31 July 2012

Sugar Cookie Bark

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I bet that, if you're a blogger, I could say the name of an ingredient and you could immediately spout at least five things to make with it.

Like, if I shouted "REESE'S PEANUT BUTTER CUPS!" in a room at a food blogger conference I would immediately get responses like:

Stuffed Cupcakes!
Stuffed Cookies!
Ice Cream!
Rice Krispie Treats!

Am I right?

It would be like brainstorming gone mad.

But what about when the ingredient is the dessert? Makes it a little harder.

Like, for example, sugar cookies.

When I think "sugar cookie," I think cute designs and royal icing. I think about Christmas.

{I mean, sure I think about pie crust too, doesn't everyone?}

But if you want a treat that actually tastes like a sugar cookie, it's a little harder.

My step-father-in-law (that's a mouthful, let's call him M), loves sugar cookies.

Like, really loves them.

So, every year for his birthday and Christmas I make him some.

But really, I can't just make sugar cookies anymore.

{Except at Christmas. Not making them then would be sacrilege.}

In blog-land-life, when you make stuff like carrot cake cinnamon rolls and ICEE cupcakes, you can't just make a sugar cookie a second time (says the little voice in my head).

Besides, I did that last year. But I made it a bar cookie.

So this year, when M's birthday rolled around I was stumped.

And then I remembered Shelly's Brownie Batter Bark.

And I realized how I'd create another good sugar rush for the man who can eat an entire batch of cookies without gaining an ounce.

Enter sugar cookie dough and white candy melts.

Add some sprinkles and you've got a super sweet sugar cookie dessert.

That's not a sugar cookie.

But kinda is.

I can't wait to try the other options for this.

I'm sure it involves Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

And, maybe, pie.

~Read More~

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30 July 2012

Crazy Sweet Tuesday and Giveaway

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Welcome to Crazy Sweet Tuesday, where I get to give away a cookbook!

Yessiree you picked a great day to party with me! Yesterday you may have seen my post for a Deep-Fried Fluffernutter Sandwich (to die for, BTW). That recipe was courtesy of The Busy Mom's Cookbook,  the new cookbook by former Top Chef contestant, Antonia Lofaso.

And today you get to enter to win a copy! Yay you! Use the rafflecopter widget below. Contest runs until August 5th. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**Open to U.S. residents only...sorry for the confusion.**

And now for the fabulous five from last week...

Watermelon Granita by Crumbs and Chaos. This sounds unbelievably refreshing. Yum!

Avocado Zucchini Bread by Mother Thyme. It's zucchini bread (which I heart) with avocado people! How is that not to die for?

Biscoff Nutella Ice Cream by The Doctorate Housewife. And my head exploded. Again.

Cinnabon Fudge by Shugary Sweets. Instant mouth-watering here. Isn't that gorgeous deliciousness right there?

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Cookie Pies by Back For Seconds. I love cookie sandwiches...because then I get to eat two cookies!

Thank you all so very much for linking! Your creativity never ceases to amaze me! I look forward to drooling over your delicious treats each week. And with that, let's start the party!


29 July 2012

Deep-Fried Fluffernutter Sandwich

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Can you believe I've never had a fluffernutter sandwich? I've never even had peanut butter and marshmallows together.


I mean, I know I've got some strange eating habits (read: super pickiness) and there are a lot of things I've never tried (like brussel sprouts, beets, sushi, and kale).

But a dessert I've never tried? Blasphemy!

So when I received a copy of The Busy Mom's Cookbook by Antonia Lofaso and started flipping through the recipes, the deep-fried fluffernutter sandwich totally caught my eye. Finally! A reason to try marshmallow-banana-goodness.

You know who Antonia is, right? She was on Top Chef! I was SO excited to get my hot little hands on a copy of her book. I absolutely loved her on the show.

Her book is written for busy moms everywhere; the working mom, the stay-at-home mom, and all the moms in between. It's has 100 quick, home-cooked meals you can share with your kids. Some of them sound positively mouthwatering, like the lemon crepes. Or the Red Bliss Potato and Onion Frittata. The book is full of meals and treats for the entire day, from breakfast to dessert. I'm totally making the Shrimp and Sausage Corn Chowder this fall. There's even an entire section devoted to leftovers: cook one night and eat for two!

Each recipe comes with a story about the food; whether it be an anecdote about her daughter or something from her childhood that inspired the recipe. All of the recipes sound totally doable too - not like some that have a gazillion unheard of ingredients. I love that; if I can't find it at Walmart, I don't want to have to go hunt for it.

And can I tell you that her Spiced Chocolate Pudding with Salted Whipped Cream and the Chocolate Banana Caramel Bread Pudding on totally on my list of to-make desserts, like, yesterday?

The fluffernutter sandwich was SO good. Dreamy. Like little bites of heaven. Jordan liked it so much she licked the entire thing so I couldn't have any more.

I'm serious.

Are you interested in your own copy of Antonia's book? You're in luck - it comes out this Thursday, August 2nd. You can pre-order it here.

Or...you could come back for Crazy Sweet Tuesday tomorrow. Because I get to give away a copy! Yay you! Then you can make Caramel-Almond Popcorn too. And this unbelievablygoodlickworthy sandwich.
~Read More~

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27 July 2012

Whatever Friday {Lot's 'o talking and an Ice Cream Round-Up}

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Well, another week bites the dust. Only three and half weeks until school starts.

Wait. WTH? We still haven't done anything! Sigh.

Did you all have good weeks? Full of glitter, rainbows, and brownies? Mine was pretty good, thanksverymuch.

1. Last weekend I accomplished one of the goals I set for myself in January: rock climbing.

Indoors of course. I'm not insane.

I have a general fear of all things high, athletic, and involving ropes. So it was a pretty big thing for me. I climbed to the top four times! I really wanted a photo of me climbing, but Mel was on belay, and I figured that was more important than fishing out his phone to take a pic.

2. I made you lots'o sugar this week too.

Like boozy ice.

The baby that carrot cake and cinnamon rolls had.

Aaaand a pie I ate all by myself.

What did you make?

3. Jordan spent last weekend with my parents. It was very quiet 'round here. Then I picked her up...and it wasn't.

4. Braces Summer Event #2 happened this week. She got the second two teeth pulled. Next week...spacers. Triple Sigh.

5. I took a break from my stack 'o books I shared last week to read Dean Koontz's 77 Shadow Street. Scary good. Classic Koontz. I love his books SO much.

6. Time for Flashback Friday!

With all the talk of brownie batter lately, I thought I should share these babies from last year. One of my favorite flavors!

7. Can you believe those people at Google caused us all that heartache for nothing? They launched Ribbet this week, their *new* photo editing program. Looks suspiciously like Picnik. I haven't used it yet, but I'm super excited that THEY HAVE PUPCAT (font).

8. Last week I ran 2.5 miles twice, did three days of p90x (kickboxing, chest/back, and legs/back). Then I decided to go rock climbing and then I ran again the next day. And then I wanted to die.

8. Every year in late July or early August, I take a photo of Jordan in a family-heirloom rocking chair at my parents' house. It's kind of a photo diary of how she's grown. We now have 8 photos in it (so sad!)

{2010 was a bad year. That look on her face? She wore it the entire frickin' year.}

9. I guess this month was National Ice Cream Month (who knew? Oh, yeah, I'm supposed to, I guess?) I posted some ice creams this month (totally planned...not!) I even have a link over there in the sidebar to all of my ice cream recipes. I'm not the only one who loves it though...here are a few from my Pinterest board that I thought I'd share with you:

1. Carrot Cake Ice Cream by Kitchen Meets Girl
2. Birthday Cake Ice Cream by Pint Sized Baker
3. Toasted Coconut Ice Cream with Fudge Ripple by Life Made Simple
4. Guilt-Free Snickerdoodle Ice Cream by The Domestic Rebel
5. Biscoff Pudding Pops by Bakeaholic Mama
6. Marshmallow KitKat Ice Cream by Inside BruCrew Life
7. Butter Pecan Ice Cream by Sweet Tooth
8. Nutter Butter S'mores Ice Cream by Something Swanky
9. Funfetti Ice Cream Cupcakes by Kristin's kNook

Have some ice cream this weekend!

10. People who use Wordpress - I need your advice! My eventual goal is to move to self-hosting. Because of money, I'm figuring I will get Thesis or Genesis and build the site myself and then pay someone to integrate all my content and followers. Here are my questions for you: what child theme do you use? Do you use Genesis or Thesis? How hard was it to build your site (headers, colors, social media, etc.)? And were you able to take your GFC followers with you? Who did you use for your migration, if you used help? Any advice is greatly appreciated!

Well, that's it for today. Ha!

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend. Mine is going to involve a watermelon lemonade cocktail I will be creating on the fly. If it's good I'll share it. :)



25 July 2012

Banana Cream Pie with Golden Oreo Crust

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Have you ever been to an Apple Store? The first time I went I was utterly confused, bewildered and captivated. Truth be told, it made me feel old and clueless.

Now that Apple is slowly taking over my life (phone, iPad, computer, router...) I am trying to embrace my new mecca.

Recently, on a rare night alone, we went window shopping.

Have you ever browsed at the Apple Store? It's like one of the those tactile playgrounds, but for adults.

At one point while my husband was playing with the Apple TV device, I told him I was going to shop "the wall," acting all cool and stuff because I was using store lingo.

I was captivated by what I found on the wall. Accessories for your iPad. The "Piperlime Accessories Wall" for computers, I guess.

Need to improve your golf swing? There's an app for that! It works with the iPad to immediately tell you if your swing sucks. All for the bargain price of $129.95.

Want the 2012 edition of the clapper? They make wireless devices you can plug into your lamps, fans, etc. and then control with your iPad. Only $99 for the start-up kit and $49 for each additional plug. (I kinda want this one.)

Need something for dad? You can buy a grill thermometer that will sound an alarm on your iOS device when your meat is ready. (Because walking away from your BBQ is a good idea...)

Two of my favorite products are for kids. One is the ColorStudio by Crayola. At first, I was totally stoked and came this close to buying it for Jordan. Until I realized there was a very real possibility I'd find her writing on the iPad with her sharpie...saying "oops, I didn't realize I was using the wrong pen."

Ditto the race cars that can be raced directly on the iPad. That just seems like a bad idea (albeit a cool one) to start with.

{Where's the app that can make dishes do themselves? Huh Apple? You best get on that one.}

And...pretty much everything on that accessories wall costs at least $50.

But it's all totally fun...which makes Apple the smartest people on earth.

Because if something is fun...people will buy it.

Or, in this case, eat it.

Because this pie is fun.

Sure it looks like just a regular old banana cream pie.

But it has a reeeealllly fun crust: Golden Oreos.

Or, crack.

Did you know that a bag of Golden Oreos is magical? It can disappear on its own in two days flat.

This pie is actually a recipe re-do of mine, with a twist. Please don't go looking for the original. It's...embarrassing, to say the least.

But pretty much in that original post, I talked about how I love banana but loathe banana chunks. So my pie has none. I also cook the bananas first in some brown sugar and butter, then puree them. Then I mix it with pudding and whipped cream to create a fluffy, sweet banana filling. Paired with the spiciness of the Golden Oreos this is a perfect cool summer treat.

It's crack pie. Left alone to willpower free devices, you will eat the whole thing. I should know.

And I don't think there's an app to help that. Yet anyway.

~Read More~

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24 July 2012

Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls

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I have decided that I want to live in a city where I can walk to everything: stores, restaurants, entertainment. Aside from the fact that this would be infinitely more fun than living in suburbia land  (where "exciting" is the fact that they are paving the streets around my house soon and we will be jockeying for off cul-de-sac parking like women at a sample sale), I would not need a car.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love having a car. I love the freedom it gives me.

{Hear that car? I still love you, please don't be offended by this post.}

What I don't love about car ownership is the cost. I mean, the cost aside from buying it in the first place, which has gotten exceedingly ridiculous if you have looked at cars lately.  Cars seem to age like women do: good with regular maintenance until a certain age, and then everything starts to fall apart all at once.

{I speak from experience, people. I mean, who knew 34 could be so hard on a girl?}

First you need new tires. Fine. Then brakes. Okey dokey. Those are to be expected, right?

Then the A/C needs help. So you spend a few hundred getting that fixed. But it still doesn't work right...and then the alternator goes.  You'd think once you got that all taken care of, everything would be fine. Until it starts to squeak.

At this point, drained of money and patience, I just tend to roll up the windows and turn on the radio. Poof. Sound gone.

So yeah. I think I want to live in a place where I don't need a car. Because I would much rather buy butter, sugar, and chocolate than pay for a pesky timing belt.

We all know how much my husband likes carrot cake. When I make him treats I want him to eat, I either do peanut butter or carrot cake. He got both for his birthday last week. These were for breakfast. And, yes, he ate one!

I reeeallllly like this cinnamon roll dough. Yes, it takes time...but it's sooooo worth it. It's a sweet, rich egg dough that you fill with a sugary, cinnamony filling. I added carrots and ginger to the filling...to make it more carrot-cake-like. Then you add a nice helping of cream cheese icing, and well, perfection ensues.

I promise you...even if you don't like carrot cake (ahem...I know who you are ladies...) you will like these. Cream cheese frosting hides the evidence...but see those little flecks? Yup, carrots. That makes these totally healthy. Carrots for breakfast!

~Read More~

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23 July 2012

Crazy Sweet Tuesday

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Hello friends! Welcome to Crazy Sweet Tuesday where sometimes desserts can make you cross-eyed (but in a good way).  I'm "back" from my weekend and excited to start the week!

You all know how I have a soft spot in my heart for the Phoenix area...because I lived their for five years. It's where Jordan was born. Even though I'm a California girl at heart, I looooved Arizona. I know there are lots of you bloggers who live there!  When Our Lady of Cupcakes, a bakery that services the greater Phoenix area, contacted me about a fundraiser they're doing, I knew I wanted to help. Their business is mostly dependent on deliveries...which means they need a good vehicle. They are trying to raise money though sponsorship for a new ride. Each donation gets a goodie, from your name on their website to, of course, cupcakes! If you want to find out more about their fundraising efforts, check out their page. And if you're a blogger lucky enough to live near Chocolate Star Bakery in Scottsdale, go check out some of their goodies! If you decided to donate $25 or more, leave them a comment telling them I sent you. In addition to the perk of your choice...you get a cupcake pop with a crust to try! They made some special for my readers. :)

Now, onto the features!

S'mores Bars in a Jar by Eat at Allie's. Such a cute gift!

Stuffed Cinnamon Rolls by Flour Me With Love. I want these ASAP.

Dipped Chocolate Vodka Dipped Strawberries by Our Life in a Click. These made me run out and buy flavored vodka and strawberries. How much do I love this idea?

Lego Cookies by Making Memories With Your Kids. These are adorable, it makes me wish Jordan would have a lego party.

Coconut Toffee Bark by M Double M. Coconut on toffee? So amazing!

Thanks to everyone for linking last week! Seeing your comments and your links really makes me smile.

Let's get the party started!


22 July 2012

Kir Royale Granita {Sundays with Joy}

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Today is my 11th anniversary. Or, the day my husband decided to put up with me forever.


I really do believe that I married my best friend. I know it's cheesy, who doesn't say that? But it's so totally true.

We met in college. I was 20. He was a "returning student." We became friends over HTML and confusing java script codes.

Fast forward a couple years. He was freshly divorced and I pounced.

Kidding. Not really. I'll admit; I pursued him. I chased him until he caught me.

Our first two "dates" were as friends. By the end of the second outing (a long hike) I was in loooove. I mean, we had pretty much everything in common. From then on we were inseparable.

We were engaged 5 months later. (However, I knew we were going to get married within two weeks. We even talked about it after just a month.) A little over a year after that hike we were married.

Back in the days before we had a kid, when you know, we could actually go out and have fun and not care if we didn't want to get out of bed the next day, we'd have a drink at the bar before sitting down to dinner at a nice restaurant. At some point, I was introduced to a champagne drink called a Kir Royale.

A Kir Royale is made of champagne and Chambord (a raspberry liqueur). Now, some purists might say it needs to be made with Cream de Cassis...but I always remember it made with Chambord. The good bartenders rub the edge of the glass with lemon before popping some of the rind into the glass, creating a good fizz.

{Seriously, talking about this has made me want a cocktail. Badly. Guess what I'm ordering at dinner tonight?}

When I realized Sundays with Joy fell on our anniversary, and that her espresso granita was what was on the schedule, I was stumped. I wanted to make something for us to enjoy after dinner tonight...but my husband doesn't like coffee. Somehow, I thought of champagne...and that led me to a Kir Royale.

Making a granita is one of the easiest things ever, so don't be intimidated by its elegant name. You just place liquid in a dish, pop it in the freezer, and stir it once an hour for three or four hours. Easy peasy.

Believe you me, it's reeealllly difficult to make a champagne granita at 9am. Because as much as I wanted to eat it, I couldn't because I needed to be a responsible parent. (Darn kids.)

Plus, by not eating it, I can save it to share with my sweetie tonight.

Happy Anniversary to my dear, sweet husband. Thanks for being my rock for more than 11 years and for always just nodding and saying "mm hmmmm" when I get in one of my moods.

I'm looking forward to our next few chapters. And the rest of the next 50 years we'll be together. :)

~Read More~

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20 July 2012

Whatever Friday

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Happy Friday! Whatcha been up too this week? Hot weather? Cocktails? Come on peeps, I want to hear all about it.

Oh? You want to hear about my week? Well, don't mind if I do.

1. This week I...

Introduced you to my favorite childhood combo: cereal and ice cream.

Celebrated my hubby's birthday with peanut butter explosion.

{Speaking of strange avocado recipes that may you do a double take...have you entered the Unique Sweets Party that's being hosted by White Lights on Wednesday and My Happy Place? You still have a couple days! A party full of unique, different, or challenging sweets, judged by an awesome panel of judges. And there are prizes! Go check it out!}

2. Jordan had dance camp all week. She could not wait to go each day. If only she could be that excited for school! If only I could sign her up for it every week...three hours of dancing...three hours of silence for me...

3.  Hayley and I had a two-part Real Housewives of Orange County viewing party this week, complete with midori lemonade cocktails. Those women are whack. I mean, if you're really friends with someone, do you need to keep the emails you write them for proof that you were telling the truth? It was like a big hair convention gone bad.

4. Seriously nothing funny is happening to me. I'm out of stories. Got any good ones for me?

5. This week's Flashback Friday is a special one.

Anniversary Cheesecake with Macadamia Nut Crust. I posted it a year ago. For my 10th anniversary. This weekend is our 11th. That kind of makes me feel old.

6. Because my parents totally rock, they are taking Jordan for the weekend so we can celebrate our anniversary alone. We're not going anywhere; just having a quiet weekend alone. We did decide to do something a little adventurous (for me) on Sunday. It's going to cross off one of my goals for the year. Expect Instagram photos...

7. Do you watch Drop Dead Diva? That chick created a Pake! (Pie + Cake) I'm sooooo jealous. Is it wrong to copy a TV show?

8. Just a little light reading for the next few weeks:

I finished the 50 Shades Darker (better than the first, has an actual plot) and Tricks (jeez, a little depressing, but good). A couple library books just came in too...so I don't know where to go next. The dark side or the sexy side?

What are you reading?

I hope you all have a great weekend! My goal is to stay away from the computer until Monday afternoon. (Yeah, right.)

See you soon!