Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Cake

This is a NUMMY recipe my family has made for years. It's typically the CAKE I request my mom to make for my birthday. If I choose something else, my husband chooses it for his BIRTHDAY a few weeks later. We love it—the cake is MOIST, the topping is sweet and crunchy, and the combination makes every BITE perfect!

Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Cake
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup oatmeal
3/4 to 1 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon each: baking soda, salt, cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 stick butter
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the boiling water and oatmeal, then set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugars, and eggs. Stir in the remaining ingredients along with the oatmeal and spoon batter into a greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Bake for 40 minutes.

Just before cake is done, in a saucepan bring the butter, milk, and brown sugar to a boil for 1 minute. Stir in nuts and coconut. Spread mixture over baked cake and then broil for 1 minute to crisp. Serve with vanilla ice cream for an extra special treat!

TIP: If your family doesn't like coconut nut, leave it out of the topping and add more nuts!


Coconut Lemon Bars

I've always loved a good LEMON bar, and over the last few years I've really fallen in LOVE with coconut. When I saw a recipe that combined both of these FAB ingredients, I just knew I had to try it. And let me tell YOU, it did not disappoint!

Coconut Lemon Bars 
(from keyingredient.com)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup cold butter
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup shredded coconut (plus more if desired, see TIP)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13-inch pan with foil or parchment paper and spray with nonstick spray.

In a bowl, combine the flour and powdered sugar; cut in the butter until crumbly. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and baking powder until well mixed. Pour over the crust and sprinkle the coconut evenly over the top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes more, or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and then cut into bars.

TIP: I found that a lot of my coconut sank below the lemon filling, so after it baked a while and started to set up, I sprinkled more coconut over top.


Spinach and Feta Pasta

This recipe is so DELISH, and so easy it is actually pretty embarrassing! Either way, those recipes are always good to have on hand, RIGHT? It is a great way for KIDDOS to eat some green veggies too. They don't seem to WORRY about the "green stuff" so much when it is mixed with pasta!

Spinach and Feta Pasta
2 to 3 cups curly pasta of your choice
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup Feta cheese crumbles
1 to 2 cups chopped or julienned spinach
Dash of garlic powder and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to package directions; drain. Return pasta to cooking pot and stir in the butter until melted and the pasta is coated. Stir in the spinach and feta until the spinach just starts to wilt. Sprinkle with pepper to taste.

TIP: If you only do 2 cups pasta, you can probably get away with 3 tablespoons butter. I also use the reduced-fat feta and it is still delicious. 


Cookies and Cream Popcorn

This is a nummy and SWEET version of popcorn. Who doesn't love the CLASSIC taste of cookies and cream? Am I right? I think you'll be AMAZED at how EASY this all comes together.

Cookies and Cream Popcorn
About 10 cups plain popped popcorn
24 ounces vanilla almond bark
20 Oreos, chopped fairly small (I used Double Stuff!)

Place the popcorn in a large bowl and set aside. Melt the white chocolate as directed on package. Drizzle over popcorn in bowl and stir to coat. Stir in cookies to coat and then spread on waxed paper to set and dry. 

TIP: This would be good with so many other stir-ins! Try Nutter Butter cookies or Peanut Butter Oreos. Or even chopped pretzels and dried cranberries. Maybe throw in some nuts. It will ALL be good!


Crispy Parmesan Potatoes

I'm always looking for new and TASTY side dishes that my kiddos will like. These are totally one of those DISHES! I have to admit that my kids preferred these TATERS dipped in ketchup, but to each their own, right? The potatoes are nice and CRISP and full of flavor. So worth it!

Crispy Parmesan Potatoes
4 medium red potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (from the green container!)
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 teaspoon paprika

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the potatoes into quarters lengthwise, so you have 4 wedges. Then cut each wedge into 4 or so pieces so you have about 1- or 2-inch chunks. In a bowl, toss the potatoes with the oil. In another bowl, combine the cheese, garlic salt, and paprika. Sprinkle over potatoes and toss to coat. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, then flip each piece of potato over. Put back in the oven and bake another 15 minutes or until nicely browned and crisped. Enjoy!

TIP: Feel free to switch up some of the seasonings. I think adding some Italian seasoning or dried rosemary or basil would be a great addition. 


Light(er) Chocolate Mug Cake

Sometimes I just want a seriously YUMMY treat, but I don't want something huge that will last for days. Well, this is the PERFECT solution. A single serving of CAKE, and it only takes a minute to bake!

Light(er) Chocolate Mug Cake
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cocoa
3 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 very heaping tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons applesauce
3 tablespoons milk (I used skim)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon mini semisweet chocolate chips

Thoroughly mix the dry ingredients together—no lumps! Add the wet ingredients and stir until smooth. Sprinkle chocolate chips over top. Put in microwave for 40 seconds, and check to see if done. If it still looks too wet, microwave for another 10 to 20 seconds. (I did mine for 60 seconds total and it was perfect, but every microwave varies.)

TIP: I know it's supposed to be a lighter version, but I added caramel AND chocolate sauce to the top of mine in the picture above. Seriously good. Seriously. :)


Sweet Potato Tostadas

I recently saw a picture of some amazing-looking VEGGIE tostadas, so I made a version of my own. I think they turned out pretty TASTY, and they aren't too bad for you either! I had some leftover homemade baked sweet POTATO fries that worked really well for this, but you can always just ROAST some cubes in a touch of olive oil with some salt and pepper. It'll be just as good!

Sweet Potato Tostadas
6 to 8 corn tortillas
About 1 tablespoon butter, melted
Salt and pepper
Guacamole (Try my favorite recipe here)
Sweet potato fries or roasted sweet potatoes
Shredded cheddar cheese
6 to 8 large eggs

Turn the burner on your gas stove and cook each tortilla over the flame, flipping every so often until it becomes crunchy. (If you don't have gas, brush with butter, season, and then put under the broiler until crisp.) Brush with a little butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread a nice layer guacamole over top as well as a good layer of cooked sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with cheese and top with a fried egg, yolk just slightly runny. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper if desired.

TIP: Would be yummy with some chopped cilantro and maybe a spoonful of salsa!