Real Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie is one of my most favorite desserts.  Real key lime pie is made with key limes, not regular limes. They are the small round limes. Another thing, key lime pie is YELLOW, not green. There are a lot of okay recipes out there, but this one is the best. Trust me, I have tasted a lot of pie. I literally ate key lime pie in all forms at every chance I got on a road trip to and from Key West. I had deep fried, frozen, chocolate dipped on a stick, etc... So, I'm practically an expert. Haha.  I was pregnant, so, no judging.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

1 1/2 sleeves graham crackers
1/3 c. butter

Put the graham cracker in a Ziploc bag. Use a rolling pin to crush to the desired texture. I like a bit of texture to my crust so I don't crush them all the way to powder. Melt butter. Add graham cracker crumbs and combine. Press into a glass pie pan or round casserole dish. I actually prefer the casserole dish because it gives you a smaller deeper pie, but it doesn't matter either way.

1/2 c. key lime juice
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
5 egg yolks

I use real key limes and squeeze them to make the juice. This is what makes the pie so yummy. If you squeeze the limes yourself, be sure to use a fine strainer so you don't add any pulp or seeds. You can also use bottled key lime juice. Nellie & Joe makes a pretty good bottled key lime juice. Combine lime juice, sweetened condensed milk and the egg yolks.

Bake the empty crust for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and pour the filling into the pie. Return the oven and bake for 15 more minutes. Your pie shouldn't be runny at all. The crust will be golden brown. Every time I make this pie, I first think, oh no! my crust is overdone! But it never is. Don't panic.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before serving. I prefer my pie very cold so I usually make it early and keep it in the fridge until dessert time. You can serve with a little whipped cream or Cool Whip.


Buttery Soft Pretzels

 1 cup water (110 deg)
1 pkt dry yeast
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
½ cup water to boil, (I used 2+ cups)
2 Tbsp baking soda
Coarse or kosher salt
Melted butter
Dissolve  1 pkt (2-1/4 tsp) of dry yeast in 1 cup warm (110 deg.) water.  Let sit for 5 minutes to make sure yeast blooms.  Add flour, salt and sugar.  Mix to combine for 2 minutes, then knead with mixer or by hand for 5 minutes.

Dough will be soft, but not sticky.  Lightly flour dough and place in a gallon zip-top bag.  Zip closed and set aside for 30 minutes (I didn't wait this long).   While dough is rising, dissolve baking soda in water and bring just to a boil, then simmer.

Preheat oven to 450 deg.  Cut dough into 8 pieces.  Roll each into a long rope on a lightly floured surface.  Twist into a pretzel shape.  Drop or dip into the simmering soda water for 30-45 seconds.  Drain, then place on lightly greased cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with kosher salt, or leave plain if you want to put cinnamon sugar on later. 

Bake at 450 degrees, for about 9-10 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove from oven and brush with melted butter.  If you want sweet pretzels, dust with cinnamon sugar right after brushing with butter.  (If you have a convection setting, I baked them on convection bake at 425 degrees for 6-7 minutes)

Store at room temp.  Do not cover or seal or they will get soggy.

I love these, this recipe was from my friend Melissa, who got it from her friend Teresa! My kids and I can't get enough. We even had 'pretzel movie night' last weekend. They are fast and yummy, Enjoy!


German Chocolate Cake Topping

This Recipe is from allrecipes.com and makes enough frosting/filling for one cake mix (2 layered cake). However, I usually use 2 cake mixes make a 3 layered cake and extra cupcakes. So, you may want to double or do a one and a half batch.  

1 C evaporated milk
1 C white sugar
3 egg yolks beaten with 1 T water
1/2 C margarine
1 t. vanilla extract
1 C chopped pecans
1 C flaked coconut

In a large saucepan, combine evaporated milk, sugar, egg yolks, margarine and vanilla.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thick. Remove from heat and stir in pecans and coconut. Spread on cake while still warm.


Navajo Tacos (aka Fry Bread)

Anyone who has ever attended the Arizona State Fair has eaten a Navajo Taco. They're amazing. Fry bread, Indian fry bread, Navajo tacos, elephant ears...a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.

They're huge sopapillas you can eat savory or sweet. For dinner we like them topped with beans, cheese, lettuce, diced tomatoes, sour cream and salsa (basically a delicious and filling tostada). For dessert you treat it like a funnel cake and top it with butter (duh, right?) and powdered sugar or honey or a fruit sauce.

They're easy and quick to make, took me about 30 min start to finish

4 C. Flour
2 T. Baking Powder
1 t. Salt
2 1/2 C. Warm Milk (possibly less)

2 C. oil for frying

  • Mix the dry ingredients then add in milk a little at a time until you have a soft but manageable dough. *you may not need all the milk called for*
  • Cover the dough with a moist cloth or plastic wrap when not in use
  • Heat oil in a skillet to 365*F
  • Take out a small ball of dough and roll it thin and flat on a floured surface. Fry in the oil until golden brown on the bottom then flip it over and fry the top. Cool on paper towels


Green Smoothies Simplified

I just wanted to share my latest and greatest green smoothie trick. All the credit goes here:

Basically, you assemble your green smoothies in a ziploc in reverse order and freeze it.

Fruit (fresh or frozen) on bottom
Greens on top.

You can make tons of Ready-to-Blend smoothies and keep them in the freezer. I don't have a fancy-pants blender so I blend my greens first (conveniently located at the TOP of my ziploc bag). Add a fresh banana or two (you can use frozen as well but since my blender isn't as tough I try to baby it with something room temperature in between). Then I add the frozen fruit from the bottom of the bag. No chopping. No dirty knives or cutting boards. No slimy spinach in the fridge that you didn't have time to use. And, perhaps more importantly, more room in the fridge that's NOT being occupied by a giant Costco bag of spinach.


Jacquee's Whole Wheat Bagels

I'm not going to lie. I'm feeling very proud of these babies. Hence, my name in the title. Not only was it a first-ever attempt at bagels but it was also a self-adapted recipe which turned into a home run  They turned out perfectly chewy on the outside, soft but dense on the inside and made a generous dozen. I went for an authentic hand-rolled shape with these ones but I may make them doughnut style for uniformity in the future.

I adapted it from this method to be whole wheat. I picked this version because it used a sponge method similar to my all-time favorite whole wheat bread recipe. It's a favorite because it's healthy, slices like store-bought sandwich bread and stays fresh MUCH longer than any other homemade breads I've tried. I only made these today, but I hope they last long enough for me to see if they stay soft and tender like my sandwich bread.

3 1/2 C. Whole Wheat Flour (1 pound)
1 Tbl Active Dry Yeast
3 C. very warm water
1 Tbl Maple Syrup

2 3/4 C. Whole Wheat Flour (more as needed, plus dusting)
1/4 C. Vital Wheat Gluten (this is necessary for elasticity, especially when using whole wheat)
1 T. Salt
1/8 t. Citric Acid/Sour Salt (makes for a lighter texture and a preservative. Can probably substitute 1 T. lemon juice if needed)

Also needed:
wok or wide skillet with 3" of boiling water, plus salt and baking soda added
baking stone
any toppings you want to add

In a stand mixer combine the first 4 ingredients into a sponge mix. Mix for a minute then cover and let rise for 10-20 minutes until doubled. While you're waiting, combine the rest of the dry ingredients in a bowl. 

Once the sponge mix has doubled, add in the rest of the dry ingredients and mix/knead for several minutes. The dough should form a ball and be sturdy but not stiff. Add more flour or warm water if necessary. Cover and let rise until doubled. You'll know its ready if you poke your finger into it and the impression stays. 

Stir/punch it down and roll it onto a lightly floured surface. Keep the dough covered while you work. Roll a piece into a log, wrap it around your hand and pinch it off to make a circle. With the dough-bracelet around your palm, roll over the seam to seal it together then set the "donut" on a cornmeal dusted surface. Continue until you've done this with all of the dough. Keep them covered and allow to rise a bit more while your water boils.

Preheat your oven with the baking stone inside to 400F

Boil the bagels in batches for 2 min per side then remove with a slotted spatula back to a cornmeal dusted surface. Top if desired (sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dehydrated onion, etc). Slide them carefully onto the hot stone and bake for approximately 25 min (will vary depending on bagel size). 



Whole Wheat Banana Muffins [Vegan]


  • 4 C. Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 C. Coconut Sugar
  • 1 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 1/2 t. cinnamon (I did some cinnamon, some pumpkin pie spice)

Whisk separately, then let rest and "sour" for a few minutes

  • 1 C. Coconut Milk
  • 2 t. apple cider vinegar

Combine dry ingredients, milk mixture and

  • 8 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 C. coconut oil
  • 1/3 C. maple syrup
  • 2 t. vanilla extract
  • 1 t. almond extract
  • Walnuts, Chocolate Chips (optional)
Beat until smooth.

Pipe or scoop the batter into grease muffin tins filling each 2/3 full and bake at 350F for approx 18+ minutes depending on muffin size (less for mini muffins). Check with toothpick. Immediately remove to wire racks to cool.

This made exactly 2 dozen regular size muffins plus 2 dozen mini muffins.


Green Chile Chick'n Salad [Vegan]

Well, it happened. We've done too much research and watched a one or two documentaries too many. We've become casual vegans at our house. It's for health reasons: focusing on a more plant-based diet. But I've been pleasantly surprised by how smooth its been going. We're still in transition but my 3 year old really doesn't seem to care. Now, I say "casual" vegans because not only do I believe that we can and should eat all things in moderation, but I'm also human and I don't want to make my life ridiculously difficult when we leave the house, which is pretty often and in a hurry. Therefore, my goal is to be completely vegan at home and more relaxed elsewhere. For now :-)

Not all the recipes I've tried have been a hit, but I invented this one this afternoon to resemble the green chili,  mayo and shredded cheese goo I remember having a few time as a kid. This totally hit the spot. Nothing lacking in the flavor or texture departments. It could certainly be healthier (on a green salad maybe?) and less processed (I'm looking at you Vegannaise). But still, it's my new fav:

Green Chile Chick'n Salad
1 can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 large can diced green chilies
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
2 Tbl Nutritional Yeast (optional, for cheesy flavor)
2-3 Tbl Vegannaise
Liquid smoke, black pepper & garlic salt to taste

Instructions (it's pretty difficult so try to keep up):
Combine it all in a bowl. Hurry and find a piece of bread or a tortilla to slop it on!


Chocolate Granola

This granola is delicious. I'm not going to pretend that I store it in mason jars tied with twine for everyday use so I didn't stage a photo shoot to that effect. However, I did manage to snap a quick pick of this handful on its way to my mouth. Go me.

I've got a rockin chocolate granola recipe from a friend which calls for lots of butter and more sugar and honey. It's basically no-bake cookie clusters that I eat with yogurt and call a "healthy breakfast." I've made it several times but I was looking to lighten it up and make it on the stove. I really don't like stirring and turning things in the oven since its low to the ground, its hot and I have a kiddo who runs right through my narrow kitchen without looking where she's going. I know there are ways around that, but what can you do. I'm a whiner. Hence, this non-oven recipe:

Chocolate Granola

  • 2-3 T. Olive or Coconut Oil (can be toasted without oil as well)
  • 5 C     Rolled Oats
  • 1/2 t.  salt
  • 1/4 C  Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 C  Honey
  • 2 T.   Brown Sugar
  • Vanilla, Almond and Butter extracts (1/2 to 1 tsp each), optional
  • 1/4 C  Peanut Butter
  • 1 C     Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 C     Pecans, toasted
  • 1/2 C  Sunflower seeds, roasted and salted
  • 1 C     Date pieces/nuggets (Cranberries or Cherries work great, too)
Use the biggest skillet you've got. 

Toast your Oats and Salt in Oil over medium heat, stirring constantly. When sufficiently toasted and fragrant remove them to a large pan or baking dish.

In the skillet combine Coconut Oil, Honey, Brown Sugar and extracts on low to medium heat. When its dissolved and just starting to bubble add Peanut Butter then Chocolate Chips. Stir constantly so you don't burn the chocolate. When it's smooth and just starting to thicken (about 1-2 min) return the Oats to the pan and add Pecans and Sunflower Seeds. Stir it well for about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the Dates and return it to your baking dish to cool. 

Eat by the sloppy fistful or in a bowl with cold almond milk or yogurt.

Store the rest in an airtight container.

[I made this granola on the stove top, but it could easily be converted to an oven-cooked recipe.]


Caramel for Apples

Green and red apples with caramel for dipping.

I LOVE the fall! I just got out all my fall decorations and that put me in the mood for some caramel for apples. Making caramel apples is always fun, but I prefer to slice my apples and dip each bite myself! So, I made some caramel for apple dipping. Here is the recipe, I got it from my friend Jana Holmes, but I think it is a very common recipe.

1 c. karo syrup
1 lb. package brown sugar
1/2 lb. margarine
2 tsp. vanilla
1 can sweetened condensed milk

In a medium saucepan, combine corn syrup and brown sugar. Heat of medium high heat, stirring constantly. Bring mixture to a boil and boil together for 3 minutes. Take saucepan off the stove and add margarine, vanilla and sweetened condensed milk. Place back on the stove and bring back to a boil while continuing to stir.

Serve with sliced apples.

You can also try serving this caramel dip along side this fruit dip and chopped walnuts or pecans. It is an amazing combination for making apple sundaes.

Here are some pictures I took along the way, in case they help.


Boil sugar and syrup for 3 minutes.

Boiling sugar and syrup.

Add sweetened condensed milk, margarine and vanilla.

Bring back to a boil.

Let those kids get to dipping.

Happy snacking.

I was going Visiting Teaching that day and to our school open house, so I decided to package some up to give away. My little one helped me! We filled half-pint jars with carmel, topped them with an apples and bagged them with a bow. So easy!

Washing jars for the caramel dip.

Green apple with caramel.

Red apple with caramel.

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