Nutella Cheesecake Mocha Brownies



I had Nutella and cream cheese and I wanted to bake something. Google helped me decide…Nutella Cheesecake Brownies! I adapted these from Sugar Mama’s Nutella Cheesecake Brownies. The cheesecake topping is DELICIOUS!



Cream Cheese Topping:

8 ounces cream cheese

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup Nutella

Brownies: I screwed mine up :( I want to kick myself in the pants for messing with the recipe a bit too much, as they came out too cakey for me. Follow Sugar Mama’s Recipe)

1 cup flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/3 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons butter, softened

3/4 cup white sugar

1 TBS Nutella

1/4 C coffee, cooled

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 tsp almond extract

2 large eggs

Pre-heat oven to 350*


Cheesecake Mixture:

Using a stand mixer, cream together the sugar and cream cheese. Add the egg and almond extract and mix until combined. Scrape the bottom as you go to make sure everything gets mixed. Set aside half of the mixture into a large ziplock bag. Add Nutella to the remaining half and combine until creamy. Put that into another ziplock bag.

Clean your stand mixer for part two. Making the brownie mix.

Brownie Mixture:

Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into a bowl. In your stand mixer, cream sugar and butter. Add eggs, vanilla and almond extracts, and coffee. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Add the Nutella and mix until incorporated.

Butter and flour a 9×13 glass pan. Pour in the brownie batter and spread evenly to the edges. It may look like a thin layer, but it will rise as it cooks. One at a time, snip off the end of the ziplock bags and swirl each all over the brownie mixture. Using a skewer, swirl the top layer of cream cheese mixtures (don’t get down into the brownie layer).

Bake at 350 for 25-28 minutes, until done. (I did 30 minutes, but I should have taken out around the 26-28 minute mark as I think it cooked too long.)


I like fudgy brownies.  But, if you like a cake-like brownie, these are just for you! I am going to try to re-do them and see how they turn out. Stay tuned!

Do you like a brownie that is more of a fudge or cake consistency? Comment below!

Tomato & Cucumber Salad

tomato and cucumber salad

tomato cucumber salad


Juicy tomatoes combined with crispy cucumbers are the basis of this simple and easy salad. The addition of black olives and basil bring this salad together just perfectly.   Some people refer to this type of salad as an Italian Tomato Salad.

This is a perfect summer salad, because you can use what you have in the garden or get at the farmers market. If you have a garden, then this is very inexpensive to make.

After combining all of the ingredients, the oil and vinegar “juice” at the bottom is great to dip a nice Italian bread. Mmmm. So delicious! I wasn’t in the mood, but some people add onions to this. Another great addition would be fresh mozzarella.

This tomato & cucumber salad is one of those recipes where there’s no exact science. You can add more or less of the ingredients to your liking.


tomato and cucumber salad

Tomato & Cucumber Salad
  • This recipe can be adapted to your liking, so there's no exact amount to use of each ingredient.
  • 1-2 tomatoes
  • ½-1 cucumber
  • ½ can black olives, drained
  • 3-5 basil leaves
  • about ⅓-1/4 C. olive oil (I used canola oil, but olive oil is preferred)
  • ¼ C. red wine vinegar
  • ½-1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Roughly chop tomatoes and cucumbers to about ½-1 inch cubes and add to bowl.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and combine.
  3. Keep in mind the black olives are nicely salted, so you may not want to add that much salt.
  4. Serve immediately, or put in the refrigerator to marinate.

Raspberry Lime Seltzer

raspberry lime seltzer

raspberry lime seltzer

This Raspberry Lime Seltzer is a refreshing drink. Sometimes you want a drink that hits the spot without being too sweet, like iced tea, or too plain, like water. You can drink this as is or add a little Splenda for sweetness without added calories. The combination of tart, juicy raspberries and fresh squeezed citrusy lime makes a perfect summer beverage.

raspberry lime seltzer 2



Raspberry Lime Seltzer
Recipe type: Drink
  • Seltzer
  • Handful of raspberries
  • Lime wedge
  • Splenda to taste (optional)
  1. Add raspberries to your glass. Squeeze the lime and drop the lime wedge in. Add Splenda if you are using it. Use a fork to "squish" everything together, pushing against the sides. Add the seltzer and enjoy!

Yellow Summer Squash Fritters

stacked summer squash fritters final

stacked summer squash fritters final

I wanted to make a zucchini recipe but realized I already used all of the green zucchini. I had a nice sized yellow zucchini I forgot about and that’s when my “ah ha” moment came. I need to make fritters!

Before we get to the recipe, let’s talk about this name thing. I’ve always called the yellow squash that I get “yellow zucchini”. A little researched showed that what I was using was actually a yellow summer squash and not a yellow zucchini. Check out this post on Examiner to tell the difference between yellow summer squash and yellow zucchini.

Ok, now back to the fritters.

Yellow Summer Squash Fritters 2

This yellow summer squash fritters recipe tastes just as good cold as it does warm. You can add these as a side dish to so many different meals. They are vegetarian, but not vegan, as they do contain egg.

squash collage

All of my taste-testers gave them two thumbs up. One said that it needed to be dipped into something. (Stay tuned for a dip recipe!) My two-year old taste-tester ate one with a smile!

Summer Squash Fritters
  • 21/2 C shredded yellow summer squash
  • ¼ C all-purpose flour
  • ¼ C corn meal
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp olive oil, to bind (more or less, to bind ingredients)
  • canola oil, for frying
  1. Add canola oil to your frying pan and put on medium heat. I used enough where it was about 2 inches of oil.
  2. Using a dish towel, squeeze as much liquid out of the squash as you can.
  3. Add all ingredients in a bowl and mix with a spoon until combined.
  4. Take about 1 Tbs of mixture and flatten into a disc shape. Add to your heated oil. Fry until golden brown and flip. (about 4-5 minutes per side.)
  5. Drain on paper towel or napkin lined dish.
  6. Makes about 10 fritters, depending on size you make.

 Yellow Summer Squash Fritters

Orange Creamsicle Poke Cupcakes

orange cupcake LNL

orange cupcake LNL

Even though it was in the high 80’s, I felt the need to make some cupcakes. The heat made me think, “Hey, silly…it’s summer!” But I still had the baking bug. I didn’t want to go through the whole making-a-cake-from-scratch process, so I figured a boxed cake mix and a nice doctored up icing would be perfect.

orange3cupcakes LNL

But what to make? I thought a nice citrus cupcake would do the trick. I’ve seen some Orange Creamsicle Poke Cupcakes around the web but I wanted to make mine different. Perhaps make the frosting a bit different. Yes! I decided the addition of cream cheese to the frosting would truly add to the creaminess of the “creamsicle”. The frosting is light and fluffy and has just the right amount of orange flavor.

Orange Creamsicle Poke Cupcakes
Recipe type: Dessert
  • Boxed Cake Mix (and the ingredients to make) *I used yellow, but white would work best for color contrast.
  • 1 container Cool Whip
  • ½ pkg cream cheese (4oz)
  • 1 - 1.85oz pkg vanilla pudding
  • ¾ C. milk
  • 1 3oz pkg of Orange Jello *Use only 5 tsp. of Jello (in powdered form) for the frosting, remaining is used for "poking" the cupcakes
  • remaining amount of jello
  • ¾ C boiling water
  • ½ C cold water
  • 3-4 ice cubes
  • OPTIONAL: garnish with orange wedges
  1. Make cupcakes according to box directions. Cool.
  2. Frosting:
  3. Using a stand mixer, cream together softened cream cheese, milk, and pudding until combined. Add jello. Mix until smooth. Fold in cool whip.
  4. Jello liquid to "Poke" cupcakes:
  5. boil ¾ C. water and add jello. stir until completely dissolved. Add cold water and ice.
  6. Add to cupcakes. You can do this two ways.
  7. A) poke holes in cupcakes with a skewer or something similar. Drizzle liquid over cupcakes.
  8. *This way is messy and may make cupcakes too wet.
  9. B) I had an extra, unused medicine syringe that holds up to 5ml. I washed it in hot soapy water. Add liquid to the syringe and squirt in various parts of the cupcake. No need to make holes first.
  10. Put in fridge for 2 to 3 hours or overnight. Frost, garnish if you'd like, and enjoy!

orange w open LNL

I used yellow cake mix. If you want more of a color contrast, use white cake mix.

orange open LNL

Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil Sandwich

tomato mozzarella basil sandwich

tomato mozzarella basil sandwich

 The perfect summer sandwich: cold, fresh, and easy.

How about this. Fresh mozzarella combined with juicy tomatoes and aromatic basil layered between a good ciabatta bread. Take it to the next level with the addition of garlic powder, salt, pepper and a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. YUM!

Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil Sandwich
  • Loaf of ciabatta bread
  • fresh mozzarella
  • tomatoes
  • basil
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  1. The ingredients aren't exact, as you will use it to fit the size of the bread you have and the amount you want to add!
  2. Layer the tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil on the bread. Drizzle with EVOO and season with garlic powder, salt and pepper.


 This tomato, mozzarella and basil sandwich can be eaten as-is or you can even make it a gourmet.  Cook it on the stove just like a regular grilled cheese, use a panini press, or put it on the grill. It’s a simple, yet versatile Italian-inspired sandwich.

tomato mozzarella basil sandwich 2

tomato mozzerella basil leave no leftovers

Eat it alone or pair this sandwich with a soup or a salad. Try this Super Easy Bean Salad or Tri-Color Quinoa Salad.

Green Pancakes for St. Patrick’s Day

pancakes w choc chips w text

GREEN pancakes w blueberries w text


Nothing says St. Patrick’s Day like green! We see green bagels, green beer…and here are some green pancakes.  These pancakes can be made any day of the year, but with the addition of green food coloring, they’re perfect for St. Patrick’s Day.

Kids will love these for breakfast. You can use shamrock shaped cookie cutters like I did and use both the shamrocks and the round pancake with the shamrock shaped hole. I stacked the pancakes and filled the “hole” with chocolate chips. I also filled some with blueberries.

Want to give your kids a little surprise? Fill the pancake with their favorite fruit or chocolate inside and top with one of the cut out shamrocks, to hide it.

If you do this, come back and let us know how it went!

pancakes w choc chips w text

Green Pancakes for St. Patrick's Day
Recipe type: Breakfast
  • 1½ C. Milk
  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbs white sugar
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 TBS canola oil
  • green food coloring
  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk egg and milk. Add this to the flour mixture. Whisk until there are no lumps. Add green food coloring a few drops at a time, until desired green color is reached.
  3. Heat pan over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray. Pour batter onto heated pan, using more or less batter, depending on the size of the pancake you want. When bubbles form on the top of the pancake, it should be ready to flip. Check readiness by lifting an edge with a spatula and check if brown. Flip and cook until the other side is brown.


green pancake collage

st patty pancakes w text

Peanut Butter and Banana Stuffed French Toast

peanut butter banana french toast with text

peanut butter banana french toast with text

Peanut butter and banana and french toast fans unite! Better than plain old french toast, this stuffed french toast recipe is a unique combination of a peanut butter and banana sandwich and french toast. Wonder if Elvis would have like this? 😉

The filling has no added sugar, this way, you don’t overload on sugar if you use syrup. If you don’t want syrup but want a little extra sweetness, you can add a little dusting of powdered sugar on top.

If you don’t do peanut butter because of allergies or just don’t like it, you can try a nut butter that you like. Almond butter would be great with this!

If you like this recipe, be sure to pin it on pinterest! Just hover your mouse over the picture and click pin it!

peanut butter banana in process w text

Peanut Butter and Banana Stuffed French Toast
Recipe type: Breakfast
  • 2 slices of bread
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp water
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ banana, sliced thin
  • 3-4 TBS creamy peanut butter
  1. Spread peanut butter on both slices of bread in a thin layer. Try to avoid getting close to the edges so it doesn’t spill out. Add banana slices on top of the one slice of bread and and top with other slice of bread.
  2. Preheat pan over medium heat. Melt butter.
  3. Whisk together egg, vanilla and water and put in a shallow dish, big enough to fit the bread.
  4. Coat both sides of the “sandwich” by dipping into the egg mixture.
  5. Cook for 2-3 minutes and flip over and cook the other side.

If you wanted a variation, you could add raisins, cinnamon, or even marshmallow fluff. Ooooh, maybe I should try that! Stay tuned…

peanut butter banana 2 with text

Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes w/ Avocado Buttercream Frosting

Avocado Cupcake

Avocado Cupcake

Avocado? In a cupcake? It may sound weird but if you are an avocado fan, you will be pleased.

Replacing the oil with avocado in the cupcakes makes it soft and fluffy.

The avocado taste in the frosting is subtle yet tasty. It lightly tints the frosting green so it’s perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!

What do you think? Have you ever had avocado in a dessert? Let us know!

Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes w/ Avocado Buttercream Frosting
Recipe type: Dessert
  • Cupcakes
  • Ingredients:
  • Boxed chocolate cake mix and the ingredients it calls for minus oil
  • ⅓ C. Ripe avocado, mashed (to replace the ⅓ C. oil)
  • Frosting
  • Ingredients:
  • 5 Cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Stick of butter, softened
  • 1 Ripe avocado, mashed
  • 3 tbs milk
  1. Cupcakes
  2. Directions:
  3. Follow directions on box, omitting oil and replacing equal amount of mashed avocado. Reduce baking time by 5 minutes. Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  4. Frosting
  5. Ingredients:
  6. Using a stand or electric mixer, beat butter and avocado until smooth. Slowly add powdered sugar until combined adding milk, as necessary, to desired consistency.


Easy Black Forest Trifle For One

black forest trifle 2

 This Valentine’s Day dessert would be a great ending to dinner with your sweetheart, or a sweet snack for your kids.

black forest trifle 2

This individual Black Forest Trifle is simple and tasty. It’s a quick Valentine’s Day dessert for those who just don’t have the time to make an extravagant, time-consuming dessert. It’s also great for those who may not have the kitchen confidence to make something sweet for their Valentine.

What’s great about this black forest trifle is that it’s versatile. You can make the cake yourself or it can be as easy as buying one. You can make the pudding or buy some already made. It’s up to you. Do you have one person you want to make this for? Just make one. If you have a handful of people to feed, just make more.

black forest trifle


Easy Black Forest Trifle For One
Recipe type: Dessert, Valentine's Day
  • Chocolate Cake
  • Chocolate Pudding
  • Cherry Pie Filling
  • Whipped Topping
  • Maraschino Cherry
  • A cute glass to assemble it in
  1. This recipe is simple and versatile. You can choose to make the cake or buy a cake. You can also purchase premade pudding or make your own.
  2. Cut the cake into cubes. Assemble the ingredients into glass layering pudding, cherry pie filling and chocolate cake cubes. Add a dollop of whipped topping and a maraschino cherry and there you have it!