Good Sunday night! Hope everyone had a nice weekend. We had some great Birthday celebrations that are going to make some terrific posts later this week, so make sure to stay tuned. I’m drooling just thinking of them!

Did everyone notice that I am now! I feel so mature now, ok maybe not, but it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now and finally did it. No need to worry about switching it on your blogs, because Blogger automatically brings you here. I am also really excited for another blog face lift in mid October, so don’t be surprised if things look different around here in a couple weeks, can’t wait for a new look. I’m working on making it even better for everyone! Ok, enough of the small talk, bring on the food…..

First up is this fresh Roasted Red Pepper and Basil Pesto Penne dish that I put together late last week. My husband was already complaining when I told him what I was making for dinner because he claims to hate pesto. He’s crazy! Pesto is beyond delicious, especially this one! I did catch him eating it no problem, so I think he’s singing a different tune about this pesto. Although this wasn’t my boys favorite dinner, they both ate it without too many, “this doesn’t taste like spaghetti and meatballs!”

Roasted Red Pepper and Basil Pesto Penne Piccolini

½ Cup roasted red bell peppers from can or fresh

3 cloves fresh garlic

1/3 Cup parmesan cheese, grated

1/3 Cup pine nuts

1 ½ Cups basil leaves

½ teaspoon salt

½ Cup extra virgin olive oil

1 lb Penne Piccolini

¼ Cup heavy cream, if desired (I added it for a more creamy sauce, but it’s great just with the pesto as well)

1. Place roasted red peppers and garlic into food processor. Pulse until well combined. Add the parmesan, pine nuts, basil leaves and salt. With processor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Set aside.

2. Cook penne according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large rimmed skillet or pot. Pour in pesto and stir. Stir in heavy cream if desired. Heat for 5 minutes or until heated through. Best served immediately.

6 servings

I couldn’t resist another sweet ending


I know, I know, more brownies. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I can’t stop making them. These were inspired by the traditional magic bars we all make around the holidays. I decided to use an extra thick brownie instead of graham cracker crust, then added caramel pieces in the center and talk about heaven! I also drizzled a chocolate coconut sauce over the tops. I loved these brownies, but I will warn everyone that they are crazy messy. My boys had chocolate everywhere! So, be prepared to have napkins at hand!

Caramel Filled Magic Brownies

1 Box brownie mix 9×13 inch size

10 soft caramels, unwrapped and halved

2 ¼ Cups shredded sweetened coconut

14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

½ Cup chocolate chips

2 Tablespoons coconut oil (you can also use heavy cream)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place tin foil into an 8×8 inch baking dish. (I used a calphalon square cake pan). Spray foil generously with cooking spray. Prepare brownies according to package directions. Pour half of mix into pan. Place halved caramels evenly over brownies and pour remaining batter over caramels.

2. In a medium bowl, mix the coconut and condensed milk until well combined. Spoon evenly over top of brownies. Bake for 55-65 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean from center. Let cool for 15 minutes. Place chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second intervals until melted and smooth. Stir in coconut oil until shiny and smooth. Pour over warm brownies and let cool completely before cutting into squares.

9 large extra thick brownies

**If using 9×13 inch pan change oven’s temperature to 350 degrees F.

Have a good one. See you all soon with some fantastic Birthday treats!