Caramel Apple Recipe Roundup


I’ve compiled a round-up for you of all the Caramel Apple recipes from Caramel Apple Week’s 2014 & 2015, all in one handy list. I hope you find an idea to inspire you, and that caramel recipe really to die for! If you don’t feel like taking the time to dip the apples, try my Salted Caramel Sauce for a delicious dip for apple slices!

#blondegirlcravings and show me your caramel apple creations!

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Caramel Apple Popcorn

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Tropical Caramel Apple

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Granola Crunch Caramel Apple

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Cookies & Cream Caramel Apple

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Apple Pie Caramel Apple

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Chunky Monkey Caramel Apple

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Peanut Butter Lovers Caramel Apple


Turtle Caramel Apple


Smore’s Caramel Apple


Samoa Caramel Apple


Cranberry Bliss Caramel Apple


Almond Joy Caramel Apple

the kitchen sink

Kitchen Sink Caramel Apple


Ball park Caramel Apple

Mary’s Maine bars

One of the best parts of blogging, aside from getting to taste test lots of great food, is the opportunity to work with some awesome brands. Sponsored opportunities are part of what makes a blog possible, and when given the chance to help a meaningful charity its a win-win!


Last year I participated in Cookies For Kid’s Cancer, and recently got and email  asking if I would like to participate in Bake a Difference with OXO for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer and Dorie Greenspan. I would be sent some awesome baking supplies from OXO and make a recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s new cookbook Dorie’s Cookies, being released in October 2016. The cookie book delves into over 200 recipes from classics to brownies to savory cookies. Cookies for Kid’s Cancer will be donating $100 to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer for each blog post (up to our $100,000 commitment.) As you can Imagine, I was giddy when the box of goodies arrived on my doorstep. I received the following:

Glass 3 Qt Baking Dish with Lid
Glass 2 Qt Baking Dish with Lid
Brownie Spatula
Illuminating Digital Hand Mixer

I selected Mary’s Maine Bars for my recipe. I am feeling all the fall recipes right now, and these molasses and spice bars sounded like a home-run to me. I served them with whipped cream, and they made the perfect fall dessert. They would be a wonderful addition to a holiday spread as well!


I have included some pictures of the bake-ware in action, but it’s hard to tell from pictures what high quality these products are. I have been using the same hand mixer I received in high school, and I am embarassed to admit what bad shape it was in. This mixer is amazing! I have never seen one with an illuminating feature before, but its something you don’t want to miss. It makes it so much easier to see what you are mixing!



DSCN6519When you’re finished, the on-board beater clip, wrap-and-secure cord, and flat, stable base allow for compact, upright storage.


Made from BPA-free borosilicate glass, OXO Good Grips Glass Bakeware can withstand extreme temperature changes.



The glass baking dishes with lids are heavy duty, and the lids made them perfect for storing. No more struggling with foil or plastic wrap for me!

Generous handles and sloshproof lids make moving full dishes easier, and the clean, elegant design means you can take them from the oven directly to the family table.



With a light to guide you, OXO On Illuminating Digital Hand Mixer includes intuitive digital controls to steadily increase or decrease speed.


Mary’s Maine Bars

Recipe from Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan

When Mary Dodd, my wonderful recipe tester, returned from a family trip to Maine, she cooked everything Maine, from lobsters to chowders to blueberry muffins, for weeks afterward, if not earning herself honorary citizenship in the Pine Tree State, then at least making the rest of us believe she was a Down Easter. Of the things she cooked and baked, this recipe turned up most often, bringing happiness with it. Mary’s first taste of the bars was in Portland, where they were called Little Cranberry Island Gingerbread. It must be some kind of Maine magic, but the combination of molasses and a hefty dose of cinnamon and cloves but no ginger, tricks you into believing you’re eating old-fashioned gingerbread.

I’m the suggestible type, so when Mary told me the recipe was from Maine, the first thing I wanted with it was blueberries. Turns out that folding some blueberries into the dough is as good as you’d think it would be. Serving the bars with whipped cream and Blueberry Syrup is also good. In fact, the full flavors of molasses and spice invite other matches. Try spooning some Mixed Citrus Curd over the bars or go deep and swirl spiced apple butter through the dough; see Playing Around.

A word on the measuring trick: Whenever you’ve got something sticky like molasses (or honey or corn syrup) in a recipe, measure it in a glass measuring cup that you’ve buttered or oiled; the butter or oil slicks the way for the sticky stuff to just slither out. And when you’ve got oil in the recipe — as you do here — measure the oil first and pour it out, then measure the molasses — it’ll slide out of the cup, leaving almost no residue.

Mary’s Maine bars

Yield: Makes about 20 squares


  • 1½ cups (204 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups (204 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • ¾ cup (180 ml) unsulfured molasses
  • ½ cup (120 ml) flavorless oil, such as canola
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) buttermilk, at room temperature
  • Sanding or granulated sugar, for sprinkling


Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a 9-x-13-inch baking pan or coat it with baking spray. Line it with a piece of parchment paper.

Whisk both flours, the baking soda, salt and spices together.

Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the sugar, molasses, oil and egg together until smooth. Add half of the dry ingredients and pulse the mixer to start blending them in, then beat on low speed only until the flour disappears into the dough. Pour in the buttermilk and mix to combine. Add the remainder of the dry ingredients and, still working on low, beat until incorporated. You’ll have a smooth, heavy, sticky dough. Scrape the dough into the pan, using a knife or offset spatula to get it into the corners and to even the top as best you can. Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 26 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan after 15 minutes, or until the top is dry and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack.

After 10 minutes, run a blunt table knife around the edges of the pan, invert the Maine bars onto a rack, peel away the paper, turn it over onto another rack and let cool. When you’re ready, cut it into 20 bars (about 1¾ x 3¼ inches).

Maine Blueberry Bars.

Once the dough is mixed, gently stir in 1 cup fresh blueberries. Or, if you’re making this in any season but summer, use 1 cup dried blueberries that you’ve soaked in very hot tap water for about 10 minutes, drained and patted dry.

Maine Apple Butter Bars.

Once the dough is spread evenly in the pan, dot the top with spoonfuls of apple butter (spiced or plain) — you’ll need about ¼ cup — and use a blunt table knife to swirl it into the dough to create a nicely marbled surface.


Wrap the bars well, and they will be fine at room temperature for at least 4 days; wrapped airtight, they can be frozen for up to 2 months.

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Pretzel Rolls

When you live in a town as small as I do, grocery shopping tends to be less than exciting. You can find the basics, but Gouda cheese or a good balsamic vinegar? Good luck!


That may not be such a bad thing though, because it really helps me budget my grocery bill. It also forces me into making things at home that you could probably pick up at a bigger grocery store. These pretzel rolls are a perfect example. And while I haven’t actually tried a store bought pretzel roll, I though these were to die for. I mean, AMAZING people. One of my favorite things to ever come out of my kitchen!


These made some pretty fantastic sandwiches, but shaped differently would also be great hamburger buns or even dinner rolls. Soooo good! And I promise, they aren’t hard to make, and you will be so proud of yourself for making homemade pretzel buns!! I loved all the cheese and seeds on top of these buns, but plain or even with a sprinkle of course salt would be delicious.


Pretzel Rolls


  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 12 cups water
  • ½ cup baking soda
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Optional Toppings:
  • coarse salt
  • poppy seeds
  • sesame seeds
  • shredded cheese


Heat milk and butter in a saucepan or the microwave until the temperature reaches 130 degrees.

Add the heated milk and butter to a stand mixer with the dough hook attached.

Add in honey, yeast and salt and stir to combine.

Add in flour, 1 cup at a time on low speed. If dough is still sticking to the bottom add more flour.

Knead the dough for 5 minutes in the stand mixer. (If you do not have a stand mixer knead by hand)

Shape into a ball and place the dough in a large bowl lightly coated in oil.

Cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm area until the dough doubles in size. Usually takes about an hour.

Divide the dough into 4 rolls. (You can do smaller or larger rolls depending on your use). Cover and let the rolls rest for an additional 15 minutes.

Meanwhile preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

Boil water in a large pot. (Make sure to give yourself extra room. Baking soda will make the water foam up and rise) Add in baking soda.

Drop rolls into the water making sure not to over crowd the pot. Cook for 2 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Make sure the rolls do not touch.

Combine the egg and water and whisk until combined.

Brush the rolls with egg wash.

Cut two slits in the top of each roll. You can do crosswise or side by side.

Sprinkle the rolls with toppings (if using) and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow them to cool for a couple of minutes on the baking sheet.

Serve immediately, or freeze.

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Recipe Source: Chef Savvy

Tropical Banana Bread


Some may call me crazy, but I already have most of my Christmas shopping done. Purchased at least, anything that needs to be crafted or assembled will happen closer to the holiday.

Since most of the gifts are bought, I thought I should start getting a leg up on purchasing holiday baking ingredients. I love to bake more than ever around the holiday’s, but it can get expensive!


One ingredient that I always have on hand? Bananas! A few always seem to brown before they get eaten, so into my freezer they go. This banana bread is a fun twist on the traditional loaf. I took all the ingredients I loved in my Tropical Blondies and added them to a super quick and simple bread. Delicious!


Tropical Banana Bread


  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1 cup chopped dried pineapple
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana (2 to 3 medium bananas)
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil, in its liquid state
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Spay a 9x5 loaf pan with nonstick spray, set aside.

In a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat toast the coconut and macadamia nuts until they become lightly golden. Remove from the heat immediately. Set aside.

Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.

Mix together the eggs, banana, coconut oil,and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir to combine.

Stir in the coconut, nuts (reserve some for the top if you like) and pineapple. Pour into the prepared pan. Top with reserved coconut and macadamia nuts.

Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. You may have to tent the top if the coconut or nuts start to get too brown.

Allow the bread to cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then remove from the pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

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Recipe adapted from Cookies & Cups

Breakfast Corn Dogs

School is in session! I might sound excited about it, but I’m not. I had no idea when becoming a parent that everyday would be a battle to come up with fast, creative, healthy fun meals for my kids. 3 OF THEM EVERY DAY!


These breakfast corn dogs might not be the most healthy breakfast option around, but sometimes I like to give my kids a treat. These freeze well, just heat in the microwave to partially defrost and bake at 400 degrees to crisp.

Some days, a fun breakfast like this is just what it takes to perk my kids up and get them fed and out the door without (too much) of a fight!

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Breakfast Corn Dogs


  • 16 breakfast sausage links
  • 16 bamboo skewers
  • 1.5 cups pancake mix
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1.5 cups water
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • Warm maple syrup, for serving


Cook sausage in a frying pan over medium-high heat until cooked through.*

Pat cooked sausage with paper towels to absorb excess grease and insert a bamboo skewer into each sausage; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine pancake mix, cornmeal, and cinnamon.

Add egg, vanilla and water, adding more water as needed for the batter to become slightly thick. Start out by adding 1 cup, then work your way up.

Heat some canola oil in a large pot over medium-high heat to about 350 degrees F.

Dip each sausage into batter and allow excess to drip off for a few seconds.

Carefully drop each battered sausage into oil and use tongs to turn each corn dog to ensure even browning.

Remove corn dogs from oil when the outside is golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve with warm maple syrup for dipping.

*Sausage can be cooked and refrigerated ahead of time to shorten prep time

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Recipe adapted from Six Sisters Stuff

Mexican Chicken Taco Skillet


You guys. How is summer almost over and school about to start? I am sooo not ready for this! M will be in first grade this year, and a full-time student. Which means homework, and picking up/dropping off kids at two different places on weekdays.


I know that I am going to need to have plenty of one pot meals in my arsenal to help me get dinner on the table on crazy school nights.

I seems that pretty much everyone loves anything “Mexican” or “taco” and this easy meal doesn’t disappoint. Just a few minutes prep and one pot(!) and dinner is cooking. This dish can be topped with any of your favorite taco toppings, so everyone in the family add what they like. Winner winner chicken dinner!


Mexican Chicken Taco Skillet


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 lb. chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 taco seasoning packet (or 3 tablespoons, if using a bulk mix)
  • 1 (14oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14oz) can corn, drained
  • 3/4 cup long grain white rice (I use Jasmine)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 6 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
  • Taco Toppings:
  • sour cream, tomatoes, diced avocado, black olives, cilantro, chips etc.


Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook the onion and chicken pieces in the oil until the chicken is browned and the onion is tender, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the taco seasoning, diced tomatoes (undrained), mexicorn, white rice and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered for 20 minutes (or until rice is cooked through), stirring halfway.

Top with cheese and cover for 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from heat and top with taco toppings as desired. Leftovers heat well!

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Circus Animal Cookie Ice Cream

Two years!! Two years since I decided to create a blog, two years since I started taking pictures of food and posting them for all the world to see. Two years of recipe trials, fails and successes.

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A lot can happen in two years, thank you all for sticking with me while I learn and little little blog of mine grows. I love each and every one of you!

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Sprinkles scream celebration, and ice cream is one of my top 5 favorite foods, so I have the most cheerful – EASY!- ice cream recipe for you, chalk full of sprinkles and yummy cookies to celebrate the big 2!

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Circus Animal Cookie Ice Cream


  • 2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 Can 14oz Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Cups roughly chopped Circus Animal Cookies
  • 1/4 cup sprinkles


Whip 2 cups of heavy whipping cream and vanilla until stiff peaks have formed.

Pour in sweetened condensed milk and vanilla, fold just until combined.

Pour half of your whipping cream mixture into a freezer safe container. Swirl in a layer of circus animal cookies and sprinkles. Pour and smooth more ice cream mixture over the first layer and then finish with another layer of cookies.

Freeze in container over night.

*Ice cream will freeze solid but softens perfectly to serve after a few minutes left sitting out on the counter.

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Homemade Hamburger Helper


Once a year when I was little my dad would leave my mom, brother and I home for a week and go on a hunting trip. While I’m sure we missed him, we looked forward to eating some of the meals that Dad wasn’t fond of. One of those meals was Hamburger Helper, particularly the “cheeseburger macaroni” kind. For me, that was my favorite and I could eat it by the bowl-ful.


I still love cheeseburger macaroni just as much now that I am an adult, but as a food blogger I love finding homemade versions of store-bought favorites that taste better and are a little better for you.


This recipe doesn’t disappoint. It’s about as easy as dinner can get, and comes together quickly. One pan meals are my favorite, and a meal that the kids and I love without having to do lots of dishes is a win-win for me!

Homemade Hamburger Helper


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3/4 cup dry macaroni
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese


1 pound ground beef

3/4 cup dry macaroni

1 cup hot water

2 cups milk

1 tablespoon corn starch

1 tablespoon paprika

2 teaspoons onion powder

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon mustard powder

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

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Recipe Source: Buns In My Oven

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes



Its been interesting to watch how my kids’ tastes change over the years. They started out as great eaters, but now like most kids its sometimes like pulling teeth to get them to eat a balanced meal.




I really can’t blame them for their changing tastes though, because in the last few months I have noticed that my tastes have been changing too. Example? All the sudden, I want all things vinegar. Bring on the bread and butter pickles, pepperoncini peppers and pickled bean salad. Maybe its just a phase, but I can’t get enough!



Breakfast used to be the meal I would gladly skip, or eat cold pizza or leftover because breakfast foods didn’t really do it for me. Not anymore! Now I love breakfast, brunch, brinner, both savory and sweet. Pancakes are best at dinner time to me, and these pancakes rocked my world. I adore anything lemon, and the ricotta cheese made these taste reminiscent of cheesecake to me. Cheesecake at breakfast? I’ll take it! I loved these with blackberry syrup, but the kids enjoyed them with maple syrup.




Lemon Ricotta Pancakes


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup full-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Blackberry or maple syrup for serving


In a large bowl add the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; whisk well to combine. In a separate bowl add the eggs and lightly beat them with a whisk. Add in the milk, ricotta, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla and beat until well combined. Stir this wet mixture into the dry ingredients, stirring just until everything is combined. Be careful not to over mix the batter.

Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a buttered hot pan or griddle. Cook for about 3 minutes before flipping them over, or until small bubbles form on top. Cook on the second side until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Repeat with all pancake batter. Serve pancakes warm, with syrup.

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I love cooking and would do it all day every day if I could. That much is obvious. But even a foodie like me draws the line at being in the kitchen when its as hot as it is right now. I don’t have AC, so I can only stand to be in the kitchen long enough to throw something quick together.



This sandwich makes the perfect lunch or dinner. I like it so much better than traditional chicken salad, and we all know bacon and ranch makes everything better! This makes a wonderful sandwich, but would be great with crackers, on a croissant or over a bed of greens.


Light Ranch BLT Chicken Sandwich


  • ¼ c. light mayo
  • ¼ c. non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. djjon
  • 1 Tbsp. ranch seasoning
  • 1.5 c. chicken cooked and cubed
  • ¾ c. tomato, seeded and chopped
  • ⅓ c. bacon pieces cooked
  • ½ c. green onions diced
  • 8 slices wheat bread
  • lettuce for garnish


In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayo, yogurt, dijon and ranch seasoning until well combined. To that add the chicken, tomatoes, bacon and green onion. Stir until evenly coated. Store refrigerated for 1-2 hours before serving for the best flavors.

Arrange salad and lettuce on bread, serve immediately

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