Summer Vacation- Bass Lake

As summer is winding down, I feel very fortunate to have had some amazing trips this summer. Between BlogHer Food in Austin, a wedding that I catered desserts for in Mammoth, my cousin’s wedding in Minneapolis and our trip to Bass Lake, I feel like I hit almost every corner of the US. Sadly, I did not make it home to Vermont this summer, but anyone who wants to send me some MAC apples, please do so! I am reliving a little but of my summer vacation today.

He is so good to put up with my with the endless photo taking!

My boyfriend’s family has been coming to Bass Lake for a number of years. I have been fortunate to join them the past two summers and I am already looking forward to next summer! Here is the view from the dock in the early morning and evening. We had a few days of hazy smoke that was blowing over from the wildfire near Mammoth Lakes.

It’s not often I get to take a week off from work, and truth be told, my vacation days are usually saved for winter! I can’t help but love spending time at the lake. What’s not to love? We take the boat to lunch or dinner (and sometimes out for dessert!), wake board all day, and I do what I do best, lay in the sun! Selfie coming up- Continue reading

Lemon Raspberry Almond Muffins

Lemon Raspberry Muffins

Summer seems to be quickly winding down and everyone is all back-to-school now. Well I don’t have kids, and I am several years out of college, so back-to-school for me just means sales on new clothes, lots of fun office supplies and traffic in the mornings (sad face). However, I am still hanging onto summer over here. I mentioned previously that raspberries were my all time favorite fruit, so it should come as no surprise that I will eat them year round.

I’ve given you a few muffins recipes on this blog now, but this one, I have to say, is my best one to date. These Lemon Raspberry Almond Muffins are the best compliment of flavors that I could put together. The almond flavors come from both an extract and sliced almonds in the streusel. There is fresh squeezed lemon juice in the muffin batter and fresh raspberries mixed in as well.  It was pretty clear from my Walkers Lemon Raspberry Shortbread bars that you guys like the lemon and raspberry combo, so I hope you like these!

Lemon Raspberry Muffins

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Rice Krispies Treat Frosting

Rice Krispies treat

This frosting sort of happened by mistake, and sometimes those are the best. I made a batch of rice krispies treats on Friday night with the intention of making a totally separate dessert; a dessert which did not work out at all. Since I made my Seven Layer Bar Frosting, I was have racking my brain to think of different types of chunky frostings. I stared at the pan and decided I would try a Rice Krispies Treats Frosting.

Rice Krispies Treats

The results? Kind of mind blowing. I think there are two ways you could do this. You could either start with a marshmallow frosting and add rice krispies cereal or you can do what I did, and make a vanilla frosting and add the rice krispies treats to the frosting. I really like the crunchiness of this frosting. Continue reading

FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer System Review

I have always been curious about vacuum sealer systems for quite some time. I myself am a “food saver”; I freeze what I can and I hate throwing food away. Believe me, I defineitely got that from my mom.  My boyfriend on the other hand is more of a fresh food person. So I try to find a happy medium where I can take advantage of food that is on sale or buying in bulk. Since we are a two person household, we are limited on what foods we can bring home from bulk stores before they expire.

When FoodSaver approached me to review their product, the Vacuum Sealer V4800 series, I was so excited to try it out. FoodSaver says you can keep foods fresh up to 5x longer than with bags and containers and it is the market leader in vacuum sealer home appliances. As I have been baking more and more for my blog, I would really like to find a way to store my ingredients and desserts, and ultimately, reduce wasted food. A lot of times, I try to save my left over cake or cupcakes (pre-frosted) and freeze it for cake pops or some other type of dessert. After less than a month in the freezer, the cake crumbs are totally freezer burned and unattractive, so I end up throwing it away. So I am excited to see how this turns out.

FoodSaver product review

In full disclosure, I am the type of person who opens up a new appliance, forgets the instructions and goes to work. Well that is really impossible to do with the FoodSaver, as it is a very versatile appliance and a little more complex. I took the time to read the materials properly. Did you know there are certain foods that cannot be vacuum packed such as soft cheese, broccoli, mushrooms and garlic? I was slightly overwhelmed at first,  and it took a little trial and error or me to figure out the best way to use it. There are plenty of options as to what type of bags you can use based on the foods you want to store.

FoodSaver did provide a very detailed guide as to the proper ways to vacuum seal different foods. For instance, if you freeze your fruit and veggies before you vacuum seal them, it will prevent them from crushing. Now, the machine was a little louder than I expected. In all fairness, I did not know what to expect with this type of machine. It first has to suck the air from the bag and then heat seal it. There is one attachment that is used to suck the air out of the  zipper bags, which is super easy to use and I think ultimately, what I appreciated the most for quick use. This attachment is meant to be used with the zipper bags or canisters. I am really interested to try a FoodSaver canister, which is better for backed goods to prevent them from crushing. I did slightly crush my Oreos.

FoodSaver product review

Food Saver sent me a wide variety of bags, so I tried to take the time to see what ones were used best and where. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the perforated single serving bags. They are perfect for smoothie making. I took two bananas, cut them into pieces and froze for two hours. I filled each bag with one banana each, vacuum and heat sealed both bags at the same time. Now, I can pull them out one at a time for my smoothies. In the past when I tired to freeze bananas for smoothies, they totally froze together and turned brown. I wish I had this earlier in the summer, I would have totally froze more fresh fruits.

FoodSaver product review

The best part about most of the Food Saver bags is that they can all but cut to dimensions needed, even the single serving bags!  They come in rolls, which fit conveniently inside the machine. There is a cutting mechanism so you can cut the different types of bags to your desired size.

FoodSaver product review

There are several types of bags I received.

  • Portion Pouch roll- which you can make as long as you want
  • 11” Expandable pleated heat-seal roll, which I can cut to fit and fit extra large items
  • 11” Heat sealed roll bags, which fit most foods and can be cut to fit any size
  • Liquid block heat sealed bags for juicy or marinated items
  • Quart size, pre-cut heat sealed bags- in case you don’t want to use them yourself
  • Quart sized Vacuum Zipper Bags- which are reusable, depending on the food that is contained inside the bag
  •  Gallon sized Vacuum Zipper bags- which are reusable, depending on the food that is contained inside the bag

FoodSaver product review

So I vacuum sealed and froze a few different types of items so I can pull them back out of the freezer in a few weeks and see the results! Stayed tuned for the next review. FoodSaver is looking for fans that want to share the love of saving food and money! Visit their Facebook page to find out more about the Sunday Saver program and how you participate and start saving money!  You can also visit their website for more information about FoodSaver products.

FoodSaver product review

Disclaimer: FoodSaver sent me this product for review but all opinions are my own. 

Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

Raspberry cheesecake bars with streusel topping

I am so excited about this post because I am entering it into a recipe contest hosted by my two favorite bloggers: Confessions of a Cookbook Queen and Cookies and Cups. When I first found out about the contest, I was went a little crazy deciding what recipes I could recreate and had a dozen different ideas and then pondered over them for way too long. I am a little nervous because these two bloggers are so amazing and a source of inspiration to me.

Raspberry cheesecake bars with streusel topping

I chose to recreate Shelly’s Caramel Apple Cheesecake bars. Hands down, my favorite dessert is cheesecake, but I really don’t allow myself to have it very often, because let’s face it, I don’t need the extra calories. I also am a little bit intimidated to make a cheesecake at home. So I am starting here, with Shelly’s recipe and I made Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake bars. These cheesecake bars have a streusel topping as well, which I love. Continue reading