I love it when my friends give me their fabulous recipes; no Internet searching, reading reviews, guessing if it will be good or not. My friend, Tanya loves to bake just like me and she shared this unique cookie recipe. I made a few alterations to her original recipe and I have to say these cookies are may be one of my new favorites. They taste the best the day of or the day after.


1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest from one lemon
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes (toasted)
4 ounces white chocolate bar, (I use Ghirardelli)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a baking sheet spread out the coconut flakes in a thin layer. Toast for 5-8 minutes. Stirring frequently. Watch carefully so they don't burn.

Once they are golden remove from the oven and set aside.

Zest the lemon...

Chop the chocolate...

In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking soda and salt.
In another bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Add egg, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice. Mix until incorporated. Add flour mixture and blend. Stir in toasted coconut flakes and white chocolate pieces.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop cookie dough onto baking sheet. I use a Pampered Chef medium scoop, approximately 2 tablespoons per cookie.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Do not over bake. You want them to be soft in the middle and just firm enough to hold their shape when transferring to a cooling rack.

Allow to cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.




I love this time of year...days that start out crisp and cold then slowly change into warm afternoons, leaves just starting to change color and apple trees dripping with big juicy apples.

I recently received a bag of the most delicious apples and couldn't decided what to make...really they were so good that we ate them like candy for a few days and then I decided to try something butter.

Honestly, the name always scared me away, I always thought butter was involved and was happy to find out it has nothing to do with butter. It is basically just a sweetened and thicker version of apple sauce. This is a great recipe to use up all those autumn apples.

Adapted from PHOO-D
Makes Approximately 6 Cups

5 lbs. Apples, peeled, sliced, and cored
1 cup Apple Cider
1/4-1/2 cup Honey or Agave Syrup - to taste (I use honey)
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Cloves
1/2 teaspoon Allspice
Pinch of Salt

Place apples and apple cider in a large pot over low heat, uncovered.

Cook apples slowly, stirring occasionally, until they begin to fall apart, about 30-45 minutes on a gas range (could take up to an hour).

Use a potato masher or a stick blender to puree the apples. You can either puree until the mixture is completely smooth or you can leave small chunks, depending on your preference.
Taste the apple puree and add in honey, brown sugar, or agave syrup until it reaches your desired level of sweetness. Stir in the cinnamon, cloves, and allspice. Continue to cook the apple puree over low heat until it thickens, stirring frequently to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. The apple butter is finished cooking when you can drop a spoonful on a plate and it forms a stiff mound that does not have liquid running around the bottom edge.
Let the apple butter cool and then store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks or in the freezer for a year.

You can use apple butter many different ways. We eat it plain, stir it into oatmeal or yogurt, on pancakes or muffins. My daughter's favorite is a piece of warm bread with homemade peanut butter, topped with warm apple butter...




The other day we were at the meat market getting all of our usual grilling food (fish and steak) for the weekend and when we got home I was surprised to find an extra package in the bag...pork chops. It seems as if we received the person's order who was standing in line behind us (we unfortunalty paid for it). I decided I better start searching for a recipe as we hardly ever eat pork. This was relatively easy and tasted great!

Smothered Pork Chops
Adapted from Tyler Florence
Serves 4

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 pork chops, 3/4-inch thick, bone-in
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup buttermilk
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Put the flour in a shallow platter (pie dish works good) and add the onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly. Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels to remove any moisture and then dredge them in the seasoned flour; shaking off the excess.

Heat a large saute pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat and coat with the oil. When the oil is nice and hot, lay the pork chops in the pan in a single layer and fry for 3 minutes on each side until golden brown.

Remove the pork chops from the pan and add a little sprinkle of seasoned flour to the pan drippings. Mix the flour into the fat to dissolve and then very carefully pour in the chicken broth in (I burned . Let the liquid cook down for 5 minutes to reduce and thicken slightly. Stir in the buttermilk to make a creamy gravy and return the pork chops to the pan, covering them with the sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes until the pork is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.




This is one of my new favorites for using up all my garden tomatoes. The whole family loves it!

Avocado Salad- Clean Eating
Adapted from Ina Garten
Serves 6

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and 1/2-inch diced
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup small diced red onion
2 tablespoons minced jalapeno peppers, seeded (2 peppers)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (2 limes)
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 ripe Hass avocados, seeded, peeled, and 1/2-inch diced

Place the tomatoes, yellow pepper, black beans, red onion, jalapeno peppers, and lime zest in a large bowl.

Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, salt, black pepper, garlic, and cayenne pepper...

pour over the vegetables. Toss well.

Just before you're ready to serve the salad, fold the avocados into the salad. Check the seasoning and serve at room temperature.




I know what you are thinking, 'A recipe for a root beer float!', pretty basic I know. But this isn't so much a recipe as it is a reminder of something nostalgic (for most of us), delicious and easy to make.

How can a root beer float not bring you complete joy!? For me it reminds me of being a kid sleeping over at my grandparents' house. I can remember sitting in the kitchen at night and waiting for my bedtime snack which always involved ice cream. Sometimes root beer floats, sometimes she used Pepsi, sometimes it was vanilla ice cream with raspberries on top.

The love for ice cream must be genetic because my day is not complete unless I have ice cream before bed. Root beer floats are my new addiction for the week...little Kahlua, Bailey's or Bourbon...the perfect nightcap!

Root Beer Float

pint glass
2 scoops of vanilla ice cream
1/2 can root beer
shot of liquor, Kahlua, Bailey's or Bourbon (optional)

Add the ice cream and liquor (if using) to the glass and slowly pour the root beer down the side of the glass. Serve immediately.



This salad is great especially for those of you who love the idea of a potato salad but not the idea of mayo. Perfect for a picnic on these last few fleeting days of summer. My tomato plants have been picked clean; now we'll see if the few remaining ripen before a frost...autumn weather is here in South Dakota.

Red Potato and Tomato Salad- Clean Eating
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
Serves 4

1 pound baby red potatoes, cubed bite size
1 pint (2 cups) cherry tomatoes, halved
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup pitted black olives, halved
1/4 cup chopped fine fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large lemon, zested
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Add the potatoes to a medium saucepan with enough cold water to cover by at least 2 inches. Set the saucepan over medium heat. Bring the water to a boil and continue boiling until the potatoes are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, add the tomatoes, scallions, olives, parsley, capers, thyme, olive oil, and lemon zest.

Once the potatoes are cooked, drain the potatoes in a colander and allow them to dry for 5 minutes. Then add the potatoes to the rest of the salad, toss gently until all the ingredients are coated and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Refrigerate for 1 hour and gently toss again before serving.




Here is another great recipe for a tasty side dish to just about anything. The vegetables are the highlight of this dish so make sure that you have fresh produce. If I were to make this again I would probably double the garlic. It tastes great hot or even at room temperature.

Green Beans With Potatoes and Garlic- Clean Eating
Adapted from Martha Rose Shulman
Serves 4

3/4 pound green beans
1 pound red waxy potatoes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 to 3 large garlic cloves (to taste), minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 hardboiled eggs, diced (optional)

Wash potatoes and beans.

Cut potatoes in to 2-inch wedges. Trim and break beans in half...

Steam the green beans above 1 inch of boiling water for four to five minutes until tender. Remove from the steamer, and rinse with cold water. Set aside. Add the potatoes, and steam for about 15 minutes or until very tender.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, nonstick skillet. Add the garlic, and cook for a minute or so until the garlic is fragrant. Stir in the beans and cook, stirring, for three - five minutes until quite tender and coated with oil (but still bright green).

Gently stir in the potatoes, and add salt and pepper (to taste) (a little red pepper if you want heat). Cook, stirring, until they begin to color lightly. Scatter the diced hard-boiled eggs over the top, cover and turn heat to low. Cook another three minutes. Serve hot or warm.



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