Wednesday, December 7, 2011

ONLY FOUR INGREDIENTS!

7-Up Biscuits
recipe via The Plain Chicken

2 cups Bisquick
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup 7-Up
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Cut sour cream into biscuit mix; add 7-Up. Makes a very soft dough.

Sprinkle additional biscuit mix on board or table and pat dough out. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a 9 inch square pan. Place cut biscuits in pan and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Surprisingly yummy!

*My dough was very sticky and gooey, so I covered the dough with a bit more Bisquick and let it sit for a while. And put a generous amount of Bisquick on the counter as well; dough should be somewhat soft though.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

SWEET SOPHIE TURNS TWO

"Scorpio children are strong-willed, passionate, and intense, and the need to feel secure drives them to control themselves and others." ~Babycenter

That sentence pretty much sums up my little Sophie. My fiercely determined little one knows what she wants and knows how to get it. I know that trait will allow her to reach all her dreams one day. It is impossible for me to believe how completely different my two kiddos are...night and day! 

Sophie Bella (my wise & beautiful one), you are the gorgeous little girl I never expected to have. You try my patience and make my heart melt at the same time. You keep your brother in line and make us giggle. Dogs and trains and stuffed animals are your first loves. Your Daddy's eyes sparkle when he looks at you. Depending on the day, you think your name is Mommy, Sophie, Strawberry or Baby. You are incredible.

I love you with all my heart, my little October baby...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

caramel apple cheesecake bars

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
photo & recipe via Zoom Yummy

DOUGH
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature

CREAM CHEESE FILLING
2 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs

APPLE FILLING
2 larger apples (Golden Delicious)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp granulated white sugar

CRUMB TOPPING
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour

TOPPING
3/4 cup caramel topping

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

In a bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender (or a fork) until the mixture is kind of crumbly. First with your fingertips, then with the bottom of a cup (or a glass), press the dough evenly into a 13 × 9-inch baking pan or a cookie sheet with edges. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

In the meantime, in a larger bowl, beat the cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar until smooth (about 1 minute). Add the eggs, 1 at a time (beat about 20 seconds after each addition). Next add the vanilla and mix until combined. Make sure not to over-beat the cheesecake batter as this will lead to excess air being incorporated in and may cause cracking later on. Pour the cream cheese batter over the warm crust.

Peel the apples and chop them into 3/4-inch (2 cm) chunks. Mix the apple chunks with the cinnamon and two tablespoons white sugar. Spoon the apple chunks evenly over the cream cheese mixture.

In a smaller bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar and flour for crumb topping. Cube the butter) and using a pastry blender (or a fork), create a crumbly mixture. Crumble over the cream cheese mixture.

Bake 30 minutes, or until the filling is set. Reduce the temperature to 300° F for the last 5 minutes.

Cut into bars. Drizzle with the caramel topping. YUM!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Newfoundland (Newfie)

While I realize that it is WAY better to get a doggie from an animal shelter, I can not help wanting one of these guys! And please know, this is coming from a country girl who had SEVERAL pets that were considered "rejects" by their owners who not so lovingly dropped them off in the country. 

I have a fascination with huge, fluffy dogs that my kiddos can cuddle with and feel protected by. My favorite dog of all time was Bup (not sure why my Grandpa Dow named him that?), he was an amazing mix of St. Bernard and German Shepherd (LOVE them too!!!) and he was LARGE! Known also as a small pony by my little brother and sister, Bup was the most gentle, loving dog ever, who let kittens lay on him when it was cold. But who also knew how to scare the begeezus out of strangers by standing on his hind legs and peering through their car windows! So, this is why I adore large dogs and want one. Now!

photos via Pinterest, Puppy Petite Boutique, and About Zoo

Sunday, October 2, 2011

SWEATER TIME

Okay, well it's not sweater time just yet...it's 90 degrees here in CO this weekend! Didn't expect that in October. But I really want this Free People Love wrap sweater. Hurry, someone give me $168! Please?

image via Piperlime

Thursday, September 22, 2011

SCOTCHEROOS

SCOTCHEROOS
recipe & photo via The Girl Who Ate Everything

1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup corn syrup
6 cups Rice Krispies
1 (6 oz) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (6 oz) bag butterscotch chips

In large saucepan, combine sugar and corn syrup. Heat to dissolve sugar and bring to boil; remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter. Add Rice Krispies and mix until well blended. Press into buttered 9x13 inch pan. In small saucepan, melt together chocolate chips and butterscotch chips. Spread combined mixture over top of Rice Krispies mixture. Cool. Cut into 36 bars.

*The only thing I would do differently, is only make half a batch. They are very rich, but very good!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

CANDY CAKE

THIS is the perfect cake {for me}! Cakes are not my specialty and living at 5300 feet above sea level makes it even more challenging. Our little boy, Drew, just celebrated his 7th birthday and when I saw a candy cake on Pinterest, I knew I had found my winner!

Just bake the cake of your choice; frost it when cooled {messy or neatly, it doesn't matter!}. Break regular size Kit Kats {I used about 11 packages} in twos and gently press against the frosted sides. Add your favorite ribbon and tie a bow, or tie neatly in the back. For the top, I used a bag of mini M&Ms, but be creative! Speaking of which, I don't always feel super creative, but I am a great copier! Here is where my inspiration came from: made in melissa's kitchen.
These "Happy Birthday" candles on the other hand, were horrible! They melted before Drew could even blow them all out. Hope #7 is super birthday boy!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Homemade Candy Bars

I have not tried any of these, but I love the idea of making my favorite candy bars {these are seriously 3 of my all-time favorites!} at home. As the big 4-O quickly approaches, I have made a goal to get in really good shape again by the time that dreaded age rolls around. Unfortunately, that means less baking! And more blogging about baking to appease my cravings? So let me know how they turn out!
Twix

images and recipes via Chow

Monday, August 22, 2011

PUMPKIN PATCH

Fall is right around the corner and you know what that means? Pumpkin season! And since it is too early to talk about Halloween (best...holiday...ever!), we will do the next best thing and talk about pumpkins. And desserts! Better yet, pumpkin desserts! Here are a few I am looking forward to trying. Soon!

Images via Let's Dish (pumpkin cookies), Bake at 350 (bars), Our Best Bites (whoopie pies), Erin's Food Files (truffles)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

CHANEL HAS A SPELL ON ME

"What do I wear in bed? Why, Chanel No. 5, of course." ~Marilyn Monroe
Chanel Tiffany Blue Nail Colour

My love of Chanel started as a young girl. As soon as I realized Chanel No. 5 was what my idol Marilyn Monroe wore, I was hooked. And then again, many years later, on the day of my wedding. We were in Barbados and I had a not-so-pretty sunburn and a "professional" makeup artist that didn't make it past the trial run {ugh}; a lovely family member came to my rescue with some Chanel tinted moisturizer. Now in my late 30s, I have fallen in love once again with their eye and facial moisturizers. They are an indulgence I admit! But once you start using them, it is very hard to go a day without them! If I had an endless bank account, I am 100% sure I would use NOTHING but Chanel beauty products. I am yet to use their nail polishes, but they have the most vibrant and amazing colors. Thank you Coco Chanel!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

TASTY LITTLE MORSELS

MINI MAPLE PANCAKE MUFFINS
recipe & photo via Bakerella
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup buttermilk (* see tip)
1 egg
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a medium bowl. Sift together with a wire whisk.
  • In another bowl, stir buttermilk, egg, maple syrup and melted butter until just combined.
  • Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir with a spoon until combined.
  • Stir in chocolate chips. Reserve a few chips to sprinkle on the tops.
  • Generously grease a 24 cup mini muffin pan with non-stick spray.
  • Bake for 8-9 minutes.
Makes 24 mini pancake muffins.
Let cool slightly and remove from the pan. You may need to use a toothpick around the edges to separate the pancake muffins from the pan.
Serve immediately with warmed butter, powdered sugar or maple syrup.

*TIP: If you don't have buttermilk on hand, make your own: add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to one cup of milk, stir and let sit one minute.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

CASSEROLE LOVE, CAN'T HELP IT


SALSA CHICKEN RICE CASSEROLE
  • photo & recipe via AllRecipes

  • 1 1/3 cups uncooked white rice
  • 2 2/3 cups water
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (I used a Rotisserie chicken)
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups mild salsa
  • *1 can green chiles
  • *Green onions
  • *Sour cream

  • Place rice and water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, place chicken breast halves into a large saucepan, and fill the pan with water. Bring to a boil, and cook for 20 minutes, or until done. Remove chicken from water. When cool enough to handle, cut meat into bite-size pieces.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.

  • In a medium bowl, combine Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheeses. In a separate bowl, mix together cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, onion, and salsa (*I deleted the onion and added can of green chiles). Layer 1/2 of the rice, 1/2 of the chicken, 1/2 of the soup and salsa mixture, and 1/2 of the cheese mixture in prepared dish. Repeat layers, ending with cheese.

  • Bake in preheated oven for about 40 minutes, or until bubbly. (*I baked covered with foil for the first 20 minutes; uncovered for the last 20. Served with sour cream and sliced green onions on top.)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

IKEA HAS ARRIVED

We made the pilgrimage to the new Ikea in Centennial, Colorado this weekend. Also the second largest in America! How do I describe the crowds that were there on the 5th day of business? Hmmm...insane! There were so many people that you literally just had to follow everyone in a line throughout the entire store. I will most likely wait a while before going back, but we did pick up a couple of items (one of them being my beloved cheese grater that I lost in the move!!!). I really love Ikea's toys and wanted to share a few of our favorites, and you just can NOT beat their prices! We also bought a swing for the kiddos for $19.99 but it wasn't online (the rope ladder is from the same line).



Ekorre Rope Ladder {$19.99}

Saturday, July 16, 2011

BACK ON THE BAKING BANDWAGON

Since we moved to the mountains, I have been a bit gun shy about baking (no baking required here though!). The elevation can really wreak havoc with my recipes...BUT, I have found that with most recipes I really haven't had to change anything. So, I'm gonna keep on bakin'! 

And everyone adores No-Bake Cookies right?!? I didn't have a recipe that I really loved...until now! These are perfection. I hate to admit it, but I pretty much polished these babies off all by myself! 
NO-BAKE COOKIES
photo & recipe (adapted) via Lick the Bowl Good

2 cups sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup Jif creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups quick-cooking oatmeal

Mix the sugar, butter, cocoa, and milk in a medium saucepan. Boil for 1 minute.


Add the peanut butter and vanilla. Mix quickly until peanut butter melts, then add the oatmeal and mix until well blended.

Drop by spoonfuls onto foil, wax paper or parchment. Allow to set and cool completely. Makes 2 dozen 3-inch cookies.

Monday, July 11, 2011

ESTES PARK, COLORADO

We just moved to Colorado earlier this year, so we explore our new state every chance we get. There is SO much to see and do here, it blows my mind! We just got back from Estes Park, CO, where we had a fantastic 4th (and 5th) of July. My Parents were here for a long weekend; after a Rockies game, a quick jaunt to the Royal Gorge, a trip up to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park, and a 2-hour drive home which turned into about a 4-hour steep, mountainous (terrifying for me personally!) drive (thanks Husband), I feel like we have seen about half of gorgeous Colorado now! 
 { Downtown Estes Park }
 {The Stanley Hotel ~ Stephen King wrote "The Shining" here. 
Coolest hotel ever by the way! }
 { Dream Lake was our reward for a 2.2 mile hike in Rocky Mountain National Park }
{ Waterfall in Rocky Mountain National Park }
 { Shops at Downtown Estes Park }
 { Still plenty of snow at ~12,000 feet, up near the Continental Divide }
 { Elk at Rocky Mountain National Park }

Saturday, July 9, 2011

SPAGHETTI POMODORO

SPAGHETTI POMODORO
serves 4
photo & recipe via Diva Eats World

All I have to say about this pasta dish is...Y-U-M! Such an easy and quick recipe to make, and so much flavor!

1 pound imported spaghetti (used regular ol' spaghetti)
3 pints fresh cherry or grape tomatoes, cut lengthwise
3 cloves of garlic, sliced in half lengthwise (I minced mine)
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
6 basil leaves (more to garnish)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Put the water on for the pasta.

Put olive oil in warm pan; add garlic and crushed red pepper. Brown the garlic, be careful not to burn it but do get it nice and golden; add the tomatoes. Be careful it will splatter due to the moisture of the tomatoes. Add the basil leaves, salt and pepper. Cook the sauce on medium-high until the tomatoes start to break down. At this point, use the back of a fork or even a potato masher and crush the tomatoes slightly.

While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta according to box. Drain the pasta and put it in the pan with the sauce. Mix until all the noodles are covered. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with fresh chopped basil.

Friday, July 8, 2011

BLUEBERRY POUND CAKE

BLUEBERRY POUND CAKE
photo & recipe via Vegetable Matter

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2  tsp salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup flour for blueberries
1/4 cup sugar for the pan
butter for greasing pan
10" tube pan or bundt pan

Preheat oven to 325°.  Grease pan and dust well with 1/4 cup sugar.

Combine 2 3/4 cup flour with baking powder and salt.

Dredge blueberries with the 1/4 cup flour and mix well to coat.  We use fresh blueberries, but frozen work well too.  

Cream butter and sugar; add eggs one at a time.  Mix well each time.  Add vanilla and mix well.

Slowly add dry to butter mixture. When fully incorporated, fold in blueberries.  Batter will be very thick so some of the blueberries may get mashed up in the process.  

Bake until golden brown on top and cooked through, 75 minutes in our oven.  It's okay to have a bit of a moist, "sad" streak in middle of the cake when you remove from oven.

Cool, then dust with powdered sugar.  Serve at room temperature or toasted with some lemon curd or blueberry preserves on the side.

Store well-wrapped at room temperature.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

BANANA CUPCAKES

BANANA CUPCAKES
photo and recipe via Bakerella

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large ripe banana (or almost 1 cup)
1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake tray with 12 baking cups.
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl with a wire whisk. Cream butter and sugar in a mixer for about four minutes. Add banana and mix until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. Add the flour in three additions alternating with milk in two additions. Scrape down the sides with each addition. 
Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until done. *I  made mini cupcakes (made about 40) and baked them for ten minutes at 350 degrees.
Creamy Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
Buttercup yellow icing color (optional)


Cream butter and cream cheese in mixer until thoroughly combined. Add vanilla. Then add sugar in small batches until combined and creamy. Add a small amount of buttercup yellow icing color to frosting and mix. *I made half a batch of the frosting and it was more than enough for my 40 mini cupcakes.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN

Well, if I have learned anything about living in Colorado, it must be, to ALWAYS have your tennis shoes (and a jacket) on hand! Coming home from the Evergreen Rodeo, we decided to stop at Lookout Mountain, which overlooks Golden, CO (home of Coors beer...woohoo...Coors shout-out). At 7,581 feet, the views are phenomenal! 

Lookout Mountain is also home to Buffalo Bill's gravesite and the Boettcher Mansion (summer home of Denver entrepreneur, Charles Boettcher, built in 1917).

Oh yes, I have learned one other thing...I may be the biggest worrier of all time. Pretty much anywhere we stop, Drew hears a lecture similar to this (Soph is so crazy, we just hold her!): 

"Drew, no running or silliness. Are you listening to me? Drew, seriously now, you are thousands of feet up. Please don't give your Mother a heart attack. Hold my hand Drew. I mean it Drew. Okay, be careful." 

Oh, my poor, worried heart...but if it wasn't the mountains, it would be something else! ;-)

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