New Orleans Famous Praline Company: Classic Pralines #Review #PralineInLove

New Orleans Famous Praline - Box of 8 Original Pralinettes

We have always loved anything that is “New Orleans” related from the food to the decor, we have enjoyed it. There is a reason why New Orleans Square at Disneyland was our favorite place to hang out when we had the park’s passports. I make everything at home trying to mimic and bring back that piece of memory from making Beignets, Gumbo, to even Red Beans and Rice with Andouille at home. Most things I can make and hit the mark but the one thing I can’t imitate, is those pralines! You can imagine my excitement when I had the opportunity to review them.


The New Orleans Famous Praline Company has been sharing their delicious clusters with us since 1996. Calling them a candy is just too simple. Candy to me is a piece of gum drop, to a sour patch straw. It’s just not enough of a justifiable name to what really is a treat all of it’s own. This is a delicacy that you make it right or wrong, no middle ground here. The N.O.F.P Company (as I call them), offers you 3 different types of Pralines to choose from:

  • The Original “Classic” Praline
  • The Creamy Praline and
  • The Chocolate Praline

Three things done right means you can get away with a short selection but do not discount them!



I received the box and let me tell you when I opened it, it smelled like the store at Disneyland. That store that stocks all the items you can’t find anywhere that originate from New Orleans. My goodness, did I spend my pay check at that store! It was such a joyful scent of sweetness and butter, with a hint of nuts. New Orleans Famous Praline Company packs a gorgeous little box that even serves as a souvenir itself because it’s that adorable. The box’s image is a drawing of a the shoreline. You see the city and the ships, plus the colors give it that vintage feel; very much like the century old recipe the company uses to produce these beauties. The company only uses real quality ingredients that is why these differ from the rest. Each praline is lovingly sealed in it’s own wrapper, so you have guaranteed freshness and let me get started on how they taste. You have the pecans that are chopped into pieces and floating in a buttery and sugary filling that almost resembles the inside of a pecan pie. The confection is crumbly but not dry or hard, it literally melts in your mouth. Not grainy at all but smooth and it has that classical cluster texture where it’s creamy but not gooey. Just perfectly blended and the proper thickness too. Enjoyable to the last bite and I first devoured this praline as is, but then crumbled some on ice cream (Southern Pecan of course) and it just made that bowl of ice cream pure happiness! These are a must and especially from a company that takes care and pride in what they produce. I hope in the future to taste their other creations, the creamy and the chocolate pralines!


Connect with New Orleans Famous Praline Company at:



I received the above product(s) free of charge from New Orleans Famous Praline Company. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.


Grab Bags of Goodness from Gourmet Nut #Review



A while back I got the opportunity to take a few Gourmet Nut’s products for a test drive, and boy howdy were they the belle of the ball. Great flavors in their salts and sugars that brought out the best of whatever dish they were added to. But Gourmet Nut wasn’t finished by a long shot. There was also the little matter of their “Gourmet on the Go” line of snack packs. I got to try 4 different varieties, some more than others thanks to the snarfing of a certain hubby who shall remain nameless.
I’ll start with the mix that went “poof” first, the Cajun Hot Mix. A combination of sesame sticks, peanuts, cajun corn sticks, almonds, and tasty chili bits, this one was a tasty little number that had the added benefit of just a touch of heat. Fans of this blog know that in my house, the hotter the better. And while this mix some heat, it wasn’t so hot as to discourage the chilie-challenged among us from diving in, either. It wasn’t loaded with sodium either, like so many other savory snack packs from other “bigger” brands. All while being trans-fat free, cholesterol-free, and vegan. Not too shabby! This generous 8 oz. bag was gone, baby, gone within a calendar week thanks to Mr. Snack Vacuum over here, but the little bit I got, I loved.


Next on the hit parade was Gourmet Nut’s “Body Boosting Antioxidant Mix”. Bursting with flavor from raisins, cranberries, blueberries, dark chocolate, pecans and walnuts, this all natural, gluten free treat went over like gangbusters here. Fruit, nuts, and chocolate? Yes, please! Also boasting 5 grams of protein per 1 ounce serving, and just 150 calories, this 6 once bag didn’t last kissing time either. At least I got more than a token handful this time. And every little bit was fresh, full and bursting with flavor. Not a bag full of broken bits and powder, either. Just a Bag of win.




Number three is one that I’m sure will do well, Gourmet Nut’s “Energize Me” Protein Mix. 8 ounces filled to brim with dried cherries, raisins, almonds, cashews, peanuts and pumpkin seeds. All natural, vegan and gluten free, this is a satisfying mouthful for just about anyone. Hubby, usually in  staunch opposition to nuts of almost any kind, even grabbed a handful or three. The dried fruit isn’t overly sweet, and the nuts roasty, not salty. Each one ounce serving gives you a whopping 7 grams of protein, 3 grams of dietary fiber, and only 150 calories. A crunchy little snack like this goes well with this household, especially since we don’t eat lunch but can get “munchy” between breakfast and dinner. This plugs that hole perfectly.



Last on the hit parade is Gourmet Nut’s Nature’s Mix. This one I loved, with raisins, cranberries, peanuts, pineapple, papaya, almonds, and cashews. It has everything but my name. All natural, gluten free, and vegan. This 8 ounce bag is only 120 calories per serving, and is another excellent mid day snack. It’s also cholesterol free, and trans-fat free. Hubby isn’t crazy about papaya and pineapple, so it didn’t get squirreled away and an empty bag just appear like some of the other varieties. So I got to take my time with the one and really enjoy it. And believe me, I enjoyed the heck out of it.



Gourmet Nut has many more varieties in their “Gourmet on the Go” line,  like Veggie Chips, Mega Omega Mix, Almond Cranberry Crunch, and much more. With prices running as little as $3 and change per bag, up to around $4.50 or so (they’re sold in packs of 6), there’s a snack sack for every budget. Along with the salts and spice rubs I’ve reviewed for them, they also offer Health Seeds and Power Up Snack bags. And there is nothing in their line I’ve tried that isn’t quality. The salts are up there with some of my favorites, and the prices for everything are very reasonable. Too often snack mixes are loaded with salt, sugar, and fillers that leave you hungrier than before you dug in, and then filled with regret when you step on the scale. That’s just not the case here. What you see is what you get. You see pictures of fruit and nuts, and you get a   bag full of fruits and nuts. Very refreshing nowadays. Thank you, Gourmet Nut.


I’m so tempted to throw a handful of some of these into a quickbread dough and see what happens. Power loaf, perhaps? But that’s a post for another day. Assuming I can hide these from that roaming muncher I married.

Connect with Gourmet Nut:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Gourmet Nut.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Healthy Surprise: Subscription Snack Box filled with goodies and delivered right to your door


Healthy Surprise is a company, which delivers snack filled boxes to your door on a monthly basis. The company also offers specialty themed boxes, like their Chocolate Box that is filled with anything and everything having to do with that cacao bean we all love. You also have different box levels and they just get fuller and fuller as you go up the scale:

  • Starter Box- $40.00 a month and filled with snacks for 1 to 2 people. Each box has 11+ full sized snacks to enjoy.
  • Big Box– $60.00 a month and filled with snacks to satisfy 1 to 4 people. This box comes with 16+ full sized snacks to indulge in.
  • Combo Box– $95.00 a month and filled with snacks to satisfy 2 to 6 people. The Combo Box is huge and filled with 27+ full sized snacks that will satisfy any taste-bud and then some.

All treats are soy free, gluten free, natural to vegan. Snacks are corn free and even plant based. I also found they research very carefully what they offer in their boxes from products not made in China to the ingredients used. You won’t find MSG to High Fructose Corn Syrup. Worried about allergies? Healthy Surprise hunts for dairy free, peanut free, shellfish free, no artificial flavors, dyes, color, to even no artificial sweeteners used in their health friendly boxes. No Partially Hydrogenated oils or yeast extracts to upset your taste buds! It’s munching but at a higher level of quality and some can same say less guilt. I’m always for feeling better and less guilty about snacking!


One thing I dislike about monthly subscription boxes is the wait. You miss that delivery window and you are waiting 30+ days to get anything. Not with Healthy Surprise!  They even have a count down and I ordered one day in the early hours and I am not kidding, I was opening up my box within 48 hours. Healthy Surprise is a California based company, so I got quick delivery and so can you, as they ship for free anywhere in the U.S. You can also set when you want a box shipped and I like that level of control when ordering.

Now to the box we go! I received the smaller box called the Starter Box and calling it small is an understatement, with 13 items but does it live up to it’s price tag? Let’s see….


  • Hail Merry Macaroons Blonde– The bag comes with 1.75 of puck shaped macaroons. They are small but packed with flavor and no skimping on the coconut. I loved these and ate them with fruit, then dipped some in chocolate and two macaroons swam in an almost empty jar of Fleur de Sel Caramel that was too good to waste. Love these and they are addicting. The product is gluten free and Vegan friendly. Hail Merry uses top notch ingredients from organic maple syrup, shredded coconut, extra virgin coconut oil to raw almond flour. You add vanilla and sea salt and that makes up the entire list of contents. Simple and delicious and I’m a fan. A bag this size retails for about $4 to $5.



  • Gorge Delights, Just Fruit Bar in Apple Cherry 100% grown U.S. fruit, this bar is sort of like the “fruit leather” you find at Trader Joe’s. A little thicker and it’s made of apple puree, apple concentrate, and cherry concentrate. The bar is simple but delivers more of an apple punch than a cherry one. Due to it’s ultra minced texture, the bar is a little on the gummy side but not satisfying in texture like a gummy bear is. It’s more gummy and smashed. Was not a fan of the bar and stopped at two bites because the cherry was just not there for me and it started to taste like fermented fruit. I really wanted to like this bar because it does satisfy 2 fruit servings of your daily requirements and I would try it again but in another flavor. This bar retails for about $1.16 when purchased in bulk sizes (for retail).



  • Oloves in Basil and Garlic These are natural green pitted olives and they have a touch of salt, sunflower oil, basil, garlic, vinegar, and acidifiers listed as lactic and citric acid. The pouch weighs 1.1. ounces and safely keeps the green olives intact. No broken or smashed ones and I added them to a salad, which made my dinner look like a beauty and my taste buds were 100% satisfied when it came to the flavor and texture. You get a nice brine that is not over loaded with acids or too high in flavor when it comes to the marinade. Oloves found the perfect balance where the other flavors compliment versus taking away from the olive. A bag this size retails for a little over a $1.00.


  • Hail Merry Grawnola in Orange and Cranberry– Another hit for the Hail Merry family and this raw nut and fruit blend is packed with flavor that is perfectly balanced. Many orange flavored items are over powered with a poor tasting juice that smells better than it tastes, but not here. You get the hints of citrus and the granola is crunchy and not coated with that honey/orange juice glaze that gives you sticky fingers. You have ingredients like raw almonds, maple syrup, buckwheat groats, fresh orange juice, dried apples, raw pecans, and cranberries. The blend continues with raw sunflower seeds, walnuts, flax seeds, vanilla and a touch of cinnamon and salt. Perfect and craveable, plus energy packed. Most ingredients are organic and this product is gluten free, Vegan friendly, grain free and packed with Raw Omegas. Hail Merry products make you look at the label twice and it’s not a trust issue, it’s that you can’t believe something so good is not doused in sugars and bad stuff! This 1.5 ounce bag retails for between $2.50 and $3.00.


  • Buddy Fruits in Mango Passion & Banana– The drink comes in a resealable container and Buddy Fruits is simple in the ingredient list. You have pure blended fruit derived from Mango. Apple, Banana, and Passion Fruit juice…..that is all. The pouch delivers a taste just like you would imagine the fruit combination would be. Great product to drink as it is or even add to smoothies. I semi-froze mine to enjoy on a hot day and it got a nice slush consistency that made me wish I had 2 of these in my box. The 3.2 ounce pouch retails for about a $1.00 to $1.25.




  • Freshly Wild Super Foods, Kale Joy in Jazzy Sweet Mustard– Healthy surprise sent me another thing I’ve been dying to try, kale chips. Because let’s face it, everyone gets “munchy” from time to time, but potato chips are all kinds of unhealthy and bad for any diet in excess. From Freshly Wild, a small Portland, Oregon-based health food company, comes Kale Joy in Jazzy Sweet Mustard flavor. Not just your average dehydrated kale chip, these are handcrafted and carefully dehydrated in a small kitchen “powered by renewable wind energy”. Cool. Gluten-free, non GMO, and vegan, three things that are quite popular right now. Using “… only the best juices, nuts, seeds and spices”, this little guy is coated in crunch and flavor, with little bits of nut and seasoning all over. Neat-o. In a resealable .75 ounce package to boot. Crispy without being crumbly, and a satisfying crunch that fills that “munchy” feeling I mentioned earlier. Tangy and sweet. Two things jump out at me: 1 is that unfortunately, a lot of the chips became “shards” at the bottom of the bag. And 2 is that for only an ounce, you’d be paying between $4.50 and $6.00 a bag. Yowza. Fortunately, a little bit goes along way.


  • Snip Chips in Dill Pickle– This is a Parsnip and Coconut snack mix. I have never even sniffed a blend like this or much less had one but I’m a try it all and then decide type of gal. The product is parsnips, raw coconut, raw cashews, apple cider vinegar, dill, garlic and lemon, plus a touch of chipotle, mustard seed, and Himalayan crystal salt. I dive in and it’s not crispy but more of a dehydrated like texture, I have seen these at my local Sprout’s Market and they come in other flavors. I like dill pickles and found myself puzzled by the blend as I knew it.  I did go back for a second and third piece. The verdict is still out on this one for me as much as I tried to make-up my mind about it. I guess I’m in the middle about it, I don’t love them or dislike them but unsure if I will be having more. Sun Chips does have other flavors and maybe the cheesy one would be better. This bag at a weight of 2 ounces retails between $5.49 and $5.99.


The Daily Crave Veggie Chips– Remember that “munchy” feeling I mentioned? The one that comes between meals and runs diets? Yeah, that one. Here’s another product that should make you feel a little less guilty about munching. Note that I said “should”. I’ll explain that in a minute. The Daily Crave is a snack food company that boasts on their website:

*100% All Natural
*100% Vegan
*No Artificial Ingredients
*No Dairy
*Non GMO
*No Artificial flavors
*No Artificial coloring
*No Hydrogenated Fats
*Perfect for Dipping

That’s a mouthful. And it’s got a neat package, a good price, clever marketing, what’s not to love? Well, a close look at the ingredient list reveals that these are not all that different from, say, those chips in a tube shaped can that stack so nicely. Potato flour, potato star hotel, and oil are the first 3 ingredients. And while there is salt and sugar, it’s thankfully in very small amounts. Almost as small as the amounts of actual veggies in these veggie chips. Now, that’s not to say they aren’t tasty, because they are. But for all they got right, they also got quite a bit wrong. Snazzy packaging and trendy buzzwords do not a great product make. A small filled bag at just 1 ounce retails for $1.33 (retail bulk price).

  • Snapz Premium Grilled Zucchini Crunch & Snapz Premium Pineapple Crunch– I hate being a snack buzzkill, so let me mention a couple of yummers that I loved. Snapz Crisps makes an entire line of gently dehydrated fruit and veggie crisps, so there’s something for everyone. They are a “Brand leader for non fried fruit and vegetable crisps, 100 % natural, not fried or baked. Using unique technology to ensure the products are very crisp (?) they combine the fun and enjoyment of crisps with the goodness of fruit and vegetables. Appealing to all ages groups — young and old alike.” I got to try both sweet and savory with their Premium Pineapple and Grilled Zucchini flavors. While I appreciated the subtle flavors of the grilled zucchini, a little touch of sea salt would have really livened it up. But the pineapple crisps were a hit all around. Too often there are added oils and sugars in dried fruit that completely drown out the flavors of the fruit, but not here. I love the one item ingredient list: Pineapple. Winner! Tasty, crunchy, tangy. Not oily, not overly sweet. What’s not to love? Fat free, gluten free, nut free, GMO free, sugar free, salt free, preservative free…can it be true? It is, but I came crashing down to earth when I went to buy some more: 12 bags (0.46 oz each) were over $17 plus tax and shipping at Amazon. That stings. I really hate that the closer you get to real foods the more it costs, but that’s the reality in America anymore. I will say I really, really enjoyed these and will be on the lookout for them when next I darken the market’s doorstep.


  • Righteously Raw Chocolates in Mint, Rose, and Dark chocolate– The Dark has a nice creamy and intense cacao notes. It’s not perfume-y, just chocolate satisfaction all the way through at 83% pure cacao you can believe it’s good and no bitter notes at all. It’s the espresso of chocolates! The Mint version has 82% cacoa and it’s not your typical mint that is creamy, think more of a “dry mint” taste where your mint is derived from peppermint so you get the sharp notes combined with the dark chocolate. A good combination and I liked that it was different than the typical mint flavors I have tried before. Then comes the Rose. I love roses and have even indulged in pastries that contain rose water……I took a bite and the flavor was so off, that I quickly chewed and opened the Dark version for salvation. It tasted like something bad had been infused and not like any rose I have eaten or even smelled. The tricky part is the bar smells like just dark chocolate but when you bite, something bitter and sour just takes over your mouth. It says red raspberry powder, brown rice protein powder to red beet are mixed in with the chocolate. Rose hips is last on the list and maybe it’s the flavor combination but it’s a no-go on the Rose and I love chocolate and have even continued to eat chocolate that when asked how it is, I reply “ummm, it’s okay”, but continue munching. Could not do that with the Rose. Righteously Raw did well with the Dark and surprised me nicely with the Mint, so go there when buying this one. The 3 chocolates I received are considered “bite-size”, so finding a price point was a bit difficult but buying in bulk of a bag of dark was 16 pieces for $22.99 via Amazon, making it under $0.70 per bite size bar.


  • A $25.00 gift card– was also included and can be used towards the purchase of a Healthy Surprise box, making the smaller one more than 50% off. Good company when it comes to continuing patronage with their customers.

I liked being able to try some brands I had never heard of, brands that I have seen but knew nothing about, and seeing the familiar ones like Hail Merry but trying new items from a company I know and purchase products from. Exploring is fun and The Healthy Surprise Company does the hunting while you do the munching. I believe every subscription company should at the very least be tried once and to get a good idea, try it a second time. I did feel some items were overly priced by companies but that is not Healthy Surprises’ fault. It did let me adjust my shopping list by making sure to add some companies to my list and knowing what products to just walk away from. If you are into exploring new items and new flavors, but in a “better for you” way, try Healthy Surprise. I found a great link you can use, which is via Groupon. For a limited time you can get the $60 box for $30!!!

Visit Healthy Surprise and get the Groupon deal at:


I received the above product free of charge from Healthy Surprise. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

BzzAgent: Fiber One Protein Cereal in Maple Brown Sugar #Review


I love Maple Brown sugar flavored treats from cereals, bars to even a bowl of oatmeal, so when BzzAgent and Fiber One had this campaign……well, I was hoping to get in and so happy I did.

I still eat cereal regularly but not always with milk. I go with my cravings and love switching it up from Coconut milk, Almond milk to just regular old fashioned….well, cow milk. There are times I even mix milks just because I can! Other times I use cereals as my “granola imitation” combined with yogurts and dried fruits. It’s like eating a delicious but healthy parfait.

Fiber One’s Protein cereals are made with sweetened granola so it goes beyond just the flakes. You get 10 grams of protein in every serving and this is a value with the addition of milk. The Maple Brown sugar version has Pecans, so you get a nice crunch and the nuts were fair in size. You also get 20% of your daily fiber intake.

Nutritional Facts:
220 calories per one cup serving and it goes up to 260 with skim milk. You have whole grain oats, crisp rice and soy protein isolate to Corn Bran and Puffed Wheat. 150 mg of Sodium and 16 grams of sugar. I found several undesirable ingredients like Caramel coloring and Corn Syrup listed and below is the link for you to review.


Maple Brown Sugar Taste Test:
I found the texture nice on it’s own but did find it more on the sugar sweet side than the Maple side. The bites that contained pecans helped to mellow out the sweetness. When added with milks, I did notice it did not play well with my Vanilla flavored Almond Milk, so I stuck to plain. I found it was better with yogurt because of the crunch and the yogurt tends to dilute the sweetness. I usually just purchase a large container of plain greek yogurt that lasts a little under a week, so making this mix was great. I added almonds on certain days and on others even added a banana with flax seeds. I did enjoy the cereal and  how versatile the it can be, just wish it was a touch less sweet but it’s nothing you can’t fix!


If you would like to visit Fiber One’s Protein Cereals, please visit:

I received the above product free of charge from BzzAgent & Fiber One. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours. #GotItFree

Bob’s Red Mill: Crake! a Fusion Dessert made of a Cinnamon Roll and caKE all-in-one


With all the fusion of desserts going on today, I thought I would enter into that playground and have a go at it.  I present to you what I call a Crake!  It’s actually pastry dough that I made using a blend of flours and a cake that engulfs each roll.  Being that Valentine’s Day is around the corner, we all need a hug and this moist buttermilk-based cake does just that to each roll.  So let’s get started creating and let me add, this has a sticky bun topping so I made sure to splurge!

We start by getting our starter going:

3 ounces of Warm Water (105 to 110 degrees)
1 teaspoon of White Sugar
1/2 tablespoon of Yeast
1 ounce of Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour


I have a proofing option with my oven that I set at 110 degrees.  No need to have one, so you can also place the starter to bloom in a dark warm corner in your kitchen.  I gently mix everything in a small bowl, but one with enough room for the rise. Then cover with plastic and give it about 15 minutes.

While that starter get’s….well started, I begin with the Sweet Dough Mix for the Rolls:

3 ounces of Yogurt (or you can use 3 ounces of cream cheese, plus 1 tablespoon of milk)
2 ounces of Unsalted Butter (softened)
1 egg at room temperature
1 3/4 ounces of White Sugar
1 teaspoon of Salt
1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
6 1/2 ounces of Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Flour
4 Ounces Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour

Between a 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of All Purpose Flour (separate from above measurements) will be needed while the dough kneads.

I cream the sugar and butter together with a mixer (stand or hand will do, use your whisk attachment).  I then add the Yogurt but in this case I went with the 3 ounces of cream cheese (with 1 tablespoon of milk).  Add the egg and vanilla.  I then add the starter and incorporate everything, being careful not to over mix.   In another bowl, I mix the salt and both flours with a whisk.  I add the mix to the wet ingredients, still with the whisk attachment on.  Things will look a little shaggy at this point; that’s okay. I then change over to the dough hook.  I find using a little butter on my dough hook makes it easier in preventing the dough from sticking to it.  I begin to knead and add All Purpose Flour as needed.  Sometimes I need a 1/4 cup and other times I need up to a 1/2 a cup, it all depends on the elasticity it builds.  I knead for about 10 minutes using the mixer.

After the dough is a nice texture, I place it in a buttered bowl and cover it with plastic. In it goes to the proofer for a hour to an hour and 20 minutes. You want the dough to grow almost double in size.

I then begin on the “sticky bun” topping that I call “The Glaze”:

4 tablespoons of Butter (salted)
3 tablespoons of Maple Syrup
1/2 a cup of Brown Sugar

I melt the above items down and I find my little “gravy” pan works great as it has a notch for pouring.  Stir frequently and don’t hurry it up by turning up the heat.  Use low heat until things melt and just begin to bubble.  You want no sugar crystals (grains), just a smooth glaze.


While the glaze melts, I get 1/2 a cup of pecans and throw them on some parchment paper to toast.  This intensifies the flavor profile and also adds a nice texture to the glaze.  The glaze will actually almost create a butter nut toffee texture over the pecans, so it is really delicious and beautiful looking at the same time.  I use my toaster oven because my dough is proofing in my oven.  Just place them at 350 degrees and then watch them so they do not burn.  It may take 5 minutes or 10 to be done, so the time is never exact but keep an eye on them until the color changes (darkens slightly).

1/2 cup of toasted Pecans (or any nut of your choice)

I then get a glass pan that I will use to bake this entire concoction in.  I use a “lasagna” pan that is the size of 9 x 13 inches (3 quart).  This allows enough room for the rolls to rise and for the cake batter to fit.  I use cooking spray on the glass and then place parchment.  The spray allows my parchment paper to stick and stay put better so I don’t have to fuss with it.  I also find that it’s easier to first cut and shape the paper to your liking BEFORE spraying so you don’t then end up with baking spray on your hands too.  Yes, it has happened where I forget and then end up with slippery hands!

DSCN4284 DSCN4285

Pour the glaze onto the paper and make sure to help it spread evenly.  Once it spreads out, add the Pecans.


I get started in making the filling for the Rolls:
Roll Filling-
You can use the standard cinnamon roll filling of 1/2 tablespoons of melted Butter, 1 cup of Brown Sugar, 1/2 to 3/4 tablespoon of ground Cinnamon, with a dash of Nutmeg.
Roll Filling Variations-
With Strawberries being in season and I am going for a Valentine’s Day dessert, I picked Strawberries.  You can go with any berry you wish like Blackberries or even a mix.  I used 6 ounces of fresh Strawberries that I sliced up and because they were already sweet, I used less than a teaspoon of White Sugar and just tossed them.  Take note the glaze is sweet and you don’t want an overly sweet filing too but do sugar the fruit by taste.
By now the dough has “poofed” to my liking and close enough to being double the size so I get it out of the proofer and just flip it on to a floured surface.  Have a 1/2 cup of flour ready if needed when it comes to rolling the dough out.  I roll the dough out to about 14 inches (length wise).  I then spread the filling and in this case the fruit, and then I begin to roll like I would any cinnamon roll.
You want 8 rolls in total and this is my method:
Cut the ends off and then cut the roll in half.
You now have 2 small rolls and you will cut each on in half again.
You now have 4 pieces and you then simply cut each piece in half and you end up with 8 (close enough) equally sized rolls.
Place the rolls in the pan that has the glaze and in it goes back in the oven to proof for about 30 to 45 minutes.  You want expansion but not so much that you won’t have room for cake batter.
While the rolls proof, off we go to make the cake batter.  Start making the batter when you are about 10 minutes away from the rolls finish proofing:
Buttermilk Cake Batter-
3/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour
1/4 cup of Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 cup of White Sugar
1/2 teaspoon of Salt
1/3 cup of Unsalted Butter
1 Egg (room temperature)
1/2 teaspoon of Maple Syrup
1/2 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
1/4 teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon
3/4 cup of Buttermilk
Cream the sugar and butter together.  While that incorporates nicely, get the 3/4 cup of buttermilk and add the egg, vanilla, maple syrup to it until well blended.  Then in a separate bowl blend the dry ingredients, the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Once the butter and sugar are nice and creamy, add 1/2 of the “wet” buttermilk mixture and 1/2 of the “dry” flour mixture to the mixing bowl.  Make sure to not over mix as this results in a tough textured cake.  Scrape the sides and bottom, then add the rest of the wet and dry ingredients.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
Take the rolls out of the proofer and then add the cake batter to the areas around each roll.  Make sure to not get cake batter on the top of the rolls since you do not want a soggy roll.  A couple of drips is okay but do not spread the cake batter on top of the rolls.  I used all my cake batter because the point here is for the cake to rise to the height of the rolls.  You do not want when you flip these over to collapse.
By now my bossy oven has beeped at me that it is ready for the Crake to go in.  I then bake it between 30 to 40 minutes.  If you see it start to over brown, just place foil on top and make sure to not over bake.  Take it out when the cake is set and a toothpick comes out clean.  Mine was ready at 37 minutes.
I allow the pan to cool for 8 to 10 minutes and carefully place a dish that accommodates the size of the pan you used over the Crake.  I use a glass cutting board so that I just dirty one thing and I can just slice when needed.  Use oven mitts to keep a nice grip and also in case it’s too hot.  Flip and this is where you will thank the parchment paper….just carefully peel and I use a small spatula in case a pecan here or there tries to escape.
Viola, you made a Crake!
I then heated up dinner and allowed the Crake to cool.  It won’t get soggy on the bottom as the glaze stays on top.  After dinner I cut into it and served it with a whipped topping made of Heavy Cream, Mascarpone Cheese, and Powdered Sugar.  You just whip until you get nice stiff peaks but don’t over-whip as you will make butter.  To let my guest know the pastry had a Strawberry filling, I added a cut Fresh Strawberry on top and also a whole one to a dollop of whipped cream I placed on the plate.  This allows anyone to get more topping in case I went light on it.  Enjoy!
You can do this any way you desire.  What I mean is this is a dessert that is really two-in-one.  Want to just make the glaze and the cake, you can.  Stop at the glaze and the rolls….go for it.  I write my recipes as I go on a note pad and the above was created on my first try, so if I can do it, so can you… make it any way you want 🙂
I received some of the above products free of charge from Bob’s Red Mill, an employee-owned company.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Pumpkin Maple Pecan Muffins with a Cream Cheese filling & Crumble Topping


Fall is nearing even though the weather says, “No”, but the trees say, “Yes”. I wanted a recipe that is not too committed to the Fall flavors but I can adjust as the season changes. I find such adjustment can be made with the spice so I go a little lighter on the Pumpkin Pie spice when the weather is warmer. I hope you enjoy this simple recipe that is my way to start getting in that Autumn mood.

15 ounce can of Pumpkin Puree (not the pie mix)
1/2 cup of Brown Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 tablespoon of Unsalted Butter (melted)
2 tablespoons of Vegetable Oil
1/4 of Maple Syrup
1/2 tablespoon of Vanilla Extract
1/2 teaspoon of Salt
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of Pumpkin Pie Spice (go with how you desire the spice to be)
1 teaspoon of Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon of Baking Soda
1/3 cup of Milk (you can also use Almond Milk, Yogurt, Coconut Milk or a mix like I did. I used whole Milk and Almond milk to make 1/3 of a cup)
1/2 cup toasted Pecan pieces or halves
3/4 cup of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (I used a mix of mini and
normal size)
1 3/4 cup of All-Purpose Flour

Cream Cheese Filling:
8 ounce package of Cream Cheese (softened)
1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
1 tablespoon of All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup of Sugar

Crumble top:
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/4 of Old-Fashioned Oats
4 Tablespoons of Salted Butter (melted)

1 Muffin pan that yields 12 muffins/cupcakes

12 Pecan Halves (not toasted)
1 tablespoon of Maple Syrup

I preheat my oven to 400 degrees and spray my muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. I use the Pam with Flour to yield the best results.

I start by mixing all my wet ingredients in a bowl. I then drop the ingredients in my mixer’s bowl and incorporate for 20 to 30 seconds.


I then add the toasted Pecans and Chocolate chips.

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In another bowl, I mix the flour and baking soda and baking powder. On low, I begin to incorporate the dry ingredients with the wet mixture until everything is just mixed.


I take my muffin pan and fill the cups but leaving enough room so I can add the cream cheese filling and topping.

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To make the filling, just take all ingredients and mix until incorporated. If the cream cheese is not soft enough, a 10 to 15 second intervals in the microwave will fix that right up.


Add the filling to your muffin batter. You can choose to have a center of cream cheese to your muffin or even a cream cheese top, or get creative and make a marbling. I was in a hurry so I plopped and went with a “at home” look, so the cream cheese stayed where it landed! 🙂


I then add more of the pumpkin batter to cover the cream cheese.


To make the crumble top, it is as easy as the filling. Incorporate all the dry ingredients and then mix in the butter until you have crumbles. Add the crumble to your muffins.


I added a Pecan half to each muffin to give them that Autumn look. This is optional.

I put the muffin pan in the oven and let it bake at 400 for 15 minutes and then cover with foil and let it bake between 10 to 15 minutes longer, or until a toothpick comes clean. If you notice that 2 muffins come clean when tested but one is not playing nice, sometimes the cream cheese can be deceiving so I always go with the majority rule and pull them out than over bake them. You notice the Pecan may over brown or burn, cover with foil sooner as I know ovens vary.


Let the muffins cool in the pan for about 8 to 10 minutes and I remove them by using a chop stick or toothpick to assist in pulling the muffin out without destroying or knocking off the topping. I then place the muffins on a rack to finish cooling. Have family that is impatient when you bake? You can eat these semi-warm so after 10 to 15 minutes, they can go at them!

Now, you will notice my pecan is shiny and that is because when I remove the muffins from the pan and onto a rack, I then take my finger and softly touch the pecan with maple syrup. Gives the nut flavor and it cools looking pretty.


Options: You can add dried cranberries, raisins, or even substitute the nut for one more to your liking. You don’t have to toast the nuts if you are short on time, I just do it because it gives the pecans a better flavor. You could also add butterscotch chips……make it your own as I have no rules!


You will notice you may have 2 to 3 muffin worth of pumpkin batter left and some cream cheese. I believe in not wasting so I take a couple ramekins and created a swirl by using both the batter and filling. Once cooled, you can cover with ganache and again this is even something you can do to make the muffins 🙂 Have fun!


Chobani Vanilla Golden Crunch Flip

Flipping back to Flip Country and I bring you Chobani’s Vanilla Golden Crunch Flip. Called a Flip because you flip nutritious “goodies” from one cup to the bigger yogurt cup. You can then decide if you want it to be a topper or a mix-in, or a little of both. I like that you have that choice of texture that is kept fresh by keeping the ingredients separate.


Let’s break down the cups-
The yogurt portion, which is the larger cup, is Vanilla low-fat yogurt. The “flip” is a joyful mix of cornflakes, honey oats and praline pecans! I told you it was a happy cup but you did not believe me! You also have Wildflower Honey minus the bees because they don’t always give up the golden nectar without a fight. No small detail went overlooked and even barley malt is present. That’s the stuff the gives corn flakes and shakes that extra oh so good flavor.

The Verdict-
This Flip remains at 150 calories and only 15 from fat. Twelve grams of Protein to get you going and 15% in Calcium.


The Flavor-
Don’t let the Vanilla fool you in thinking this is a dull cup…….think Parfait. You have the pudding and the “crunchies” as I call them, bring that pudding alive. Who wants a bowl of corn flakes and milk, now that’s a soggy bore because I have Praline Pecans and my flakes don’t go floppy! That just changed the whole bowl for me and mine may be square but with Flips now on the block, square is in. Where have you been? Oh, you better be at the store….no the dairy aisle not where boring-o milk is nearby the eggs. You don’t want to get me started on eggs now 🙂

The Ingredients-
Nonfat Yogurt (cultured Pasteurized Nonfat Milk, Live And Active Cultures: S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus And L. Casei), Oats, Evaporated Cane Juice, Milled Corn, Wildflower Honey, Sugar, Canola Oil, Pecans, Salt, Barley Malt, Vanilla Extract, Locust Bean Gum, Butter.

I received the above product free of charge from Chobani. I am not obligated to provide a favorable/positive review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the brand and products, which may differ from yours.

Love Food Review of their Monthly Subscription Box


Love with Food is a monthly subscription program that not only packs a lot delicious samplings, but also a good bang for your buck.  I subscribed around the start of January for the February box.  It was a Spicy & Sweet theme and you get to see what I received!  You can sign up at  They even included a cute list of the 9 items they included, and 10 if you add the extra Nektar packet.  I paid a little over $2.00 to try the products because they had a promotion but even at normal price, they really deliver a box full of goodies and deliver it to your door on a monthly basis.  You can cancel at anytime and each box purchase, means a meal for the homeless!  This company not only delivers on top notch customer service but better their community!



Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffle Piglet from Hagensborg Chocolates ( (Twitter: @TrufflePigBar):
I had never heard of the company but just one chocolate embedded the piggy image forever in my head and taste buds.  The company uses a European method that just makes you go crazy.  I like peanut butter but I’m not a lover of it like my husband but we divided the piggy in half (I got the part with cute little tail) and I became a lover of PB!  The peanut butter filling was smooth but not dry and perfectly roasted.  I could taste the peanut and against the milk chocolate, it was better than any peanut butter cup I have ever had.  My only question was, “do they make it with dark chocolate?”  I looked on-line and seriously should have not because they have other flavors and I’m hooked.  I loved these piglets so much, I am hoping to pitch them in the future because Hagensborg Chocolates deserves an entire article on them!



Naturally Flavored Cranberries from Funny Face ( (Twitter: @FunnyFaceCran):
I usually purchase my dried cranberries at Trader Joe’s because Ocean Spray’s Crazins are just too soaked in sugar anymore that I have noticed they came out with a “less sugar” version.  Glad to know it was not just me.  I received the “Freckle Face Strawberry”.  I opened the package and you could just smell strawberries and it smelled like the real stuff, not just the perfume they seem to add to strawberry flavored foods that smell better than they taste.  The berries are large in size, plump but not a sticky mess.  Their color is vibrant but I noticed their cranberry had more fruit to it than the wrinkly ones I have been buying.  I noticed 50% less sugar, so I turned the package around and the ingredients are so simple.  You have Cranberries, Soluble Corn Fiber, Evaporated Cane Juice, Citric Acid, Safflower Oil, and Natural Flavors…..that is all!  You do taste the strawberries and these would make a great cookie, I’m thinking white chocolate with these cranberries or even a dark chocolate one!  You know they are good when you wish you got more of a good thing.



Pico de Gallo Bean & Rice Chips from Beanfields ( (Twitter: @BeanfieldsSnack):
I have walked by these bags at my local Sprout’s and I’m a huge fan of the brand “Food Should Taste Good” chips.  I wondered how they were and after having the PopChips nacho version, I was unsure because some were great and some flavors were not that hot!  You have long grain rice, navy and pinto beans that really create an awesome crunch.  I shy away from tomato based flavors because many are just over powdered with tomato powder that just tastes like dried condensed soup or worst, ketchup.  I opened the bag and noticed an herb like smell and picked up Bell Peppers.  Okay, this seems interesting now.  I put a triangle in my mouth and the spices with the chips were outrageous but in a good way!  Not over salty with a perfect balance of spice and again the ingredients are so simple.  You even have a natural smoke flavor that I could have sworn was a roasted pepper, but wait I see green bell pepper powder in the ingredient list.  They also have 4 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein, plus they are corn free.  You have what goes into the actual Pico de Gallo and the black beans just add that extra “umph” that I never get from chips.  These babies are crispy and do not create mush in your mouth like many of these multigrained chips I see hit the market.  I will be buying these and not that they needed to be better, but Beanfield’s is also verified by the NON GMO project.  I wish I had found them sooner and they are a family owned company too!



Original Nuts from Bobbysue’s Nuts (  (Twitter: @bobbysuesnuts):

The blend is dry roasted almonds, cashews and pecans that when you read their motto, “delicious nuts with a mission”, I raise my expectations.  The ingredients are the nuts I mentioned above, sugar, egg whites, water, salt and spices.  No corn syrup and they taste like someone made creme brulee nuts!  The coating is light so it preserves the natural crunch you get from nuts and sweetness was perfect and delicate.  I kept looking for honey or some form of caramel.  They had a very light cinnamon flavor that complemented the sugars well and I hope Bobbysue’s comes to a retailer near me soon but Amazon can fill that niche because I found them there.  Every nut dollar goes towards building a shelter for the homeless animals so they not only respect what they make for us humans, but they look out for the furry kind too.



Tomato Basil Sipping Broth from Millie’s Savory Teas ( (Twitter: @SavoryTeas)

I was excited so much that I missed that this sipping broth has green tea in the ingredients.  I like to taste items as-is without looking what is in them so I don’t go with an idea of what I should expect.  My first bite, I want it to be going into it with almost unknown expectations and the second one I take after, I see what has what.  I will say that when I put the tea bag in the cup, the smell was not appetizing.  The product advertises itself as a savory alternative to coffee or tea.  I think it missed being a savory good tasting broth and also a good tasting tea.  The green tea and basil were overpowering and after the second sip, which was smaller than my first, I had to skip in having more because I just could not.  The idea is sound to a degree and I even had it on a cold night but the blend was just off.  It was so off putting that if someone said it was medicinal, then maybe you can force yourself in having it if it made you feel better!


Nektar Honey Crystals from Nektar Naturals ( :

Powdered Honey… got me.  I saw powdered Maple Sugar the other day and wondered how it would be and then my mind began to think of ways to use it!  I received two packets and I’m a fan.  I mixed the Nektar with powdered sugar and used it to sprinkle my Lemon Bars and, “oh my”!  These little bees at Nektar have gold in their hands.  No sticky mess and the product dissolves well that I have been using the rest for my teas.  I even made a hot tea and later added ice and this should have reached my hands sooner!  Ingredients are granulated honey (natural honey and sugar).  Simple and I am thinking of making honey biscuits when I purchase this and even a ham glaze.  Yeah, I started thinking again and lets say my imagination can really get creative at times 🙂


Milk Chocolate Caramel Truffle Piglet from Hagensborg Chocolates ( (Twitter: @TrufflePigBar):
This little piggy can visit me again all it wants!  The caramel filling made this one my second favorite and wonder if this piglet makes anything bad.  With all natural ingredients and having one of the best milk chocolates out there, I so hope to see this piggy in my area again soon!



Chocolate Madeleine from Donsuemor ( (Twitter: @Donsuemor):
I dislike package cookies or any baked good because they always are dry and taste like the package they came in.  The ingredient’s list makes you wonder why the cookie does not glow so I usually bake myself at home.  I love Madeleine cookies because they are the in-between cookie and cake treat that I can enjoy in small portions and always so buttery.  This one came in chocolate and I liked already that the hue was deep color, so I expected a good amount of chocolate.  The shell shape always makes me smile so that alone on how this little cake was presented, it made me smile.  I had bananas so I decided to add some sugar to them and caramelize it with a torch, to create a nice brulee top.  I pop the cake out and notice it smells like real food and then came that chocolate wave.  I also noticed the edge crumbled so it was not a dry sea foam like I expected.  The company has been around since 1976, so you know they must be doing something right!  They are!  This is probably the only “packaged” cookie I will eat.  I will always try different brands and varieties but rarely finish a package but if I had these, it would be a dangerous territory for me because they tasted so good.  I looked on their website and they have scones and biscotti……I’m in love!  If you served this Madeleine to me, I would not be the wiser it came from a package.



Jer’s Squares (  (Twitter: @JersChocolates):
I saw Toffee Break and this is the first item I opened from the box.  I use to eat Heath bars until they stop tasting like they use to.  Jer’s uses Valencia peanut butter as the center, mixed with buttery rich toffee bits and covered in dark chocolate.  This bar is made for me!  It has everything my husband and I like but someone crammed it together and created AWESOMENESS!  I loved the crunch from the toffee but the buttery flavor is really there so it goes great with the peanut butter.  I already buy Valencia peanut butter but I want the PB that Jer’s has.  It does not taste like what I have in the fridge.  The dark chocolate cover is not waxy and has a great taste, no bitterness like you get with some dark chocolate coatings.  I want more!

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