Friday, December 14, 2012

Chocolate Nutella & Sea Salt Fudge

Christmas is coming, the Goose is getting fat..... 10 points to anybody who knows that song! Moving on, I love Nutella and love fudge so when I saw a recipe that combined the two, I knew I had to try it. I was supposed to bring a treat to a party and decided to give this recipe a go! I might have overdosed on it while it was in the "taste testing" stage. OK, I couldn't stop eating it. The good thing is: a little fudge goes a long ways. Once I cut them up into pieces and put them in their own mini cupcake liners, there was plenty to go around.

I love salt but was a little afraid of putting it on the fudge. The combination went together, surprisingly, well. I gave this recipe 4★. A rich holiday treat for my favorite holiday!

Here is the recipe from Tasty Kitchen

Chocolate Nutella & Sea Salt Fudge

1 Tablespoon Butter, For Greasing Pan
1 can (14 Oz) Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
8 ounces, weight High-quality Bittersweet (60%) Chocolate Chips
1 cup Nutella (chocolate-hazelnut Spread), Room Temperature
3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature, Cut Into 1/2-inch Pieces
½ teaspoons (approximately) Sea Salt
Preparation Instructions

Grease the bottom and sides of an 8- by 8-inch baking pan with butter. Line the pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overlap on the sides.

In a medium glass or stainless steel bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, bittersweet chocolate chips, Nutella, and butter.

Form a double-boiler by setting the bowl over a medium pot of gently simmering water. The water level should be low enough that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Stir until the chocolate chips are melted and the mixture is smooth, 5 to 7 minutes.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan, spread the top smooth with a spatula, and sprinkle with sea salt. Refrigerate until the fudge is firm, at least 2 hours.

Once the fudge is chilled, run a knife under hot water, dry it off, and run it around the edges of the pan to loosen the fudge. Using the overhanging parchment paper, lift the fudge out. Peel off the parchment paper. Cut the fudge into 3/4-inch squares. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container or wrapped well in plastic wrap and foil.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Kitty Litter Cake

You might be asking yourself if the owner of this blog has gone crazy because she is posting pictures of her cat's litter box. This, my friends, is actually a cake made to look like a litter box. I've been wanting to make this recipe for a long time but never had the chance until recently. We had a Fear Factor activity with our church youth and I decided this would be the perfect dessert to end the night. You could use this for Halloween, April Fool's Day, or a farewell cake for the awful co-worker you couldn't stand (tehe). 

While it was very life like and everybody liked it, it wasn't the best cake I've ever had. In reality, you could make any cake and cover it with the cookie crumbs and tootsie rolls to get the same effect. Nonetheless, I'll post the recipe I used from the Allrecipes site:


1 (18.25 ounce) package German
chocolate cake mix
1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
2 (3.5 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
1 (12 ounce) package vanilla sandwich cookies
3 drops green food coloring
1 (12 ounce) package tootsie rolls

1. Prepare cake mixes and bake according to package directions (any size pan).
2. Prepare pudding according to package directions and chill until ready to assemble.
3. Crumble sandwich cookies in small batches in a food processor, scraping often. Set aside all but 1/4 cup. To the 1/4 cup add a few drops of green food coloring and mix.
4. When cakes are cooled to room temperature, crumble them into a large bowl. Toss with 1/2 of the remaining cookie crumbs, and the chilled pudding. You probably won't need all of the pudding, you want the cake to be just moist, not soggy.
5. Line kitty litter box with the kitty litter liner. Put cake mixture into box.
6. Put half of the unwrapped tootsie rolls in a microwave safe dish and heat until softened. Shape the ends so that they are no longer blunt, and curve the tootsie rolls slightly. Bury tootsie rolls randomly in the cake and sprinkle with half of the remaining cookie crumbs. Sprinkle a small amount of the green colored cookie crumbs lightly over the top.
7. Heat 3 or 4 of the tootsie rolls in the microwave until almost melted. Scrape them on top of the cake and sprinkle lightly with some of the green cookie crumbs. Heat the remaining tootsie rolls until pliable and shape as before. Spread all but one randomly over top of cake mixture. Sprinkle with any remaining cookie crumbs. Hang the remaining tootsie roll over side of litter box and sprinkle with a few green cookie crumbs. Serve with the pooper scooper for a gross Halloween dessert.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Make-Ahead Sausage and Egg Breakfast Bake

I could NOT stop eating this. In fact, I wasn't feeling that well after dinner because I ate so much. It was that good! A few extra steps in this recipe for a breakfast bake but it was so worth it. My husband and sister also thought it was excellent. You could easily make this for this conference weekend or Christmas morning as a special treat. The bread is firm and not soggy, and everything is just the perfect mix. Seriously, try this recipe!

Make-Ahead Sausage and Egg Breakfast Bake
(via Mel's Kitchen Cafe)

1 (14-inch) loaf Italian bread, ends trimmed (I used French because I didn't want to splurge on Italian.)
1 1/2 pounds bulk pork sausage ( I used 2 lbs because of the packaging)
1 small onion, chopped fine
3 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
12 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups 1% milk
1 ½ teaspoons table salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon hot sauce

Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Slice bread in half lengthwise then slice each half into ½ inch-thick slices. Spread the bread in single layers on two rimmed baking sheets and bake until golden, 10-15 minutes, flipping bread and switching and rotating sheets halfway through (or bake one sheet pan at a time). Take care not to let the bread burn – it should be golden brown and toasted. Let the bread cool for 15 minutes.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage and onion until the pork is no longer pink, breaking the meat into bite-sized pieces as it cooks.

Lightly coat a 9X13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Shingle half of the bread in the prepared pan so that the edges overlap slightly (a couple of times when I’ve made this, my slices weren’t long enough to shingle so I just placed the bread in a single layer and it worked fine). Top with half of the sausage mixture and 1 cup cheese. Repeat with remaining bread, remaining sausage mixture, and remaining cheese.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and hot sauce together. Pour evenly over the assembled casserole. Place the casserole on a rimmed baking sheet and wrap the casserole with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap lightly on the top of the casserole. Fill another 9X13-inch dish with cans of food (beans, fruit, whatever) and nest the weighted dish on top of the assembled casserole. You’ll be glad you placed the assembled casserole on a rimmed baking sheet at this point as there may be a bit of spillage over the sides as the casserole compacts. This will help the bread soak up the egg mixture. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.

When ready to bake, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Let casserole stand at room temperature while the oven is heating. Remove weights, unwrap casserole, and bake until the edges and center have puffed and the top is golden brown, about 1 hour. Let it cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mommy but Still Me

Mommy but Still Me
(pic via
Mommy but Still Me By: Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar
Description from "Imagine a man volunteering to trade in his game nights for heart burn and back ache. Good thing there are women around to ensure the survival of the species. This hilarious look at the journey from high heels to high blood pressure, as a jet setter turns into a bed wetter, is what your doctor won't tell you and your own mother may have forgotten in the years since she was blessed by your arrival.
At our first meeting my future father-in-law waited until we sat down in the Thai restaurant, the oblong menus placed in our hands and the waiter was a distance away, tending to other diners, before turning towards me, his eyes glowing. This was the first time we were all seeing each other after his son had proposed to me. "When will I get to hold my first grandchild?"

For my father-in-law and everyone else, I have a question of my own: When will any of you be satisfied?"

MY REVIEW: I got this Kindle Book for FREE. I have an android phone and they have a free kindle app and tons of free books to download. Any-who, I have one little boy and another baby on the way. I wanted a humorous book about pregnancy and I got it with this one. I've already gone through this once so I could totally relate to her struggles of getting pregnant, then being frustrated with everything pregnancy came with. It was a cute and humorous book.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Hearty Beef Stew

Believe it or not, I do have a ton of recipes to review. I'm now over my morning sickness and ready to start cooking again. Just to warn you though, most of my recipes I will be reviewing are from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. She's a genius I tell you!

When the weather starts turning cold, I start craving soup. Nothing warms my soul and makes me fall in love with Autumn more than a good, hearty soup. I already have a recipe for beef stew that I love, but I wanted to give this recipe a go since it had a tomato base to it. My husband said it was hands down the best stew he has ever had and couldn't stop eating it! So here's the recipe:

Hearty Beef Stew {Slow Cooker} 

via Mel's Kitchen Cafe (go to her site for her tips on this recipe)

5 pounds boneless chuck roast, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or beef broth
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 bay leaves
1 pound carrots, peeled, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound red potatoes, washed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons Minute tapioca
2 cups frozen peas
After the meat has been cut into chunks, pat it dry with a paper towel and season all the pieces with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat until the oil is rippling and hot. Cook half of the beef until it is well browned on each side, about 4 minutes. No need to cook it all the way through – just get some great brown color all around. Toss the meat in the slow cooker and follow the same process with the second half of the meat (you may need to add another tablespoon of oil to the pan if it looks a little dry). Remove the meat to the slow cooker, trying to keep as much oil in the pan as possible.
Return the skillet to medium heat and add the onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until the onions are translucent and golden, about 6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the broth, soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon thyme and bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil and transfer it to the slow cooker, pouring it over the meat.
In a large bowl, toss the carrots, potatoes, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. On the counter, lay out a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil (use two sheets of regular foil on top of each other if you don’t have heavy-duty). Place the tossed vegetables on one side of the foil. Fold the foil over the vegetables and crimp the edges really well to form a little foil packet that will fit in the top of your slow cooker. Stir the tapioca into the slow cooker. Place the foil packet of vegetables on top of the stew, cover the slow cooker, and cook on high for 6-7 hours or low for 10-11 hours.
When the stew is finished cooking, carefully remove the foil packet from the top of the stew. Discard the bay leaves from the stew. Carefully open the foil packet (be careful of steam that may escape as you open it!). Return the vegetables and any juices to the slow cooker and gently mix them into the stew. Stir in the frozen peas and let them rest in the stew for 5-10 minutes, until they are heated through. Serve.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake

A brief history of my preferred cooking methods:
2003: Couldn't cook anything- had to read the package directions on how to boil spaghetti on our first date.
2003-2005: Experimental- anything goes
2005-2008: Baking
2008-Present: Stove top cooking
Today: Baking 

While on Pinterest the other day, I saw a recipe that reminded me how much I loved to bake. Most of the time, you just have to add everything to the baking dish and your done. This was an extremely simple recipe but the results were phenomenal. As per, if you use canned chicken and ready rice, it will make things even easier. 

This is an amazing meal. I love the combination of salsa and sour cream. It was creamy and full of flavor. 

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake 
(modified from
  • 2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (I used canned chicken)
  • 4 cups Cooked Brown Rice
  • ¾ cups Frozen Corn
  • 15 ounces, fluid Can Black Beans, Drained And Rinsed
  • 16 oz Sour Cream 
  • 4 ounces, fluid Can Green Chilis
  • 1 cup Salsa
  • 1 cup Low-fat Cheddar Cheese, Plus More For Topping
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Cilantro For Garnish

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except for cilantro and mix thoroughly to combine. Make sure the yogurt and cheese are stirred in throughout the entire bowl. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Transfer to an oven-safe dish and top with extra cheese if you would like. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

I am never good at making rice, but I found an simple way over here at Mel's Kitchen Cafe if you are interested.  

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Clear the Air Challenge

I was recently invited to a press conference with Governor Herbert and Mayor Becker to kick off Utah's Clear the Air Challenge at Hogle Zoo. The challenge began August 1st and ends the 31st. The challenge motivates Utahns by giving them fabulous prizes for reducing their emissions this month. 

Here's what the official website has to say about the challenge: "According to the Utah Division of Air Quality, if all drivers living along the Wasatch Front were to park their cars just one day per week, vehicle emissions would be reduced by 6,500 tons per year. This means that every vehicle trip counts, and every mile you devote to smarter travel pays Utah back with cleaner, more breathable air. The Clear the Air Challenge, issued by Governor Herbert, Mayor Becker, Mayor Corroon and other community leaders, is a month long competition starting August 1st that gives you the chance to reduce your vehicle emissions by choosing alternatives to driving alone using TravelWise strategies. By driving less and driving smarter, you will ultimately help improve air quality, reduce traffic congestion and conserve energy in Utah. You will also be eligible for weekly and grand prize drawings by meeting straightforward, achievable travel goals.
Because air quality is a concern for all of us, we can't afford to leave anyone out. That's why this challenge is open to travelers of all ages throughout Utah, especially those in the Salt Lake Valley."

You can sign up for the challenge here and win awesome prizes.

Governor Herbert introducing the challenge.
The Mayor of Salt Lake City talking about the challenge.
My son enjoying the tigers at Hogle Zoo.

The zoo's new Rocky Shore's exhibit is now open and rocks!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Chicken and Broccoli Noodle Casserole

Have you ever been cooking something and then sample your creation before it's done? I think most cooks do. But, have you ever kept sampling and then had to make yourself stop because if you didn't, there wouldn't be any dinner? That's what happened with me while I was making this dish. I couldn't stop licking the bowl after I poured out the sauce. Maybe it was pregnancy hormones, or maybe it was just that good. Seriously, you need to make this!

Chicken and Broccoli Noodle Casserole
Servings: 6 • Serving Size: 1/6th • Old Points: 6 pts • Points+: 8 pts
Calories: 313 • Fat: 9.9 g • Protein: 27.2 g • Carb: 31.2 g • Fiber: 4.4 g • Sugar: 2.6 g
Sodium: 256.7 mg (without salt)


6 oz Ronzoni Smart taste noodles (or no-yolk)
2 tsp oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin (I always used chopped garlic)
12 oz fresh broccoli florets, chopped (I used frozen broccoli, cooked)
1 tbsp butter
1 medium shallot, minced
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1-3/4 cups fat free chicken broth
1 cup 1% milk
12 oz cooked shredded chicken breast (I used canned chicken)
4 oz shredded reduced fat sharp cheddar
cooking spray
3 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese
2 tbsp seasoned breadcrumbs (I used panko bread crumbs cuz that's what I had)


Cook noodles in salted water until al dente, or slightly undercooked by 2 minutes. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and cook on medium heat until golden, about 1 minute. Add the broccoli and a little salt, sauté and cover the broccoli for about 3 minutes on medium heat until the broccoli begins to soften. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375°. Lightly spray a 9 x 12 casserole dish with cooking spray.

In a large pot, heat butter over medium-low heat, when melted add the shallot andcook until soft, 2-3 minutes. Add the flour and a pinch of salt and stir well, cooking an additional 2-3 minutes on medium-low heat.

Slowly whisk in the chicken broth until well combined over medium heat; whisk well for 30 seconds, then add the milk and bring to a boil. Simmer on medium heat, mixing occasionally until it thickens (about 6-7 minutes). Remove from heat and add reduced fat sharp cheddar and 1 tablespoon of the parmesan cheese; mix well until the cheese melts.

Add the shredded chicken, noodles and broccoli to the sauce and mix well until evenly coated.

Pour into a casserole dish and top with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. Spray a little more cooking spray on top and bake for about 20 - 25 minutes. Place the casserole under the broiler a few minutes to get the crumbs crisp and golden (careful not to burn).

Monday, July 9, 2012

The reasoning behind my lack of postings...

is because I'm pregnant! Sorry, I get extreme morning sickness and food is never my friend for the first few months. Although, I did make a killer chicken, broccoli, noodle casserole the other night that was so good! Hopefully, things will pick back up soon!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Skillet Scramble

Maybe it's because I never get a good healthy breakfast, but I gobbled this Skillet Scramble up! Not only is it tasty, but it's beautiful with all the colors in it. This would make a wonderful breakfast or dinner for a hungry family!

Skillet Scramble (based off this recipe)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (13 oz) package turkey sausage, diced
4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
6 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and cook and stir the sausage until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from skillet, drain off the excess fat, and set aside.
2. Place the potatoes, green peppers, yellow peppers, and red peppers into the skillet, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are browned and the peppers are softened, about 15 minutes. Return the sausage to the skillet, and pour the eggs over the top. Cook and stir 3 to 5 minutes until the eggs are set, and serve with salt and pepper.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Honey Lime Enchiladas

Maybe I should rename my blog to the following: ilovemelskitchencafesomuch! I am always amazed that her recipes go above and beyond my expectations EVERY SINGLE TIME. My favorite Mexican food is enchiladas. I've always loved the filling on the inside and beans and rice on the side. However, my husband would prefer a plethora of other choices before settling on enchiladas. That said, this blew him out of the water. He loved them and I was impressed at the intense but delicious flavor.

Honey Lime Enchiladas by Mel's Kitchen Cafe

6 tablespoons honey
5 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound chicken, cooked and shredded
8-10 flour tortillas
1 pound monterey jack cheese, shredded
16 ounces green enchilada sauce
1 cup heavy cream 
Mix the first four ingredients and toss with shredded chicken. Let it marinate for at least 1/2 hour (I tossed mine together in a ziploc bag in the morning and let it sit in the refrigerator all day). Pour about 1/2 cup enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9X13 baking pan. Fill flour tortillas with chicken and shredded cheese, saving about 1 cup of cheese to sprinkle on top of enchiladas. Mix the remaining enchilada sauce with the cream and leftover marinade. Pour sauce on top of the enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until brown and crispy on top.
*Freezable Meal: Freeze prior to baking. To bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake enchiladas, covered (without thawing first) for 1 hour. Uncover and bake 30 minutes longer, until brown and crispy on top.

My before picture looked awesome- the after pic is OK but I didn't have anymore daylight. So here ya go:

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Crescent Braid

I've always wanted to try a food braid... they look awesome! Most people would call it comfort food but I never tried something like this growing up. However, I can see where they are coming from, fluffy pastry crust, chicken, and broccoli; all the basic ingredients for a successful dinner. It will certainly go my Perfect Dinner Project blog because we liked it!

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Crescent Braid

2 cans Pillsbury Original Crescent Rolls
2 cups chicken chunks, cooked
2 cups cheddar cheese
2 cups broccoli, frozen, steamed and chopped
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1 egg yolk
fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
On a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, spread both cans of crescents length wise to form a long rectangle.
Press each of the seams to form a single layer of dough.
In a large bowl, combine chicken, cheese, broccoli and mayonnaise
Spread mixture over the center of the croissant dough evenly to create a log.
Using a sharp knife, cut horizontal strips 1 inch apart down each side of the crescent dough.
Fold the dough strips over the top of the chicken mixture, alternating left and right to create a braid.
Brush the top of the braid with a beaten egg yolk and sprinkle fresh rosemary on top.
Bake for 28 – 30 minutes until golden brown.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Have you guys heard of Plum District?It's an awesome website that daily deals in your local area. I had the opportunity to meet some contributors to this website at the Breathing Space  bloggers retreat. The consultant was amazingly nice and you could tell she really loved what she does. The deals change every few days. Here are some of the deals they have going on now for the Salt Lake area:
{pic via Plum District}
$12 for a dozen gourmet cupcakes from One Sweet Appetite (a $24 value)
Silhouette Online Store Salt Lake City: Salt Lake County Daily Deal
{pic via Plum District}
$18 for $30 worth of Downloadable designs from

Giveaway Time:
I have TWO Plum District cards worth $10 each (no minimum purchase required). I will be picking two winners since it says one per household. Must be US mailing address. They expire June 30, 2012. Giveaway will close Thursday May 11th at 10:01 PM. Winners will be announced Friday and expected to respond within 48 of e-mail or else another winner will be chosen. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I was in no way compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Breathing Space Retreat

I was so fortunate to win a spot at the bloggers Breathing Space Retreat at Daybreak last weekend from EclecticMamma . This was the first year it was put on and I so needed a break. Housing and classes were held at the model homes at Daybreak. It was a gorgeous setting

I'm the one in the dark blue. I seem to be having a good time.
Here was the model home I got to stay in:

I loved my house. Especially my room because it was the master bedroom. The shower was huge and when I say huge I mean it:
Yep, that's 5 bloggers in my shower. It was a CRAZY weekend if you know what I mean!

Overall, I had an awesome time. This week I'll be going over some of the speaker, sponsors, and swag I got in my swag bag. Unfortunately, I have to go over the one thing that I wasn't impressed with as well. 

9 Salon at Daybreak was giving out a free hairstyle, manicure, or wax to all the Breathing Space attendees. I decided to do a simple 50's style hair like this:
I was told repeatedly that they would get my hair "really close" to the picture. After an hour and a half this is what my hair looked like:
Is that ANYTHING like the picture? I'll let you decide. I would have been very unhappy if I had paid for that. Luckily, I went to my mother's house close by and did damage control. This is what I looked like after half an hour with a curling iron:
The one positive thing I can say about the salon was that the hairstylist was very nice. I just didn't get the results I wanted and won't be going back there again.

See you soon with more posts about the Breathing Space Retreat!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Treating others with kindness

I would love to share some of my random thoughts with you. We had a thought-provoking lesson in church today and my good friend Ivy shared an amazing quote:

He drew a circle that shut me out —
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in.
From the poem " Outwitted” ― Edwin Markham

I'm glad she took the time to explain it because poetry is NOT my forte. So, there is this other guy (He) that draws a circle and calls me names and shuts me out of his circle. But Love and I outwitted him and drew our own circle that included him.

There were a lot of time in my youth that I felt shut out by peers and had a hard time getting over it. I didn't know that I'd enjoy growing older and gaining so much wisdom. Now, I try my best to understand where others are coming from, understand that people are struggling, and just try to take what they say to me in the best possible way. I understand there are just plain mean people but letting them get you down is not going to sent you in the right direction in life.

I'm always amazed when these cliche phrases come to play in my life. "Don't let them get you down" or "Just let it roll off you back" truly have meaning and are great pieces of advice. God loves us and wants us to do our best in life. Love opens doors that we could never open ourselves. I don't feel like I hold grudges anymore, but sometimes I'm less likely to try and get to know people if I feel intimidated by them. I KNOW that if I try to get to know them and let go of my own fears of being rejected, I'll be able to get to know and love these people.

That's all. Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Color Me Rad 5K

I'm not a runner by any means, but when the Breathing Space Blogger Retreat was giving us a entry to the Color Me Rad 5K, I jumped on it.

What is the Color Me Rad 5K? Basically volunteer pelt you with color while you run a 5K. It's pure awesome. Here are the pics:
We so want to do this next year!

French Dip Cresent Rolls

I've never wanted to put forth the effort it takes to make a french dip sandwich. When I saw this recipe from Mama Love Food, I was excited to try it. Simple ingredients and the easy directions makes this one a quick winner in our book! My husband was so excited to each these and was just overjoyed to get a french dip sandwich.

French Dip Crescent Ingredients:

2 packages crescent rolls, 8 count
1 pound deli roast beef, thinly sliced
4 ounces Swiss or provolone cheese, cut in 16 equal sized pieces
optional: Horseradish Sauce OR Dijon mustard
optional: Au Jus for dipping

French Dip Crescent Directions:

Unroll crescents onto a large cookie sheet.
Spread a small dab of horseradish on each crescent, then place a slice of roast beef and a piece of cheese on each crescent.
Roll crescents starting from the wide end and ending at the narrow end.
Bake at 375 degrees for 11 to 13 minutes, until crescents are a golden color.
Serve with Au Jus and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Salmon with Browned Butter and Mashed Broccoli Potatoes

Seriously, does this not look delicious? Because it was. I'm always on the hunt for a good salmon recipe and when I saw it was paired with Broccoli Potatoes? Heaven! Here's the recipe from Rachael Ray Magazine:

Salmon with Browned Butter and Mashed Broccoli Potatoes

2 yellow-fleshed potatoes (about 1 pound), such as yukon gold, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 head broccoli, cut into small florets
1 stick (4 ounces) butter, cut into small pieces
Salt and pepper
4 6 ounces skin-on salmon fillets
1/2 bunch scallions (3 to 4), green and white portions thinly sliced separately
Juice of 1/2 lemon

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees . In a medium saucepan, combine the potatoes and enough salted water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until just tender, about 10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the broccoli and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain, then mash the broccoli and potatoes with 2 tablespoons butter. Season with salt and pepper; cover to keep warm.
2. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper, then arrange skin side up, in a single layer, in a greased, foil-lined large baking dish. Roast until cooked through, about 10 minutes for medium. Discard the skin.
3. In a small skillet, melt the remaining 6 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the scallion whites and cook, swirling the pan, until the butter is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the scallion greens and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce over the fish and serve with the mashed broccoli potatoes.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Rustic Crusty Bread

Yeast, salt,water, and flour is all you need to make bread? YEP! This rustic crusty bread from Mel's Kitchen Cafe was just as described. Crusty, chewy, and delicious! Click on the link for her simple how-to.

Rustic Crusty Bread

*Makes 2-4 loaves of bread
1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon salt
6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting dough
In a large bowl mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm water (about 100 degrees). Stir in flour, mixing until there are no dry patches. Dough will be quite loose. Cover lightly with a kitchen towel but don’t seal the bowl airtight. Let the dough rise at room temperature 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).
Bake at this point or refrigerate, covered in an airtight container, for as long as two weeks. When ready to bake, cut off a grapefruit-size piece with serrated knife (I have only ever made two loaves out of the batch of dough so I just divide the dough in half to form my first loaf). Turn the dough in your hands to lightly stretch the surface, creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom. Put the dough on a piece of parchment paper set on a pizza peel or a rimmed baking sheet turned upside down. Let the dough rest for 40 minutes for room temperature dough; if you have used the dough out of the refrigerator, let it rest for 1 1/2 hours. Repeat with remaining dough or refrigerate it.
Place a broiler pan on the bottom rack of the oven. Place a baking stone on the middle rack and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat the stone at that temperature for 20 minutes before baking.
After the dough has rested and is ready to bake, dust the dough lightly with flour, slash the top with serrated or very sharp knife three times. Slide the dough (with the parchment paper) onto the baking stone. Pour one cup of hot water into the broiler pan and shut the oven quickly to trap the steam. Bake the bread until well browned, about 24-28 minutes. Cool completely.
If you don’t have a baking stone, try turning a rimmed baking sheet upside down and heating it in the 450 degree oven for 10 minutes prior to baking. When ready to bake, slide the parchment paper with the dough on it directly onto the overturned baking sheet and bake according to the recipe. You can also stretch the rounded dough into an oval and place in a greased loaf pan. Let it rise for 40 minutes if fresh (add an extra hour if the dough has been refrigerated). Bake in the loaf pan in the 450 degree oven, watching the time carefully – check after 20-22 minutes.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Delicious Greek Pastitsio Casserole

I have no idea what Pastitsio is, but I took a leap of faith and tried this recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. So glad I did because my whole family loved it! Keep up the good work Mel!

Delicious Green Pastitsio Casserole

12 ounces penne pasta
1 pound ground turkey or ground sirloin
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (from about 1 large onion)
5 garlic cloves, finely minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
8 ounces light cream cheese
2 cups milk, 1% of skim work great
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Coat a 9X13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. Preheat the broiler.
In a large pot of lightly salted, boiling water, cook the penne pasta according to package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, heat a large 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add beef or turkey to the pan with the diced onions and 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring to break up the meat into small pieces, until the meat is cooked through. Drain excess grease from the meat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, another minute or so. Sprinkle the flour over the meat mixture, stirring to combine, and cook for 1-2 minutes over medium heat. Add the cream cheese in pieces, scattering it over the meat. Let it melt into the meat and stir to combine. Whisk or stir in the milk, nutmeg and tomatoes. Stir to combine well and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook 5-6 minutes until the mixture is slightly thickened and is thoroughly heated through.
Stir in the pasta and spoon the pasta mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese evenly over the pasta and broil for about 3-5 minutes (watching carefully so it doesn’t burn!). Remove from the oven and sprinkle with parsley. Let it stand fora bout 5 minutes before serving.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Turkey Burger Drumsticks

I admit, I'm obsessed with turkey. It always seems like I'm making things with ground turkey. I saw this recipe in a Rachael Ray magazine and knew I would love it! Ground turkey stuffed with cheese and coated with crusty cornflakes? Yes, Please. The only thing I did differently is to cook the nuggets first and THEN put them on a skewer. I don't know HOW in the heck you would be able to maneuver them in the pan with the stick??? Sooooo good!

Turkey Burger Drumsticks


  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 5 ounce can  evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups crushed cornflakes
  • 2 ounces medium-hard cheese


  • In a bowl, mix the turkey, 1/4 cup evaporated milk, the onion and 2/3 cup cornflakes; season with salt and pepper. Divide into 12 portions. Cut the cheese into 12 small sticks and thread onto each of 12 skewers. Wet your hands with evaporated milk, then mold some meat around each cheese piece, shaping into 3-inch ovals. Pour the remaining milk into a bowl. Add the remaining cornflakes to a plate. Dip each "drumstick" into the milk, then coat with the cornflakes. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and fry each drumstick until browned, about 12 minutes.

Monday, April 2, 2012

No-Bake Nutella Cheesecake

Another WINNER from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. I LOVE Nutella and like cheesecake so this was an awesome dessert. It did take some time (45 minutes) to put together but it was very simple and the results were amazing!

No-Bake Nutella Cheesecake
18 Oreo cookies, crushed into crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted

12 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar

Extra sweetened whipped cream, optional
Crushed oreos or chocolate curls, optional

In a medium bowl, stir together the Oreo cookie crumbs and melted butter. Evenly divide the crumbs between your individual serving dishes and press into the bottoms of the dishes to form a crust layer. Glass dessert cups work well for this, as well as mini-trifle dishes; you could also use a mini-cheesecake pan or simply small glass bowls.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until light and smooth. Add the nutella and mix until combined and smooth. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. In another medium/large bowl, whip the cream and powdered sugar together until medium to stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the whipped cream into the cream cheese/nutella mixture until well blended and no streaks remain.

Spoon the filling into individual serving dishes on top of the crust. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving, at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours.

If desired, garnish with additional whipped topping, chocolate shavings, and/or toasted, chopped hazelnuts.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ridiculously Easy Vegetarian Chili

This recipe came from CNN correspondent Candy Crowley, who won the veggie division of the annual CNN Chili cook-off. I found it here at Rachael Ray's website. I love that it's simple, has hominy in it, and is vegetarian. The taste was a little lacking, but come on, it's vegetarian. The cheese greatly improves it's taste though. It's the best vegetarian chili I've tasted...

Ridiculously Easy Vegetarian Chili

  • 2 28 ounce can  crushed tomatoes
  • 2 28 ounce can  hominy, rinsed
  • 3 15 ounce can  pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1 4 ounce can  chopped green chiles
  • 2 small zucchinis, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup shredded monterey jack cheese, plus more for serving

  • In an 8-quart pot or Dutch oven, combine all of the ingredients except the cheese. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer until the vegetables are soft and the chili has thickened, about 35 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup cheese and serve more on the side.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Kraft Chicken Lo Mein

My family loved to order Chinese food growing up! We occasionally made it too, but the time and effort into making it took too long for my liking. When I ran across this recipe for Kraft's Easy Chicken Lo Mein recipe, I knew I had to try it.  My husband didn't grow up with my family's passion for Chinese food, so he's OK with it once in a while. He raved about this recipe! I liked it a lot as well, even though it's nothing like take-out. Way easy and totally yummy!

Kraft's Chicken Lo Mein

  • 1/2 lb. spaghetti, uncooked
  • 1/4 cup Kraft Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pkg. (16 oz.) frozen bell pepper and onion strips, thawed, drained (I couldn't find these so I just used a stir-fry mix and LOVED it)
  • 1/2 cup fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup lite soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped Planters Cocktail Peanuts


  • 1 Cook spaghetti in large saucepan as directed on package.
  • 2 Meanwhile, heat dressing in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken and garlic; stir-fry 3 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Add peppers, onions, broth and peanut butter; stir-fry an additional 3 to 4 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
  • 3 Drain spaghetti; return to pan. Add chicken mixture and soy sauce; mix well. Spoon onto serving platter; sprinkle with cilantro and peanuts

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Go Go Babyz Urban Advantage Stroller Giveaway on Our Family Treat

Our Family Treat always has awesome recipes and I love her blog. She is currently giving away a GoGO Babyz Urban Advantage Stroller. This thing looks awesome. Check it out!


Penne with Sausage, Red Potatoes, and Green Beans

I LOVE THE FOOD NANNY! She's a super sweet lady (I've met her) that compiled her favorite recipes for families to gather round the table at dinner time. They're usually just good comfort food. When I saw this recipe for Penne with Sausage, Red Potatoes, and Green Beans, in LDS Living magazine, I knew I wanted to try it! I was not disappointed. It was filling, but light because of the green beans and potatoes. Hope you enjoy it!

Penne with Sausage, Red Potatoes, and Green Beans
4 servings

8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
4 small red potatoes, quartered
8 ounces low-fat spicy bulk Italian sausage
1/4 cup minced yellow onion
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and cut in half (see Note)
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh parsley
Salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Romano, Asiago, or Parmesan cheese, plus additional

1. Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Drain.

2. Steam the potatoes or cook them in boiling salted water until tender.  At the same time, steam the beans or cook in the microwave until tender, 6 to 12 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, brown the sausage in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic; cook and stir until the onion is soft and the sausage is completely cooked.  Pour in the broth and simmer for 3 minutes.  Stir in the olive oil and butter until the butter melts.  Add the green beans, potatoes, and pasta.  Mix well with a large spoon.  Add the parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

4. Decrease the heat to low and sprinkle 1/2 cup of the cheese over the mixture.  Cover the pan and cook a few more minutes until the cheese is melted.

5. Serve immediately in the same pot or spoon the mixture into a large, shallow serving bowl or deep platter. Pass the extra cheese.

Note: As a speedy alternative to preparing fresh beans, heat 1 (14.5-ounce) can of cut green beans drained, in the microwave and add them with the potatoes and pasta.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Beef Cheddar and Potato Pie

I love camping, and every time I go camping, I try my hardest to incorporate hobo dinners into our food rotation. There is just something satisfying about the combination of ground beef, carrots, and potatoes. I admit that I have made hobo dinners in the oven, but it just not the same.

I came across this recipe for Beef, Cheddar and Potato Pie in a Rachael Ray magazine and it caught my eye. Same basic idea, but the phyllo dough crust and large amount of cheese kick it up a notch. I increased the amount of vegetables called for and baked mine in a 9 X 13 glass pan for the same amount of time. It was gobbled all up!

Beef, Cheddar, and Potato Pie


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large baking potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup dark beer (I used beef broth)
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 sheet  frozen puff pastry, thawed but cold
  • 1 large egg yolk, beaten with 1 tablespoon water


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees . In a skillet, combine the beef, carrots, onion, celery, garlic and potato and cook, breaking up the meat, over medium-high heat until the beef is cooked through and some liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Lower the heat to medium, add the beer and cook for 10 minutes. Add the cheese, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Let cool.
  2. On a floured surface, roll 1 puff pastry sheet into a 12-inch round. Place in a 10-inch skillet or deep pie dish. Roll the remaining puff pastry sheet into an 11-inch round. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat mixture to the skillet. Lightly brush the edge of the crust with some of the egg wash, then place the second sheet on top. Press the edges to seal, then trim to a 1/2-inch edge.
  3. Place the pie on a baking sheet. Brush the top with more of the egg wash and cut an "X" into the pastry. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bake for 45 minutes, tenting with foil if the crust darkens too quickly. Transfer to a rack to cool for 15 minutes

Monday, March 12, 2012

Crayon Art

I'm a total Pinterest addict! This project has been on my to-do list from the very beginning. I just knew it would look great on my son's wall, and I was right! Here is the finished product:
So here are the supplies needed:
64 count Crayola crayons + 48 Count Crayola Crayons
16 X 20 inch stretched canvas
Glue gun and glue sticks
blow dryer
finishing spray

What I did:
1. Took out the colors of crayons I wanted and arranged them according to my liking. I arranged them in a wave-like pattern because I think it gave it an interesting twist instead of just lining them up.
2. Glue the crayons onto the canvas, making sure the Crayola name is showing.
3. Use the blow dryer on hot/high setting to melt the crayons.
4. Spray with finishing spray.

This cost me about $10 and took less than an hour. LOVE IT!!!

 (and a BIG thank you to my sister who helped me make it!!!)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Teriyaki Turkey Lettuce Wraps

This delightful, easy, and fast meal only takes 5 ingredients! *OK, it takes 7 but you probably have water and olive oil on hand, so they don't count. I'm a huge fan of lettuce wraps from P.F. Changs but the ones I tried before, take up a lot of time. This one is seriously done in 15 minutes. It was delectable and delightful.

Teriyaki Turkey Lettuce Wraps (from Rachael Ray)


  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 10 ounce bag  shredded carrots
  • 4 - 5 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup store-bought teriyaki sauce (get a thicker one, not one the consistency of soy sauce)
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, leaves separated


  • In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil over high heat. Add the turkey and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until browned, about 4 minutes. Stir in the carrots, scallions and 1/4 cup water; lower the heat to medium-low. Cover loosely with foil and cook until the water is absorbed and the veggies are soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in the teriyaki sauce to taste and cook until heated through, about 4 minutes. Divide the mixture among the lettuce leaves, about 1/4 cup for each; roll up and serve immediately.