My closest friends are people who know and understand that it is totally acceptable to eat cake for breakfast! I first had this Cider Donut Bundt Cake when a friend served it at a brunch. It has the perfect mild apple flavor to have with a piping hot cup of coffee. Giving the recipe the perfect flavors for fall are the touch of wheat flour and the hint of spices that mix with the apple. And while I have been quoted as saying that “cake is simply a vehicle that enables the consumption of frosting,” you really can’t go wrong with this cake and a dusting of cinnamon sugar. – Tracy
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. whole-wheat flour
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 ¾ c. sugar
1 c. apple cider
¾ c. light vegetable oil (I use canola oil)
¾ c. unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 T. melted butter
For Cinnamon Sugar Sprinkle:
1 T. cinnamon
2 T. sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl, lightly whisk together both flours, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In another bowl, combine sugar, cider, applesauce, oil, vanilla, and eggs. Add egg mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well.
Pour into a very well-greased and floured bundt cake pan. If using a flour cooking spray, spray generously.
Bake at 350 for approximately 45 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
While cake is baking, remember to mix 1 T. of cinnamon with 2 T. of sugar for the sprinkle and set aside.
Place cake pan on a wire rack upon removal from the oven and allow to cool for 10 – 15 minutes before turning cake out onto plate. Be careful turning out the cake as the pan itself may still be very warm.
Lightly brush cake top with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture.
All the Christmas in July talk had me craving my Chistmas snacks. For the last several Christmases my friend Kena has gifted us a large bag of her spicy pretzels. They are so good and I look forward to her gift of them every year (are you reading this Kena?)! They have the perfect combination of a salty crunch with a bit of spice to them. The ONLY negative is that the pretzel recipe has a pretty significant about of oil in the ingredients. I am a snacker, and often find myself looking for something to munch on. These chickpeas satisfy my craving for that spicy crunch, but keep the snack on the healthier side – and they let me keep looking forward to Kena’s Christmas pretzels! ~Tracy
1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (I used Bush’s Organic Garbanzo Beans)
½ tsp. garlic salt
¼ tsp. lemon pepper
½ tsp. red cayenne pepper
¼ tsp. onion powder
1 T. powdered ranch dressing mix
dash black pepper
Canola oil cooking spray
Spread chickpeas evenly in one flat layer on paper towels. Allow them to dry on the kitchen counter for three to four hours, rolling them occasionally so that they evenly dry on all sides.
Lightly spray chickpeas with canola oil cooking spray. Roll them around and lightly spray again making an effort to coat them lightly, but evenly.
In a large zip style baggie, combine all dry ingredients and shake to combine well. Add the sprayed chickpeas to the bag, seal, and gently shake to coat the chickpeas with the spice mixture.
Place chickpeas in the basket of air fryer and cook on 340 for 14-16 minutes. You can click here for the link to my air fryer.
Air fryers vary in power, so begin to check the chickpeas at about the 14 minute mark for the desired crispiness. My family likes them very crispy, but I don’t mind them with a little softness in the center. You can experiment with what you like.
Chickpeas are ZERO WW points! Some may argue that with the cooking spray these should be counted on WW, but per serving I’m not going to count the negligible amount.
Let me tell you a little story about how we stole a cheesecake from my sister. It was totally by accident, I swear. It was the day before Christmas Eve that we drove to my sister Tracy’s house for our side of the family’s Christmas celebration. Tracy lives about two and half hours from us so we’re talking about a fairly significant road trip here. When we got there, we put the food items we brought in their spare fridge in their garage. Fun was had, gifts were opened, food was eaten and then returned to the garage fridge until time to go home.
Fast forward to time to load the car. My husband grabbed our food from the garage fridge before heading home. We arrived home very late so we left the food in the car, since it was plenty cold outside. The next morning, we realized we had an extra cake carrier, containing a creamy, dreamy pumpkin cheesecake that was meant for Tracy’s in-laws Christmas that day. Oops! Luckily, Tracy found it hilarious that we accidentally stole her cheesecake… after the initial shock wore off.
My poor husband felt so bad that he offered to drive it all the way to their house. Tracy insisted it was not necessary but my nephew was not so easily consoled. He was looking forward to that cheesecake. (Can’t say I blame him…it was beyond delicious. I tried really hard to feel guilty as I ate it). As consolation, I offered to make him any cheesecake flavor he wanted for his upcoming birthday. That’s where this Lemon Cheesecake comes into play. This was the birthday cheesecake he chose.
His birthday was a month ago and I’ve made it again since then, plus I plan to make it for Easter as well. It’s the kind of dessert that’s both rich and refreshing at the same time…it leaves you wanting more! The crust is buttery, the filling is creamy, and the topping is an extra punch of sweet, tart lemon. Worth every bit of effort to make all three components. It’s sure to impress everyone who tastes it! In fact, I am impressed every time I make it, if I do say so myself. It’s hard to be humble. ~Erin
Lemon Curd Topping Ingredients:
The zest of 4-5 lemons
1 ½ c. sugar
¼ lb. (1 stick) real butter, room temperature
4 large eggs
½ c. fresh lemon juice
A scant 1/8 tsp. salt (a generous pinch)
3 c. finely crushed graham crackers (I crush them in a gallon baggie with a rolling pin.)
½ c. sugar
1 1/3 sticks of real butter, melted
24 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 ¼ c. sugar
3 eggs, room temperature*
The zest of 5 lemons (avoid the white pith)
¼ c. fresh lemon juice
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
Instructions for Lemon Curd Topping:
In a medium sauce pan, combine the lemon zest with the sugar.
Cream the butter into the sugar/zest mixture.
Add the eggs, one at a time, until fully combined; then stir in the lemon juice and salt until combined.
Cook over low/medium heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly, or until it coats the back of a spoon. It may simmer slightly but don’t let it come to a boil.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool; transfer to the refrigerator to cool for at least 4 hours.
Run through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth if bits of egg are present in the curd.
Instructions for Crust:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a large baggie, crush graham crackers a few at a time (I use a rolling pin to crush them) until you have approximately 3 cups.
Add to a medium bowl and stir in the sugar until well combined.
Stir in the melted butter until crumbs are well-coated.
Press graham crackers into the bottom and up the sides of a nine-inch spring form pan.
Bake for around 15 minutes.
Removed from the oven and set aside to cool.
Instructions for Filling:
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer.
Add eggs, one at a time, thoroughly incorporating each one before adding the next.
Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla and combine thoroughly.
Add the filling to the crust and bake in the preheated oven for 50-55 minutes.
Remove from the oven an allow to cool for 30 minutes at room temp. Transfer to the fridge to cool for at least 4 hours. Removed the sides of the spring form pan and spread on the lemon curd topping before slicing and serving.
I love a dish that is versatile. My favorite foods are those that you can eat any time of day …. breakfast, lunch, dinner. This twist on a Mexican classic is perfect for any time of day, whether you just want something easy and yummy to eat, or you’re looking for something to have for your next brunch or baby shower! Anytime of day you make it, it’s guaranteed to be a hit. Generally breaded and fried, the chili relleno is loaded with flavor, but who has time (or the allotted calories) for fried foods? In this dish the green chilies add the perfect amount of flavor, but they are not spicy. This recipe mixes up quickly and bakes while you accomplish other things on your to-do list. Served alongside fruit salad or a green salad it is totally delicious! ~ Kathy
½ c. Greek yogurt*
1 c. Colby jack cheese, shredded
1 T 2% milk
1/3 c. Bisquick baking mix
7 oz. can mild, diced green chilies
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Dash garlic powder
Dash onion powder
Preheat oven to 350˚
Grease a 9×13 casserole dish.
In a large bowl crack 6 eggs, add Greek yogurt and mix well.
In a small bowl, combine the baking mix, milk and remaining two eggs. Combine well and ensure there are no lumps. Add to egg mixture in the large bowl.
Stir in cheese, green chilies and seasonings.
Pour into greased baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes. Uncover and bake for approximately 30 more minutes, or until completely set in the center.
*If you do not have Greek yogurt, you can substitute sour cream, but this will change the WW Points.
WW Freestyle Info.: This recipe makes 6 generous servings that are 4 points each. With reduced fat cheese, you can reduce that to 3 points!
Each year, I search and search for a recipe to send out with my Christmas cards. I found a similar recipe to this, tweaked it just a bit, and perfection was born. These have a ton of great flavor…they are a little sweet and a whole lot of delicious! You can use light or regular cream cheese for the frosting, add a little more or a little less orange zest, depending on your taste. Completely customizable to your tastes. Plus, they turn out really pretty. Great for a holiday cookie exchange, gifts to neighbors, or to devour yourself! They are ah-maz-ing!! ~Kathy
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) butter
1 1/3 c. packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. freshly grated orange zest
2 1/8 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 c. dried cranberries, coarsely chopped (this helps distribute them more evenly throughout
4 ounces white baking chocolate, coarsely chopped or 1/2 2/3 cup white chocolate chips
Frosting / Topping:
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened (regular or light)
3/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. freshly grated orange zest
4 oz. white baking chocolate, melted
1/2 c. dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350˚F and lightly grease a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray.
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter.
Stir in the brown sugar until well-combined.
Whisk in the eggs, vanilla extract and orange zest.
Stir in the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon until well combined; then fold in the cranberries and white chocolate.
Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with moist (not gooey) crumbs. Do NOT over bake!!!
Let the bars cool completely in the pan.
For the frosting, using an electric mixer (handheld or stand mixer), beat the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar and salt together until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes).
Mix in the vanilla.
Add about half of the melted chocolate and mix until creamy.
Spread the frosting onto the cooled bars.
Sprinkle with cranberries and orange zest and drizzle the remaining white chocolate over the top. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set.
I bake cookies. Often. OK, too often. Actually, I take that back – it’s always a good time for cookies! I definitely have my favorite recipes, but often, when I try something new, I’m left a little disappointed that I didn’t make one of my standard favorites. So, this time, I decided to create my own recipe combining some of my favorite things (there’s a song in there somewhere, I think). The result was this plate of cookie perfection! This cookie is the perfect blend of chewy and chocolatey, while including the perfect hint of tart flavor with the dried cranberries. Even for folks who don’t like raw coconut, the toasted coconut in these cookies provides the perfect amount of nuttiness. Try ‘em today! ~Tracy
1 c. stick butter, softened to room temperature
¾ c. brown sugar
½ c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 ½ c. quick cook oats
1 c. dried Cranberries
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped into small chunks
1 ½ c. toasted coconut (see note)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat eggs and sugars together until creamy.
Add eggs and vanilla.
Combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Pour into butter mixture and mix well.
Stir in oatmeal and cranberries just until mixed into cookie mixture.
Gently stir in the toasted coconut to avoid breaking it up.
Drop by generous tablespoons full onto sprayed or parchment lined cookie sheet.
Bake approximately 10-12 minutes (cooking times vary by oven).
Cool on rack before serving.
Note: To toast coconut, thinly spread coconut in medium skillet. Cook on medium to low temperature until coconut begins to brown slightly. Stir coconut occasionally until all turns a golden brown color. Watch the coconut closely and adjust temperature to avoid burning. Once most of the coconut is toasted and golden (you may have a few pieces that stay somewhat white), remove from skillet and spread on wax paper or parchment paper and allow to cool before use.
I am crazy about pumpkin pie, but I pretty much only have it two times a year – at Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s not at all at a hard pie to make, but it just seems like a holiday pie to me! That said, I LOVE making other pumpkin recipes all year long, but since I ate pretty much whatever I wanted from the time the plane took off for our girls’ trip in Nashville in mid-October until Thanksgiving, I was wanting something I could eat that seemed indulgent – but would allow my pants to continue to fit by Christmas.
I decided to see if Tracy’s Greek Yogurt Pancakes could become pumpkin-spiced, and I SO happy with the result. Paired with your favorite syrup, these have just the right amount of pumpkin and not-at-all-secret spices to make you feel like you’re having a serious dessert. These are definitely going on our Christmas morning menu – and a few other days in between, I’m sure, since my 5 year old has requested them several times, even though the recipe has only existed for about a week! Hope you and yours enjoy them as much as we do. ~Robin
2 c. plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 c. pumpkin puree
1 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
¾ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. (or very slightly more) ground nutmeg
¼ c. plus 1 T. sugar
1 tsp. salt
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
Pour Greek yogurt and pumpkin puree into a medium sized mixing bowl or the bowl of electric stand mixer. Combine all dry ingredients and add to yogurt/pumpkin mixture. Mix just until dry ingredients are incorporated well.
Combine eggs and vanilla. Add to yogurt mixture and mix until well combined.
Cook in sprayed skillet or griddle pan until each side is golden brown (on medium or a little cooler). You can gauge when to flip each pancake when bubbles begin to form on the uncooked side.
WW Freestyle Info.: Makes 24 pancakes at approximately 5-inch diameter each. Each pancake is 1 point.
My sisters and I have a love for all things cranberry. I even love the cranberry ‘sauce’ that you must carefully remove from its can so that it retains that perfect can shape. With the holiday season about to be in full swing, I’m already planning which family get-together (or rare weekend at home) can be an excuse to make one of my favorites. This Christmas Cranberry Cobbler is the perfect combination of tart cranberries and a sweet cobbler topping. It’s great by itself or topped with a couple of scoops of your favorite vanilla ice cream. I’ve even been known to eat it for breakfast….cranberries are fruit, after all. ~Tracy
2 12 oz. bags of fresh cranberries
½ c. + 2 T. granulated sugar
½ c. packed brown sugar
zest from 2 med. oranges
juice from 2 med. Oranges
2 tsp. Corn starch
Ingredients for topping:
1 ½ c. all-purpose flour
⅓ c. brown sugar
⅓ c. granulated sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 ½ tsp. Baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 stick butter
⅓ c. boiling water
Ingredients for sprinkle on top:
¼ tsp. Cinnamon
1 T. granulated sugar
Rinse cranberries and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Add orange zest and juice to cranberries. Stir in sugar, brown sugar, and cornstarch and combine the entire mixture. Set cranberries aside.
In a separate medium mixing bowl for topping, combine flour, cinnamon, both sugars, salt, and baking soda.
Chop the butter into small pieces and use a pastry cutter to combine it with the flour mixture until all is crumbly.
Add boiling water and mix with the flour mixture until forms a thick doughish batter.
Spoon the cranberries in a 9×13 casserole dish that you have sprayed with cooking spray. Be sure to transfer all of the juices.
Dollop spoonsful of the batter over the top of the cranberries covering the top.
Combine the ¼ tsp. of cinnamon and the tablespoon of sugar and sprinkle evenly over the top of the batter.
Bake in a preheated oven at 375 for approximately 40 minutes.
Allow to stand and thicken for approx. 15 minutes before serving.
This summer, Tracy’s oldest son turned 18. Instead of cake, he asked for a dessert smorgasbord (a kid after my own heart) so he could have a dessert sampler-platter of sorts. Here is the birthday boy with his buffet!
The four of us girls and our Mom each made a different dessert, based on his request. Side note: there is no discussion needed when desserts are requested around us!! Anywho, Mom and I were talking about pecan pie recipes, we made them slightly different, so we combined the two versions and this recipe was born. It is seriously, without a doubt, the best pecan pie known to a pecan pie lover. So, if you have a hankering, or if you need a knock-your-socks-off pecan pie, this will be your go-to from now on! ~Kathy
1 (9”) deep dish unbaked pie crust
4 eggs, plus one egg yolk
1 c. dark brown sugar
¾ c. light corn syrup
3 T. pancake syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp salt
4 T. butter, melted
1 ½ c. pecans, chopped
½ c. pecans halves
Preheat oven to 400˚F.
In a small bowl, beat eggs and egg yolk until combined but not foamy.
Add brown sugar, mix well. In large mixing bowl, combine corn syrup, pancake syrup, vanilla, salt and melted butter.
Pour in egg mixture and combine well.
Evenly distribute chopped pecans into bottom of pie shell.
Arrange pecan halves over the top of the chopped pecans.
Slowly pour corn syrup mixture over pecans, not disturbing the pecans as much as possible.
Bake for 10 minutes at 400˚F.
Lower the oven temperature to 325˚ and bake an additional 40 – 45 minutes until center is completely cooked through.
When I think of salads, I typically think of summer. This, however isn’t your typical salad. In fact, it’s more of a slaw… a fall slaw. I like the sound of that; heck, it almost rhymes. But not quite. Anywho, if you’ve ever visited Cracker Barrel Old Country Store for dinner, you may have had their Brussels Sprouts N’ Kale Salad. If so, this will be very familiar. I’m not sure what exact ingredients their version has, but I think I hit it pretty close. Mine has shredded Brussels sprouts, kale, dried cranberries and pecans, just like theirs. I kicked it up a notch, though, with addition of finely diced apples, red onion, and a maple vinaigrette. What says Autumn more than apples, pecans, cranberries, and maple? Nothing, folks. This is the perfect Autumn/Fall/Holiday Salad/Slaw/Side. ~Erin
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/3 c. maple syrup*
2 T. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. dry ground mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, stems cut off and outer leaves removed, then washed
3 c. chopped kale
2 apples, cored & finely chopped
1/4 of a red onion, finely chopped
1/4 c. dried cranberries, coarsely chopped (or more if not following WW)
1 oz. pecans, toasted if desired & chopped
Mix together the first 5 ingredients in a jar with a lid (shake to combine) or a small bowl (whisk to combine).
Shred the Brussels sprouts, preferably using a food processor.
In a large bowl, combine the shredded sprouts with the chopped kale, apple, and onion.
Pour the dressing over top and stir. I like to add it gradually and stir, so as not to overdress the slaw.
Top with chopped cranberries and pecans.
Chill until ready to serve; toss to redistribute dressing before serving.
WW Freestyle Info.: This recipe makes 8 1-cup servings at 6 points with regular maple syrup. With sugar free maple syrup, it’s 4 points per 1-cup serving.