Saturday, December 8, 2007


It has been entirely too long since I made an entry to my blog. These last 4 months have been extremely difficult for my sister and our family, but I am hopeful the new year will bring new beginnings and happier times!

First, the top picture is the one Chris and I used for our Christmas cards. The second is one of the "goofy" takes. Merry Christmas everyone!

Chris is working today, so I decided to make some Christmas treats! I plan to put these goodies in Christmas tins and give them to co-workers and friends. You must try this recipe. It is easy and delicious!

The story of the "Buckeye":

These peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate get their name from their resemblance to the nut of the buckeye tree. As most of you know, the BUCKEYE TREE is the official tree of Ohio and the famous OSU Buckeyes! :)
Here is the recipe my mom passed on to me. You can also melt chocolate chips or baking chocolate and add paraffin. Enjoy!

1 lb. confectioner's sugar (1 box= 3 ½ cups= 1 lb.)
3 cup creamy-style peanut butter
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla

16 ounces coating chocolate for candy making

Mix peanut butter, vanilla, butter and confectioner's sugar. Use a large spoon to mix ingredients into a stiff dough. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet.
Chill until hard (about 2 hours).
Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler or in the microwave.
Using a toothpick, pock each peanut butter ball and dip each ball into the chocolate, leaving a small patch of peanut butter (about 1/4 of the center) showing. Place the coated centers on the wax paper and remove the toothpick. Chill for 2 hours before serving and store in refrigerator.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A quick weekend dinner: Mexican Chicken Pizza

I removed the frozen, diced chicken breasts from our freezer this morning because I intended to make stir-fry for dinner. However, Chris and I ended up eating Chinese at the mall today so I needed a contingency plan. I had a thawed pizza dough and a package of Mexican cheese blend in the refrigerator (for Monday) so I decided to make us "Mexican Chicken Pizza". I didn't have a recipe, but I was inspired by a similar recipe by Kraft Foods. Our version turned out very well. It was quick, easy, and pretty inexpensive. This would make a great weeknight meal!

Mexican Chicken Pizza

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound frozen chicken, diced
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons cayenne sauce
Salt and pepper to desired taste
(*or substitute packet of taco seasoning for quick fix)
3/4 cup sliced onion
3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 ball frozen pizza crust, thawed
1(16-ounce) jar chunky salsa
1 (8-ounce) packages shredded Mexican cheese (Monterey Jack, Cheddar, and other mild cheeses combined)

Optional toppings to serve:
Shredded lettuce
Sour cream
Reserved salsa

Position the oven rack at the lowest level. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread dough on a lightly greased 13x9 inch pan (or use pizza pan or stone) and place in oven for 7-8 minutes. Crust will be barely brown.
While crust bakes half way, heat the oil in a skillet and add the frozen, diced chicken, seasonings, onion, and green pepper. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until chicken is no longer pink, about 6-8 minutes, flipping/disturbing chicken half way through cooking. Add 1 cup of the salsa and bring to a boil.
*Reserve some of the remaining salsa to spoon evenly over the pizza crust.
Remove chicken mixture from heat and wait for crust to finish baking.

Spoon salsa over crust and spread evenly. Next top with chicken mixture and then with Mexican cheese mix.

Bake the pizzas for 10 to 12 minutes, then sprinkle with the cheese. Bake for 10 minutes more. Turn oven to broil for 2 minutes before removing pizza.
Serve the pizza slices topped with the reserved salsa, shredded lettuce, and sour cream.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Chocolate Cheesecake Layer Brownies

It's the weekend! Even better...OSU plays today and Chris will be home to watch the game with me! I decided to make us a yummy dessert to go with our "football snacking food". (Since we are eating horribly already I figured why not go all the way, right?!) I kind of invented this recipe by merging two recipes together from Gourmet Magazine! The result..."TOUCH DOWN!" I call them...

Chocolate Cheesecake Layer Brownies

For brownie batter:
4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

For cheesecake topping:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Chocolate topping:
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and butter and flour a 13x9-inch baking pan. Make brownie batter: In a metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water melt chocolate with butter stirring, and cool. Whisk in sugar and eggs, 1 at a time, and whisk in vanilla. Whisk in flour until just combined and spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Make cheesecake topping: In a bowl with an electric mixer cream together cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy and beat in lemon juice, egg, vanilla, and salt. Beat in flour and spread mixture in an even layer over batter. Bake brownies in middle of oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until top is puffed and pale golden and a tester comes out with crumbs adhering to it. Remove from oven and pour melted chocolate chips over brownies. Cool brownies completely in pan on a rack and chill, covered, at least 2-3 hours. Cut brownies into bars and enjoy! Refrigerate leftovers.

*These took 41 minutes to bake and came out a perfect, fudgy yet creamy texture!
**UPDATE: 4 hours later, after brownies have been in the refrigerator, they are even better!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

We're-Not-Going-to-Qdoba-Again Chicken Burritos

A recipe created by Ashleigh

Since the workers at Qdoba are beginning to re-call our order by memory, I told Chris I was going to make burritos at home rather then follow our usual Sunday ritual of visiting Qdoba. He was disappointed at first, but after tasting it he said "I would recommend this to all my friends". Haha. A true compliment! :)

I wish I could have kept him away from the dish long enough for a photo, but he said he was too hungry. There were plenty of left overs (enough for two more meals) so maybe I can snap a picture when we warm up our next burritos!

In the meantime, a tribute to my inspiration, Qdoba :) (We will go back...for sure)

(Photo taken from: Qdoba nutritional calculator)

My recipe:


8 soft flour tortillas

3 cups chicken broth
4 frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts, halved (1.3 lbs)
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
2 sprigs fresh oregano
1 small onion, quartered
1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/3 palm full
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Mix Sauce Separately:
2 cups salsa (I used Medium heat)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 2 pinches
1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 up sour cream
Prepared white rice (about 1 1/2 cups, left-over)
2 cups Monterey Jack shredded cheese

Place all ingredients (accept for cheese and prepared rice) in a crockpot. Cook on low 5-6 hours.
Use a fork to shred chicken (chicken will shred very easily). Add sour cream, stir and unplug/turn-off crockpot. Remove 1 cup of mixture and set aside. Add rice to crockpot and let mixture sit for 10 minutes. While rice sits, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat tortillas (30 seconds) in microwave wrapped in a damp paper towel.
Pile chicken and rice mixture from crockpot into warm tortillas and roll. Line 13x9 inch casserole or baking dish with enchiladas, seam side down. Pour reserved sauce mixture over the rolled enchiladas and top with cheese. Place in hot oven and bake 20-25 minutes. Turn oven to Broil setting (high) for 5 minutes. Let sit for 8-10 minutes before serving. We topped ours with sour cream.

5am on a Sunday morning....

Chris was on-call at the hospital last night and should be home around 7am. Since I was up at 5am, I decided to make some scones. I used the "Simple Scones" recipe from; however, instead of raisins I used semi-sweet chocolate chips. I also used regular butter and omitted the salt. I don't believe Chris has ever tried a I am anxious to see what he thinks of these. :)

Simple Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
1/2 cup raisins (I substituted semi-sweet chocolate chips)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large egg

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium bowl, mix flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Grate butter into flour mixture on the large holes of a box grater; use your fingers to work in butter (mixture should resemble coarse meal), then stir in raisins (chocolate chips for me).
In a small bowl, whisk sour cream and egg until smooth.
Using a fork, stir sour cream mixture into flour mixture until large dough clumps form. Use your hands to press the dough against the bowl into a ball. (The dough will be sticky in places, and there may not seem to be enough liquid at first, but as you press, the dough will come together.)
Place on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7- to 8-inch circle about 3/4-inch thick. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp. of sugar. Use a sharp knife to cut into 8 triangles; place on a cookie sheet (preferably lined with parchment paper), about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden, about 15 to 17 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.

**I baked for 18 minutes. They turned out perfectly golden brown!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A quick use of overripe bananas...

Not So Homemade Banana Cake

This was such an amazing cake...and since the box of cake mix was on sale for $1.00 it was inexpensive too!! I was inspired to make this cake because I recently learned you can substitute bananas for eggs when making a cake.

1 Box of Betty Crocker Supreme Banana Cake Mix
1/4 cup oil
3 overripe bananas, mashed
1 1/4 cup water

Pre-heat oven to 350. Grease a 13x9 inch cake pan. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pour in to prepared pan and bake for 50-55 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted in to the center of cake comes out clean). Cake will darken slightly-but remains a light, golden brown color.

This was even better the second day! Very moist and full of flavor.
To serve: top with whipped cream or nothing at all.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

Chris is on-call this weekend and I am finding ways to keep busy. I decided to take a break from my reading and "girly movies" and bake something for my friend who is stopping by on her drive to a wedding. I made several changes to Peanut Butter Cup Cupcake recipe and made them Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes! I also added a peanut butter frosting and chocolate drizzle topping. The result is AMAZING! These are so sure to have your milk ready! Yum!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes
(Original recipe: Allrecipes Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes)

1/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup sugar (I added this)
1/4 cup baking cocoa (I added this)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
16 miniature peanut butter cups

Pre-heat oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl, cream the shortening, peanut butter, sugar, cocoa, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk.
Fill paper-lined muffin cups with 1/4 cup of batter. Press a peanut butter cup into the center of each until top edge is even with batter. Bake at 350 for 22-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted on an angle toward the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting (

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons milk, or as needed
2 cups confectioners' sugar
Place the butter and peanut butter into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer. Gradually mix in the sugar, and when it starts to get thick, incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time until all of the sugar is mixed in and the frosting is thick and spreadable. Beat for at least 3 minutes for it to get good and fluffy.

Chocolate Drizzle:

1 cup melted semi-sweet chocolate chips
Place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave 1 minute. Stir between each heating. Repeat until all chocolate is smooth and melted throughout. (It took about 3 minutes).

To assemble: Top cooled cup cakes with Peanut Butter Frosting and drizzle with melted chocolate.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Adventures with Cabbage!

As a child, cabbage was one vegetable I was never exposed to. I may have tried it in cole slaw, but....what is "cooked cabbage"? A colleague at work overheard me say that I have never tasted cooked cabbage. She couldn't believe it and brought me a large head of cabbage from her garden. She provided me with a basic "recipe" and encouraged me to modify it to my taste. The result...delicious! Too bad Chris refuses to try it. Haha. He said it is "the look" that turns him off. Maybe one day he will be brave enough for a taste. ;) Here is how I prepared the cabbage:

Sauteed Cabbage

1 large head of green cabbage, chopped
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced onion
1/2 cup chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, combine butter, garlic, and onion. Heat on medium-high until the butter is melted. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once mixture is boiling, add chopped cabbage. Saute for 20-25 minutes (until cabbage is tender), stirring every 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

**I also added some salt and pepper during the saute processes. Next time I will try it with less butter (I think 3/4 a stick would be plenty)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Oatmeal Cookies

Chris is at work and I was relaxing at home when...uh oh... a craving for oatmeal cookies struck! I decided to hunt for a new recipe on I am definitely making this my new standard oatmeal cookie recipe! I made a few changes (noted in parentheses) based on Chris' and my taste. I highly recommend trying this recipe! The cookies are soft and chewy, not to easy to make!

Excellent Oatmeal Cookies (original recipe from
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg (I added this)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (I added this)
1 teaspoon salt (I only used 1/2 teaspoon)
3 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup chopped walnuts (I omitted this)
1 cup craisins (I added this)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F
In a large bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in oats and nuts until just blended. Mix in craisins. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Cookies should be at least 2 inches apart.
Bake for about 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

** I made these a little bigger- tablespoon size. They required about 2 extra minutes bake time. Perfect! Next time I will add chocolate chips (I was out) in place of the craisins (at Chris' request).

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Chris' Strawberry Cream Cheese Cake!

Happy Birthday Chris!
I decided to make a Strawberry Layer Cake for Chris’ birthday. We had our parents over for lunch out and dessert back at our place. The cake was delicious! It had two layers with sliced strawberries and cream cheese frosting on top and between the layers. I baked the cake the night before and decorated it before our guests arrived.

Cake (Recipe modified from Raspberry Cake):
3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, puréed
1 package of strawberry flavored jello
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly brush 2 9-inch round cake pans with shortening and dust with flour.
Sift the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt into a medium bowl; whisk to combine evenly. Stir the sour cream, strawberries, jello and vanilla together in a liquid measuring cup, and set aside.

Beat the butter in a standing mixer with the paddle attachment on high until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Stop and scrape butter off the sides of the bowl. Continue beating while gradually adding the sugar-- it should take a couple minutes to add all the sugar. Continue beating until very light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes more. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

At low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the sour cream in 2 parts, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape the sides of the bowl as you mix. Blend throughout.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. (Lightly tap the pan on the counter so the batter settles evenly.)

Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35-38 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes; then turn cakes out onto the rack to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting II (From:

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use (I made this ahead of time and removed it from the refrigerator 1 hour before use--room temperature frosting is easier to spread).

To assemble cake:

1 container fresh strawberries, sliced (divided)

Place one layer on serving tray and top with frosting. Then top frosting with sliced strawberries (about 1/3 container-start in the center and work your way out in a circular fashion. This will ensure you get taste of yummy strawberries with each bite.) Place second cake layer on strawberries. Spread frosting over entire cake (liberally). Top with fresh sliced strawberries 30 minutes or less before serving (the strawberry juices will run down the frosting if you wait too long).

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I'm bored...let's make a Lemon Cake!

Chris is working today...the cleaning is done... and it is WAY to hot to stay out by the pool (I spent a few hours there this morning), so I think I will bake! I was feeling creative and decided to create my own "Lemon Cake". It turned out delicious! I can't wait for Chris to taste it.

Mix together the following:
1 box Betty Crocker Lemon Cake Mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil (about 1 teaspoon less then 1/3 cup actually)
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1-2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup milk
1 8-ounce container cream cheese

Grease 9x13 inch pan (I used a glass pan). Bake in pre-heated oven at 325 for 45-50 minutes. Remove from oven and cool at room temp.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar

Mix together ingredients using hand mixer until it reaches a creamy, spreadable consistency. (You may need to add more sugar to thicken.)

Top cooled cake and enjoy!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Potato what!??!

Potato Candy

This is what Chris said when I told him he was tasting "Potato Candy". My aunt introduced me to this sweet treat this weekend. It was a popular type of candy during the Depression. It is quick, easy, and yummy. You must try it! But be warned...a little piece goes a LONG way. These babies are sweeeet!

Potato Candy
½ of a small-medium size baking potato, peeled and mashed (about 2 Tablespoons; make sure it is cooled)
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon milk
2- 2 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup peanut butter

Mix together potato, butter or margarine, and milk. Add enough confectioners' sugar to make a stiff dough.
Roll out on a flat surface sprinkled with powdered sugar. Spread on a layer of peanut butter and roll up. Chill and slice.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Our 1st Anniversary!

I can't believe it has been an entire year since we said our "I do's"! It has been a whirlwind year to say the least! We had the wedding....moving in to our first home together...Chris' graduation....a couple of trips....2 new jobs....and a move to a new city to name a few major happenings. I am very much enjoying married life and my life with Chris. I can't wait to see what the future years will bring!

Our first anniversary was spent exchanging small gifts and spending a romantic evening together. We both exchanged cards. Chris also gave me a special photo album which contained just one photo. It was the first "photo record" of us together. It was taken 1 week after our first date. Chris said we would take a picture each anniversary and also write down what we did to celebrate our love. He is so amazing!
Next, we shared the top of our wedding cake...which was still very yummy. (My grandma makes the best wedding cakes..I had to include a picture from the wedding :))

We sat together on a blanket spread out on our tiny patio lined with candles. We roasted marshmallows to make Smores and listened to love songs. It was perfect. We took the 1st Anniversary picture for our album (not yet downloaded)and logged our first memory. This was truly a special evening.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

A game called Tag....

This sounds like fun! I was “tagged” by The Cooking Friend. Thanks for the invite! I hope everyone else who is tagged will enjoy this game too!

Here are the rules since I'm tagging you now! :) Each player starts with seven random facts or habits about himself or herself. A tagged player then writes a blog entry with the seven things, as well as these rules. Then the player tags seven others and lists their names on his or her blog. Remember to leave a comment for your newly tagged players, letting them know they have been tagged and to read your blog!

7 random facts about me:

1. I have one green eye and one brown eye.
2. I once had lunch with Senator/former Astronaut John Glenn after I completed a year long internship with the John Glenn Institute at Ohio State University.
3. I wear a size 12 women’s shoe. What is worse…my husband and I wear the same size shoe! Actually….this is kind of nice because if I am running outside to get the mail or something I can slip on his shoes with no problem! :)
4. I am the oldest child. I have one younger sister (age 22) and one younger brother (age 16).
5. If I could live anywhere in the world I would live in Hawaii.
6. I typically require about 5.5 hours of sleep a night- I usually go to bed at 11-11:30pm and wake up at 5am. My husband thinks I am crazy!
7. One day I hope to have my own private counseling practice and work VERY part time while I devote most of my life to taking care of my family (husband and future children ::) )

OK, tag! I am now tagging you – Kayte and Joelen

Monday, June 4, 2007

Easy Supper! BBQ Beef Cups

I am still a little tired from our return travel day and my first full day back to work so I was looking for an easy dinner. I found a recipe on that inspired me to adopt my own! Chris was intrigued by these little beef cups, but after one taste...they met his approval. I knew these would be something he would like...simple and meaty!

BBQ Beef Cups
1 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoons McCormick Grill Mates “Hamburger” seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic, roast red bell pepper, and sugar)
1/4 cup barbeque sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons mustard
1 (12 ounce) package refrigerated biscuit dough
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the cups of a muffin pan (I used a larger, 8 muffin cup pan because there were 8 biscuits in the package).
In a large heavy skillet over medium heat, season beef with seasonings and cook beef until evenly brown. Drain excess fat. Stir in bbq sauce, ketchup, and mustard. Simmer for a few minutes over low heat. Add 1/4 cup cheese and heat until melted. Stir and set aside.
Meanwhile, flatten each biscuit, and press into cups of the prepared muffin pan. Make sure the dough comes to the top of the pan. Bake for 2-3 minutes in oven. Remove muffins and spoon a portion of the meat mixture into each dough cup. Bake in preheated oven for 13 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese, and bake for 3-4 more minutes.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Our Carnival Cruise!

Chris and I just returned from a week long cruise with Carnival. Our ship was called the Celebration. Chris has never cruised before; however, this was my third (second with Carnival). We had so much fun relaxing together, touring the ports of call, participating in shore excursions, dining, and watching the nightly shows on the ship. The Celebration is an older ship....we both decided we would like to try a newer ship next cruise.

We had the most entertaining dining staff! Our Maitre 'd, Joseph, was quite a character. He made our dining experience so much fun. The service was excellent; however, the food was nothing to write home about. Chris and I DID fall in love with the Chocolate Melting Cake....we ordered one every night at dinner!

Ports of call:
Key West
We LOVE Key West. Both of us have been before, but never together. We went Snuba diving in the morning. This was so much fun! Like snorkeling, but you don't have to come up for air and you can dive up to 25 feet underwater! We also walked around and visited the shops. We also visited the southernmost point in Key is just 90 miles from Cuba!

This was an adventure. The Straw Market and downtown Nassau are full of character to say the least.(You will never have to hunt for someone to braid your hair or try and locate a taxi...TRUST me.)
We also went snorkeling here. The water was VERY rough and COLD, but Chris did get some great pictures with the underwater camera!
Our favorite part of Nassau was Atlantas. This is a BEAUTIFUL resort with a the largest salt water aquarium in the World. We had so much fun walking around and looking at the marine life and beautiful architecture. took tons of pictures!

We had a great time together. Our favorite parts of the cruise were definitely seeing Atlantas and Snuba! We also really liked Joseph and the Chocolate Melting cake :) We agree that we probably will not go on another Carnival cruise; however, we would LOVE to try another cruise line...maybe to Hawaii! :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Chris' Surprise Graduation Party

I can’t believe how long it has been since my last post! Things have been very busy and time is flying by so fast! Plans for my husband’s surprise graduation party kept me very busy….but I am happy to report the party was 100% a success!

About the party
The theme was "A Prescription To Party" (I thought it appropriate since he is graduating from Medical School :).)

There were 50 guests...mostly family (due to it being Mother's Day), but some friends made it :) Everyone dressed in scrubs or white coats. At the door, they were given name tags with famous doctor's names on them. (Examples: Dr. Pepper, Dr. Doolittle, Dr. Evil, Dr. Frankenstein, etc.)

The decorations were apothecary jars filled with candies (jelly beans, hot tamales, mike and ikes, etc.) to look like medicine, old fashion medical bags with flowers BLOOMING from them :) , and green/yellow table clothes, plates, cups, napkins, etc. in honor of Chris’ school colors.

As the guests waited for Chris and I to arrive, the kids were given anatomy diagrams to color and played a "GUESS HOW MANY PILLS ARE IN THE BOTTLE" game that I put together. The “pills” were Jelly Belly Jelly Beans and Hot Tamales.

When we arrived…Chris saw a special sign in the drive-way...Chris laughed about it, but still did not suspect. When we walked inside, everyone jumped out and yelled "SURPRISE". Chris was so shocked.

We grilled hot dogs, hamburgers, bbq and italian chicken, and veggies. We also had fruit trays/veggie trays, mac and cheese, baked beans, potato salad, and various chips/dips.

For dessert...I made sugar cookie-cut outs decorated like scrubs, white coats, and nurse uniforms. We had brownies and whoopie pies (Chris’ favorite). My grandma made a cake and topped it with a stethoscope and surenge was TOO CUTE!:)

To top it off....I revealed my surprise gift to Chris….he is SUPER excited about the cruise we will be taking 4 days after he graduates :) I am excited too!

I will cherish the memories for a long time...It was a great time and I am SOOOO proud of Chris! :)

I hope you enjoy the few photos I have (more to come).

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Oreo Cheesecake

My husband loves Oreos! So I made him an Easter treat :)

OREO Cheesecake

1 cup crushed OREO cookies (about 12 cookies)
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
4 pkgs (8-oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
20 OREO cookies, quartered

**NOTE: Regular OREO cookies are recommended, the cheesecake will not set as well with Double Stuffed.

1. PREHEAT oven to 325 degrees if using silver springform pan (or 300 degrees if using a dark non-stick springform pan). Mix crushed cookies and butter; press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Bake 10 minutes.

2. BEAT cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended. Gently stir in quartered cookies. Pour over crust.

3. BAKE 1 hour or until center is almost set. Run knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim of pan. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Garnish with additional cookies, if desired.

Source: Nestie Lalabee0425

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Cream Cheese Strawberry Pie

Cream Cheese Crust:
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup baking powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
In a large mixing bowl, soften cream cheese and butter and mix together. In a separate bowl, mix remaining dry ingredients. Incorporate this flour mixture a little at a time to cream cheese and butter mixture.
Roll out with a rolling pin between 2 wax papers. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate and prick with fork before half-baking to prevent shrinkage. Bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees

*For this recipe I fully baked the crust (since the filling does not require baking). I baked it 18-20 minutes total.

Strawberry Filling:
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup white sugar
8 ounce container frozen whipped topping, thawed
10 ounces strawberries, mashed with juices drained away
1 teaspoon lemon juice
fresh strawberries, sliced
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Stir in mashed strawberries and lemon juice. Fold in whipped topping. Pour filling into prepared pie crust. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Top with sliced strawberries and store in refrigerator until serving.

Last night at 2:00am (when I couldn't sleep), I made this pie for the "OSU Basketball Tourny Get-Together" this evening at my parent's house. I hope it tastes as good as it looks!

Friday, March 23, 2007


These are usually called "Pigs-in-a-blanket", but my husband calls them "Piggies"

8 Smoked Sausages (We like Johnsonville Smoked Sausages) or Hot Dog
8 slices American or favorite cheese (I also like using Provolone)
1 (10 ounce) package refrigerated crescent roll dough

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Wrap cheese around each Sausage or Hot Dog then the crescent roll around that. Place these on a cookie sheet with the overlap of crescents face down (that way you don't have to use any tooth picks).
Bake in preheated oven until crescents are brown, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Broccoli Alfredo Pasta

In a large pot, boil noodles as directed on package (We like fettuccine and angle hair pasta the best). I often add fresh chopped broccoli the last 4-5 minutes of boiling time (but not tonight). Tonight, I added some left over chicken breast to the sauce.

1/2 cup butter
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 cups milk
8 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Italian Seasoning (2 “good” sprinkles)
Fresh paprika (garnish)
Melt butter in a medium, non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add cream cheese and garlic powder, stirring with wire whisk until smooth. Add milk, a little at a time, whisking to smooth out lumps. Stir in Parmesan, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Remove from heat when sauce reaches desired consistency. Sauce will thicken rapidly. Toss with hot pasta to serve. Garnish with paprika on individual servings.

Both this recipe and the one above are very simple dishes, but I had to include the recipes in my blog because they are two of my husband's favorite meals. He would alternate each every night of the week if I let him!

Overnight Eooey Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

My husband received word that he passed his USMLE Step II so I made him these little yummies for breakfast that next Sunday (started them Saturday).

1 cup milk
1/3 cup butter
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/2 cup white sugar
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs

3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins

1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons half-and-half cream
Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Add the butter and stir until melted; let cool until lukewarm.
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the milk mixture. Add the sugar, 3 cups of flour, salt and eggs; stir well to combine. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and supple, about 8 minutes.
Lightly oil a large mixing bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 10x 14 inch rectangle. Lightly brush the far edge with water. In a small bowl combine the cinnamon and 3/4 cup brown sugar and sprinkle over the rectangles. Then sprinkle the raisins and chopped nuts over the dough. Roll up the dough into a log and seal the seam.
Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces; place the pieces in a greased 9x13 inch baking pan, or 12 inch deep dish pizza pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to rise overnight.
Day 2
The next morning, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Take the rolls out of the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Bake the rolls for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden. Meanwhile, combine the corn syrup with the vanilla in a small bowl. Whisk in the powdered sugar and enough cream to make a thick glaze; set aside. Drizzle the glaze over the rolls and serve warm.


Welcome! As a newlywed I have taken a new interest in cooking. I wanted to create a blog so I can share some of my favorite recipes, creations, and ideas. Thanks for visiting!

Whoopie Pies

Whoopie Pie!
This is my husband’s favorite dessert! I received this recipe from my wonderful and talented sister-in-law, Peg, at my bridal shower.

1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup Crisco
2 eggs- beaten
4 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup “Sour milk” (1 cup milk plus 1 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice- stir let stand 5 minutes before use)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup boiling water
Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients (accept water). Then add boiling water. Mix well. Spoon onto greased cookie sheet and bake 8-9 minutes.

1 pound powdered sugar
¾ cup Crisco
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 teaspoons water
Mix well and spread between two cooled cookies

Strawberry Diet Coke Cake

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I am not a member of Weight Watchers, but I heard about their delicious cake idea! My husband and I love this cake! It is so moist and yummy! Take a prepackaged cake mix (from any grocery store, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, etc) and instead of using the ingredients listed on the back like eggs, oil, and water, simply mix in a can of diet coke. For whiter mixes, such as vanilla or lemon cakes, you can use diet beverages such as diet Sprite or 7up.

Our favorite so far: Diet Coke + Strawberry Cake Mix + My Strawberry Frosting

Strawberry Frosting Recipe

3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup mashed strawberries, some juice drained off
In a large bowl combine butter, confectioners' sugar and the remaining half of the frozen strawberries. Beat on high speed until creamy.