Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A 'Tangled' Birthday Cake

I made this for my daughter's 4th birthday last weekend and had so much fun doing it! The best tip I can give you is: order the donut holes beforehand if you plan on making this on a Saturday morning. I went to 6 donut shops between 9-11am and every store was sold out of them except the very last store. Supposedly, they're the hot item for Saturday morning breakfast!


  • 1 flat, round wood cylinder.

  • 1 24-inch-long plastic pole/small pvc pipe-thoroughly washed

  • 1 really creative, awesome father to attach the pole to the wood with his wood-working tools.

  • 24 rainbow-sprinkle cake donuts

  • 2 dozen plain donut holes

  • decorating icing

  • fondant flowers

  • royal icing

  • 4 snack-size snickers bars

  • tiny Rapunzel doll


  • Attach pole to wood cylinder, then super glue a pretty silver cardboard tray to the wood for the donuts to lay on.

  • Using a knife, make the holes in the sprinkle donuts larger so they fit around the pole without cracking or splitting in half.

  • Place 20-24 donuts around the pole just so the top of the pole is slightly covered. I attached the top 2 donuts together with white royal icing so the top one could hold decorations without tipping over.

  • Decorate the donut tower with green royal icing and fondant flowers all the way up to make it look like Rapunzel's tower.

  • Place 4 snickers on the top donut using royal icing.

  • Attach Rapunzel to the middle of the snickers bars using royal icing.

  • Place donut holes around the base of the tower using royal icing on each donut hole so they don't roll off.

  • Write a birthday message around the base of the cake and use fondant or paper flowers and leaves to make it look like the ground.

  • Enjoy!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Better than Sex Cake

I remember my mom making this cake for baby & bridal showers when I was a kid (although she always called it "Better than Robert Redford" cake). Thanks, Mom, for making the name a little less R-rated for us:) This cake really is so so good no matter what it's called!
Better than Sex Cake

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix

  • 1/2 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

  • 6 ounces caramel ice cream topping

  • 3 (1.4 ounce) bars chocolate covered toffee, chopped

  • 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed


  • Bake cake according to package directions for a 9x13 inch pan; cool on wire rack for 5 minutes. Make slits across the top of the cake, making sure not to go through to the bottom.

  • In a saucepan over low heat, combine sweetened condensed milk and caramel topping, stirring until smooth and blended. Slowly pour the warm topping mixture over the top of the warm cake, letting it sink into the slits; then sprinkle the crushed chocolate toffee bars liberally across the entire cake while still warm. (Hint: I crush my candy bars into small chunks as opposed to crumbs - I used my food processor and it worked perectly).

  • Let cake cool completely, then top with whipped topping. Decorate the top of the cake with some more chocolate toffee bar chunks and swirls of caramel topping. Refrigerate and serve right from the pan!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day French Toast

This is our new favorite recipe for french toast. I made it for my husband who normally doesn't like the "soggy" texture of french toast, but loved this one because it was not soggy at all. I also learned a great tip about french toast from my brother-in-law: use Sweet Hawaiian Bread! It tastes amazing, try it!French Toast


  • 4 eggs

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

  • 1 tsp. vanilla

  • 12 pieces bread

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil


  • Mix the milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, and maple syrup in a bowl. Heat up a frying pan (or grill) on high for 3-4 minutes.

  • When heates, turn it down to medium and pour in the oil.

  • Let it sit for 2 minutes or until pan sizzles.

  • Coat the pieces of bread, one at a time, in the mixture and put in the pan. Grill to your liking.

  • Serve with fresh berries or maple syrup on top.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Homemade Croutons

Back in my college days, I worked at cafe in the business building on was a tedious job and luckily I only worked there a year before I landed my dream job where I got payed to do my homework. However, I did learn a lot of great lessons regarding food prep and some great recipes as well. I use this one most often because I love salads and I don't think you can have a great salad without some great croutons! I never buy croutons because it's just so easy and cheap to make my own!

Brittney's Homemade Croutons:


  • 2-4 slices white bread (depending on the size of the salad)

  • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil

  • 1-2 tsp. minced garlic

  • salt & pepper to taste


  • slice bread into small cubes.

  • Mix bread cubes with olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper until everything is combined.

  • Transfer to a heated sillet. Cook croutons 1-2 minutes on each side until toasted.

  • Add to your favorite salad and enjoy!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Focaccia Bread

I love to knead bread by hand, I've always thought it was fun, so I knew I would love this recipe. It's a great bread recipe to accompany any dish: soups, pastas, beef, etc. I even microwaved a few leftover pieces and served them the next day and it still tasted great. My favorite is to serve it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to dip it in.

Focaccia Bread


  • 2 & 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 tsp. salt

  • 1 tsp. white sugar

  • 1 tbsp. active dry yeast

  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 tsp. garlic powder

  • 1-2 tbsp. olive oil

  • 1 tsp. dried oregano

  • 1 tsp. dried thyme

  • 1 tsp. fresh minced basil

  • 1 pinch ground black pepper

  • 3 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese

  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese


  • In a large bowl, place flour, salt, sugar, yeast, and garlic powder.

  • Fold in the vegetable oild and water.

  • When the dough has come together, place it on a lightly floured surface, and knead it until resilient but smooth.

  • Lightly brush with oil on both sides and place the dough in the bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

  • Press dough down and flatten; place on greased baking sheet. Pat into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle.

  • Brush top with olive oil and sprinkle with final ingredients of oregano, thyme, basil, black pepper, Paremsan cheese, and mozzarella cheese.

  • Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chocolate M&M Pretzel Buttons

Luckily, I came across this recipe just in time for a bridal shower I was throwing and also right before I hosted Easter at my house. I tied a handful of them up in bags with a pretty ribbon for both events and everyone loved them. These pretzel buttons are very fun for kids to make and there's really no way they can make a mess with just 3 simple ingredients.
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and arrange mini pretzels on a baking sheet.
Step 2: top each pretzel with any flavor of chocolate melting wafer (I used white vanilla, obviously). Place baking sheet in the oven for 2-3 minutes, just long enough for the chocolate to melt and stick to the pretzel, so you are able to stick the M&M into it.

Step 3: Take out of oven and place an M&M on top of each one. Put the tray in the fridge to set for a while and viola! You're done!!

Be careful...they're addicting!

Monday, April 4, 2011

St. Patty's Leftovers...

I have my sister and Trader Joe's to thank for this wonderful recipe! This is the first year I've made a traditional St. Patrick's day dinner (corned beef & cabbage) instead of the all-green dinner I usually make on March 17th. My sister had been to Trader Joe's earlier in the day and had watched a little cooking demo and called to tell me these open-faced sandwiches were delicious. I gave them a try and invited my in-laws over for dinner and they all loved them. I made 12 sandwiches for 4 people and there weren't any leftovers!Open-faced Corned Beef Sandwiches Ingredients:

  • Corned Beef, cooked & shredded

  • Onion Rye Bread (found at Trader Joe's)

  • Swiss cheese, sliced

  • Deli-style spicy brown mustard


  • Lay 12 slices of bread on a baking sheet and spread with mustard.

  • Top with shredded corned beef and swiss cheese slices.

  • Heat oven to 400 degrees and place sandwiches in oven for approx. 8-10 mins. or until bread is toasted and cheese is melted. (You can also place under a broiler for a few minutes).

  • Serve immediately with extra mustard on the side for dipping.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Instead of posting a recipe, I wanted to share with you my two favorite food items this week.

The first is is called Kefir (pronounced kee-fur, as in Sutherland) and is a drinkable yogurt that I buy at Trader Joe's in the dairy section. It was recommended to me by a friend when I was suffering from chronic sinus infections and had been on 6 different antibiotics over a 3 month period. The antibiotics had caused me to have even more infections because they had killed all the good bacteria in my body and I was absolutely miserable. I was complaning about this to my friend Kate, who is married to an anesthesiologist, and she told me to go to Trader Joe's, buy Kefir and drink about 1/2 a cup everyday. Within a couple days of drinking Kefir, I could feel a huge improvement and my infections went right away!
The way Kate explained Kefir to me is "it's like Activia on crack."
According to the
Kefir can actually colonize the intestinal tract, a feat that yogurt cannot match.
Kefir contains several major strains of friendly bacteria not commonly found in yogurt, Lactobacillus Caucasus, Leuconostoc, Acetobacter species, and Streptococcus species.
It also contains beneficial yeasts, such as Saccharomyces kefir and Torula kefir, which dominate, control and eliminate destructive pathogenic yeasts in the body. They do so by penetrating the mucosal lining where unhealthy yeast and bacteria reside, forming a virtual SWAT team that housecleans and strengthens the intestines. Hence, the body becomes more efficient in resisting such pathogens as E. coli and intestinal parasites.
Kefir’s active yeast and bacteria provide more nutritive value than yogurt by helping digest the foods that you eat and by keeping the colon environment clean and healthy. Because the curd size of kefir is smaller than yogurt, it is also easier to digest, which makes it a particularly excellent, nutritious food for babies, the elderly and people experiencing chronic fatigue and digestive disorders.
Another good think about Kefir is that it actually tastes good! It's tart (like Pinkberry) and I personally like the strawberry flavor. It tastes just like strawberry yogurt, just a little more tart. It also comes in plain and pomegranate. You can use it in smoothies and as a substitute for buttermilk in any recipe.
My second recommendation of the day was found at Jamba Juice this morning. After Pilates, I stopped by to use a coupon I had and saw they had new items in their baked goods display. My eye was immediately drawn to the "sweet waffle." I was a little confused seeing a small, plain waffle just sitting there and thought there's no way I'd ever order that, so I had to ask the girl at the counter about it. She said "It's 300 calories and worth every bite!" She said it's her favorite baked good at Jamba juice and I had to try it. Well, I did try it and it was like heaven in my mouth! Honestly, one of the best tasting treats I've ever had. You've got to try it next time you go to Jamba!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

When I first started this blog I posted a recipe for banana muffins, and while that one is a family recipe that's been passed down through generations, I actually think this recipe is much better (sorry great great great grandma!). I made these muffins on Sunday for my family and as of today, there are only 2 left (out of 2 dozen). I love that they have oatmeal in them, it makes them a little more hearty and filling. And I don't think there's a better flavor combination than bananas and chocolate-it's one of my all-time faves! Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips (mini, semi-sweet, milk chocolate, or whatever you like to use)


  • In a large mixing bowl, beat egg, oil, and sugar until smooth.
  • Stir in bananas.
  • Combine the flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • Stir into the banana mixture just until moistened.
  • Stir in chocolate chips.
  • Fill greased muffin cups three-fourths full.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes.
  • Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Quick & Easy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know I already have a few chocolate chip cookie recipes posted on this blog, but I figured you can never have too many right? Since I use different recipes for different occasions, I thought I'd title the recipe according to the reason I use it. Thus, this recipe for "quick and easy chocolate chip cookies" is one that I use if I just need a quick dessert or something to take to a playdate. There is no sifting or extra mixing necessary, just pile everything into your mixer and they turn out perfectly everytime!
A few posts back, I wrote about Mexican Vanilla so I thought I'd show you exactly what I was talking about. This vanilla actually came from my Aunt Stacie who brought it back from Mexico for my Grandma, and she gave it to me the last time she was here visiting. I LOVE it and I'm so sad I'm almost out! It's clear vanilla and its absolutely amazing, so if anyone knows where to find this vanilla in the states, please share!

Quick & Easy Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 1 cup butter-flavored Crisco
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 & 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 cups chocolate chips


  • Mix the first 6 ingredients together.
  • Add the flour and soda and mix well.
  • Add chocolate chips.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes.

*Makes approx. 3 dozen cookies

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Picante Chicken Enchiladas

This is one of those "tried and true" recipes I've been using for years and I just love it. It always turns out great and it's one of those casserole-style dishes that is easy to make and also super delicious! I recently tripled the recipe and made it for a family birthday dinner, served it with chips and salsa, mexican rice and refried beans. It was a hit!

Picante Chicken Enchiladas


  • 1 jar (16 oz.) salsa
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 cups cooked cubed chicken
  • 1/2 cup monterey jack cheese
  • 6 flour tortillas (8-inch), warmed
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced


  • Stir 3/4 cup salsa, sour cream, and chili powder in a medium bowl.
  • Stir the salsa mixture, chicken, and cheese in a large bowl.
  • Spoon about 1/3 cup chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up the tortillas and place seam-side up in a lightly greased 11 x 8 inch shallow baking dish.
  • Pour the remaining salsa over the filled tortillas. Cover the baking dish with foil.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until the enchiladas are hot and bubbling.
  • Top with the onion.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies

I think I've tried every possible recipe for peanut butter cookies, so I can honestly say this is my favorite recipe! I found it in a magazine at Christmas time, so in stead of the usual fork-prong design, they suggested using the edge of a fork to make a star pattern. I thought it was so pretty and I've been doing it ever since...who cares if it's not Christmas, stars are always "in season" right?

Irreisistible Peanut Butter Cookies
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup Crisco (I always use butter-flavored)
  • 1 & 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. milk
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract (If you can find Mexican vanilla, I highly recommend it. I get it at Cost Plus World Market and it tastes amazing)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 & 3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt


  • Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Combine peanut butter, shortening, brown sugar, milk, and vanilla in a bowl. Beat at medium speed until well blended.
  • Add egg and beat until blended.
  • Combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to creamed mixture at low speed.
  • Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheet.
  • Flatten slightly and draw star pattern with edge of fork.
  • Bake 7-8 minutes or until set and just beginning to brown.
  • Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet then remove cookies to cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Makes 3 dozen cookies

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cafe Rio Pork Salad

My new favorite kitchen gadget (a Christmas gift from my ever-so-generous mother-in-law), makes amazing salad dressing and I was able to put it good use when I made this dish last week:(Cuisinart Elite Die-Cast 12-Cup Food Processor- Williams Sonoma)

I love love love this recipe! Even though we now have Cafe Rio in southern California, I still love making this at home for my family. It's the perfect Sunday dinner if you plan on hosting a large group of people and you can even freeze the leftover dressing and use it later.The pork is very easy-just stick it in the crock pot and let it cook all day. I serve the salad on a warm torilla (I buy the uncooked pre-made tortillas at Costco and cook them right before I serve the salad), with rice, black beans, shredded cheese, avacadoes, diced tomatoes, tortilla strips, tomatillo dressing and a lime on the side.
Pork Barbacoa
3lb pork roast
16oz salsa
2 cups Dr. Pepper
1 cup brown sugar
Put roast in crock-pot. Mix Dr. Pepper and brown sugar. Pour over roast, along with the salsa. Cook on high 8 hours; remove pork and shred with fork. Return shredded meat to marinade in crock pot and keep warm until ready to serve.
Mexican Style White Rice
3 cups water
4 t chicken boullion
4 t garlic-minced
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 can green chiles
3/4 t salt
1 T butter
3 c rice
juice from 2 limes
Blend cilantro, green chilies and onion in food processor or blender. Bring water to boil and add all ingredients, simmer covered 30 minutes (or until rice is soft).
Creamy Tomatillo Dressing
1 package Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
1 cup mayo
1 cup chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 chopped tomatillos (peel paper off)
1/3-1/2 cups buttermilk, to consistency
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Put all ingredients in blender or food processor and mix

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

I'm convinced any recipe sounds better when it includes the words "cream cheese." This frosting recipe is no exception! The cookies are equally amazing and are so soft and thick, you could eat them without any frosting and be happy. Thank you to my great friend Krista for sharing this recipe. I doubled both the cookie and frosting recipes and was able to cut out over 60 large heart cookies and have more than enough frosting for my Valentine's party. The cookies also freeze very well. I made mine 4 days ahead of time and pulled them out of the freezer a couple hours before the party and they tasted just as fresh as the day I made them.

Sugar Cookies:
  • 2 & 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 & 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 tbsp. milk
  • 4 & 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 & 1/4 tsp. salt


  • Cream sugar and butter.
  • Add eggs, vanilla, and milk.
  • Add flour and dry ingredients.
  • Roll out and use cookie cutters to cut into shapes.
  • Place on baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. (I like to under cook my sugar cookies a little because if they cook too long, they become hard and crunchy).

Cream Cheese Frosting:


  • 4 cups powder sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup)butter
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk


  • Cream powder sugar, butter, and cream cheese together.
  • Add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach the consistency you like.
  • Keep frosting refrigerated. Before use, remove frosting from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for approx. 10 minutes so it's a spreadable consistency.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Creamy Fruit Dip

My mom's been making this fruit dip since I can remember and I made it for a Valentine's party I threw last week. Everyone loved it and asked for the recipe. It's by far the easiest recipe I've ever posted. It seems that most people make/have a version of this recipe, but this one is my family's favorite.

Creamy Fruit Dip
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
  • 1 jar marshmallow cream
  • 1 small jar maraschino cherries


  • Mix cream cheese and marshmallow cream together in a small bowl. (I use my hand mixer and a stainless steel bowl so it stays cold).
  • Add just the juice from a jar of maraschino cherries, to taste-approx. 2-3 tablespoons, and mix well. Be sure not to add too much juice or mixture will become runny.
  • Serve immediately or keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Easy French Bread

This recipe came from a cousin of mine. Last year I made it for some friends and it has since become one my most requested recipes for parties or get-togethers. I love to make it and wrap it in celophane with a ribbon and give it away to the ladies I visit teach because you can easily get 2 big or 3 smaller loaves from one batch of dough. It's also great to accompany any soup dish or with butter, jam, or honey for breakfast.

Easy French Bread


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tbsp. yeast
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil


  • Mix flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl (I use a Kitchenaid so I just dump all the ingredients in my mixer and let it do all the work).
  • Add water and oil.
  • Add 2 tablespoons yeast.
  • Let dough rise uncovered for 15 minutes.
  • Add 7 cups flour and let mixer run on low for 6 minutes.
  • Form the dough into 2 big or 3 small loaves on greased cookie sheets. (Dough will be sticky so put some flour on your hands and form the loaves into oval shapes).
  • Cover with a towel and let rise until double in size, about 2 hours.
  • Make 3 diagonal slits with a knife into center of each loaf to avoid air bubbling on top of the loaf. (and it also looks pretty).
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20-22 minutes.
  • Let it cool on racks, slice, and serve.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Perfect Valentine's Day Dinner:

I can't take all the credit for this one because it was my sister's idea, but she said since Valentine's Day falls on a Monday this year, she and her husband and kids were going to have a fun family night together instead of leaving the kids with a sitter. I loved the idea and have been thinking of dinner menu options that are all red and pink ever since. Here's what I've come up with:
Appetizer: Bruschetta
Main dish: Grilled salmon with fresh herbs
Side dish: Strawberry Feta Salad (reipe below)
Dessert: Chocolate fondue with strawberries, marhsmallows, graham crackers, bananas, and rice krispie treats.

Strawberry Feta Salad:

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 package caramelized pecans (I do the caramelizing myself with some butter, sugar, and a broiler).
  • 3 cups strawberries, sliced
  • 1 head lettuce
  • feta cheese to taste

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/4 part red onion
  • 2 cups canola oil
  • 2/3 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 1 & 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt


  • In a large bowl combine all salad ingredients, except for the feta cheese.
  • Blend all dressing ingredients in a food processor.
  • Add feta cheese on top of salad, to taste, and pour dressing before serving.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sandra Lee's Sugar Cookies

I am a huge fan of Sandra Lee, as is my 3 year old, and the two of us discovered this fabulous sugar cookie recipe while watching her show together one morning. I'm in the process of tripling this recipe and making heart-shaped cookies with red and pink M&M's for the Valentine parties we have coming up this week. I got a little antsy and just had to post this recipe before I could snap a picture of the finished product, but these butterfly cookies that Sandra Lee made on her show were absolutely darling and would be perfect for Easter or any other spring party!Semi-Homemade Sugar Cookies:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 (17-ounce) bag sugar cookie mix
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon strawberry extract
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag mini M&M's


  • Heat cream cheese in a large microwave safe bowl for 1 minute on 80 percent power in microwave to soften. Add sugar cookie mix, 1/4 cup flour, egg and extract. Stir with wooden spoon until dough is well combined and forms a ball.
  • Sprinkle a flat rolling surface with 1 tablespoon flour. Divide dough in half and roll out onto lightly floured surface using a rolling pin. Roll the rolling pin back and forth, turning the dough as needed so it does not stick. Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness.
  • Take cookie cutter and dip cutting edge into a shallow bowl of flour. Then press cookie cutter into rolled out dough. Begin cutting out shapes at the center of the dough and work your way towards the edge, cutting shapes as close together as possible. Once the entire slab of dough is cut, use a small spatula to remove cookies from rolling surface and place on un-greased cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining half of dough.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Decorate each cookie by pressing mini candies into dough. Refrigerate cookies for 15 minutes to prevent spreading while baking.
  • Using oven mitts, place cookies in oven on top rack. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven using mitts and let cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute before moving them to cooling rack.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Homemade Mac n' Cheese

If there's one food I can count on my kids gobbling up, it's macaroni and cheese. Their dad is to blame for this. When I have meetings on Sundays after church and leave him with the kids, he will always make them "Easy Mac" for lunch. I can't complain though because, hey, at least I don't have to come up with something! When I was cleaning out my pantry last week and saw that I had a large bag of elbow macaroni that expired in 2 days, I immediately thought to make a big pan of mac n' cheese. It was super quick to prepare, super tasty, and I felt much better about my family having something homemade on Sunday afternoon.Mom's Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
  • 1 (16 ounce) package macaroni
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cheddar cheese soup
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 pound shredded colby cheese


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  • Place macaroni in a 2 quart casserole dish. Stir in cheese soup and milk until well combined. Sprinkle with shredded cheese.
  • Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until cheese is brown and bubbly.

Monday, January 31, 2011

S'mores Brownies

Last Tuesday my husband called me 2 hours before his church activity to tell me he offered to bring dessert for 40 kids. We had just returned from a vacation and my little 3 year old wasn't feeling well that day, so it had been over a week since I'd done my grocery shopping. I was out of everything, or so I thought. I opened up my pantry hoping for inspiration and I saw a brownie mix, marshmallows, a hershey's bar, and graham crackers....voila!...s'mores brownies for a crowd!*fyi-I tripled the brownie mix recipe (I had the big Costco Ghirardelli box) and used a jelly roll pan when I made these, so if you're making them for less than 40, feel free to scale down the ingredient amounts.

S'mores Brownies:
  • brownie mix
  • 12 graham crackers
  • 4 king size Hershey's bars, broken into individual pieces
  • 1 large bag mini-marshmallows


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease jelly roll pan generously or line with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Make brownies according to package directions.
  • Pour half brownie mix into pan, then layer the graham crackers, followed by the Hershey's bars, and finally the marshmallows.
  • Pour the remaining half of the brownie mixture on top of marhsmallows.
  • Bake for approx. 45 minutes then let them cool completely before removing them from the pan.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Turkey Sloppy Joe's

I'm always trying to think of new ways to "trick" my kids into eating vegetables and this recipe worked like a charm! I served it on a whole grain bun with a slice of reduced-fat colby-jack cheese, with a side of sliced carrots and celery and it was so yummy.Turkey Sloppy Joe's
  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) reduced-fat reduced-sodium condensed tomato soup, undiluted
  • 1/2 cup kethcup
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 hamburger buns, split


  • In a large saucepan coated with nonstick cooking spray, cook the turkey, onion, celery, and green pepper over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain if necessary.
  • Stir in the soup, ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, and pepper.
  • Transfer to a 3-qt. slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 4 hours.
  • Serve on buns.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Oatmeal Raisin/ Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love to bake and freeze cookies so my freezer is always full of something homemade to pull out at a moment's notice. After the holidays, my supply was very limited, so I found this recipe and tripled it. I added chocolate chips to half of the dough and raisins to the other half. My husband and kids couldn't be happier to have a new stash of cookies to munch on!

Oatmeal/Chocolate Chip:Oatmeal Raisin/Chocolate Chip Cookies:
Makes approx. 4 dozen
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter-flavored Crisco
  • 1 cup formly paccked brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup raisins or chocolate chips


  • Heat oven to 350 degrees
  • beat together Crisco and sugars until creamy
  • add eggs and vanilla; beat well
  • add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; mix well
  • stir in oats and raisins/chips; mix well
  • drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet
  • bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown
  • cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack

F.Y.I: You can also make this recipe into bar cookies by placing the dough into an greased 13x9 inch baking pan for 30-35 minutes.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chicken Pasta Primavera

This pasta dish has it all: meat, veggies, and pasta! My husband and kids loved it, it was simple to make, and we have plenty for left-overs. The best part, which I kept secret, is that this meal is also very healthy and low-cal with just 342 calories per (1 & 1/3 cup) serving!!

Chicken Pasta Primavera
  • 6 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) reduced-fat reduced-sodium condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 package (16 oz.) frozen California-blend vegetables, thawed
  • 4 cups cooked cubed chicken
  • 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese


  • Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
  • Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine the soup, water, lemon juice, basil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir in vegetables; bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat; cover and simmer 3-5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  • Stir in the chicken; heat through.
  • Drain spaghetti; add to chicken mixture and toss to coat.
  • Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Guilt-Free Marshmallow Fudge

With only 41 calories per serving and 15 minutes prep-time...these were the perfect treat to whip up on a warm, sunny Tuesday afternoon.

Marshmallow Fudge

  • 1 & 1/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cups fat-free sweetened condesnsed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 & 1/3 cups mini marshmallows
  • 2 whole reduced-fat graham crackers, broken into bite-size pieces


  • Line an 8-inch pan with foil and coat with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
  • In a heavy saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate chips with milk; stir until smooth. Remove from heat; cool for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in vanilla. Fold in graham crackers and marshmallows.
  • Pur into prepared pan. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Lift out of pan and remove foil; cut into pieces.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Christmas Carrots

This is one recipe where I wish I had "smell-o-vision" because these carrots smell amazing! They are a great Christmas side dish because the combination of brown sugar and orange zest gives off a tasty Christmas aroma.
2 pounds carrots
1/4 teaspoon salt, if desired
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon salt

Peel the carrots, and cut into 1/4-inch slices. Heat 1 inch water to boiling in the saucepan over high heat. Add the 1/4 teaspoon salt if desired. Add the carrot slices. Cover and heat to boiling again. Reduce heat just enough so water bubbles gently. Cook covered 12 to 15 mins or until carrots are tender when pierced with a fork. While carrots are cooking, heat the brown sugar, margarine, orange peel and 1/2 teaspoon salt in the skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved and mixture is bubbly. Be careful not to overcook or the mixture will taste scorched. Remove the skillet from the heat. Drain carrots in a strainer, then stir them into the brown sugar mixture. Cook over low heat about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and gently, until carrots are glazed and hot.
This recipe from CDKitchen for Brown Sugar-Glazed Carrots serves/makes 6

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Cindy's Rolls

A friend of mine emailed and asked me to post my favorite bread recipes because her New Year's resolution is to make more homemade bread for her family. I immediately thought of this recipe, which is my absolute FAVORITE roll/cinnamon roll recipe and was given to me by my husband's best friend's mom, Cindy. I remember Steven talking about Cindy's rolls back when we were dating and when we were engaged, he told me that I MUST learn to make them. They really are extemely delicious and I can't believe I haven't posted this recipe yet! Here you go...
Cindy's Rolls
Method & Ingredients:
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 4 tablespoons yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Mix above ingredients together ( Bosch or Kitchenaid both work great) and wait 5-10 minutes for yeast to bubble.

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cups flour

Mix these ingredients and add to the first mixture.

  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups flour

Add these to the first mixture. Let your mixer run for 10 minutes on medium speed. Divide dough into sections and make into rolls ( I divide the dough into 3 sections, then squeeze each section into a long log, cut each log into about 12 small balls and squeeze each dough ball out into a long rope, then tie it in a knot-like shape so it looks pretty). Place rolls onto greased baking sheets, cover with a towel and let rise approx. 2 hours. Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 10 minutes (until just browned on bottom).

*Also, I would love to see who reads this blog, so click on the link to the right and become a follower. Feel free to leave me a comment and request any recipes you'd like me to post!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Tortellini Salad

I doubled the recipe (given to me by my friend Jolisa) and made this pasta salad for my New Year's party last night. It's pretty simple and only took about 10 minutes to prepare. You can serve it immediately while its warm or put it in the fridge and serve it cold. It's a great compliment to any main dish; I served it along with pizza, buffalo wings, and breadsticks. Yes, the diet starts today!
1 pkg. 9 ounces refrigerated cheese tortellini
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese (1 inch balls/cubes)
1 jar (7 1/2 ounces marinated quartered artichoke hearts, drained)
1 can 6 ounces pitted ripe olives, drained
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup prepared pesto
3 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1. Cook tortellini according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients.
2. Drain tortellini; add to cheese mixture and toss to coat. Serve warm or refrigerate until chilled.Makes 9 servings.