Friday, March 20, 2015

Flashback Friday!

Last week, I suddenly became very social.  It was kind of awesome.  But, it resulted in a lot of Starbucks consumed.  So, I braved up. . . had the barista check the ingredients of the Tiramisu syrup and it was dairy free (there might have been a happy dance involved!).  It was pretty good.  I won't lie, I will probably order it again.  Cinnamon dolce is still my favorite, but the tiramisu might be a close runner up. 

A few years ago, I got brave in the kitchen and whipped up an authentic Tiramisu (long before my milk allergy kicked in full force!).  It was so yummy, so I thought I would use it as today's Flashback Friday! 

Click over here to the original post and try something new this weekend! 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Because it was Pi Day. . .

Saturday marked a very important day in made-up holidays.  Some may argue that it doesn't really matter, but I think we all just need an excuse to celebrate something everyday.  Without that, life would be really mundane.  In this case, it is really nerdy holiday and because I married a full fledged math guy (he has his MA in the subject), he deserves to have pie on pi day.  But, making pie isn't always my favorite thing to do.  Especially last week.  Both kids had ear infections, Ethan was home sick for 3 days, and quite frankly by the time Saturday hit, I was pretty much done.  Done with whiny, sick, kids who didn't get the memo that you're supposed to sit and veg all day.  I still wanted to make a pie, but just not put the work into it. . . Yes, I was being lazy.
I searched Pinterest for different pie recipes and came across one by Trisha Yearwood.  Anytime, a dessert is made in a cast iron skillet, it gets my attention.  Because it is one my favorite and most used cooking tools!  It looked pretty easy, had minimal ingredients, and even found a fellow blogger who had blogged about the recipe with rave reviews.  I won't lie. . . I was still skeptical.  I mean, it had canned apple pie filling.

But,  I bought all the ingredients, even an extra can of pie filling (just in case).  It took a whopping 5 minutes to prep and only 30 minutes to bake!  It smelled amazing and tasted more than amazing!  This was definitely a winner!  I will note: Don't try to make this in a regular pie pan. . . the skillet makes it work.  If you don't have a cast iron skillet, I encourage you to buy one.  They aren't too pricey and seriously, they last forever and there's pretty much no way to ruin it!  Plus, they make your food taste even better, while adding a little bit of iron naturally into your food (a plus for people who have low iron, like me!). Unlike most pie recipes, this one has a brown sugar buttery mixture on the bottom of the pie, which is seriously what makes this pie.  The combo of the skillet and the oven give it a crunchy feel to it and it basically makes you want more and more. 

We shared some of this amazingness with my best friend and her husband and they agree, this pie rocks!  In fact, I think she is making it this week! 

Make this.  Invite someone over and eat over coffee (or a bowl of ice cream)! 

Skillet Apple Pie

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
2 refrigerated pie crusts
2 - 21oz. cans apple pie filling*
cinnamon sugar mixture

Directions:
Heat your skillet on the stove until warm.  Start melting butter and let it hang out until completely melted.  Add brown sugar to butter.  Stir and let it cook for about 2 minutes.  Then, take out your refrigerated pie crust and roll it out just a little bit.  Lay it on top of the skillet and press it down, like a pie crust.  Pour both cans of pie filling into dough.  Sprinkle with some cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll out second crust a bit and place carefully on top of apples.  Bunch up the sides, like you would a normal pie.  It's in a cast iron skillet so aim for a rustic look.  Cut a few holes to let the steam vent.  Sprinkle more cinnamon sugar mixture over the top.  Bake in preheated oven at 400 for 30 minutes.  
Best when eaten hot!

* the original recipe called for only 1 can of pie filling.  I didn't think it was nearly enough and found the two cans to be perfect.  

If you are using a skillet that is larger than 9 inches, you may want to go for a third can of filling,  but do the same things, just roll out your crust to fit your pan. 


Friday, March 13, 2015

Panera Copycat Pumpkin Muffins (oddly posted in spring!)

There  are so many things about this post that seem wrong.  Today was a whopping 81 degrees (I apologize to all of my East coast friends are literally freezing the day away!).  It's a post that should have been done months ago, when the leaves were changing colors and not blooming beautiful flowers.  But, Ethan and the rest of his kindergarten friends have been talking about the seasons and yesterday he came home declaring his favorite season fall, because he likes the golden leaves.  At that point, I knew I had done my job as his mother. . . because really, fall is the best! And, because of all that talk about fall, I decided that pumpkin muffins should be made. . . and then I realized I hadn't blogged about this recipe yet (FAIL).  I obviously had to make these. . . it's a good thing I keep a stash of pumpkin year round!

These muffins quickly became my go-to recipe this past fall.  I made them for Jon's work peeps, for breakfast, for Bible study. . . for just about everything!  They are so good.  I think it's the snow powdered sugar.  Or maybe, it's just because they are a simple copycat of Panera's Pumpkin muffins.  I mean, who doesn't like Panera?  It's one of our favorite places! In fact, I just have to mention the word souffle and Ethan jumps in the car ready to go.  This recipe only makes about 12. . . which isn't really enough, by the time you test taste them, and then another for good measure, and then eat some more for dessert.  I mean, you just might have enough for breakfast the next morning if you ration them out.  In fact, you should probably just make a double batch to be on the safe side, because my single batch is barely going to be enough for tomorrow for breakfast. But, then again, that might not last all that long either!  My kids have been eating them any chance they get!

Panera Copycat Pumpkin Muffins
adapted from here.

Ingredients:
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt


Directions:
In your favorite mixing bowl, stir together pumpkin, oil, and eggs.   Stir in sugar and spices.   Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and gently stir in until well mixed.  DO NOT over mix your batter.  Line muffin tin with liners and fill 3/4 full to make a great muffin top.  Bake in a preheated 350 oven for about 25 minutes.  Cool on wire rack and sift powdered sugar over the tops (if you don't wait til cool, the sugar will absorb into the muffin instead of leaving a white topped muffin).

* my favorite muffin liner are these.

** I use a tool like this for my powdered sugar.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A gift for Karissa!



I have the coolest sister.  It's true.  She pretty much rocks!  She's my younger, bigger sister that pretty much inspires me.  She is so creative and can pretty much do anything.  She's also one of the bravest people I know, too (hopefully soon I will be able to share her newest project!).  We live 1200 miles apart, so when it comes to gift giving. . . well, I pretty much stink at it.  I buy or make (or both) her something and it literally gets to her 6 months to a year later!  No joke!  But, shipping is expensive and we saved our stuff to go with my parents when they joined her for Christmas.  It works.  I am pretty much sure that that I am not alone on this one (she does the same thing).  

This year, I saw this cute coffee mug on sale at Pottery Barn and thought it would be the cutest gift to send to my coffee drinking sister (she consumes WAY more coffee than I do!).  I thought it would be super cute to make her a mug rug with some bright fabrics from my stash.  I had never made one before, but I am loving how it came out!  It wasn't perfect, since it was my first one, but now I can't wait to make another one.  


She loved it.  Her boyfriend thought it was stupid. . . until he was caught using it when he was sick.  Then it suddenly became cool!  It's big enough to fit a good sized coffee cup and a small treat on it.  Plus, you can just throw it in the washing machine when you are done so and it washes!

Definitely going to go make me one.  But not today. . . a sick little boy needs some extra love.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

What's for Dinner {February edition}

Today at the grocery store, I was chatting with the lady next to me while we bagged our groceries.  I had remembered to bring my reusable bag and she was telling me about how she always forgets hers.  Then she mentioned, you can tell a lot about a person, by the food they buy.  Apparently, I bought interesting food and that I like to cook.  While my food didn't seem that interesting to me (some veggies, salad fixings, canned tomatoes, linguica, etc.), it was interesting to her.  It was a fun conversation, and  I really can't wait to get cooking in March.  Some new recipes are already tagged and planned for. . . so excited!

Something new I have been wanting to bring to my blog this year is a "What's for dinner" feature.  I am constantly trying new recipes, either from Pinterest (who am I kidding. . . a lot of them are from here), magazines, or cookbooks.  There are so many good recipes out there and there are some duds.  So, each month, I want to share some new recipes that we tried and loved in our kitchen.  Hopefully bringing inspiration to your kitchen because, I know how horrible it is to get in a rut and fix the same things over and over again.

Here are some recipes that we loved this past month.

Lemon Garlic Dump Chicken 

This one was super quick and easy.  I got home from the grocery store and put it together, threw it in the freezer for later that week!

Chicken, Bacon, and Corn Salad

This month was not the first time I've made this. . . It's a family favorite!  Plus, how can you go wrong with bacon?

Potato Soup (Dairy Free)
This was surprisingly really good.  I think it's the bacon.  We added dairy free cheese and it got 2 thumbs up from my husband who is generally kind of picky.  Ethan even "choked" down a bowl of it! 

Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings
This was a big hit.  Ethan absolutely loves chicken that is still on the bone.  And it was decided that this was better than the store bought kind.  It was also super low maintenance.  No marinating before hand. . .  just defrost chicken and bake and toss.  So easy!  This one will definitely be returning soon! 

Bang Bang Chicken
We loved this one!  I realized in the middle of prepping for this one, I was out of hot sauce (oops!).  So, I sprinkled some chili lime rub in to give it a bit of flavor.  They turned out like AMAZING chicken nuggets!  Another huge hit!  

Other menu items that we had were BLAT's (my absolute favorite), pancakes and waffles.  

1 / 2  / 3/ 4/ 5

Monday, March 02, 2015

Monday Meanderings & link up



I've got dinner simmering on the crock-pot and boy does it smell good!  I have a love-hate relationship with crock-pot dinners: I love how easy they are; I hate how hungry they make me all.stinking.day! 

It's Spring here in Sunny California. Whatever the groundhog says does not apply to us rain deprived Californians.  I have the biggest desire to plant things.  I need to get to the store sometime this week and buy some pretty flowers!  I also should buy some allergy medicine. . . it's been crazy bad!  

I had a dream I as pregnant last night. . . uh, no.  I blame this post!

This sounds like the coolest men's retreat. ever!  I just wish it wasn't clear across the country!

Speaking of that men's retreat, I've been reading this book and seriously, everything about it is absolutely beautiful!  The words, the pictures, the inspiration!

I want these in my belly!

Did you hear that blue is the color of 2015.  That's good.  That might be why I have bought  3 out of 4 shirts all in the blue family.  

My friend, Dorina, wrote this.  It is pretty much awesome!  

Has anyone had the new Tiramisu latte from Starbucks?  I am assuming the syrup is milky. . . anyone know?  Is it any good?  

I know. . . enough about vaccinations,  But first this hilarious video.

I won't lie.  I think I need to plan a trip to New York

I bought this Sriacha Mayo at Target the other day.  It's awesome!  It may have made my sandwich rockin'!

Okay, that's it for now.  Have a wonderful day!!!








Saturday, February 28, 2015

Weston turns 4: An ice cream party fit for a boy!

This week, was supposed to be a nice, quiet week and I have no idea what happened.  Crazy how things creep up on you!  Anyways, February is pretty much over and so it's probably time I get Weston's 4th birthday up.  Seriously, 4?  How can this possibly be?  It seems like just yesterday this rambunctious bundle of energy decided to make an early appearance.  He is such a blessing to our family and I am so glad we were able to celebrate him!  It was a fun day and I can't get over how cute it came out.  Probably, because I couldn't picture this one in my head. 


 Confession: I didn't get excited about this theme until we had the crepe paper up (thanks to my amazing husband!). Ice Cream Parties are easy.  All the inspiration was beautiful (Check out this board to see what inspired me!  The problem with the inspiration is they are mostly all pink and girly.  I had to really get creative.  So I gave my husband several color combos and he picked this one.  It was a good pick.  My husband has a good eye. . .I think he's secretly super creative!  




I made banana split cupcakes, which are amazingly delicious!  Plus they look super pretty.
I also made blondies and brownies really quick to accompany the sundae bar.





We made ice cream cones for a craft!  They turned out super cute!
I can't get enough of this cutie!  He is part pirate. . . can you tell?

We also played a relay game.  It was really quick and tons of fun!

And that's it.  My baby is 4!  Time to start planning a 7th birthday party. . . eek! 

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