Where I've been

The past 4 weeks of my life been a blur of projects, papers, finals (all leading up to a 4.0!), and all of this......

I know the pictures aren't that pretty, but I took them at work.

The plates included....

Chocolate Chipperdoodles
Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip
Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Chocolate Gingerbread
Gooey Butter
Sugar Cutout

Chocolate Walnut and Triple Chocolate Toffee
Peppermint Bark
PB Fudge

I'm looking forward to easing up on the baking a bit, doing a little cooking, and relaxing the next 3 weeks before school starts again. I know my husband is thrilled to have the deep freeze back now that 35 dozen cookies are no longer taking up all the room!

Peanut Butter Fudge

Last time I tried to make fudge I failed miserably and made Fudge Drop type things. I decided to try and find a different recipe and stumbled across a recipe from Alton Brown. It was so easy and so incredibly delicious, I'll surely be making this again and again!

Peanut Butter Fudge
Source: Alton Brown

1 cup butter, plus more for greasing pan
1 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound powdered sugar

Microwave butter and peanut butter for 2 minutes on high. Stir and microwave on high for 2 more minutes. Add vanilla and powdered sugar to peanut butter mixture and stir to combine with a wooden spoon. Pour into a buttered 8 by 8-inch pan lined with waxed paper. Place a second piece of waxed paper on the surface of the fudge and refrigerate until cool. Cut into 1-inch pieces and store in an airtight container for up to a week

Peppermint Bark

Not the best picture, but peppermint bark is always tasty!

Peppermint Bark
source: JoyofBaking.com

6 ounces semi sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
6 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/3 - 1/2 cup crushed candy canes

Line the bottom and sides of a 9 inch (23 cm) square baking pan with aluminum foil, smoothing out any wrinkles.

Melt the semi sweet chocolate and 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Immediately pour the melted chocolate into the prepared pan and tilt the pan so the chocolate makes an even layer. Place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, or until the chocolate has set.

Then, melt the white chocolate and remaining 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Immediately pour the melted white chocolate over the dark chocolate and tilt the pan so the chocolate is in an even layer. Sprinkle the crushed candy canes evenly over the white chocolate. Place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, or until the chocolate has set.

Remove the Peppermint Bark from the pan by lifting the edges of the aluminum foil. Peel back the foil and break the bark into small irregular pieces. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Makes about 25 pieces.

Saltine Toffee

I first had this tasty treat two years ago, but this is the first time I made it myself. This recipe is perfect for me because past candy attempts have always turned out awful. One of the pans of toffee I made was semisweet with walnuts on top and the other was milk chocolate with dark and white chocolate drizzled on top. This toffee is always a crowd pleaser.

Saltine Toffee Candy

1 C Butter
1 C Brown Sugar
1.5 C chocolate chips
1 Sleeve (about 40) Saltine Crackers
1 C chopped nuts
Non-Stick Cooking Spray

Line jelly roll pan with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Lay crackers out flat on foil. Melt sugar and butter until foamy (3 minutes). Pour over crackers and spread to coat. Bake 10 minutes in 350º oven. Remove from oven. While hot, sprinkle with chocolate chips, let soften and melt, then spread. Sprinkle with nuts. Let cool. Refrigerate until hardened. Break into pieces like peanut brittle.

Sugar Cookies

At work we decided to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas by bringing in a treat each day. I signed up for Sugar Cookies for some odd reason. As I recently learned I'm no Martha, so why in the world I would volunteer to bake and decorate sugar cookies is beyond me. I spent the day last Sunday baking and decorating these bad boys. I think I made around 50 and only half of them were decent enough to take out of my house and show people besides my husband.

Sugar Cookies
found on: Good Things Catered
originally from: A Year in the Kitchen


1 1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. powdered sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 Tbsp lemon zest
5 c. flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Powdered sugar, for rolling


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream butter and sugars in a mixer for 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly. Add vanilla, almond, and lemon zest. Sift in flour, baking powder, and salt a little at a time. Do not over mix, this process should take about one minute. Chill dough for up to a week in the fridge, or roll out and cut right away. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and bake cookies for 7-8 minutes. Wait until cookies are cooled before icing.

I used a powder sugar/water icing, royal icing, and sprinkles to decorate.


I came across this recipe on Erin Cooks. When I saw the recipe was from the book A Field Guide to Cookies by Anita Chu, I knew I had to make them ASAP. The last cookies I baked from that book have become one of my favs. These cookies were very good, but the molasses flavor was a tad too strong for me. My husband on the other hand fell in love with these.

Found on: Erin Cooks
Adapted from: A Field Guide to Cookies by Anita Chu
(I followed the changes Erin suggested)

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup softened unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 egg
1/3 cup molasses
Extra sugar for rolling

Sift flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl and set aside. In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugars on medium speed for several minutes until smooth, light, and fluffy. Add spices and mixed until combined. Add egg and mix to combine. Add molasses and mix to combine. Add flour mixture and mix to just combine

Shape the cookie dough with a small ice cream scoop. Roll the dough into uniform balls, placing them in batches into a large bowl with one cup of sugar. Swirl the container to coat the gingersnaps completely with sugar. Place them onto a cookie sheet. For small chewy cookies you should bake each batch for 8 minutes at 350º. (mine baked a little more than 8 min) Let the cookies stand for two minutes before carefully moving them to a wire rack.

Chocolate Gingerbread

A few weeks ago a fellow RB asked if anyone had a recipe for a Chocolate Chip Gingerbread cookie. I didn't, but I turned to Martha and she didn't let me down. I made a few adaptations to this recipe because once again I didn't read the recipe all the way though before starting. I have this bad habit of just looking at the ingredients and throwing everything together. I didn't start making these until about 7pm and didn't have time to refrigerate for almost 2 and half hours, I also ended up throwing in an egg at the end, because I didn't care for the consistency of the dough after it was mixed together.

Despite the changes I made, the cookies turned out awesome! I absolutely loved them and included them on the goodie plates I gave away. I'm usually not a big fan of molasses, but these were fab.... especially right out of the oven!

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
Adapted From: Martha Stewart

7 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Line two baking sheets with parchment. Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and grated ginger until whitened, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.

In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking-soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture. Mix in chocolate; turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to about 1 inch thick; seal with wrap; refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or more. When I was done beating the ingredients together, I added an egg because the dough seemed a bit dry, I then stuck the entire bowl in the fridge for about 30 min (I do this with all my cookies)

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Roll dough into 1 1/2- inch balls; place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Refrigerate 20 minutes. (skipped this part) Roll in granulated sugar. Bake until the surfaces crack slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


A couple of weeks ago I woke up to an icy 4 degree day. It was depressing, especially when just a week earlier I woke up to a 40 degree day and went on a nice long run. I hate the winter. As I drove home from the gym I had to stop and get some gas in my car. After standing in the cold, I decided that dinner had to be a nice warm meal. Lasagna was the first thing that popped in my mind.

I'd never made lasagna before and immmediately went to my google reader and found a recipe I had starred a couple months ago - Healthy Spinach and Sausage Lasagna. I choose it for a few reasons. It was a healthy lasagna, wasn't going to take hours to make, and had spinach in it. My husband isn't a big fan of spinach, but loved this. I loved it as well. It made enough to last us all week, and we have a big pot of marinara in the freezer to use for another meal.

Healthy Spinach and Sausage Lasagna
source: A Year in the Kitchen

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp. Penzeys Italian seasoning blend
1 6 oz. can tomato paste, Italian style
2 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 15oz. can tomato sauce
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
10 basil leaves, torn
1 box whole wheat lasagna noodles
1/4 lb. bulk turkey sausage
8 oz. part skim ricotta
16 oz. bag frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
1 egg
1/2 cups shredded part skim mozzarella
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese

First make the sauce:
Heat skillet to medium, add olive oil, onion and garlic. Sautee for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add seasoning, salt and pepper, tomato paste, sauce and crushed tomatoes. Cover and simmer while you prepare the other elements.Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt heavily.

Sausage: Sautee in a nonstick pan for 10 minutes, breaking up and browning. Drain and set aside to cool. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta, spinach, egg, ½ cup mozzarella and salt and pepper to taste. Add in cooled sausage, stir. Drop 4 noodles into the pot (if you’re making a lasagna with 4 rows). Cook for 5-6 minutes. Tear basil leaves into sauce and turn heat off.

Ladle some sauce to coat the bottom of a baking dish.Remove noodles from water with tongs and line the dish, drop in 4 more. Spread ricotta mixture over each noodle row, a sprinkle of cheese, and some marinara. Add next layer of noodles and repeat. Add 3rd layer of noodles, top with ricotta, and sauce first, then the remainder of the cheese. Bake in a 375 degree oven until brown and bubbly, about 30 minutes if you bake it off right away, and 1 hour if it’s been refrigerated.

Cooking Club: Cheddar Chicken Chowder

This is another soup I sampled at cooking club. Very easy, tasty, and not full of cream, so I don't feel guilty having a bowl (or two). I add extra veggies in dishes whenever I can, this soup is perfect for that.

Cheddar Chicken Chowder
From: Julie

2 bacon slices
1 lb boneless skinless chx breast, cut into small pieces
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup diced red pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 3/4 c quartered red potatoes
2 1/4 C frozen corn
1.5 cup broccoli
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup carrots
1/2 cup zucchini
1/2 C flour
2 C milk
4 1/2 C chx broth
3/4 C shredded cheddar
salt & pepper to taste

Cook bacon in a dutch oven or stock pot until crisp. Remove bacon and crumble, set aside. Add chicken, onion, garlic, red pepper, green pepper, carrots, broccoli, and zucchini to bacon grease, saute 5 minutes. Add broth and potatoes, bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, simmer 20 minutes. Add corn, stir well.Place flour in a bowl. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Add to soup. Cook over medium heat 15 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Stir in cheese, bacon, salt and pepper.

306 calories, 33.7 g carbohydrates, 7.5 g fat, 25 g protein


Merry Christmas!

I can't believe it's been almost 20 days since my last post. Where has time gone? Oh wait, let me tell you... school, work, finals, and a baking frenzy. I hope to have quite a few updates the day after Christmas...

a chicken chowder
3 cookie recipes
peanut butter fudge
and some saltine toffee and peppermint bark (not that those are really blog worthy, but it's my blog and I'll post if I want to!)
There may be some more, but I can't remember them all.

Anyhow, hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Holiday and gains a few pounds :)


Parmesan and Sage-Crusted Pork Chops

I saw this recipe in the December 2008 Cooking Light. It's a very simple and delicious dish. We paired in with some spinach and brown rice seasoned with basil, parsley, sage, and sauteed onions. It was a great Monday night meal.

Parmesan and Sage-Crusted Pork Chops
Yield4 servings (serving size: 1 pork chop)

1 (1 1/4-ounce) slice white bread, torn into pieces (I also used Panko)
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
2 large egg whites
4 (4-ounce) boneless thin-cut pork loin chops, trimmed
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil

1. Place bread in a food processor; pulse bread 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure about 1 cup. Combine breadcrumbs, cheese, sage, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Place flour in another shallow dish. Combine mustard and egg whites in another shallow dish, stirring with a whisk.

2. Working with one pork chop at a time, dredge pork in flour, shaking off excess. Dip pork into egg white mixture, allowing excess to drip off. Coat pork completely with breadcrumb mixture. Set aside. Repeat procedure with remaining pork, flour, egg white mixture, and breadcrumb mixture.

3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan, swirling to coat. Add pork; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned and done.

For Nutritional Info go here

I'm No Martha

This are super crazy here. We're so busy every weekend, school is full of 10 page papers, projects, and presentations, and my google reader has over 500 unread posts! Yikes!

A few weeks ago my cousin and his wife welcomed their son Colin in the world. I decided to send them a gift and wanted to include some goodies too. My first thought was some chocolates using a baby candy mold. I went to the store, had the mold in my hand and then saw the Wilton Round Cookie Pan . I felt my inner Martha itching to get out. I had these grand images of beautifully decorated cookie lollipops dancing around my head. In reality, this is what I got:

So I'm totally not Martha. However, the cookies tasted very good! Besides, it's the thought that counts, right?

Vanilla Sugar Cookies On-A-Stick

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 3/4 cup AP Flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Royal Icing

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In mixer bowl, cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and extracts. Mix flour, baking powder and salt; add to butter mixture 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Do not chill dough.

Spray pan with vegetable spray. Fill cavities with cookie dough to 1/8in below the top of the edge; insert sticks into dough covering 2 in of end. Bake 10 - 12 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Cool 5 minutes, gently loosen with spatula. Tip pan upside down to remove.

Makes about 12 cookies


Cooking Club: Spicy Sausage and Cabbage Soup

When I found out Trish was going to bring this to cooking club I was disappointed. I don't like sausage and cabbage at all. I was brave though and gave it a shot and loved it. There are so many flavors in the soup, I couldn't taste the cabbage and I could deal with the sausage. This makes a TON of soup. We froze well over half of it and have still been eating it almost every day since I made it. I served this with cornbread (I used Rookie Cookies amazing recipe... never again will I buy a box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix. This recipe was so easy and tasted delicious) and it was the perfect side.

Spicy Sausage and Cabbage Soup
Source: Trish

2 T. Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
3 BS chicken breast
1 pkg spicy smoked sausage or keilbasa (sliced)
1/2 large chopped onion
3 cups sliced carrots
1 full head cabbage (chopped in about 1 inch pieces)
2 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
1 28 oz can tomato sauce
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/4 teas. red pepper flakes
2 T. Tony Chachere's original creole seasoning (I couldn't find that seasoning so I used this)
Cornstarch and water (optional)

Liberally salt and pepper raw chicken breast and fully cook in olive oil then shred or chop. In stock pot combine cooked chicken, sausage, onion, carrots, cabbage, chicken broth, water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, pepper flakes and tony Chachere's. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer until carrots are tender. Trish recommends simmering for 4 - 5 hours, I simmered for 3 hours.

Notes From Trish:

"Also, so many people "don't like cabbage" but it will eventually cook down to a point where most people don't even realize it's in there.. If it needs more liquid add it, it's not a perfect science. I actually use 1/2 teas. red pepper flakes and 3 T. tony Chachere's because I like it more spicy and salty. Adjust the recipe according to your own tastes. You can serve it now "as is" if you like soup with a brothier texture. I prefer my soups to be a little heartier and thicker in consistency. So making sure the soup is at a boil I combine 3 T. cornstarch with just enough water to make it stirrable and smooth then stir it into the soup and boil gently for 5 minutes. Then I repeat this process until it's at my desired consistency."

Cooking Club: Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

I joined the Realie cooking club over the summer but have been so busy I never made it to a meeting. This month I was so excited for two reasons:

1) I actually got to go!
2) Soups!

I loved every single soup there... even the ones that had strange ingredients. I put on my big girl panties and sucked it and tried the strange things..... like sausage, cabbage, mushrooms, and rice. I've heard excellent things about Trish's Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice soup for the past couple years, but never made it. When I think of rice in a soup, I associate it with Campbell's Chicken with Rice Soup... Nasty! This however is definitely not Campbells. The soup is thick, creamy, flavorful, super simple to make, and amazing! It's the perfect soup for a chilly fall or winter day.

To see other soups that were at cooking club check out Julia's Blog and Nemmie's Blog Here and Here

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Source: Trish

4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 cooked, boneless chicken breast halves, shredded
1/2 yellow onion, chopped (I used white)
2 stalks of celery, chopped
3 cups carrots, chopped
1 (4.5 ounce) package quick cooking long grain and wild rice with seasoning packet
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter
2 cups heavy cream (i used half and half in an attempt to make this a bit healthier and it was still super creamy)

In a large pot over medium heat, combine broth, water and chicken, onion, celery, and carrots. Bring just to boiling, then stir in rice, reserving seasoning packet. Cover and remove from heat. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper and flour. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in contents of seasoning packet until mixture is bubbly.

Reduce heat to low, then stir in flour mixture by tablespoons, to form a roux. Whisk in cream, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth. Cook until thickened, 5 minutes. Stir cream mixture into broth and rice. Cook over medium heat until heated through, 10 to 15 minutes.

This makes a ton, so it's perfect to portion out and put it in the freezer for easy meals down the road.

Cookie Carnival: Ultimate Chewy and Soft Chocolate Chunk Cookies

It's Cookie Carnival time again!

This month the fabulous Kate chose The Ultimate Chewy and Soft Chocolate Chunk Cookies. I was happy to see a "normal" recipe that wouldn't take a lot of time to bake. I was skeptical these were really going to be the Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie, you see my heart belongs to ATK's Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie.

2 weeks ago I decided to do something crazy.... I gave up sweets. I'm not one of those people that can have a little bit and my craving is satisfied, if I taste a little bit of something, I need more. I did this a few years ago during Lent and it really wasn't that bad. I let myself cheat on Sundays and usually by Sunday, I'm so used to not eating sweets I don't go overboard on what I do have.

So I whipped these up 2 Sundays ago and fell in love with the dough. It was SOOOO good, I was super excited to try the cookies. When I did try them, I was somewhat disappointed, they weren't nearly as good as I had hoped. The next morning I took my pictures and it was so hard not to pop these in my mouth - especially because baked goods always seem to taste better the next day. I was good though and stuck them in the freezer. So skip forward to last Sunday I had two of them during the day and realized that these are pretty damn good. I'm not sure if they'll take the place of my Thick and Chewys, but I will definitely make these again.

I didn't mess with the recipe much, but I did experiment with a second batch and made a thick blondie type thing. I made the dough and put it in an 8x8 baking dish and popped them in the oven. I started the oven out at 325 and then gradually increased it up to 375. They turned out very good, but I was worried about the center setting and I baked them a little longer than I should have. (I have no idea what my baking time way, I just kept checking them in the oven.)The bars would be amzing while still warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!

The Ultimate Chewy and Soft Chocolate Chunk Cookies (and Bars)
Source: In The Sweet Kitchen by Regan Daley

1 cup unsalted butter at room temp
1 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsps. pure vanilla extract
3 cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
16 oz. flavorful bitter or semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped ( I used 8oz bitter and 8oz semi)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, or lightly butter them, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, or stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or a large bowl if mixing by hand, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

2. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together in a small bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture, and mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks.

3. Using your hands, shape knobs of dough about the size of a large walnut and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Stagger the rows of cookies to ensure even baking. Bake 12-15 for smaller cookies, 14-17 for larger ones or until the tops are a light golden brown. If the cookies are neither firm nor dark when they are removed from the oven, they will cool chewy and soft. Cool the cookies on the sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. If somehow they don't get inhaled immediately, they may be stored airtight at room temperature for up to one week.


Conquering My Fears

When I asked Matt what he wanted for his birthday he told me cinnamon rolls. I cringed on the inside. Cinnamon Rolls?

That involves yeast. Yeast is complicated and scary.
That involves time. I don’t have a lot of time.
He loves his mom’s cinnamon rolls. I can’t compete with that.
Cinnamon Rolls? Yuck

But, being the stellar wife I am, I cowboyed up and accepted the challenge. I’ve had some packages of yeast in my cabinets for a few months, but have just been too intimidated to try and use them. I did a little research and decided I could handle it.

Next was the search for a cinnamon roll recipe. I would have loved to use the recipe I saw on all the Daring Bakers Blogs from Peter Reinhardt's The Bread Baker's Apprentice, but there is that whole time thing again. I just don’t have much. So I searched allrecipes and found Cinnamon Roll recipe that requires a bread machine. The bread machine does all the hard work – perfect!

Since his birthday was yesterday, I prepared these Sunday night and stuck them in the fridge. We got up at 5 Monday morning to work out and I took them out of the fridge and let them come to room temp before poppin them in the oven (almost 2 hours.) I topped them with a cream cheese frosting.

The results? Well, I don’t like cinnamon rolls, but Matt ate three of them so I take that as a good thing. I made a dozen and asked if he was going to take some to work. He told me he planned on eating them every day for breakast. He had two this morning. I think he likes them. This recipe got excellent reviews on allrecipes, a few people said this was a lighter cinnamon roll. I tried a small one and thought “meh, it’s a cinnamon roll”.

Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted From: Allrecipes
(I used cinnamon rolls II for the dough and clone of a cinnabon for the filling and frosting )

note: originally I didn't put that much frosting on them. The husband insisted I use all the frosting and drown the cinnamon rolls in that sticky, yummy goodness

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup white sugar
1 eggs

1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened
This made way more filling than I needed. I put the cinnamon/sugar mixture in a container and will make another batch of cinnamon rolls with it soon

1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

In saucepan, heat 1 cup milk, water, and 1/4 cup butter until very warm (butter doesn't need to be completely melted).

Place milk mixture, salt, flour, yeast, sugar, and eggs in the pan of the bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select the Dough cycle. Press Start.

Once Dough cycle is complete, remove the dough from the bread machine. Punch down.

On a floured surface, roll dough into a large rectangle. Smear rectangle with the softened butter. Combine cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle over the rectangles.

Roll the dough up into a log starting at the long side. Cut the log into 12 slices. Place the rolls cut side down into two 9x13 inch greased baking pans. (I used two pans - I didn't want pull-apart rolls) Cover, and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled. (I covered the pans with saran wrap and stuck them in the fridge at this point. The next morning I set them out for about 2 hours before I baked them.

Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden. While rolls are baking beat together cream cheese, butter, confectioners sugar, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Spread frosting on warm cinnamon rolls before serving.

There's the birthday boy! I even pulled out the Special Plate for him. Apparently I can't take clear pictures early in the morning.


It’s no secret that Matt and I are huge PB and Chocolate fans. I was on the lookout for a treat for his birthday when I spied this recipe on Simple, But Delicious. It meets both requirements for my blog: Simple and Tasty.

The pie doesn’t use very many ingredients and is packed full of that Chocolate and Peanut Butter combination we both love. It's very rich and very sweet. I’m never one to say a dessert is too sweet, but I couldn’t even finish my piece. Don't get me wrong, we both thought this was quite good. The name most definitely says it all…. Decadent Peanut Butter Pie

Decadent Peanut Butter Pie
Source: Simple, But Delicious
Originally from: Jif.com

1 prepared chocolate cookie pie crust
1 cup Creamy peanut butter
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
4 1/2 cups (12 oz) cool whip
1 (11.75 oz) jar hot fudge ice cream topping

2 T peanut butter
2 T hot fudge


In a medium bowl, beat together the peanut butter, cream cheese and sugar. Gently fold in 3 cups whipped topping. Spoon mixture into the pie shell. Using a spatula, smooth mixture to edges of pie.

Reserving 2 tablespoons of hot fudge, place remaining hot fudge into microwave safe bowl or glass measuring cup. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir. Spread hot fudge over pie to cover the peanut butter layer. Refrigerate until serving time. Just before serving, spread the remaining whipped topping (1 1/2 cups), over hot fudge layer, being careful not to mix the two layers.

Place the 2 Tbs. hot fudge in a small baggie and knead for a few seconds. Cut a tiny hole in the corner of the bag and drizzle over pie. Do the same with 2 Tbs. peanut butter going in the opposite direction of the hot fudge

Zucchini Cake

In my quest to find some ways to use up all my zucchini I came across this recipe on Pamela’s blog. After trying Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies this summer I just knew I would love it. The cake has a Caramel Frosting and (side thought: I wonder if people are reading this saying car-a-mel or car-muhl, I’m the latter ) Anywho, Pamela is right when she says the Caramel Frosting on this bad boy is S-uh-uh-WEET! I loved it!

The cake would be fine without, but it’s amazing with! As I was pouring the batter in the pan, it seemed to have the appearance of cookie dough rather than cake batter. I was pleasantly surprised when it came out of the oven in cake form. If you find yourself with an abundance of zucchini, you should definitely give this cake a shot. A warning though, it makes a ton. Luckily, (Lucky for my hips, not so much for my taste buds) I gave a bunch to Matt’s friends and my mom.

Caramel Frosted Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake
Source: Cookies With Boys

For the cake:
3/4 c. butter, softened
2 c packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
3 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips (I used a cup of regular sized)

Caramel Frosting
1/2 c butter
1 c brown sugar
1/4 c milk
1 1/2 c confectioner's sugar

Cream butter, brown sugar, vanilla and eggs in a bowl. Stir together flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder in a separate bowl. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and stir until combined. Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips.

Spread in greased 15 x 10 jelly roll pan. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

For the frosting, bring butter, brown sugar and milk to a boil in a saucepan. Boil for 3 minutes. Stir in confectioners sugar. Spread over cake.

Pamela's Notes: This is the type of frosting that hardens, so you shouldn't take your time in the spreading step. 13 x 9 works. Bake for approx. 35 minutes.

Breakfast Casserole

So many posts, so little time. School is kicking my butt right now, but I feel the need to blog. I can always cram tomorrow, right? This past weekend we celebrated the hubs birthday. We decided to have a small shindig at the last minute and honestly thought we’d have maybe 6 people over. We ended up with 18 and a few rugrats… not bad! My mom called me Friday night and asked if they could come up too. I said, of course – the more the merrier. Matt asked if we could make breakfast and then we decided a breakfast casserole would be the best bet. Prepare it the night before and pop it in the oven for an hour in the morning. This allows us to get another hour of sleep to cure any signs of a hangover (and believe me, there were signs).

I went to allrecipes to try and find an egg/ham/cheese/hashbrown casserole. I had it narrowed down to two and finally decided on one. I didn’t realize until right before I went to prepare it there were no eggs in this casserole. I need to start paying more attention.

The casserole ended up being pretty good. The fam all liked it. There is definitely nothing healthy about this recipe, but it sure hits the spot after a long night. This is definitely comfort food. The dish is very rich, totally could have done without the sour cream in it. I’m not sure I’d ever make it again. Next time I’ll make sure to find a recipe with eggs.

Cheesy Ham and Potato Casserole
Adapted from: All Recipes
Serves: 12

1 (32 ounce) package frozen Potatoes O'Brien
16 ounces cooked, diced ham
1 can condensed cream of potato soup
1 can cream of cheddar soup
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
2 cups shredded cheese - I like Monterrey Jack
S & P to taste
Cheese for Topping - I used Cheddar Jack
Breadcrumbs/crushed cornflakes (I used chex cereal) for Topping

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.

In a large bowl, mix hash browns, ham, cream of potato soup, sour cream, and cheese.

Spread evenly into prepared dish. Bake 40 minutes. Sprinkle additional cheese and bread crumbs on top . Bake another 20 minutes, or until bubbly. Serve immediately


Award Time!

Pamela from Cookies with Boys has presented me with my first blogging award!

Thank You so much Pamela! There will always be a soft spot in my heart for you. ;) I love being part of the fun world of food blogging and connecting with so many people all over the world.

I'd like to pass the Kreativ Blogger Award on to:

Leslie of Blogsoup
Nemmie of Castsugar
Danielle of Runs with Spatulas
Leslie of Elite Entrees

Thanks again Pamela!


Harvesting the Crop

No, that is not a jalapeno you see. That my friends, is a green pepper. The one and only veggie Matt salvaged from our garden. He planted Tomatoes (stupid squirrels at them all), Carrots, and Green Peppers. This is all we got:

We decided to eat it right away. It was gross! It had a very bitter taste. We both looked at each other and ended up spitting it out.

Oh well, there is always next year.

Jules, if you're reading this, we need gardening lessons next year!

More Chocolate and Peanut Butter Goodness

When I first saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen I thought they were going to be similar to the Peanut Butter Rice Krispie treats my MIL makes. After I saw the fabulous pictures though I realized I was wrong. They looked intense.

Last night Matt fixed dinner so I decided to make us a dessert. I opened my google reader and he picked these out. I made a pretty big mistake in this recipe, but with the combo of chocolate and peanut butter, how can you go wrong?

I was making the peanut butter chocolate layer and I got a little on my hand, and I had to lick it off of course. I tasted it and thought it was odd it wasn't very sweet. All the sudden it hit me, I ran out to our recycling box and looked at the package of chocolate I used.... unsweetened. Dang. Oh well. I figured with the dark chocolate layer on top, the unsweetened chocolate wouldn't stand out too much.

I was right, this is still super chocolaty and sweet. This recipe is awesome! I will be making it again for sure. Next time though I'll use the correct chocolate and a little more Rice Krispies to have a thicker crispy crust.

Peanut Butter Crispy Bars
Source: Smitten Kitchen

For the crispy crust:
1 3/4 cups crisped rice cereal
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the milk chocolate peanut butter layer:
5 ounces good-quality milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup creamy peanut butter (I used 3/4 cup crunchy and 1/4 creamy)

For the chocolate icing:
3 ounces dark chocolate (60 to 72 percent cocoa), coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) unsalted butter

Make the crispy crust: Lightly spray a paper towel with nonstick cooking spray and use it to rub the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan. Put the cereal in a large bowl and set aside.

Pour 1/4 cup water into a small saucepan. Gently add the sugar and corn syrup (do not let any sugar or syrup get on the sides of the pan) and use a small wooden spoon to stir the mixture until just combined. Put a candy thermometer in the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a boil; cook until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage, 235 degrees F.
Remove from the heat, stir in the butter, and pour the mixture over the cereal. Working quickly, stir until the cereal is thoroughly coated, then pour it into the prepared pan. Using your hands, press the mixture into the bottom of the pan (do not press up the sides). Let the crust cool to room temperature while you make the next layer.

Make the milk chocolate peanut butter layer: In a large nonreactive metal bowl, stir together the chocolate and the peanut butter. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir for about 30 seconds to cool slightly. (I was feeling lazy and just used the microwave) Pour the mixture over the cooled crust. Put the pan in the refrigerator for 1 hour, or until the top layer hardens.

Make the chocolate icing: In a large nonreactive metal bowl, combine the chocolate, corn syrup, and butter. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is completely smooth. (Again, lazy and just used the microwave)

Remove the bowl from the pan and stir for 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the chilled milk chocolate peanut butter layer and spread into an even layer. Put the pan into the refrigerator for 1 hour, or until the topping hardens. I also decided to melt a little white chocolate to drizzle over the top.

Cut into 9 (or 16!) and serve. The bars can be stored in the refrigerator, covered tightly, for up to 4 days.

Funny Story

Last week I asked Matt to run to the farmers market and pick up some fruits and veggies for while I was at work. When I got home, I was looking through the bags and saw one bag had 3 Zucchini in it and another had 2 Zucchini it. I made a comment about having a lot of Zucchini and he said, I didn't get that much Zucchini, I went to one stand and they had Zucchini 3 for $1 and another stand had Squash 2 for $1. I busted up laughing and explained to him that Zucchini is Squash. His reply "oh, so that's why they look alike." Men....

So now i have all this Zucchini I need to use up!

Zucchini Bread
Source: BHG New Cookbook
Prep: 20 min Bake: 50 min
Oven: 350 Makes: 1 loaf (16 servings)

1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 beaten egg
1 cup sugar
1 cup finely shredded, unpeeled zucchini
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted

1. Grease the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of an 8x4x2 inch loaf pan. In a medium bowl combine, the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside

2. In another medium bowl combine egg, sugar, zucchini, and oil. Add zucchini mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in nuts. Spoon batter into a prepared pan.

3. Bake at 350 for 50 - 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. Wrap and store overnight before slicing.


Spaghetti with Meatballs

Tonight we were looking for an easy and delicious meal. I decided to make spaghetti and use the wonderful homemade marinara I froze the other week. For some reason I wanted to give meatballs a whirl. This is odd for a couple reasons:

1) I'm not a big fan of beef
2) Raw meat grosses me out, I've never touched it in my life. My husband is the one that handles the raw stuff.

I've never paid much attention to recipes for meatballs, so I decided to search my handy dandy google reader. I stumbled across a recipe for Meatball Sandwiches and decided to just use the part for the meatballs themselves.

The recipe was very simple and very tasty. I even forgot to add the garlic and it still tasted great. I think when I make these again I'll use ground turkey, the meatballs didn't taste greasy, but the grease left on the baking sheet isn't very appetizing. So tonight's dinner was a success....Spaghetti with Homemade Marinara and Meatballs and I got over my fear of preparing raw meat.

Source: Feed the Moose

Do you know how hard it is to get a good pic of meatballs on spaghetti? It's near impossible for a novice like myself. The picture above is the best I could do.

1 pound ground beef
3/4 cup bread crumbs
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium bowl, gently mix by hand the ground beef, bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic, parsley, Parmesan cheese, and egg. Shape into 12 meatballs, and place in a baking dish. (I lined my baking dish with parchment paper to make for easier cleanup)

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cooked through.

Pumpkin Pancakes

One of my new favorite blogs is Cookies with Boys. Pamela has some wonderful recipes on there and her boys are too cute. Yesterday morning I was catching up on my Google Reader and I saw her post for Pumpkin Pancakes. I decided I needed them immediately and whipped them up for lunch yesterday.

The pancakes are so good! My BIL(Josiah) and husband loved them. Josiah liked his plain, Matt liked his with butter and I had to slather mine in butter and maple syrup. I wanted to top with some whipped cream too, but we didn't have any.

The pancakes are a bit more dense than any pancake I've made before. I loved the subtle pumpkin flavor. I also added 1 tbsp of wheat bran and 1 tbsp of ground flax seed to the batter. It was the perfect breakfast..errr lunch on a gorgeous fall day.

Pumpkin Pancakes
Source: Cookies with Boys
Orginally from: allrecipes
(no pictures of these, my camera battery was dead)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon and 1-1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice I used pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tbsp wheat bran
1 tbsp flax seed
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 whole large egg
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vinegar

In a separate bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger, salt, wheat bran, and flax seed, stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.


Cooking With Love

When my friend Sarah posted about a Blog Event: Cooking With Love , I knew exactly what story I wanted to share....

One night in college at a party Matt told one of his friends: "She had me at ......


I kid you not, those are the exact words Matt said to one of his friends. "She had me at Hamburger Helper." Um ok, or maybe not those exact words, but you could interpret the story that way if you want.

The first meal I ever made for Matt consisted of Lasagna Hamburger Helper, Cream Corn, Salad, and Cheesy Garlic Bread. In college that was "our" meal. We had it a couple times a month. One night out at a party one of his friends came up to me and told me how Matt was braggin on me because of this AWESOME meal I made and how I was the best girlfriend ever. It makes me giggle just thinking about it. The night we got engaged we even had "our meal".

Before we got married someone gave me a recipe for a sort of "homemade" hamburger helper. Matt loves the recipe as is. To see the original recipe click here. I have to spice it up if I make it. I know I'm not a gourmet chef, but I've come a long way from Lasagna Hamburger Helper in the past 6 and a half years. My wonderful husband loves almost everything I make, but I know he'd be a happy man if I made Hamburger Helper every night of the week.

Corn and Blackbean Skillet

1lb ground turkey
1 can black beans
Minute Rice - I usually make 2 servings
1 can Rotel
1 cup Salsa
1 chopped Red Pepper
1 chopped Green Pepper
3/4 bag frozen corn
1/2 cup chopped green chilis
Fresh Cilantro to taste
Cumin to taste
Paprika to taste
Cheese, tortilla chips, sour cream, other toppings

Cook turkey- drain. Combine rice, beans, rotel, salsa, corn, peppers, and 2.5 cups of water. (you may have to increase this depending on how much rice you make) Bring to boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 min or until water has been absorbed. Add cilantro, cumin, and paprika.

I like to make mine as a burrito and Matt likes to eat his with chips.


Fried Green Tomatoes

We hung out with my cousin and her husband last night and came home with a bag of tomatoes from their garden - green tomatoes! I was so excited to make Fried Green Tomatoes. The only time I have ever had them was at the Missouri State Fair last year, but I have always loved the movie. :) Come on - who doesn't love Jessica Tandy!? And Chris O' Donnell isn't bad to look at either!

This evening for dinner we had some left over soup and Fried Green Tomatoes. I found a wonderful recipe on Allrecipes. Matt took his first bite and said "Oh My God! These are so good". After his second bite it was "Better than the State Fair!" After his third bite it was "These are amazing, I love you!". I swear after every tomato he had he would just go on about how much he loved them. It made me laugh!

I was actually very surprised at how good they tasted. I put some Ranch Dressing out to dip them in, but they were plenty good without the Ranch. We didn't end up using it. We don't normally eat fried food, so I won't make these again any time soon, but they were certainly delicious and it was fun to have something different for dinner.

Fried Green Tomatoes
Source: Allrecipes.com

My adaptions in italics - they're based on the recipe reviews

4 large green tomatoes
2 eggs I used egg whites
1/2 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup bread crumbs I used Italian Style Panko
2 tsp coarse kosher salt I cut it down to 1/2 tsp
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 quart vegetable oil for frying


Slice tomatoes 1/4 inch thick. Discard the ends. Whisk eggs and milk together in a medium-size bowl. Scoop flour onto a plate. Mix cornmeal, bread crumbs and salt and pepper on another plate. Dip tomatoes into flour to coat. Then dip the tomatoes into milk and egg mixture. Dredge in breadcrumbs to completely coat.

In a large skillet, pour vegetable oil (enough so that there is 1/2 inch of oil in the pan) and heat over a medium heat. Place tomatoes into the frying pan in batches of 4 or 5, depending on the size of your skillet. Do not crowd the tomatoes, they should not touch each other. When the tomatoes are browned, flip and fry them on the other side. Drain them on paper towels.

Cookie Carnival: Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

It's Cookie Carnival Time again! This month we baked Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies. I was very excited - chocolate and pumpkin, one of my favorite combinations. I had a much easier time this month than I did last month. The actual cookie part is soft and cake-like. It has a mild chocolate flavor and is pretty unremarkable on it's own. It almost reminds me of devils food cake. Pair it with the tasty pumpkin filling and you have yourself a nice treat.

I messed around with the recipe a bit adding 3/4 cup of chocolate chips to the dough and making some changes to the filling. Thanks to the success I had last time I baked a chocolate/pumpkin treat, I decided to add melted Pumpkin Spice Kisses (25 or so). I also used some pumpkin pie spice and decided that the filling wasn't pumpkiney enough. Rather than the 1/4 cup of pumpkin the recipe calls for I ended up using an entire can. I think this changed the consistency and appearance of the filling, but it is so good.

Matt and I both enjoyed these cookies. If I were to make them again I would add the melted kisses to the cookie dough to spice it up a bit and increase the chocolate chips to 1 cup.

Thanks Kate for choosing this recipe!

Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Source: Martha Stewart

My adaptions in italics

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup canned solid pack pumpkin I used an entire can
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Pumpkin Pie Spice
25 Hershey's Pumpkin Spice Kisses - melted


Prepare cookies: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside.

Place butter, shortening, and sugars into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. (mine never actually got smooth, just a moist crumbly texture, too much sugar to get smooth) Add egg; mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in half the flour mixture, then the milk and vanilla. Mix in remaining flour mixture.

Drop about 2 teaspoons dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies spring back when lightly touched, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to wire racks and let cool 10 minutes. Remove cookies from baking sheets and transfer to wire racks using a spatula; let cool completely.

Prepare filling: In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together cream cheese, butter and confectioners' sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg; whip until smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary.

Pipe or spoon about 2 teaspoons filling on the flat sides of half the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, keeping the flat sides down.

Makes about 20 cookies


I've been Tagged...

Who wants to play Attention Whore!?!?! Oh, I do! I do!

My friend Carrie from My Life in Pictures tagged me for a meme so I guess I'll play along.

5 Joys
1) My husband
2) My family
3) Baking
4) How I feel after a great workout
5) Nights where I laugh so much (friends - anyone up for breaking into a pool at 2am? or family - how 'bout a husker room night?) I wake up the next morning and my abs hurt.

5 Fears
1) Being in a car accident. (I’ve been in two really bad ones - like I should have died bad. I’m afraid of what will happen if I get in another one)
2) Being kidnapped and all the bad stuff that goes with it
3) Bugs, all of them!
4) Holding newborn babies
5) Going to prison - this is SO not rational, but I've seen a few prison shows on the National Geographic channel and it scares the crap out of me!

5 Obsessions
1) The internet – blogs, my RB’s, email..
2) Chocolate
3) Cheerleading (seriously, I still make up cheers in my bathroom mirror)
4) Christina Aguliera's new song "Keeps Gettin Better" (have you listened to the lyrics... pretty much sums me up!)
5) Working out

5 Surprising Facts
1) I cheered in high school and college, but didn’t learn how to do a back handspring until I was 21.
2) I didn’t have my first kiss until I was 17
3) When I was 18 I went on a float trip with a bunch of friends and became known as the beer-bonging queen of the river. People were floating by us going “oh there’s the queen" and were bowing down to me. :)
4) When I was 10 some stupid neighbor boy kicked me in the stomach and put me in the hospital for a couple days. Jerk!
5) I used to be quite the singer. I was in the chorus/choir from 4th grade until I graduated high school. One year my solo in the Spring Program was "It's My Party" by Lesley Gore.


Apple Season!

The first time I had this cake was 3 years ago. One of my coworkers baked it and I politely passed because I didn't "do" hot fruit. She insisted I try it so I sucked it up and prepared myself for a nasty, mushy apple dessert. What I found though was heaven.

I've made it a few times since and I swear it gets better each time. I laugh thinking back to the first time I made it. There weren't any specific directions on the topping, so I poured the melted butter on top of the partially baked cake followed by a mixture of brown sugar/flour/cinnmon. Little did I know it was supposed to be a crumb topping. Oh I've come so far....

This cake may just be the perfect fall dessert. In fact, someone even said this cake "tastes like fall". It would be prefect for breakfast with a Chai Tea Latte or Caramel Macchiato. I've also served these as Apple Bars. We had it for dessert the other night after our Mac and Cheese. The cake is moist with a nice hint of cinnamon and cloves and a fabulous baked brown sugar crumb topping. The house smells amazing when you add the crumb mixture to the top. Oh and I should warn you, it's so easy to devour this. Take it into work, your coworkers and waistline will thank you.

Apple Cake

*I'm so bummed my pictures don't look very good, they do the cake no justice. The stupid sun didn't want to cooperate today. Oh how I miss summer.


2/3 cup oil
1/3 cup orange juice
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 cup flour
1tsp each:
baking powder
baking soda
1/2 tsp cloves
3 cups chopped apples (I used granny smith and fuji)

3 TBSP melted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
Dash Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan.

Beat oil, OJ, eggs, and sugar until well-blended. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in apples.

Pour into greased 9x13 pan. Bake for 30 minutes Prepare topping (mix topping ingredients until crumb mixture forms). Sprinkle topping on top of cake and bake an additional 20 - 30 minutes.