Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tuesday Treats: Rolo Brownies

I wish I had a better picture of these treats, but I took them to Stone Harbor with me and completely forgot to take a picture of the finished product with it's ooey gooey insides!  Nonetheless, they were easy and delicious and worth another occasion.

1 box brownie mix (and ingredients that go with it)
Rolo candies, frozen

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Lightly grease mini muffin pan.
3.  Make brownies, according to package directions on box.
4.  Fill each muffin cup 2/3 of the way with brownie mix.
5.  Place frozen Rolo candy in center.
6.  Spread batter from around sides to cover top of Rolo candy.
7.  Bake 10-15 minutes.
8.  Allow to cool slightly and remove from pan.



Monday, July 30, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

Happy first Anniversary, to my beautiful sister and her sweet hubby!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Christmas in July

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tuesday Treats: Luscious Lemon Delight

Just another delicious Pintrest recipe!  I made this dessert for my dad for Father's Day, as he loves anything lemon (well, except for lemon wedding cake, but that's a story for another day!).  It was the perfect treat for a warm summer day…cool and refreshing!

1 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans PLUS
2 tbsp chopped pecans
1 stick butter, softened
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 (8 oz) container Cool Whip, thawed
2 (3.4 ounce) packages instant lemon pudding mix
2 2/3 cups milk

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.  Combine flour, 1/2 cup pecans, and butter in medium bowl and mix well.  Press into bottom of 11 X 18 inch pan.  
3.  Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.  
4.  Allow to cool.
5.  Beat cream cheese in medium bowl until fluffy.  Add powdered sugar and beat until mixture is light and fluffy.  Add ONE cup Cool whip and fold in gently.  Spread over cooled crust.
6.  Combine pudding mix and milk in medium bowl.  Mix until thickened.  Spread on top of cream cheese layer.

7.  Top with remaining Cool Whip.  

 8.  Sprinkle with remaining pecans.  

9.  Chill, covered, for one hour.

(Hopefully as much as Dad did!)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wednesday Wellness: Green Smoothies?

While I have been loving my Strawberry Smoothies, I wanted to add some more nutrition to my snack. I decided to add a handful of spinach and exchange the strawberries for peaches…can we say DE-LIC-OUS!!!

1 cup fresh or frozen peach slices
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1-2 handfuls spinach
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
2 Tbsp flaxseed

Blend all ingredients together


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tuesday Treats: Better than Josh Lucas

You may know this cake as "Better than Sex Cake" or "Better than Robert Redford Cake," but I put my own spin on it for Josh Lucas.  
Whenever I'm asked who my celebrity crush would be, people always are confused who JC is.  Did you all not see Sweet Home Alabama?!  Maybe it's his southern charm, but I swoon for this man…

Maybe it's "Jake Perry's" southern charm or his romantic-at-heart personality, but either way, I was bummed to learn he got married this past March ;)

Anyways, cake…that's what we were talking about.  Right.

1 box Devil's food cake mix (and ingredients that go with it)
1/2 (14 ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk
 Caramel (or Chocolate) ice cream topping
Heath Bar bits
1 (8 ounce ) container Cool Whip

1.  Bake cake according to directions for a 9 X 13 pan; cool for 5 minutes.  Poke holes with fork throughout cake.
2.  Slowly poor milk over cake and let soak in holes. 
3.  Drizzle caramel/chocolate over the cake.
4.  Place cake in refrigerator and allow to completely cool.
5.  Top with cool whip, drizzle more caramel/chocolate sauce over top and sprinkle with Heath Bar bits.  
6.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Sweet Home Alabama
Melanie Carmichael:  What do you want to be married to me for, anyhow?
Jake Perry:  So I can kiss you anytime I want.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Home is Where the Pizza is...

"When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore."

We had a "make your own pizza night" over here a couple weeks ago.  I think we had every topping possible, including fresh mozzarella, pesto, homemade sauce, sausage, mushrooms, broccoli, peppers, goat cheese, and more.  We all filled our bellies with our individual pizzas and sipped on some sangria I made.  

 Unfortunately, this was the only (horrible) picture I took of the sangria, but I can assure you, it tasted much better than this picture looks!  

1/2 cup of Brandy
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup frozen lemonade concentrate
1/3 cup orange juice
1 bottle red wine
1/2 cup triple sec
1 lemon, sliced into rounds
1 orange, sliced into rounds
1 lime, sliced into rounds
1/4 cup sugar
8 maraschino cherries 

1.  In large pitcher, mix together brandy, lemon juice, lemonade concentrate, OJ, red wine, triple sec and sugar.  
2.  Float slices of lemon, orange, and lime.  Add maraschino cherries.
3.  Refrigerate over night.  
4.  For fizzy sangria, add club soda before serving.

(I doubled this recipe and it made a little less than two large pitchers)

And who can decline dessert after pizza?  I made some Peanut Butter Cup Muffins to indulge in afterwards.  



Friday, July 13, 2012

Shrimp Boil by the Sea

We got down to the beach before the rest of the group and wanted to make a fun dinner for all.  Shrimp Boil was the perfect meal to prepare at the beach, as it was easy, quick, and didn't heat up the entire place. 

1/2 cup Old Bay Seasoning
1 1/2 Tbsp salt
3 quarts water
1 can beer
6 medium red potatoes, quartered
1 1/2 large vidalia onions, cut in wedges
1 1/2 lbs smoked sausage, cut into 2 inch lengths
6 ears frozen corn on cob, thawed
3 pounds large shrimp, in shells

1.  In an 8 quart stock pot, bring Old Bay, salt, water and beer to a boil.
2.  Add potatoes and onions; cook over high heat for 8 minutes.
3.  Add sausage; continue to cook on high for 5 minutes.
4.  Add corn to pot; continue to boil for 7 minutes.
5.  Add shrimp in shells; cook for 4 minutes.
6.  Drain liquid.  Pour contents of pot into several large bowls and sprinkle with Old Bay.
(or, as we did, dump on the newspaper covered table)


This served 6 of us with plenty of leftovers.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thursday Treats: Candy Birthday Cake

Yup…I loved this cake so much I couldn't wait until next Tuesday to share!
This past Tuesday, we had our "family" dinner night…Mexican theme this time.  But what was more special to our usual Tuesday night dinner, was the fact it was someone's birthday!!!  It gave me the chance to bake up something new!  The Birthday Girl's cake was request was simple…yellow cake and chocolate icing.  Hmmm….what could I do to spruce that up?!  Well, hellooooo Pintrest, you saved me again!  I actually used a couple different recipes on Pintrest and think I came up with the best concoction!  

Ingredients for Cake
2 1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup Sunny D
2/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
6 packs of the King Size Kit Kats, broken in sets of two
Large bag of M&M's

Ingredients for frosting
1 stick butter
2/3 cup Hershey's cocoa
~ 2 pounds powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
whole milk

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease and flour 2 round cake pans (either 9 in or 8 in will work).
2.  Cream together butter and sugar.
3.  Add remaining ingredients (except eggs) and mix well.
4.  Add eggs and beat for about 2 minutes.  
5.  Equally divide batter and spread into prepared pans.  

6.  Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.  
7.  Meanwhile, melt butter for frosting in a pan over low heat.

 8.  Add cocoa powder to melted butter and stir.  

 9.  Add about a cup of powdered sugar and stir.

10.  Transfer frosting mixture to mixing bowl and blend.  Continue adding powdered sugar and milk until you reach desired consistency and amount of frosting you will need.  
(the recipe I used called for 3 cups of powdered sugar and 1/3 cup milk…I used waaaay more)

 11.  When cake is done, allow to cool in pan for about 15 minutes.  

 12.  Run knife along sides of cake and turn over on wire rack to cool completely.  
13.  Place big dollop of frosting on one cake.  Spread evenly, but no need to go completely to edges, as you see, it will run over (which is not a big deal either).
14.  Place second cake on top and spread frosting on top.

 15.  Continue frosting top and sides of cake.  
(usually I do one layer for a "crumb layer" and then another to smooth it out…do as you wish with this, it will not matter since it will be covered up)

 16.  Line Kit Kats around cake.

 17.  Fill top with M&M's and, if you wish, tie a cute bow around for decoration.
(I think it will hold fine without it if you prefer not to use a bow)

 18.  Store in refrigerator until about an hour before serving.
(probably don't need to do this, but it has been 100 degrees around here, so I was not taking any chances!)

 19.  Take out about an hour before serving.  
(and let others admire their dessert!)

 Happy Birthday, Mrs. B!!!

 20.  Untie ribbon and slice between Kit Kats.
(I found the first slice had to be a little larger…the equivalent of 4 Kit Kats, in order to get the pie server under the cake to lift.  After that, feel free to cut smaller slices of 2 Kit Kats)
(Thanks to Lil Miss C for her Instagram photos!)



Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wednesday Wellness: Strawberry Smoothie

Back from the beach and back on track.  Do you all feel as sluggish as I do after being away and eating lots of yummy (yet processed) food, and enjoying too many cocktails?  

I'm so glad to be home and enjoying my healthy meals and smoothies yet again.  

This Strawberry Smoothie, one of Toosca Reno's recipes, is one of my favorite morning snacks!

1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
2 Tbsp flaxseed

Blend all ingredients until smooth.
Easy enough?!



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tuesday Treats: Buckeye Brownies

This was one of the three types of brownie desserts I brought down with me to Stone Harbor, New Jersey last week.  The Buckeye Brownies are now one of my new favorites!  

1 box brownie mix 
(I always use the fudge kind)
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup coarsely chopped peanuts 
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup peanut butter

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
2.  Grease 9 X 13 inch pan and set aside.
3.  Stir together brownie mix, eggs, and vegetable oil (this will be thicker then an original brownie mix)
3.  Add peanuts and combine well.
4.  Divide batter in half.  
5.  Press half of batter into prepared pan (it will be a thin layer).
6.  In separate bowl, combine condensed milk and peanut butter with whisk.
7.  Pour peanut butter mixture over brownie layer.

8.  Drop remaining brownie mix over top of peanut butter mixture and press gently into peanut butter layer.  
9.  Bake for 25 minutes until set and golden brown.

10.  Let cool completely before cutting into squares.



Monday, July 9, 2012

Safe Haven

I was lucky enough to be invited to spend a couple days with a sweet family in Stone Harbor, New Jersey this summer.  I had never been there before and now I can say it has to be one of my favorite spots.  Very family oriented, quaint little town with fun shops, good eats, and pure relaxation mode.  

We rented beach cruisers for a day or two and biked around town and I was in heaven.  I've been saying I have wanted a beach cruiser for a while now at my parents' place at the beach, but it's pretty crowded there, and I always get nervous biking with the traffic.  And of course, I would prefer my bike to have a nice wooden Nantucket basket for Baxter to ride with me ;)  So, I was delighted to ride bikes as much as possible and was super bummed to return them the last day.

We biked up to the beach, around town, to lunch, and to the beachside bars to meet friends after soaking up rays on the beach.

It was so nice to also get to visit Avalon right down the street and have a wonderful dinner at the Sea Grill.  I had the most delicious salmon topped with bruschetta!  Mmmmm!  After dinner, we headed to The Whitebrier for a drink and then to Princeton Bar & Grill to meet friends for a another cocktail and good company.

I loved biking around in the morning admiring the beautiful homes and gorgeous landscaping.  This is Steve Biscotti's home in Stone Harbor.  I don't know if I would have ever thought to have that color wood siding on my own, but I am absolutely in love with it now!

We had another wonderful dinner at the cutest little Italian place across the street.  Everything tasted as if we had actually been in Italy (not that I've been there, but what I would imagine!). 

Our mornings were spent with coffee on the deck with a beautiful view of the bay.

And the sunsets in the evening were even more breathtakingly beautiful.

I could not have asked for a better vacation with perfect weather, great company, and lots of laughs!

Hope you all are enjoying your summer as much as I am here!