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