Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies

These were a super simple and fun recipe to make! I made them for a treat to bring to a baby shower at work. I think they turned out delicious! I won't be able to make them too often, Matt doesn't like anything with mint so if I make them...I'm the only one that'll eat them...and then I'm in trouble!

I googled for a 'cake mix cookie' recipe, and found this one. I changed it up a bit to meet my needs and it worked perfectly!

(sorry for the dark picture, I was using my phone)
Candy Cane Cookies
1 chocolate cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
Hershey's Candy Cane kisses

Mix the cake mix, eggs and oil together. I had to add a little more oil, probably about 1 teaspoon because the mixture was so dry.Scoop using a cookie scoop and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for about 8 minutes. Cookies will be very fluffy and soft. I immediately pressed a candy cane kiss onto the cookie and the kisses began melting. The melted so much so that they don't even look like a kiss anymore!

They took awhile to cool, but I placed them in plastic ziploc bags and took them to work! I made them on Tuesday and it's now Thursday. The cookies are very, very soft and chewy.

Some suggestions I have for trying this recipe:
Let them cool a little bit more before putting the kiss on so they keep their kiss shape.
Bake them a little bit longer for a harder cookie, maybe 9-10 minutes instead.
Chop up the kisses and incorporate them into the batter for a mint chip type cookie.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Birthday Recap

We went downtown to a little cupcake bakery/cafe to celebrate my Birthday. This place was recommended by some of the girls on my local Nest board and it wasn't too far from my work, so off we went!

I didn't think to take pictures of the actual cafe, it was kind of a cramped space and it was pretty busy. I wasn't expecting that at first, but we were on University Avenue right by the U of M campus so I should have known. We even drove by the new TCF Stadium, which Matt was pretty impressed with. Little did he know, a wrong turn on my part took us that way, but hey, we'll pretend we had to go that way.

We went to.... Cupcake!

The handles on the door when you enter the cafe, look like whisks, I thought that was pretty clever :-) It was a cute little shop, it was also a cafe so you could order sandwiches, soups etc. I wish I would have taken more pictures, ooops!

We chose four cupcakes, two for the each of us. We decided to sit down and eat a couple and save the other two for another time. We rushed ourselves along because we weren't exactly sure the time limit of our parking spot. There was a sign that said both 1hr limit and one that said 15min limit. We didn't exactly know how to decipher them so decided we would hurry!

I ate the chocolate mint cupcake, and Matt ate his mocha cupcake. They were both very good. My frosting had a strong, but not too strong, mint flavor and Matt said the same thing about the coffee taste in his (strong, but not too strong). My cupcake was pretty crumbly and fell apart, but Matt's had nice texture and stayed together nicely.

They were both good, I just wish mine would have held together better. I'm excited to try my other one, The Betty Crocker. A vanilla cupcake, with a swirl of pink icing and sprinkles. Typical Birthday Girl treat, don't you think? Matt has The Coco Loco waiting for him at home, a lemon curd filled vanilla cupcake topped with marshmellow frosting and shredded coconut.

Overall it was a fun atmosphere. The employees were friendly, it was a nicely decorated cafe, tabletops were clean, there were seats available. I also enjoyed being able to watch the decorator pipe icing onto the cupcakes.

There was something that really freaked me out while we were there. While I was getting us some ice water, I noticed they had their patio door open, and as I looked over, what did I see? A baby mouse! Not kidding!  The mouse did not, I repeat did not, go in the cafe, but it very easily could have.  That really kind of grossed me out.  If you own or even work at a cafe, I would suggest not leaving the door open intentionally!  Eeek!  The only other con that I have is there was literally, no parking other than the paralell parking right in front of the cafe, which had no room when we were looking for a spot.  We parked a little ways up the street and took our chances with our time limit. 

On our way home, we were stuck in rush our traffic! Bad idea Birthday Girl! I should have known going that way at around 4:30pm was going to be trouble. However, I really wanted to try Cupcake after hearing so many positive reviews. Although it really wasn't what I expected, it was still fun to go to! It kind of makes me want to start my own cupcake shop :-)

For dinner we went to ... Rey Azteca! We had a coupon, and it was close to home so we decided to go there. YUM! I definitely give it two thumbs up! We were seated promptly, they took our drink order shortly after we sat down, and then our server dissappeared. They were a little busy so I can understand though. The food was excellent and they have huge portions! Matt had fajitas and I had a plate of enchiladas that came with two tacos and a stuffed pepper. Very delicious, and very filling! They also serve tortilla chips with salsa and a white dip. The best I can describe it is a cucumber, ranch, sour cream type dip.

I have no pictures :( I think we were so hungry we were ready to eat! The margaritas were excellent as well!

I had a great Birthday! Lots of love and wishes from my family and quality time with my Husband! We closed off our night by stopping at Target and picking up toilet paper and paper towels (ahhh..the life of being an adult!) and went home to get ready for my Tastefully Simple party.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Our First Anniversary!

Don't mind that this post is ten days late :-/. Oops!

We had a lovely Anniversary weekend. We spent both Saturday and Sunday enjoying eachothers company, reminiscing about a year prior. "What were you doing at this moment a year ago" I often asked my Husband. I even asked my parents, the Friday (10/9) of our Anniversary weekend, what they were doing a year ago to the day. My Mom thought I was talking about the 9th, which would have been the Thursday before the wedding, the day that my Dad was stung by a large group of bees! My Dad replied to the question, "Running all over the place!" Which yes, he was right! The few days before the wedding were a flurry of errands, last minute checklists, "Where's this?" "Who's got that?" "Did we remember..."

We had a gorgeous day for our wedding. We truly could not have asked for a better day. I will always say, the weather we had that day was the gift from our Angels in Heaven. They truly were smiling down on us. Here are a few pictures from our wedding:

It's fun to look back! I can't believe how fast a year went though! I don't think life will slow down either! I'm thankful to have Matt in my life, and I'm thankful for the memories we've had during our relationship. We're approaching four years together, and it's been wonderful! Here's to many more!

To celebrate our Anniversary, we went to The Melting Pot in Minneapolis. It was delicious! Neither of us had ever had fondue, and were excited to try it! It was a wonderful experience. It was such a romantic environment! Although I had told him about it, I was shocked to see red roses sitting at our table when we arrived. My Hubby followed my clues and asked them to add it to our table when he made the reservation. How sweet! This is our cute little booth, minus the roses. I didn't remember to take a picture until we were leaving!

The meal started with fresh cheese fondue, prepared right at our table by the waiter. Made with shredded cheese, a little bit of beer, and some other spices, it was ooey gooey deliciousness waiting for us to dig in! We enjoyed the cheese fondue with bread, cold vegetables, and apples.

Next up was our salads. We both chose caesar, a favorite! As we were finishing up our salads, our main course came. Our little booth table was now filled with food! We had a plate of our meat (lobster, steak, filet mignon, brat pieces, chicken and shrimp), we had plates to eat from, as well as a dish of vegetables to cook, and many sauces for our dipping enjoyment! We also ordered a couple drinks, mine was SO good! I ordered the 'Love Martini' made with peach schnapps, malibu rum, cranberry juice and garnished with a fresh strawberry. Matt ordered the Blackberry Margarita and wasn't too fond of it. Mine was so good, we ordered another and shared it during our fabulous dessert!

Here's an 'action shot' of our food cooking. We chose the Bourguignonne oil to cook our meat. It's a European style fondue. We had many sauces to choose from, including tempura batters which fried our food. My favorite was probably the Honey Mustard and the Sweet and Sour type sauce we had. A very full plate of delicious meats!

Last, but certainly NOT least, our decadent dessert platter and our ying yang chocolate fondue. We chose the best of both worlds-white chocolate and milk chocolate creatively swirled together! It was almost too pretty to even eat. We dug right in, and realized we didn't take a picture of our dessert options. This plate came chock full of gourmet desserts. Marshmallows rolled in crushed graham crackers and crushed oreos, cheesecake, pound cake, strawberries, bananas, and I think some brownies too.

As you can see, we (shamelessly) cleaned up our chocolate!! The waiter even brought us some additional strawberries and marshmallows for us. It was pure delight!

I think we're well accustomed to fondue, and we can safely break out our fondue pot we received as a wedding gift! I think fondue nights will be at least, a monthly occasion in our house!

I would highly recommend going to The Melting Pot for any special occasion!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Chicken Burritos

Chicken Burritos
Recipe from: Me
Inspired by Chipolte/Qdoba

I made these tonight after having some leftover chicken. My Mom and Dad gave us a huge package of chicken breasts that they got at Sam's Club. The package was huge, and each individual chicken breast was also a very decent size. The whole package cost about $12, and fed us both for 2 meals, and we still have two chicken breasts to use. So about $2.00 per meal, per person. What a good deal! We'll definitely be going to Sam's Club to pick up some more

(sorry for the poor quality, i took it with my phone)2 cooked and shredded chicken breasts

Mozzarella cheese



Sour Cream

Cilantro and Lime Rice (not pictured)

Onion Onion and Rockin Chipolte seasoning from Tastefully Simple

This was so simple and easy to prepare. We used whole wheat Mission Tortillas. (Go here to print a $1 coupon on a package of whole wheat tortillas just like I used!). I prepared the rice ahead of time (Uncle Ben's white rice) and let it sit on the stove with some cilantro and lime juice mixed in while I prepared the rest of the meal.

Next, I put the chicken in a skillet with some EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and some Rockin Chipolte dry dip mix and some onion onion from Tastefully Simple. I simmered that together until I was sure that the spices were well mixed in.

While the chicken was simmering together, I drained abut 3/4 of the liquid out of a can of 'corn 'n' peppers' I had in the cupboard. I put the corn in a saucepan on the stove with the remaining liquid and let that simmer until the liquid had dissolved. I even let it stick to the pan a bit (kind of like when you're burning something and it sticks :-)) because I didn't want it to be soft like corn that you would boil, I wanted it to be a little bit firm.

When everything is done, top your tortilla with chicken, corn, sour cream and lettuce! I was going to add some avocado slices but our avocado was way too soft. You could add whatever you wanted to these to make them your own!

Serve with a side of rice, or even put the rice in your burrito (I forgot...)

Comments from my Husband: "These are so good" "Was this easy to prepare? (I say yes) Good! We have to have this weekly!" "This is definitely on my Top 10 list!"

So.. all in all, I woul have to say these were a success!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Congratulations Graduate!!

My little Sister graduated from college last night. I'm so proud of her and all that she has accomplished. She's been through quite a bit in her 19 years of life and she's come out of it all stronger and better than ever!

She'll always be my little Sister, but we're both growing up faster than I ever thought we would. Remembering a time when we never thought we'd get our drivers license, or graduate High School, or move out of the house, we're facing reality now. We've both graduated High School, taken college courses, I'm married and thinking of a family of my own, and she's looking to start her career, all the while we keep adding candles to our Birthday cakes.

Wait a second....weren't we just 15?

Time flies when you're living your life!

Congratulations Bre! I am so proud of you and all that you have accomplished, and done. You're a strong woman and pretty kick-ass! May your dreams take you wherever you want to go and I wish you all the success in the world! You're going to make things happen!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Great American Bake Sale!!

In a couple of weeks my Husband and I are hosting a Bake Sale to support Share our Strength and raise money to help end childhood hunger in America. This event is sponsored in part by Domino sugar, and C&H Sugar. I encourage all of you to visit their website and sign up to host your own bake sale. It's free, and best of're helping a good cause!
My suggestions for holding a succesful bake sale:
  • Recruit your friends, family and neighbors to help you bake and organize the sale
  • Get your community involved! Post flyers asking for donated baked goods or donated time to get prepared for the bake sale
  • Get Grandma's recipes-the traditional baked good favorites will always be a hit! Homemade donuts anyone?!...
  • Make something for all tastes and personalities. Have trail mixes, chocolate lover items, healthier options, small portions for the newlyweds, or large portions for the growing families.
  • HAVE FUN! You're doing something great for kids all over America. How can you not have fun!

This fundraising event is endorsed by a couple of my favorite Food Network celebs such as Sandra Lee and Duff Goldman. I think Duff is holding a bake sale sometime this month as well at his Charm City Cakes bakery. If you're going to be in his area, that would definitely be something worth checking out!!

I can't wait for our bake sale! I have started ripping recipes out of magazines, prepare my favorite recipes, even my Husband is going to bake some things! I think he's going to be in charge of selling the baked goods while I'm inside promoting the Tastefully Simple Spring & Summer 2009 product line.

I think oreo truffles may even make an appearance at our bake sale...

Or maybe some yummy gooey delicious brownies?!....
Or even a beautifully decorated, raspberry filled cake...yumm...

What are you waiting for? Go sign up today!!
Looking for another way to use your baking skills to support a worthy cause? Check out what Molly is doing over at The Rookie Chef .

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Football Cookies

This update is way late, but I wanted to share it anyway! I had taken 3 cake classes by the time the Superbowl came around this year and I wanted to share my creative skills I had learned. I had found a cookie cutter set from asking around on the "What's Cooking?" board of TheNest and it included a football shaped cookie cutter!! It also came with letters of the alphabet, so I took my creative side a little farther using the letter cutters. I will have to come back and add the recipe since I didn't write it down. It was in a Better Homes and Garden cookbook I received at my Bridal Shower this past fall. I love it!

Sugar Cookie Recipe
Recipe: Better Homes and Garden Cookbook

I made the cookies according to the recipe in the book, and decorated them using my [cake] class buttercream icing colored appropriately.
They were a lot easier to make than I thought they'd be, and everyone LOVED them. We didn't come home with any extra cookies, which surprised me because there wasn't a huge crowd at the party, but hey, less calories for me!
They took the longest time to decorate, but I had my Sunday afternoon available so I sat down at our kitchen table, and got to work!

Tangy Chicken and Vegetables

This was a very impromptu meal. It was quick, easy and delicious!! I wanted to create a chicken meal that was hearty, but also included the vegetables that we had bought. We have a serious problem of buying fresh produce with great intentions but then we never use it before it goes bad. The italian dressing in the meal gave it a tangy kick, but the rice and mushroom soup gave it a creamy, savory flavor.
You can adjust this recipe to however many people you need to feed. The ingredients are based on just my Husband and I.
Tangy Chicken and Vegetables
Recipe from: Myself
2 chicken breasts
cream of mushroom soup
zucchini and yellow squash
italian dressing
Rice, cooked
Place the chicken breasts in a pan with some italian dressing covering the bottom of the pan, fry up the chicken breasts, adding italian dressing to your liking. I added dressing after it cooked for awhile and all cooked into the chicken. While the chicken is cooking, prepare cream of mushroom soup according to the directions on the can, using milk.
When the chicken is done, set aside and let rest. Rinse out your pan, and add the sliced zucchini and squash, along with italian dressing to fry them up in. Cook the vegetables until they are done to your liking.

Place serving of rice on your plate, top with a chicken breast and the mushroom mixture along with your vegetables.

I served this with a side of steamed broccoli, my favorite!!

Stuffed Peppers

These peppers were delicious! They were so easy to make and were very filling! I made three and we each only ate one. Yum! This would be perfect for a weeknight meal! The only thing is they take awhile in the oven, but the prep and getting them to the oven takes no time at all!

Stuffed Peppers
Recipe from: Myself
Rice, cooked (you can make more or less to your liking)
1lb of hamburger, thawed (or ground turkey if you like)
1 cup of spaghetti sauce
Salt and pepper
~5 peppers (I used 3 and had lots of leftover meat mixture)

Cook rice and combine it in a large bowl with the hamburger, spaghetti sauce and seasonings you choose. Mix it all together. Add 1 cup of the spaghetti sauce so that the mixture sticks together. You could certainly add more than 1 cup if you would like the mixture inside the pepper to have more sauce.

Wash your peppers and clean out the seeds inside, poke holes in the bottom of the pepper so that the grease from the hamburger when cooking can drain out into the bottom of your pan. Make sure the hole is actually a hole and not a slit in the pepper as that wouldn't allow enough room for the grease to drain.

When peppers are washed and cleaned out, set them in a pan (a 9x13 or 8x8 pan would work just fine). Stuff each pepper with your mixture. I topped each pepper with some parmesan cheese too, you could do that if you like as well.

Bake at 350* for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, take them out and add some spaghetti sauce to the top of each pepper, and/or some shredded cheese or parmesan cheese and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

The final product!!

Like I said, they're pretty time consuming once in the oven, but overall its a very easy dinner!! I made this with some fresh bread and like I said, they were very filling!


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Wilton Cake Classes at Michael's

I have successfully completed my first course in cake decorating classes! It was so much fun to do! I took them every Monday night for the month of January. You can definitely see the progression, and improvement with each class I took :-) I had a lot of fun making the cakes, learning new techniues, experimenting with flavors and using my creative side! I plan on taking the 2nd, 3rd and 4th courses as well. I highly recommend the classes to anyone. The class was about $15 dollars and then the price varied according to which supplies you chose to buy. My instructor was very helpful in suggesting alternatives so that we could use things already in our kitchen rather than having to buy something additional.
Here is a picture of my first cake. This was the cake I made to bring to my first class. We were told to bring a baked, iced cake. While it still meets the requirements, it wasn't a very pretty cake!You can see my Husbands head there in the background (Hi Honey!). I guess while trying to get a good picture, I wasn't taking into consideration my background ;-) On another note, look at all that frosting!!! Yuck! Definitely a beginners cake. Wow.

My first class was cancelled due to weather, so I took the opportunity to practice on my own at home. I colored my icing, and decided to use a cookie cutter to make a small indent on the frosting, and then pipe stars to create my design. I used a single heart cookie cutter to make this design and I just overlapped them at one point. I'm not really sure why it shows up flourescent looking, but it was blue and orange. Color suggestions from my Hubby!
This is the cake I brought to my second class (the first actual class). A basic vanilla 8x13 cake, cut in half and layered onto eachother to make a more square cake, rather than round. I was pretty proud of my piping skills for the words, but the more I look at it after having finished my course..yikes! That blob in the upper rigt corner of the cake....a rose. Well, its supposed to be anyway :) Those little things are hard to make!! I'll get better at it, I promise!

My third cake. Probably one of my best?! I probably could have done a few less flowers, but I stil think its pretty cute. It was definitely a "girly" cake. Bright pink, and vibrant purple! I told my Husband that I wanted to make a filled cake and he said to make it raspberry filled. Hmm..I wasn't really sure how to pursue my filled cake, but thought I didn't have much to lose, why not! I filled it with fresh raspberries, cut in half, mixed with that strawberry glaze you can buy in the stores. It was actually pretty darn good! The next time I need to make a cake, I think I'm going to make it raspberry filled, but I have a few ideas for improvement!

The grand finale....

We were told to bring an iced cake ready to mimic one of the designs in our class book. We were going to practice our roses, and learn leaves and vines. I was excited to see all that I learned from start to end, but also sad that the class was coming to an end.

TA DA! Sorry for such a dark picture, and for the missing piece. My Husband and I dug in before I remembered to take a picture :)Up close and personal with the roses. Although they don't look bad, there is still some room for improvement! The leaves were easier to make than I though, the vines were as well.

I have made quite the improvement, wouldn't you say? :) I've signed up for Course 2-'Royal Icing & Flowers' There will be plenty more cake pictures to come!

Saturday, January 31, 2009


Thank you for visiting my blog. I created this to share some new recipes, and to gain recipes for myself. I enjoy cooking and baking, and wanted to share it. I frequently visit The Nest's 'What's Cooking' board where members can share their recipes, ask cooking questions and get advice. A lot of the members on that board have recipe/cooking blogs, and I get so many ideas and inspirations from them that I wanted to have a blog to share with them as well!!

Please feel free to leave comments, questions or suggestions. I hope you enjoy!!I will have more recipes posted, hopefully daily, but our computer is being wonky about letting us upload pictures so I have to be a little sneaky about it :-)

On this "warm" January morning, I'll leave you with a picture of where we went on our Honeymoon-The Riu Resort in Cancun, Mexico. ::peaceful sigh:: ....I want to go back!! This picture is courtesy of google images, because like I said, our computer won't let us upload any of our real Honeymoon pictures. This is exactly what the beach looked like, exactly how the weather was for our whole trip. It was pure bliss....

Oreo Truffles

This recipe is a popular one on the nest message board, "What's Cooking?" that I frequent. I made them during the Holidays, and they were a huge hit. They're so fun to make because you can make them a variety of different ways. You could use mint oreos or peanut butter oreos. You could make them for the Holidays and use Holiday sprinkles to decorate them, you could make them for a football game and decorate with piped icing with your team colors, you could make them for a Baby shower and decorate with pink and blue. They're versatile for ANY occasion!
Easy Oreo Truffles
Recipe: Adapted from this Kraft Foods Recipe
1 pkg (1lb 2oz) OREO cookies
1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese (I used sweetened condensed milk so that no refrigeration was required)
2pkg (8squares each) BAKERS semi sweet chocolate (I used almond bark for dipping)

Mix 3 cups of cookie crumbs with your cream cheese (or sweetened condensed milk). Shape into 42 1-inch balls. Once I shaped them, I stuck them outside, covered, so that they could harden up before dipping in the chocolate. I recommend doing this, otherwise I've found that if they're room temperature, the melted chocolate will almost melt the oreo ball. When they're a bit firmer, the dipping process is a lot smoother. Also using toothpicks helped me dip them, shake off the excess chocolate and set them neatly on the counter.

Dip into the melted chocolate, and set aside on wax paper lined baking sheet, or in my case-the kitchen counter! If you want to decorate them with sprinkles of any kind, I would do it when the chocolate/almond bark is still a bit wet, so that they stick. Same with sprinkling them with the remaining oreos. Otherwise they tend to fall off the oreo ''ball".
You can see the assembly line I had going when I started the dipping process. These truffles are definitely a messy endeavor, but SO worth it! You will fall in love with them!

I made mine and put them in 3 little boxes that I purchased at Michaels, added some ribbon, and they were ready to go to our Holiday parties!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

I figured I should get to adding some recipes here, I created this blog in the beginning of January and January has almost escaped us already! I made this soup awhile back, but this would be perfect now that Minnesota's coldest month has hit us. It's quick, easy, and hearty! I made a huge pot of this and we had it for lunch the next couple days. It was very good! I even sliced up some fresh bread to accompany it.
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
Recipe from: Myself
1 bag of egg noodles
1 rotisserie chicken
any other vegetable you may like
1 box Swansons chicken broth

Heat the broth in a large pot on medium-high heat. While the broth is heating up, you can cut the meat off the chicken and either shred it or cut it into cubed pieces for the soup. Add the noodles to the broth, cook them according to package instructions. In the meantime, cut up your vegetables. If you want your vegetable pieces a little bit on the softer side, add them about halfway through the noodle cooking time. If you want your vegetables with a firm texture, add them the last 2-3 minutes of the cooking time.

Continue to let everything boil together until the noodles are done and the vegetables are done to your liking.

Enjoy with fresh bread, or even a side salad!