turning gray from that movie alone and how addicted my kids are to it. Anyway, no matter what I did to her hair, she continued to insist that it didn’t look right. I mean, duh. She has shoulder-length dirty blonde curly hair. Elsa has waist-length platinum flowy masses of Pantene commercial hair.

But try explaining that to a preschooler. To say she threw a tantrum would be an understatement.

She’s also been planning her fourth birthday party with way too much intricate detail. Have I mentioned she has two themes? Hello Kitty and (duh again) Frozen. Luckily, when it comes to party prep, I actually bake enough to satisfy her. And these cinnamon crunch bars are all part of the pre-party baking binge!

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