Friday, February 28, 2014

Fruity Pebbles Popcorn

This popcorn is great! It's a sweet, addictive treat that is also east to whip up!

I also apologize for the semi-gloomy pictures. THIS has been our weather lately...

(hello winter)

Not that we don't need the precipitation, but driving in this is a witch... of the B kind. And I've been so swamped with work and the real world that my blogging has fallen off. I promise to get better.

But for now, let's make some Fruity Pebbles Popcorn. I also think subbing in cocoa pebbles would be out of this world.

You will need:
10 cups popped popcorn
6 ounces vanilla candy coating
1 cup fruity pebbles

Start by popping your popcorn. Save some steps by using microwaveable bags or pop in an air popper or over the stove (this is our preferred method).

Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, place your candy melts and melt according to package instructions.
Pour popcorn on to your prepared cookie sheet and drizzle candy melts over the top.

Quickly sprinkle with Fruity Pebbles and allow it to set up until hardened.
Break up into large pieces and munch away.

I love, love, love the fruity pieces of cereal paired with the crunchy popcorn and creamy candy melts.
This treat is so addicting you might eat it all in one sitting... And by might, I mean you definitely will. Enjoy!

*recipe adapted from Cookies and Cups

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Fresh Strawberry Bread with Strawberry Cream Cheese Glaze

This bread is so delicious. Fresh strawberries meet an almost cake like bread. You could forgo the glaze and spread each slice with butter or strawberry flavored cream cheese and it would be just as delicious!

The warm weather plus this fresh bread has me longing for Summer! I can't wait for fresh produce and gallons of ice cream.

But for now, and the gloom of rain ending my beautiful weather, lets whip up a batch of delicious strawberry bread, shall we?

For the Bread:
1 cup chopped strawberries
1 1/2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 cup, or 1 stick, unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 3/4 cup flour

For the Glaze:
1/4 cup pureed strawberries (or strawberry jam if you're in a rush)
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x5" loaf pan, set aside.
In a bowl, combine the 1 cup of chopped strawberries and 1 1/2 Tablespoons of flour, tossing to coat and set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. Scraping the sides as necessary. Add in the baking powder and salt  and mix. Turn the mixer to low, and alternate between the flour and milk adding it to the mixture. Starting and finishing with the flour.
Fold in the strawberries coated with flour and stir until combined.
Pour strawberry batter into your prepared loaf pan and bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool completely.

Once cooled, prepare the glaze.
Beat the pureed strawberries, cream cheese, and sugar until smooth. Spread over the bread, allowing it to drip down the sides.

Slice and serve. Cover extras (if any) in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. Enjoy this sweet, Summery cake!

*Recipe adapted from

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Easy Lemon Brownies

Ugh, the flu bug has sabotaged the entire family. Sore throats, fever, chills, the works... I will save you the gritty details but I swear this is the worst germ year to date. I'm calling it Germ2k14. Yuck.

So I apologize for being out of the blogosphere and barely posting each week. I promise once we are all healthy you will be bombarded with yummies.

Please accept these yummy lemon brownies as an apology. They are flavorful, tart, and whip up quickly (so you can impress people even when your house is covered in cooties).

You will need:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 Tablespoons lemon zest
2 Tablespoons lemon juice

For the Glaze:
Juice and Zest from 2 lemons
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease an 8" pan... Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, flour, and salt until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice.  Pour egg/lemon mixture into the flour mixture and beat at medium speed until smooth and creamy.

Pour into prepared baking dish and spread the top evenly. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until set and golden around the edges. DO NOT over bake as the brownies will become dry.
Set aside to cool completely.

When brownies are completely cooled, whisk together the ingredients for the glaze and drizzle over the top of the brownies, spreading to the edges.

This glaze will set but not become hard. The tart lemon pairs so well with the moist brownies.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Updated Elvis Sandwich

I know, it's a messy picture... But only because this is a messy sandwich. Messy and delicious.

Bacon makes everything better... Really it does. I would apologize but everyone likes bacon, even Vegetarians. Crispy, slightly chewy in the center, thick cut bacon, is God's gift to earth.

I was so thankful for Food Network magazine whose entire issue was devoted to this delicious cut of swine this month... Bacon, bacon everywhere!

Jeff Mauro featured this delicious sandwich and called it the "Italian Elvis" because he used Mascarpone... Here's my version.

You will need:
4 slices thick cut Country White Bread
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1-2 Bananas (1 for mashing and another half of 1 for slicing)
6 slices, thick cut bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, and cooled
4 Tablespoons Chocolate Hazelnut spread

Butter for cooking

Mash 1 banana in a large bowl. Add in the softened cream cheese and stir until combined, set aside.

Lay down 4 slices of the white bread and on two of the pieces, spread with an even layer of your banana/cream cheese mixture.

On the other two slices of bread, spread with two Tablespoons each of the Chocolate Hazelnut bread and top with 4-5 slices of banana.

Place 3 slices of the cooked bacon on top of the banana slices.

(my bacon got a little dark, don't judge me, that's what I get for multi-tasking)

Press the two pieces of bread together to create a sandwich. Preheat a flattop pan over medium-low and grease with butter.

Place the sandwich on top and cook until both sides are golden brown.

Oh this sandwich is good, so darn good. Gooey chocolate spread, creamy bananas, crisp salty bacon, and buttery bread. This sandwich is so decadent but well worth the calories! Enjoy!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Tie Dye Heart Crayon Valentine

Valentines Day is this Friday and whether you love the Holiday or absolutely despise it, if you have kids, you don't really have a choice.
With my oldest son officially in preschool this year and both in daycare, I was looking for a fun yet cost effective Valentine for around 30 kids.
Of course, the easy way would be to purchase a pack of Spider man Valentine's and call it good... But that isn't blog worthy. And to be honest... I can see plenty of future Valentine's Days being filled with last minute store bought cards, because ya know... Wine and stuff.

My only tip when purchasing the heart silicon pan is to go with smaller hearts with more slots per pan... My 6 tin pan was a fantastic size but a little time consuming, this is the one I purchased.

Now, lets get to makin' some Valentines shall we? Including the mold (which can also be used for cupcakes) these cost me less than $10 for 30... Score!
Also, I created the paper for the valentines on Publisher and plan to cut out the actual ones with decorative scissors.
Another cute phrase might be "For 'crayon' out loud, be my Valentine"! Punny, right?

You will need:
(for 30 heart crayons)
Heart shaped mold
3 boxes (48 count crayons)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Start by peeling off the paper that is surrounding the crayons and break up crayons into various sizes. I left out the dark browns and black crayons as they tended to make muddy colors.
Place pieces of crayons into the molds, filling gaps as you go (white on the bottom makes for an amazing swirl!) Since this mold is deep to accommodate cupcakes, I only filled it half way.

Place silicon mold on a large baking sheet to make for easier transfer and bake the crayons in preheated oven for 13 minutes or until completely melted (the smell won't be pretty).
Remove from oven and allow to cool on counter for 10-15 minutes.
Gently peel back the silicon mold to remove the crayons and VOILA... Pretty, swirled, tie dyed crayons!

I just love these crayons! Each one is different, like a Valentines Day snow flake. Attach to your paper or create a label and there ya have it, super cute, super fun Valentine's!
Happy Heart Day, everyone!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Meyer Lemon Crumb Muffins

With Spring right around the corner, OK kind of, I always love to introduce a citrus recipe to beat the Winter gloom.
I was given 2 bags of Meyer lemons and knew I had to make something delicious with it. I honestly don't think lemon pairs with anything better than a bread!
I stumbled across the idea of making a lemon crumb muffin and knew this would be the perfect way to use them.

These muffins are buttery, slightly tart, and the crumb topping gives it the perfect added crunch.

For the Muffins:
(makes 24 muffins)
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 Tablespoons grated lemon zest
2 Tablespoons lemon juice

For the Crumb Topping:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
6 Tablespoons butter, cold and cubed

For the Glaze:
1/3 cup powdered sugar
juice from 2 Meyer lemons

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, melted butter, and lemon zest and juice. Stir the egg mixture into the dry flour mixture just until combined.
Fill lined or greased muffin tins 3/4 of the way full.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and cold cubed butter to make the crumb topping. Sprinkle the tops of the muffin batter with 2 Tablespoons of the crumb mixture.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the muffin pan for 5 minutes before moving to a rack to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and lemon juice for the glaze and drizzle over the semi-warm muffins.
These muffins are best enjoyed warm but can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
I love the tart hint of Meyer lemons paired with these buttery muffins... TO DIE FOR!

*recipe adapted from Just a Pinch

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Heart Shaped Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Valentine's Day is fast approaching and in blogging world... Posting a heart recipe with only 13 days to spare is a major fail!
But I have a few fun packed themed ideas within the weeks ahead, so stick with me!

If your kids are having a Valentine's party (and they still let you bring homemade things) these brownies are a great option!
Nothing says I love you like red velvet swirled in cheesecake! Am I right?
Oh and chocolate and roses... Lot's of it.
These brownies are a little time consuming but worth the effort. The red velvet is moist and the cheesecake layer is the perfect topping!

Red Velvet Layer:
3 1/4 cups flour
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
4 Tablespoons milk, divided
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon red gel coloring
2 teaspoons vinegar

For the Cheesecake:
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 13"x18" jelly roll pan with cooking spray, set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

In your stand mixer, whisk together the eggs, oil, 2 Tablespoons of milk, vanilla, red food coloring, and vinegar. Sprinkle the dry ingredients into the wet and mix just until combined (the dough will be a thick, almost mailable consistency).  Remove 3/4 cup of the batter and place in a medium bowl. Whisk the remaining 2 Tablespoons of milk into the 3/4 cup of batter and set aside.
Pour the remaining batter into the prepared jelly roll pan and spread until it is touching the edges.

In a large bowl, using your hand mixer, beat together the softened cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla beating until smooth and no lumps remain. Pour the cheesecake layer on to the red velvet layer and smooth to the edges.
Drop sporadic spoonfuls of the red velvet/milk mixture on the top of the cheesecake layer. Using a knife or skewer, drag the red velvet mixture through the cheesecake to create swirls.

Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until the cheesecake is set and no longer wobbly. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Cut out with your favorite heart shaped cutter, package or serve immediately. Enjoy!

*recipe adapted from The Novice Chef