Sweet Baked Life

my sweet journey through life…


Pear and Pistachio Salad {with Pear Vinaigrette}

I’m going green and fresh today! So get ready to jump into summer with this delightful Pear and Pistachio Salad with Pear Vinaigrette! It’s super easy to make and it’s got the perfect combination of sweetness and tang with an incredible crunch from the nuts. The dressing is light and refreshing — and better than anything pre-made!

Pear and Pistachio Salad {with Pear Vinaigrette}

You see my husband recently has gone on a “health kick”. Yes, it is hard to do that around my home with all the baking and sweet stuff! He does have a huge sweet-tooth and is now trying to eat a bit more on the healthy side. Good for him!!! So to help him with his progress, I decided to make this Pear and Pistachio Salad with Pear Vinaigrette. And let me tell you, he loved it! Of course, so did I! And making your own dressing can be done in just a snap and it’s so much better for you than the bottled stuff. Don’t waste your calories on salad dressing — you can do that with some yummy baked goodies (LOL)!

Pear and Pistachio Salad {with Pear Vinaigrette}

Pear and Pistachio Salad with Pear Vinaigrette

1/2 pear, pealed, cored and diced
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1 lime
zest of 1/2 lime
pinch of salt & pepper
4 cups butter lettuce mix
1/4 cup chopped pistachios
1/2 pear, cored and thinly sliced

Add diced pear, vinegar, olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, salt and pepper to a blender and mix on high-speed until dressing is smooth. Pour into small container. This will make about 3/4 cup.

In a large bowl, add about 4 tablespoons of the vinaigrette, then add the lettuce and toss well (I do this part with my clean hands). Adjust the amount of dressing to your liking. I personally like my salads lightly dressed. Then add the thinly sliced pears and pistachios and gently toss. Divide amongst salad plates or bowls. Makes 2-4 servings.

Nothing better than fresh lettuce and juicy pears along with tangy lime and crunchy pistachios. So get your fork ready to dig into this simply delicious Pear and Pistachio Salad with Pear Vinaigrette, you’ll be glad you did!





Homemade Milk Chocolate Magic Shell

I surprised my family this past weekend with some magic! Yep, I never thought you could make this hard shell at home, but you can. This homemade Milk Chocolate Magic Shell is truly amazing! Quick and easy to make — it only takes two ingredients and you won’t believe your eyes as it instantly hardens over favorite ice cream!

Milk Chocolate Magic Shell

Yep, I have loved any kind of hardened chocolate covering my cool ice cream ever since I was a kid. Loved the “dipped” cones from our local ice cream parlor when I was growing up — it was such a special treat to find the bottled Magic Shell on my grocers shelves as I got older. For a while it seemed it was not around. But now I can solve that problem, by becoming a magician I can make it myself! And when I told my son about my newest discovery, we was skeptical until I scooped him up some ice cream and poured the Milk Chocolate Magic Shell on top and right before his eyes –poof–it was hard. He is a believer now!

Milk Chocolate Magic Shell

And an even bigger surprise, and just like magic — I began to work-out again. Since injuring my back last year, I have not really done much in the form of exercising, except for my stretching and strengthening routine.  I took full advantage of our beautiful weekend weather – here it was around 72 degrees. I went for two long walks in the early mornings. Did not even need a sweatshirt! The sun gently shined on the rim of my cap as the birds sang happily. Getting out in the fresh air really made me feel good. I also used some light weights to strengthen my arms and did over 100 sit-ups each day. You see at the beginning of this year, it was my promise to take better care of myself, find more time to do the things I love, and really enjoy life. So, now that February is almost over, I am so happy to have begun this journey!

Milk Chocolate Magic Shell

Homemade Milk Chocolate Magic Shell
(recipe adapted from Gimme Some Oven)

2 cups Milk Chocolate Chips
4 tablespoons coconut oil

Place chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl and stir to combine. Place in microwave and heat on high for 30 seconds. Stir and continue heating at 30 second intervals and stirring until chocolate is melted. Be sure not to burn, as milk chocolate tends to do this quite quickly.

Cool slightly before pouring over your favorite ice cream, or store in a glass container with a lid (note, you do not need to refrigerate). To use again, remove lid and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds, or until reaches a smooth consistency. Spoon over your ice cream and enjoy!

No need to pull a bunny out of your hat, just get your two ingredients ready to make this fun and fantastic homemade Milk Chocolate Magic Shell. Enjoy!



Milky-Sweet Chocolate Hot Fudge Sauce

If you’re looking for something to warm up your favorite ice cream, this Milky-Sweet Chocolate Hot Fudge Sauce is the way to go. My family loves deep dark chocolate sauces, however, sometimes they’re in the mood for a chocolate topping that has a milder flavor. They really love this variation! I’ve combined creamy milk chocolate and exquisite semi-sweet chocolate to create a uniquely sweet and unforgettable flavor. Make this and you’ll never buy your hot fudge sauce at the store again. You can literally whip this up in about 10 minutes and immediately pour on top of your favorite frozen dessert for your sweet crazed family!


Milky-Sweet Chocolate Hot Fudge Sauce
(adapted from Averie Cooks)

2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup unsweetened Hershey’s® cocoa powder, sifted
3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a medium heavy saucepan, add cream, corn syrup, brown sugar, cocoa powder, and half the chopped chocolate. Over medium heat, bring to a boil, stirring until chocolate is melted. Reduce heat and cook at a low boil for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Turn off the heat and add butter, vanilla, remaining chocolate, and stir until smooth. Cool slightly before serving, that is if you can!

This Milky-Sweet Chocolate Hot Fudge Sauce can be made in advance, cooled and stored in a jar with a lid or in airtight container in the refrigerator for several weeks. However in my home, it does not last that long! You can reheat the sauce by scooping out the desired amount in a microwave-safe bowl and heating for about 10 to 15 seconds, or you can reheat on the stove top.

Smothered on your favorite ice cream is a must, however if you are a true chocolate fiend, you’ll love this sweet stuff right out of the jar!



Apple Orange Cranberry Sauce

Sweeten up your turkey with this wonderful Apple Orange Cranberry Sauce! Many years ago I got a little Thanksgiving booklet at Williams Sonoma that included this recipe, and from the very first time I made it the outcome has always been the same; pure sweet perfection! The combination of tart cranberries, granny smith apples and orange is delightful! No only that, your home will smell amazing as it cooks on your stove top! And yes, I do make this every Thanksgiving and everyone always raves about the flavor, even my son who is super picky gobbles it up with this turkey!


It’s a funny thing, cranberry sauce. When I was growing up it was jellied and came in a can. I do not remember my mom making her own, it was instead gently taken out of the can, sliced and put on each person’s plate. I did not really care for it much, until one year when my mom brought home the whole berry version. This was better, but still strange coming out of a can. Turns out as I got older and started cooking and baking, I discovered that cranberry sauce is very easy to make. And once you make this Apple Orange Cranberry Sauce, you will never reach for a can version again!


Apple Orange Cranberry Sauce
(recipe from Williams Sonoma, Thanksgiving 1999-Traditions Old & New)

1/2 orange
2 cups water
1 medium tart apple, such as Granny Smith
3 cups fresh cranberries
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Squeeze the juice from the orange and set the juice aside. Remove and discard the membrane from inside the orange rind and cut the rind into small dice. In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the rind and the water and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes, then drain and set aside.

Peel, core and quarter the apple. Cut into 1/2-inch dice and place in a saucepan. Sort the cranberries, discarding any soft ones. Add to the apples along with the orange juice, orange rind, sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan partially. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, the apple is tender and the cranberries have burst, 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer the cranberry sauce to a heat-proof bowl and let cool for 1 hour before serving. Or cover and refrigerate; bring to room temperature before serving. When ready to serve, transfer the cranberry sauce to a sauce boat or pretty dish. Makes 3 1/2 to 4 cups.


If you like a little sweetness with your turkey, you have got to try this Apple Orange Cranberry Sauce! Once you make it, it will quickly become one of your go-to recipes for Thanksgiving!