Saturday, January 29, 2011

Key Lime Pie by Josi S. Kilpack

Here's the description from
"When Sadie Hoffmiller s new friend, Eric Burton, receives word that his missing daughter s body may have been found in Florida, he immediately packs his bags. Sadie is determined to stay home and prove to everyone that she is not a busybody. But when she senses Eric is hiding something, Sadie is compelled to take action. Before she knows it, she s in the heart of Miami, trying to piece together a trail that might just give Eric the answers he s so desperately searching for. In the process, Sadie finds herself in the company of some colorful characters and some good ol southern cooking. But despite the drama and intrigue, all Sadie really wants is to go home . . . as soon as she does just one more thing. Includes eight new mouthwatering recipes, tested and approved by the official bakers of Sadie s Test Kitchen Josi s culinary mysteries have become favorites with members of Goodreads and other book networking sites Reader s guide available online."

MY REVIEW: I love Kilpack's writing style. She gets to the end of the chapter and then makes me not want to stop there. That and the fact she has recipes in her books. Haven't tried any yet but they all look delicious. That being said, this one wasn't my favorite in the series. Maybe because you don't start off with a dead body like in her other books. Not that I'm a gory person but if I have a dead body I feel like I can maybe work out some of the details, pick up on clues, and possibly solve it myself. I couldn't do that in this one so I didn't enjoy it as much, but the series on whole has been great.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

 I recently came across the site Mel's Kitchen Cafe and was amazed! She has so many wonderful recipes on there. But the moment I knew she was a REAL cook was when I read she used a BOSCH mixer. I grew up a on Bosch and they are the best.

Anyways, that was besides the point. She has her recipe on her site for Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars that are divine. Like, so divine that it's the only chocolate chip cookie bar I will ever make from now on! Pretty simple too, my husband timed me and I got them in the oven within 12 minutes.

BIG SIDE NOTE: DO NOT make these for people who like their cookies right out of the oven and won't have them any other way. Took these to some family members who couldn't stand to wait and let them rest (like they are REQUIRED to do in order for them to be perfect) and kept baking them until they were completely done in the oven. They need to rest and they will be absolutely perfect I assure you!

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Printable version From Mel's Kitchen Cafe

*Makes a 9X13-inch pan of bars
2 1/8 cups (10 1/2 ounces) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled slightly
1 cup (7 ounces) light brown sugar
1/2 (3 1/2 ounces) cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips (use your preference of semisweet, bittersweet, milk, white, peanut butter…the options are endless!)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position. Line a 9X13-inch baking pan with foil, letting the excess hang over the edges of the pan by about 1 inch so you can grab those edges and pull the brownies from the pan after they have baked. Spray the foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside. Whisk the melted butter and sugars in a large bowl until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined; do not overmix. Fold in the chocolate chips and turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula.
Bake until the top of the bars is light golden brown, slightly firm to the touch, and edges start pulling away from sides of pan, 24-28 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Remove the bars from the pan by lifting the foil overhang and transfer them to a cutting board. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.
Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Cook’s Illustrated

I cut mine out into Valentine's Day shapes when they were cooled off.
Here are my results:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gathered Heart Pillow

So.... I'm not crafty. Phew, there, I said it. However,there have been a few thing recently that have piqued my interest. I've been browsing and there is a whole treasure-trove of fun/creative/crafty things. The gathered heart pillow was so adorable, I had to do it. Here is a link to the tutorial.

My sister and I just went through her extra craft things so we just used what we had on hand. We paid around $2.40 for the stuffing and had everything else. I think it turned out cute; just in time for Valentine's Day!

What do you think?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New Pics from recipes I've made from the Saving Dinner cookbook Part 2

OK, some more pics:
Double Potato Soup
Saving Dinner Winter Week 7

Tortilla Pizzas
From Saving Dinner the Vegetarian Way Summer Week 3

From Saving Dinner the Vegetarian Way Cookbook Page 259

 Cheeseburger Casserole
Saving Dinner Fall Week 6

 Rosemary Chicken Breast Halves
Saving Dinner Winter Week 8

 Basic Black Bean Soup
Saving Dinner Winter Week 3
Orange Honey Mustard Fish
Saving Dinner Winter Week 8

Crock-Pot Taco Chicken
Saving Dinner Winter Week 8

Country Fried Steaks
Saving Dinner Winter Week 8
Mediterranean Fish
Saving Dinner Spring Week 1

OK, that was a lot and they were all delicious!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cross-Stitched Baby Bib

I've always liked to cross-stitch. I find it relaxing and fun. Most people probably wouldn't agree but hey, it's something I'm good at. I've been working on this bib forever and finally got some time to finish it. Here's the finished product:
Here's my baby testing out the product:
(I think he likes it!)

Monday, January 24, 2011

New Pics from recipes I've made from the Saving Dinner cookbook Part 1

I haven't updated my recipes I've tried for a while from Saving Dinner so here they are:

 Apple Chicken
From the Saving Dinner Cookbook Fall Week 1

Roast Beef Picante
From the Saving Dinner Cookbook Fall Week 1

 Beany Burritos
From the Saving Dinner Cookbook Fall Week 1

Crock Pea Soup From Saving Dinner Cookbook Fall Week 1

 Italian Turkey Meatloaf
From the Saving Dinner Cookbook Fall Week 1

 Pasta with Garlicky Greens and Beans from the Saving Dinner cookbook Winter Week 7

 Crock Beef Stew
from the Saving Dinner cookbook Winter Week 7

 Thai Roll Ups
from the Saving Dinner cookbook Winter Week 7

 Green Chile Chicken Casserole
from the Saving Dinner cookbook Winter Week 7

 Hummus and Spinach Chicken
Heart Healthy Menu-Mailer Volume 5 Week 37 Day 

 Stir Fry Mexican Beef
Heart Healthy Menu-Mailer Volume 5 Week 37 Day 2

 Roasted Eggplant Salad
Heart Healthy Menu-Mailer Volume 5 Week 37 Day 3

 Creamy Baked Fish
Heart Healthy Menu-Mailer Volume 5 Week 37 Day 4

 Paprika Pork Chops with Corn Relish
Heart Healthy Menu-Mailer Volume 5 Week 37 Day 5

 Asian Burritos with Ginger Salsa
From the Saving Dinner Cookbook Spring Week 1

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins

Here's the description from
"Every year in Panem, the dystopic nation that exists where the U.S. used to be, the Capitol holds a televised tournament in which two teen "tributes" from each of the surrounding districts fight a gruesome battle to the death. In The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, the tributes from impoverished District Twelve, thwarted the Gamemakers, forcing them to let both teens survive. In this rabidly anticipated sequel, Katniss, again the narrator, returns home to find herself more the center of attention than ever. The sinister President Snow surprises her with a visit, and Katniss’s fear when Snow meets with her alone is both palpable and justified. Catching Fire is divided into three parts: Katniss and Peeta’s mandatory Victory Tour through the districts, preparations for the 75th Annual Hunger Games, and a truncated version of the Games themselves. Slower paced than its predecessor, this sequel explores the nation of Panem: its power structure, rumors of a secret district, and a spreading rebellion, ignited by Katniss and Peeta’s subversive victory. Katniss also deepens as a character. Though initially bewildered by the attention paid to her, she comes almost to embrace her status as the rebels’ symbolic leader. Though more of the story takes place outside the arena than within, this sequel has enough action to please Hunger Games fans and leaves enough questions tantalizingly unanswered for readers to be desperate for the next installment."

MY REVIEW: Just as exciting as the first one. Total cliff hanger and very intriguing. Don't want to spoil anything but a great read.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Baked Salmon II

I love this recipe for salmon. So easy and SO DELICIOUS! Hubby said I could make this for him as often as I like, which means it's totally awesome.

Baked Salmon II

2 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons light olive oil
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
2 (6 ounce) fillets salmon

In a medium glass bowl, prepare marinade by mixing garlic, light olive oil, basil, salt, pepper, lemon juice and parsley. Place salmon fillets in a medium glass baking dish, and cover with the marinade. Marinate in the refrigerator about 1 hour, turning occasionally.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Place fillets in aluminum foil, cover with marinade, and seal. Place sealed salmon in the glass dish, and bake 35 to 45 minutes, until easily flaked with a fork.
 Here are my results:

Altared Plans

I recently read Altared Plans by Rebecca Cornish Talley. Here the the description from
"The perfect day. The perfect marriage. The perfect groom. What could go wrong? Caitlyn has been preparing for her perfect wedding all her life. But when her fiance abandons her at the altar, Caitlyn vows she ll never love again. Going to BYU doesn't make that easy, however, and avoiding all social contact can only last so long. When her bishop calls her to be the mom of her family home evening group, Caitlyn is suddenly thrust into surprising circumstances that leave her flustered the attention of two unwanted suitors. Travis, the FHE dad, has plans to woo Caitlyn by using his cowboy charms while Chase has his own ideas for dating her. Will Travis or Chase change her mind about love? Or will it be deja vu? Follow Caitlyn through all the flirtatious looks, dates, ex-girlfriends, and unexpected surprises. A Window Opens is a light-hearted romance that is sure to please"

MY REVIEW: Maybe I'm just over the whole romance phase of my life but I finding it harder and harder to find a romantic LDS novel that I actually like. This one was just OK and I really do like the main male character Travis but Caitlyn has her own issues. There are a few things she does that had me screaming at the book and just hoping young girls don't think it's OK to lead some poor boy on like she does. Not my favorite but not bad.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls

My Hubby has a tradition on Christmas Eve that his family makes cinnamon rolls and then eats them for their Christmas Morning breakfast. I decided to try and make them this year. They WOULD HAVE been a total success except for the fact they weren't done all the way through. I either attribute this to the fact I put them in a 9x13 pan when she put hers in pie tins OR I took her own advice and cooked them at 375°F instead of the normal 400°F. BUT Hubby did say they were scrumptious.

Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls


  • 1 quart Whole Milk
  • 1 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 packages Active Dry Yeast
  • 8 cups (Plus 1 Cup Extra, Separated) All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
  • 1 Tablespoon (heaping) Salt
  • Plenty Of Melted Butter
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • Generous Sprinkling Of Cinnamon
  • _____
  • 1 bag Powdered Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Maple Flavoring
  • ½ cups Milk
  • ¼ cups Melted Butter
  • ¼ cups Brewed Coffee (I OMITTED)
  • ⅛ teaspoons Salt

Preparation Instructions

Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pan. Scald the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour. When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle in both packages of Active Dry Yeast. Let this sit for a minute. Then add 8 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour.
After rising for at least an hour, add 1 more cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir mixture together. (At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it – overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to overflow out of the pan, just punch it down).
When ready to prepare rolls: Sprinkle rolling surface generously with flour. Take half the dough and form a rough rectangle. Then roll the dough thin, maintaining a general rectangular shape. Drizzle 1/2 to 1 cup melted butter over the dough. Now sprinkle 1 cup of sugar over the butter followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.
Now, starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Next, pinch the seam of the roll to seal it.
Spread 1 tablespoon of melted butter in a seven inch round foil cake or pie pan. Then begin cutting the rolls approximately ¾ to 1 inch thick and laying them in the buttered pans.
Repeat this process with the other half of the dough. Let the rolls rise for 20 to 30 minutes, then bake at 400 degrees (see note below) until light golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes.
For the frosting, mix together all ingredients listed and stir well until smooth. It should be thick but pourable. Taste and adjust as needed. Generously drizzle over the warm rolls. Go crazy and don’t skimp on the frosting.
Note: My rolls don’t work for me at 400 degrees anymore. I now bake them at 375 degrees

Here are my results:

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Hunger Games

Since EVERYONE and their dog has heard about The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, I thought it was about time to read them. My ex-coworker begged me to read them last year so she could talk to somebody about them, but when she described them to me..... I wasn't interested. Here's the description of the first book in the series found on

"In a not-too-distant future, the United States of America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war, to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year, two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcasted throughout Panem as the 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss's young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart, Peeta, the son of the town baker who seems to have all the fighting skills of a lump of bread dough, will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives. Collins's characters are completely realistic and sympathetic as they form alliances and friendships in the face of overwhelming odds; the plot is tense, dramatic, and engrossing."

MY REVIEW: There is a reason everybody is talking about these books and it's because they are SO hard to put down. Yes the premise is a little gruesome, BUT they are wonderfully written and I LOVED the first book. Honestly, one of my favorite books I've read in a long time.