Mar 2015
Peanut Butter Carrot Dog Birthday Cake

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Our sweet Maggie Mae recently celebrated her second birthday! Hard to believe we’ve had out sweet girl almost 2 years. We picked her up a week after we moved into our new house, because, ya know, getting a puppy is the most logical choice when moving into a brand new house. While she still acts like a “toddler” dog at times, she’s really mellowed out in the past year, and is the sweet big sister to Avery. She’ll come lay next to Avery on the floor and let her crawl all over her. I love seeing the two of them interact.

MaggieI wanted to make her a birthday cake this year, and given that peanut butter is her favorite thing in the entire world, it had to include peanut butter. I can’t vouch for the taste of the cake, but Maggie seemed to love it. It makes quite a big cake, so we gave her a slice a day over the course of a few days.

This dog isn’t spoiled. Nope. Not at all.

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Peanut Butter Carrot Dog Birthday Cake
 
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Serves: 1 cake
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup natural peanut butter
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 egg
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8" round cake pan or an 8x4-inch loaf pan.
  2. Whisk together the flour and baking soda. Add the remaining of the ingredients and, using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, mix until thoroughly combined. Pour batter into pan and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Source: Brown Eyed Baker

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Mar 2015
Veggie Packed Meatballs

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Guys. My baby is 10 months old. Which is almost ONE year old. Which is like, a toddler. Which should not surprise me, as she recently has started throwing temper tantrums when I move her away from something she shouldn’t be doing. Like playing in the dog’s water dish for the millionth time.

She is becoming a real person instead of a chubby baby blob that could lay contently in her swing for hours and hours. She’s also into eating real food. No more baby food here! She loves to pick up food and feed herself whatever I put on her tray. Consequently, she also loves to pick up food and casually drop it on to the floor for the dog. Thank goodness for dogs though! I can’t imagine having to clean my floor every time I feed Avery a meal.

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These meatballs are perfect for kiddos and adults alike. I snuck in some veggies, but the meatballs are so flavorful you wouldn’t even notice them. I love to make a big batch of them and freeze them, then pull out of the freezer as needed. Perfect for lunches or to eat over pasta. My little one loves them just as much as my husband and I do.

Veggie Packed Mini Meatballs
 
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Mini meatballs with veggies hidden inside for little kids and big kids alike.
Serves: 36 mini meatballs
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, shredded
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the ground beef, spinach, carrots, onion, egg, salt and pepper. Use your hands to mix until well combined.
  3. Using a cookie scoop to scoop the beef and then form into a ball in your hands. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until browned.
  4. Serve with your favorite sauce.

Source: Stick a Fork In It original recipe.

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Mar 2015
Lucky Charm Marshmallow Treats

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Some days I wonder how I got so old all of a sudden. I am a wife, a mother, I have a mortgage, I do my own taxes, I’ve started noticing wrinkles around my eyes when I smile, and staying up past 10:00pm sounds like torture.

Case in point…I used to spend St. Patty’s Day in college drinking green beer and going to “Kegs and Eggs” before class. This year I have a dentist appointment scheduled that day. A freaking dentist appointment.  There is nothing more than I hate than going to the dentist. But, alas, I am an adult and need to do adult things like get my teeth cleaned. Even if it is on St. Patrick’s Day.

I guess that doesn’t mean I can’t have any fun that day, so a festive treat will be in order. (After I leave the dentist, of course.) These are a twist on the classic rice crispy treat, using Lucky Charms instead of rice crispies. Which of course means, double the marshmallows! If you really wanted to go wild, you could even dye the marshmallows green to make them even more festive.

Lucky Charm Marshmallow Treats
 
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A twist on classic rice crispy treats using Lucky Charms for a magically delicious dessert.
Serves: 12 squares
Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 16 ounces marshmallows
  • 6 cups Lucky Charm cereal
Instructions
  1. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Add in the marshmallows, and return to the microwave. Cook for 1 minute, stir the marshmallows and butter together then return to the microwave to cook for another minute, or until the marshmallows are completely smooth and melted.
  2. Add in the cereal, and stir until evenly coated. Spread into a greased 9x13 pan and gently press down. (A piece of greased wax paper works well for this.)
  3. Allow to cool for 20 minutes and then cut into squares.

 

 

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Mar 2015
Shredded Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches {crockpot}

Shredded Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Sometimes life throws you a curveball. Sometimes it’s a curve ball thrown from left field that hit you smack dab in the middle of your forehead. 6 weeks ago, the landlord for my husband’s business stopped by and said “Hey! We’re tearing down your office at the end of June in order to build a new plaza. You need to find a new place to operate your business.”

Uh. What??!

Talk about giving us a panic attack. 6 months is not a lot of time to find a commercial property, build it out so that it will work for your business, and move all your stuff. So, we got right to work, and amazingly found a new property with a fantastic landlord just down the street from his current office. They started construction the day after we signed the lease, and this past weekend, we moved in. It was 3 days of long, hard labor, mostly for my husband and father-in-law, but holy cow, I.am.spent. It was all I could do to peel myself off the couch yesterday to switch the laundry.

Thankfully, I had thought ahead and threw some chicken in the crockpot before we left in the morning. When we got home, all I did was shred the chicken and melt the cheese on the buns. And frankly, I didn’t have the energy to do anything more than that. The chicken came out delicious, and would not only be perfect for sandwiches, but great on top of pizza, baked potatoes, nachos or to use in dips.

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Are you obsessed with all things buffalo chicken like me? Check out more recipes here.

Shredded Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches {crockpot}
 
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SImple buffalo chicken cooked in the crockpot that is perfect for sandwiches, pizzas, nachos or to top on baked potatoes.
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 (12 oz.) bottle buffalo wing sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ranch mix seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 hamburger buns
  • 6 slices cheddar cheese
  • Ranch or blue cheese dressing
Instructions
  1. Place the chicken breasts in the crockpot. In a small bowl, combine the hot sauce and ranch seasoning and stir to combine. Pour the hot sauce mixture over the chicken, and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  2. After the chicken is cooked, shred using two forks or using a stand mixer. Return the chicken to the crockpot, add the butter, and stir until the butter is melted.
  3. Preheat broiler. Place slices of cheese on bun tops and melt under broiler for 1-2 minutes until slightly melted.
  4. Top the buns with the buffalo chicken and ranch dressing or blue cheese is desired.

Source: Let’s Dish

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Feb 2015
German Chocolate Cupcakes

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It always makes me sad to see coworkers of mine leave and move on to different jobs. When you spend your days, nights, weekends and holidays with someone for 12 hours at a time, you really get to know the people you work with. I am lucky to have coworkers that  I consider to be my second family – heck, some of them knew I was pregnant before my parents did! A close co-worker of mine recently left and moved on to bigger and better things. While I am excited for her, I will surely miss her every day at work!

To celebrate her new job, cupcakes were certainly in order, and knowing that her favorite cake was German chocolate, these cupcakes fit the bill perfectly. All your favorite flavors of German chocolate cake in bite size form.

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German Chocolate Cupcakes
 
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Serves: 12
Ingredients
One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup packed light-brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup hot water
  • ¼ cup sour cream
Coconut Pecan Topping:
  • ½ cup evaporated milk (regular fat)
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup packed light-brown sugar
  • ¼ cup salted butter, diced into pieces
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans
Chocolate Frosting:
  • 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 6 Tbsp salted butter, softened
  • 3 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1¼ cups powdered sugar
  • 2½ Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 - 4 tsp heavy cream, as needed
Instructions
For the cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt for 30 seconds. Add in vegetable oil, milk, egg and vanilla extract and beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 2 minutes. Pour in hot water and stir until well combined. Add in sour cream and mix until combined.
  2. Fill paper lined muffin cups ¾ full and bake in preheated oven for 16 – 19 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean (or with a few moist crumbs).
  3. Remove from oven and allow to cool several minutes in muffin pan then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Once cool, top each cupcake with 1 Tbsp of the Coconut Pecan Topping (in a mound in the center) then pipe the Chocolate Frosting around cupcakes. Store in an airtight container.
For the Coconut Pecan Topping:
  1. In a medium saucepan combine, evaporated milk, egg yolks, brown sugar and butter. Cook mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 10 - 15 minutes (mixture should come to a light boil, and when you run a rubber spatula along the bottom you should see the bottom of the pan for a moment).
  2. Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a mixing bowl. Stir in vanilla then mix in shredded coconut and chopped pecans and allow mixture to cool to room temperature.
For the Chocolate Frosting:
  1. Place semi-sweet chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, then heat in microwave on 50% power in 20 second intervals stirring after each interval until melted and smooth, set aside and allow to cool slightly.
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (an electric hand mixer would work fine too), whip together butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy. Blend in cocoa powdered on low speed, then blend in powdered sugar. With mixer running, slowly power in melted chocolate and blend until combined. Add in cream 1 tsp at a time, as needed to reach desired consistency.

Source: Cooking Classy

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Feb 2015
Creamy Skillet Sausage Pasta

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Hope y’all had a lovely Valentine’s Day weekend. We had yet another snowstorm here, so I made it a point to try and not leave the house all weekend. We had a great low key Valentine’s day – a heart shaped homemade pizza, deep dish cookie sundaes, and snuggled with our pets on the couch while we watched Bridesmaids. For probably the 10th time. That movie just never gets old.

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If you are still in a chocolate and wine induced coma from the weekend and are looking for a quick and easy weeknight meal, this would be perfect. It’s a one-pot meal, no boiling water or draining pasta necessary, it cooks right in the sauce. The cream and cheeses make this pasta super rich and creamy, while the sausage adds a nice spicy kick. From stove-top to table in 30 minutes or less, with only one pan to wash. That is my kind of Monday meal.

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Skillet Creamy Sausage Pasta
 
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A one-pot meal made in less than 30 minutes with spicy sausage and a creamy tomato sauce.
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb turkey sausage, sliced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1-14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1-14.5 ounce can tomato puree
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 lb spiral pasta
  • ½ teaspoon salt and pepper, each
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
Instructions
  1. In an oven-safe skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the sausage and onions and cook until they are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  2. Add the broth, tomatoes, tomato puree, cream, pasta, salt and pepper and stir. Bring to a boil, cover skillet, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until pasta is tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in half of the mozzarella and half of the parmesan cheese. Top with the remaining cheeses and parsley, then broil in the oven under high heat until the cheese is melted, bubbly and lightly browned.

Source: Adapted from Kevin and Amanda

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Feb 2015
Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundaes {for two}

IMG_6865It’s hard to believe that this year will be the 10th Valentine’s Day that Brad and I have celebrated together. We started dating at the end of January during our freshman year of college, and I remember being SO nervous about our first Valentine’s Day together. What the heck do you get your new boyfriend when you’ve only been together for two weeks? And do you know how hard it is to find a Valentine’s Day card that isn’t super lovey-dovey and mushy? I think I ended up getting him Anchorman on DVD and some Reeses hearts. Being the poor college students that we were, I’m pretty sure we ended up just staying in and ordering pizza, although there is nothing wrong with that! That also led us to taking our first picture together….we were such babies!

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Now 9 years later, and thousands of pictures later, we still aren’t super into going out for Valentine’s Day. I’d much rather stay home than fight the crowds at restaurants or the movies. We much prefer to keep things low key – we’ll probably put the baby to bed, pop in a Redbox movie, and have a sinful dessert and a glass of wine. These deep dish cookie sundaes are perfect for a special occasion dessert. They are definitely a calorie splurge, but oh man, they are so worth the extra miles on the treadmill. The recipe only makes two – perfect for you and your loved one. Of keep both for you. I won’t judge. :)

Looking for other desserts made for two? Check out these recipes:
Deep Dish Brownie Sundaes for Two
Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookie Cups (makes 3-4 servings)

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Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundaes {for two}
 
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Serves: 2 sundaes
Ingredients
  • 3 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 2 8-oz ramekins with non-stick spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the softened butter, sugar and brown sugar. Add in the egg yolk and vanilla until well combined. Stir in the flour, salt and baking soda. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  3. Divide the dough in half and gently press into the ramekins. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the edges are set and golden brown.
  4. Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes, then top with ice cream and chocolate sauce.
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Feb 2015
Coffee Cake Muffins

Coffee Cake Muffins|Stick a Fork In It

Guys. I am so sick of winter, and we’re barely into February. Which means at least for us northerners, there is potentially 2-3 months of winter left. UGH. We normally get a lot of snow here in Pennsylvania, but it just seems like we have SO much this year. The piles at the end of our driveway are taller than me. Which, if you know me, isn’t saying much, but still! Oh, how I wish I could just pick up our house, (and my job, and our business, and our family and friends) and move everything to a warmer climate. Maybe someday!

With the temps in the single digits, the last thing you’ll find me doing is leaving the house unless I have to. Especially now that leaving the house often requires me to bundle up my 9 month old. No thanks. I’d much rather turn my fireplace on, crank up Pandora, and warm up my house by baking something delicious. Like these muffins.

Coffee cake is one of my most favorite breakfast treats, since essentially, you’re eating dessert for breakfast. I will rarely make a whole coffee cake for us at home, because I lack any such willpower around pastries covered in cinnamon crumb toppings, so these muffins are perfect portion control. That is, if you can stop yourself from eating more than one or two…

Coffee Cake Muffins|Stick a Fork In It

Coffee Cake Muffins
 
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Your favorite coffee cake in muffin form, topped with a cinnamon crumb topping and a vanilla glaze.
Serves: 12 muffins
Ingredients
For the muffins:
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
For the crumb topping:
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
For the glaze:
  • ¼ cup confectioners' sugar
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. To make the crumb topping, combine sugars, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in melted butter. Use a fork to work in the flour until just moist. Spread the crumb mixture onto parchment paper to dry until ready to use.
  3. To make the batter, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together milk, canola oil and egg. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula just until moist.
  4. Divide the batter into the muffin tins. Sprinkle with reserved crumb topping, using your fingertips to gently press the crumbs into the batter. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. To make the glaze, combine confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and milk. Whisk until smooth. If the glaze is too thin, add more confectioners’ sugar as needed.
  6. When the muffins are done, cool for 10 minutes and drizzle the glaze on each muffin.
  7. Allow glaze to set before serving.

Source: Damn Delicious

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Feb 2015
Honey Wheat Bread

Honey Wheat Bread

I’ll admit, wheat bread is not always my favorite. I would much rather have a fluffy, soft piece of white bread, slathered in butter, of course. But now that I am edging close to my 30’s, it is time to care about things like heart heath and fiber, and alas, I need to eat more whole grains in place of white flour. Finding a good wheat bread recipe for a white bread lover like me can be difficult, but this recipe is soft and slightly sweet from the honey, with all the benefits of wheat bread. Booyah! It is hearty and sturdy – perfect for sandwiches, and Avery loves it toasted in the morning with a little bit of jam.

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Honey Wheat Bread
 
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A soft, honey wheat bread that is perfect for toast or sandwiches.
Serves: 2 loafs
Ingredients
  • 1½ tbsp. yeast (2 packets)
  • 3 cups warm water
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 6 cups wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon honey
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine the yeast with the warm water. Sit for a few minutes until the yeast is frothy. Add the melted butter, honey and salt and mix until well combined.
  2. Add the flour to yeast mixture 1 cup at a time, until a soft dough forms. Knead the dough with your hands or with the dough hook of your electric mixer until the dough is smooth and not sticky, adding additional flour if needed.
  3. Cover with a towel and allow to raise until doubled in size.
  4. Separate the dough in two separate loaf pans, cover, and allow to raise again for another hour.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until the bread is brown on top. Brush the tops of the bread with the honey-butter mixture and allow to bake an additional 2 minutes.
  6. Remove and let cool about 10 minutes in the pans, then turn out and cool 10 more minutes before slicing.

Source: Favorite Family Recipes

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Dec 2014
Top 10 Recipes of 2014

Whew. 2014 was a whirlwind of a year. I started off with a tiny baby bump, and ended the year with a bouncy, smiley 8 month old daughter. The blog definitely took a hit this year, between pregnancy laziness and then learning the ropes of motherhood, I definitely wasn’t in the kitchen or behind the camera as much as I would have liked. Now that I’ve gotten into a groove with our daughter, hopefully this next year I can spend more time cooking and sharing recipes with y’all.

Without further ado, the top 10 things that I’ve made this year. Enjoy!

2014

1. Meatball Pepperoni Hoagies

2. Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy

3. Brownie Ice Cream Layer Cake

4. Thai Chicken Bites

5. Soft and Chewy M+M Cookies

6. Loaded Baked Potato Casserole

7. Thick and Chewy M+M Bars

8. Chipotle Chicken Tacos

9. Spicy Quinoa {Crockpot} Chcken Chilli

10. DIY {Freezeable} Breakfast Burritos

And of course, the BEST thing I made this year, Miss Avery!

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Previous Year-end recipe round-ups:
2013
2012
2011
2010

 

 

 

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