Monday, February 4, 2013

Kid APPROVED! (and adults too!)

So yesterday was the big Super Bowl game...who played? :) Just kidding, but for me it was what was on the coffee table for snacks?! 
So yes, I too am a Pinterest addict...I think I'm starting to repin things I have already pinned, but I'm sure I am not the only one doing that!  I saw on Pinterest Baked MiniCorndog bites.  I LOVE corndogs but don't like to deal with the mess of oil and frying.  Solution?  Baking.  The recipe calls for an 8.5 oz box of cornbread mix, but instead I used my homemade Sweet Cornbread recipe which is ingredients I have on hand, I filled a greased minicupcake pan (thank you Pampered Chef) halfway with the cornbread mix, and then cut the hotdogs to just fit the height of each cup, pressed them into the cornbread mix and baked at 375 for 10-12 minutes...EASY!!  Here is my cornbread recipe:

1 c flour
1 c cornmeal
2/3 c sugar
3 1/2 t baking powder
1 egg
1 c mil
1/3 c vegetable oil

Mix dry ingredients first then add wet ingredients, mix well.  If you want to make these as a cornbread by itself because the recipe is SO good, place batter in a greased dish that is either a 9" round pan, an 8x8 glass dish, etc, and bake at 375 for 20-25 mins or until baked all the way through.

P.S. I would add a picture, but Google is not allowing me to upload it clearly!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Martha who??

So for a couple of years I have been a subscriber to Martha Stewart Living.  I love her ideas, although for awhile I was finding that when I tried to make some of her recipes or crafts, it was unsuccessful because Martha is to particular and perfect that no matter how hard I tried I could never be Martha!!  A blessing and a curse?!  So at the beginning of July, I threw a baby shower for my sweet friend Jenny and was inspired by Martha's book themed shower with her 'Sugar and Spice' cake.  I attempted the cake...I conquered and made the cake!  AND...wait for was SIMPLE!!!  Yes anyone can do it!!!  Here is the recipe, most ingredients you will have in your house already except for cake flour and mascarpone cheese, but you will want to RUN out and buy them because this is one of the BEST cakes EVER!!
Note: If you make the 4 layers as the recipe discusses, you will want to double the Mascarpone frosting.  I have made it with just 2 layers (not slicing between the 2 round cakes) and only used the written Mascarpone frosting.


  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional...I didn't have so I didn't use)
  • Pinch of ground cloves (optional...I didn't have so I didn't use)
  • Salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature (I never buy unsalted butter)
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups blackberry jam (from one 17.5-ounce jar)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat two 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray, line with parchment, and spray parchment. Sift flours, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a bowl.
  2. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Continue to beat until smooth, about 1 minute more.
  3. Divide batter among cake pans, and bake until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer pans to wire racks, and let cool for 20 minutes. Turn out cakes from pans, remove parchment, and flip right side up. Let cool completely.
  4. Trim tops of cakes to create a flat surface. Cut cakes in half horizontally. Spread 1/2 cup jam onto 1 layer, then spread 1 cup frosting over jam. Top with another cake layer. Repeat layering cakes with jam and frosting, leaving top layer (bottom side up) uncovered.
Mascarpone Frosting


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted


  1. With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk heavy cream until stiff peaks form (be careful not to overbeat, or cream will be grainy). In another bowl, whisk together mascarpone and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture until completely incorporated. Use immediately.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cheesecake...pie...simple yet amazing!!

So the theme for this week is definitely desserts, and one of my favorite desserts I have been making for YEARS is a cheesecake that is simple, amazingly delicious, and the perfect size as it bakes in a pie dish.  How is a cheesecake recipe easy? Well if you have a food processor, you can make it quick! Here is the recipe:

4 packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese, room temperature
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 Graham Cracker Crust (recipe follows)
Sour Cream Topping (recipe follows)

Make Graham Cracker crust below, THEN:

In food processor: blend cream cheese, whip and combine with the eggs, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice; beat until light and frothy. Pour into graham cracker crust.

Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees F) for 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then pour topping over pie. Return to oven and bake 10 minutes longer.

Place refrigerator at least 5 hours before serving.


12 to 14 graham crackers
1/4 cup butter, melted

In food processor, blend graham crackers and melted butter and chop until fine crumbs.  Pat crumbs in a 9-inch pie plate and bake at 350 for 10 minutes


1 cup sour cream
3 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Blend sour cream with sugar and vanilla.

Makes 10-12 servings

Don't forget to add any fruit you want, or eat it plain which is my preference! :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Desserts! Desserts! Who needs dinner?

I have to be honest, I have become like most, focused on what is for dessert?!  My husband, who claims he has no sweet tooth, when in actuality he does have a sweet tooth, it is just a sweet tooth that needs a few bites of something sweet and not an entire chocolate bomb of some sort. Recently, he realized his love for blackberry pies, at the same time I was getting ready to conquer my fear of making homemade pies.  Yes, fear.  How many of YOU have mastered the art of the, pardon my French, damn crust?  And who has found an easy recipe that you can't easily screw up?!  Well, I did!  For Christmas my mom bought me the recipe book "Cutie Pies" and they have fabulous recipes and ideas, one of which is their butter pie crust...DIVINE!!!  So here is my recipe for my blackberry pie, using the Cutie Pies All Butter crust recipe...of course it's good for you, it's homemade! ;)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 cup ice water (be cautious on this as you may not need all of this water)
  1. Make the crust: In a large bowl, whisk to combine the flour, salt, and sugar, mixing well. Add butter and mix gently using a pastry blender, a fork, or your hands, until butter pieces are well coated. Gradually add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and continue mixing until pea-size crumbs have formed; dough should not be smooth and beaten together like cookie dough.
  2. Gather dough together and divide in half. Flatten each into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Transfer dough to refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before using.
4 cups fresh blackberries
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar (additional)

    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
    2. Combine 3 1/2 cups berries with the sugar and flour. Spoon the mixture into an unbaked pie shell. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup berries on top of the sweetened berries, and cover with the top crust. Seal and crimp the edges, and cut vents in the top crust for steam to escape.
    3. Brush the top crust with milk, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar.
    4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

    Don't forget to serve it with homemade vanilla ice cream! O M G!!!

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

    Today's Special??

    Chicken Salad sandwiches!
    I love me some good sandos! This is also one of my good friend Autumn is my credit to the goodness of the chicken salad because there is so much you can do with it.  Autumn and I use to work together and we would make lunch in the breakroom at our office. Her chicken salad was so yummy and not something I would usually had grapes in it! I know, sounds weird to some, but oh my goodness it added such snap with a little bit of sweetness that was the perfect combo.
    Of course there are other ways of making chicken salad (and yes I buy the canned chicken at Costco, or I boil my own chicken breast and shred it).  Drain your chicken, add the mayo and then start creating! Cut some grapes in half, add nuts (any type of nut will do, I have yet to find one that doesnt go!), and my favorite...not so secret, secret ingredient is some curry powder. Now I love curry so I tend to add quite a bit, so if you arent sure about the flavor of curry add a little and then add some more!
    And to top off the gourmet chicken salad sando?  Put it on some toasted, homemade bread with some crisp lettuce and a tomato! Delish!!

    Don't forget to check out tomorrow's last lunch week will be a new theme.  Do you have a theme you want me to write about? Let me know!

    Enjoy your lunch!

    Wednesday, August 29, 2012

    Lunch for dinner...or for lunch!

    It's tomato time!  For those of you who were able to plant tomatoes this year, now is the time they are ripe and ready to go.  Last night my husband harvested (my favorite word for picked) a ton of tomatoes while my 1 1/2 year old ate one like an apple.  So the plan??  BLTAs tonight.  Here is what I'm going to do:
    *The fresh bread is in the maker ready to go
    *Slice the tomatoes 1/4" thick
    *Cook the bacon: my least favorite part as I hate smelling like bacon when I'm done.  So I like to use the small Pampered Chef bar pan, put 6 pieces of bacon on it with some parchment paper on top and microwave it for 4-5 minutes, check and cook more as neeeded.  The mess is secluded to my microwave, it is crispy and perfect, and I don't smell like bacon fat! :)  Win win!  (If you need a small bar pan, let me know I'm always putting in an order)
    *Mayonnaise: this can be so boring, but I found a great trick!  Mix a little mayo with some lemon juice.  Mix as much as you like for taste.  It keeps well if you make too much and it adds a nice twist on any boring sandwich!
    *Avocado: yum yum!  Cut the avo in half lengthwise, using a butter knife, slice and scoop as if you are slicing butter. 
    *Don't forget the lettuce!  I'm using Iceberg tonight for crunch, but sometimes fresh basil tickles my fancy more than lettuce!

    Delish!  Keep it simple and cool.  With this recipe, you can make the bacon ahead and most importantly you don't have to heat up your oven or stove on these hot days!

    Tuesday, August 28, 2012

    I'm baaack....

    How come in the 80s Poltergeist seemed like the scariest movie and now when you watch it, it is slightly ridiculous...right up there with Jaws...somehow now you see all of the 'fakeness' if you well (my mommy brain can't quite come up with the word I really want to use). 

    Sorry gor the length of MIA (thank you Anne for nudging me for more!)...we have had guests come and go, friends' babies being born, 2 kids to chase after, and one sweet member of our family go off to college.  Ah the circle of life...

    So has anyone been trying any of my recipes?  My goal is to have a daily post...hahaha...but to all of my FB friends, it may not get on FB everyday, so try and check back on my blog.  I have been repeating a few recipes that I have already posted ie the Chicken thighs with zucchini, feta, and olives.  For those who are a bit scared of kalamata olives, well you are missing out, but you would be able to make the dish without them and still have success.  This recipe is one that my husband always asks for me to make a ton because he loves it as leftovers for lunches!

    Speaking of lunches, I believe there are many of you who want a quick, healthy way to have lunch, either at work, or at home, so this week of blogs is going to be centered more around lunches.  As an avid Pinterest person, I came across the salads in a Mason jar and tried one yesterday.  First of all they came out great, they were easy to make, and of course presentation was fun, but I do have some recommendations.  The layers are deceiving because as you are putting ingredients in they get high quickly which leads to less lettuce.  I was okay with that, but for those of you who like a more lettuce salad beware.  Also, you can shake them in the jar to dress them (sounds naughty), but I would recommend you have a plate or bowl to pour the contents into as the jar doesn't shake the ingredients well, just dresses everything.  So for those of you who aren't Pinterest people, or have seen them, here is what you do:
    You need a quart size Mason jar, and all salad fixings that you want, here is what I did.  Start with the dresssing of your choice and put in on the bottom of the jar, the next layer needs to be a vegetable that is hardy, ie carrots or celery I did both, then I added cubed ham, mozzarella, and the lettuce.  I buy ham steaks at Costco, 3 large cooked steaks for $11, freeze two and use one to cube for salads.  Apparently these salads last for up to 6 days in the fridge, so you can make them on Sunday and have lunches for the week!  While I was at Costco, in the bakery section, they had some pita bread that I bought and froze so that I can have a piece of pita with the salad to add a little side.