Friday, May 26, 2017


I have been trying to find recipes for desserts that are lower in calorie than many I make. I do always try to reduce when I can, but some recipes just have a lot of calories. The picture of a serving of this Cherry Cinnamon Cobbler was just so delicious looking, I knew I had to make it. I just wanted to make it in a "lighter" version also. As always you don't have to if you aren't counting calories.

I made it for the quilters canasta group meeting at Friend Fran's house. (I always make the dessert for her when she hosts because she doesn't do that much baking anymore. She said she would just buy something and so I offered to make a dessert for her whenever she has any of our small groups over.)

I figured out my version only had about 170 calories per serving. That's not too bad. Everyone liked it also. It wasn't heavy tasting and not super sweet---just right. I used cherry pie filling that was no-sugar-added and reduced fat cinnamon rolls to reduce the calories. You can use other flavored pie filling also if you like.


1       can (1 lb. 5 oz.) prepared cherry pie filling (I did use a no-sugar-added pie filling)
1       can Refrigerated Cinnamon Rolls, with icing (I bought "reduced fat" ones.)
2       tablespoons butter, melted
1/4    cup chopped pecans
1/8    teaspoon grated lemon peel (I use California lemon peel)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Pour pie filling in an 8 - inch round layer pan. Heat for 15 minutes.

Separate cinnamon rolls
and dip edges in butter,
then in pecans.
Arrange, topping side up on top of the hot pie filling.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown.

Combine lemon peel and icing in a small bowl.
Heat in microwave for about 10 seconds or long enough to thinner for easier spreading.

Spread icing over the tops of the rolls.

Serves 8. 

....a treasury of bake off favorites - Pillsbury

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


"An elegant dessert that's easy to whip up ahead of time." and it only has 123 calories per serving. I am loving this Better Homes & Garden Favorite Desserts Made Lighter cookbook. 

I made this "easy to whip up" dessert Monday morning to serve that afternoon for the NNL Farkle group. Monday I shared the Strawberry Cream Cheese Icebox Cake that I served Friday night for the Couples Bridge group. It was one of those "out of this world" desserts. It also probably had a bunch of calories even though I tried to reduce the sugar calories as much as I could. (Make it and take it somewhere so you only get one serving of it and then you won't feel guilty about all the calories.)

This Layered Strawberry Dessert was so delightful. It is the perfect dessert to make right now with fresh strawberries in all of the markets at such a good price.


3       cups fresh strawberries, sliced
1        8 - ounce container fat-free cream cheese
1/2    cup sifted powdered sugar
1/3    cup lemon nonfat yogurt
1        teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel (I use California lemon peel.)
2       cups reduced-fat frozen whipped dessert topping, thawed (I use sugar-free topping.)
cookies crumbs - 2 vanilla wafers or chocolate wafers or graham cracker

In a 2 - quart glass bowl layer half of the strawberries. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon yogurt, and lemon peel. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until mixture is light and fluffy.

Carefully spread mixture over strawberries.

Arrange the rest of the strawberry slices on top. 

Spread with whipped topping.

Sprinkle crumbs on top. 

Cover and chill at least 2 hours before serving.

Spoon out into individual custard cups to serve.

TIP! When do you sift? 

When recipe calls for an ingredient such as powdered sugar or flour and uses the word "sifted", look for where the word "sifted" is placed. If the word is placed before the ingredient (as in this recipe), you are supposed to sift the ingredient before measuring. Remove an amount and sift it in a bowl, then measure it by spooning the ingredient into a measuring cup, and then add to mixture as directed. Any sifted ingredient you didn't use can just be returned to rest if the ingredient. 

Sift some....
Fill measuring cup with spoonfuls of ingredients. Don't pack or fill the cup by scooping it in the bowl.

If the word sifted follows the ingredient in the recipe, you measure the amount of the ingredient the recipe calls for and then sift it.

Sifting does make a difference in the amount of the ingredient you will be using.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


I have so many recipes to share with you. I could probably go a week without cooking and not miss a day. (But I probably won't. ha!) I am writing this Monday afternoon but will post it tomorrow.

I am finding myself so busy right now with everything, I decided to start with a quick one. (It doesn't mean it is not as good as the other ones I have to share.) We realized our freezer in the garage wasn't working this morning. I am waiting for my husband to get home from the laundry mat (that's another story in itself) to go look for a new freezer. Eight friends just left after being here for an afternoon of Farkle and I still need to cook dinner. If the rain holds off, our granddaughter Madison has a softball game tonight at 7:30. 

This is the dip I made and served Friday night for the Couples Bridge Group. The recipe is called Lemony Avocado Dip but then says you can use lime juice as well. Since I had bought two avocados, I decided to make both. I think the lime one was liked by more. You can decide which one you want to make.


1       ripe avocado, halved, seeded, and peeled
1       tablespoon lemon juice or lime juice
1/2   cup light dairy sour cream
1       clove garlic, minced (I used 1 teaspoon minced garlic from a jar.)
1/8   teaspoon salt

In a medium bowl, use a fork to mash the avocado with the lemon juice or lime juice.

Stir in sour cream, garlic, and salt.

Serve with sweet pepper strips or chips.

If you make it ahead, cover the surface of the dip with plastic wrap and chill for up to 4 hours. (This is what I did. The plastic wrap was not touching the dip though and it was fine.)

This is how I served it so that it stayed cold for the evening.

Place dish in a larger bowl surrounded by ice. Dip will not turn dark or dry out.

Monday, May 22, 2017


By the end of the month I will have hosted every group I belong to except quilting this month. I like to spread my hosting times out over the year instead of having them all close together because it then encourages us to keep the house straight and clean, but this month, I ended up trading with some people who couldn't host afterall. That means I have hosted at least one event each week. It has put a little bit more pressure on me to find dishes to make but fortunately I have lots of cookbooks.

Friday night we hosted the couples Bridge group. I served mainly snacky things (I'll be sharing the Lemony Avocado Dip later this week.) and of course dessert. I had copied the recipe for this Strawberry Cream Cheese Icebox Cake down on a notepad but didn't write down where the recipe was coming from. I made it the night before so that it had plenty of time to set up. The only problem was I was tired after going to our quilters' canasta group at Friend Fran's (remember I make the dessert for her whenever she hosts any of the groups at her house) that afternoon. I am using that as my excuse for not following the recipe completely. It turned out fine and no one missed the second layer of graham crackers, but I did forget to lay another layer of them. So I guess if you didn't want to use two packages of graham crackers, you know it will set up and come out nicely with just the bottom layer.


2       lbs fresh strawberries, sliced
2       packages graham crackers (or just one if you want to omit the second layer)
1        8 - ounce package cream cheese at room temperature (I used 1/3 less fat Neutchatel cheese pkg)
1        14 - ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2       4 - serving size packages instant cheesecake pudding (I used sugar-free ones)
3       cups milk (I used skim milk)
1        12 - ounce carton whipped topping

Line bottom of a 9 x 13 - inch dish with a layer of crackers. (It took 8 - 1/2 crackers for me to cover my dish. I took what was left and crushed it to make crumbs for the top.)

Combine the cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk and beat til smooth.

Add milk and the pudding mixes.
Mix on low 4 - 5 minutes or until mixture starts to thicken.

Fold in 2 cups of the whipped topping until smooth.

Pour half of the mixture over the cracker layer and spread out smoothly.

Place the strawberry slices to completely cover the mixture.

Top with another single layer of crackers (if you like - remember I forgot this layer and it worked fine).

Top with the rest of the cream cheese mixture and spread smoothly.

Finally top with the rest of the strawberries to cover completely.

Cover and refrigerate 6 to 8 hours.

Before serving top with the rest of the whipped topping. (What I did was a few hours before they were supposed to arrive, I took the dessert out of the refrigerator
and covered it with the rest of the whipped topping and then sprinkled the crumbs from that one cracker I had leftover from the bottom layer on top.)

Sprinkle crushed graham crackers over top.

Well, everyone loved it. (and I gave what we didn't eat to the boys next door. They were happy to get it.)

Ed has issues with dairy and so I made him an individual strawberry crisp that he told me was really, really good. (I didn't get to try it since I made it just for him, but I don't think he would have told me he really liked it if he hadn't. I plan to make it again soon for us - the full recipe, but I will go on and share the recipe later this week for you since I might not get it made for us this week.) Here is what it looked like--

Friday, May 19, 2017


I recently shared a Black Forest Dump Cake that Friend Janice made for the Farkle group last month. Today I am sharing a "lite" version of a Black Forest Cake. According to Better Homes and Gardens Favorite Desserts Made Lighter it has 55% fewer calories, 40% less fat, 95% less cholesterol, and 65% less sodium. I didn't have enough oil called for and substituted unsweetened applesauce so my version will have even less fat.

We hosted the Tasty Bunch last Saturday and I thought I would make the Coconut Cake I made a few weeks ago and took to Hillcrest Thrift Shop. My husband really liked it and only got two servings. He said it is either the best or second best Coconut Cake he has ever eaten. He would need to go back to Virginia and taste the other one he really liked to see which one he would rate #1. He suggested I ask to make sure everyone in the group who were coming liked coconut. Everyone loves coconut except one. When I told my husband, he said he still wanted me to make the coconut cake and make something else for Gary. That's why I also made this Black Forest Cake. (I ended up with more of the coconut cake than I had planned because everyone wanted a little piece of each. Oh. Gary? He loved his special cake. And so did everyone else.)


1-1/4       cups flour
2/3         cups sugar
1/4          cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2          teaspoon baking soda
1              cup water
1/3          cup oil or unsweetened applesauce (I used the latter.)
1               tablespoon white vinegar
1               teaspoon vanilla
2              egg whites
1-1/2        cups reduced-fat frozen whipped dessert topping, thawed (I use sugar-free topping instead)
1               cup reduced-calorie cherry pie filling (I used almost the whole can - even to give the whole top solid cherries.)

Preheat oven to 350 degree F oven. Spray a 9 x 1-1/2" round baking pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking soda with a whisk.
Add water, oil or applesauce, vinegar, and vanilla.
Stir till thoroughly combined.

Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed till stiff peaks form
and tips remain straight.
Fold into batter.
This will take a bit to make sure all of the egg whites are mixed up. You will see the air bubbles from the whites when you are finished.
Pour batter into the prepared pan. (I was a little concerned because it almost filled the cake pan to the top, but it worked out fine.)

Bake  for about 25 - 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
Cool cake in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan and cool thoroughly on wire rack.(Forgot to take another picture.)
Place cake on serving plate to frost. Spread whipped topping over top and sides or cooled cake.

Top with pie filling. (I poured pie filling in a bowl to stir it up before I started dropping two or three cherries at a time on top to make a solid covering.)

Makes 8 servings.