Saturday, August 18, 2012

Reese's Cheesecake Brownies

A coworker at work was going away and as usual, we had a food day to say farewell!  I decided to make this delicious dessert that I had pinned quite some time ago.  It lived up to the yumminess I envisioned in my head!  Definitely making this one again!

Reese’s Cheesecake Brownies
Recipe from Pip and Ebby Blog
Servings: 12-18
Ready in: 3 hours

One 19.5-oz. box chocolate fudge brownie mix 
One 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened 
One 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk 
1⁄2 cup creamy peanut butter
12 oz. Reese’s Pieces candy 
One 12-oz. bag milk chocolate chips 
3 tablespoons whipping cream 
12 large Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, chopped (easiest to do if you freeze them first)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. 
2.  Prepare the brownie mix according to package directions. Spread the batter in pan and set aside. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with hand-held mixer until fluffy. Add condensed
milk and peanut butter and beat until smooth. Stir in the Reese’s Pieces candies. Spoon the
mixture over the batter. Spread evenly. 
3.  Bake for 40 minutes or until cheesecake layer is set and edges are golden brown. Cool for
30 minutes and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
4.  In a small microwaveable bowl, microwave the chocolate chips and whipping cream for 1
minute, or until chips are melted. Stir until smooth. Spread over cheesecake layer. Sprinkle Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup pieces over top. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Happy Memorial Day!

I am back!  It has been a crazy couple of months and I have been MIA from posting for almost 3 months, crazy!  Well things have slowed down and I am back and ready to post.

First things first, thank you to all the soldiers past and present that have fought and continue to fight for our freedom!  Your sacrifices are greatly appreciated.

We had a Memorial Day get together with friends this weekend.  It has been awhile since we all have seen each other.  We were asked to bring a side so I decided to make red, white, and blue jell-o cups!

Patriotic Jell-O Cups
Yields 12 cups

2 small packages red jell-o
2 small packages blue jell-o
2 tubs of Cool Whip

1.  Make the blue jell-o according to package directions and use the quick set method
2.  Pour into the 12 cups in even amounts
3.  Put in the fridge to set for 30-45 minutes
4.  Make the red jell-o according to package directions and use the quick set method
5.  Pour the jell-o on top of the blue jell-o in even amounts
6.  Put in the fridge to set for 30-45 minutes
7.  Spoon Cool Whip on top of each cup
8.  Top with sliced strawberries and blackberries
9.  Store in the fridge until ready to serve

You can obviously switch up the fruits and jell-o colors to make these cups work for any occasion!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Very Hungry Caterpillar Birthday Party!

This past Saturday was the big day, Trey's 1st birthday party!  I was so excited for this! I have been planning it for several months now.  I decided to go with The Very Hungry Caterpillar theme because it quickly became one of Trey's favorite books.  He sits there through the whole thing and lets you read it to him.  This turned out to be such a FUN theme for a party, I am so glad I picked it!  So much to show you from the party, let's start with the invitation.......

I found this awesome seller on Etsy (Jen Leonardini at Top That! Designs) who will do custom designed invitations and party printables for VERY reasonable prices.  And her turn around time?  SO FAST!  I had all my stuff back in less than 24 hours!  If she doesn't have exactly what you want she will create it for you!  I highly recommend her for your next party! 

Now on to the decorations:
Coming up the driveway was a balloon path caterpillar (my idea). Inside we had a caterpillar made out of paper lanterns (idea from here), and a Happy Birthday Trey caterpillar banner (printable from Jen).

On the doorway was this super fun balloon wreath (idea and tutorial here), a photo wall of pictures of Trey from the last year, Hungry Caterpillar signs (printable from Jen), and a banner with Trey's monthly onesie photos.

I had Trey's cake smash picture printed as a 20x20 and then used Mod Podge to create this DIY canvas. Photo credits to Alicia, she is awesome!

Now the food!  Because the book is all about what foods he eats each day I decided to replicate that!  They made for perfect party munchies.  Monday through Friday was pretty straight forward.

On Saturday he ate TONS of fun food so I created the "Saturday" table.

I've got to give a few of these some close up!

I didn't want to deal with cake cutting so I did chocolate whoopie pies instead!  They were yummy and easy to make.  Recipe here!

Since putting ice cream out wasn't very practical I needed to find a solution.  I have seen this all over Pinterest and decided they would be perfect!  There is not a specific recipe I used for this, just made chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, poured the mix into the cone (only about half way full), and baked them!

The cherry pie pops turned out so good!  This was my first attempt at this and definitely won't be my last!  Recipe here!

And then the cupcake tree!  With awesome personalized cupcake picks, once again from Jen!

What did we serve all this on?  Colorful plates of course!  I searched online for Hungry Caterpillar plates and napkins but could not find any, so I decided to tie into all the fun colors!  And, I wanted to make sure I got some of those fun paper straws.  They just look so cute!  I found this great site with reasonable prices and lots of fun stuff, Shop Sweet Lulu.

And finally, the give aways!  Little treat boxes with gummy worms for the kids, personalized Trey koozies for the adults, and water bottles for everyone!  All files for the printables again came from Jen!

Here is a picture of us with our birthday boy!  The shirt and hat (very first pic) were Etsy finds!

And here is some of the kiddos trying to figure out what the heck to do in the jump house!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Happy Birthday Trey!

Could it really have been a full year already?  Surely not!  I scheduled this to post at Trey's exact birth time, 11:07 pm.  That's right, 1 year ago he barely made it in time to be a March 5th baby!  Going into it, I thought full well I was going to have a March 4th baby.  We had an appointment at the hospital for induction to begin at 6pm on the 4th.  Silly, naive, first time mom me thought it was a short process.  Hahahahaha!  29 hours later, here came our sweet baby Trey!

This past year has been amazing!  Roy and I continue to manage our way through this new thing called parenthood and figure things out as we go.  It has been quite the adventure.  And our sweet little boy has made this so easy on us.  I could not have asked for a better baby if I tried!  Sleeping for 12 hours straight since 1 month old, eating all his new foods like a champ, being a mild tempered baby we can take everywhere.  I could go on about how perfect he is but I won't bore you with my blabber!

Trey, you continue to amaze me everyday with how much you learn and grow all the time.  You bring a smile to my face every time I see you.  You are so sweet and perfect.  Happy Birthday Sweet Boy!  We love you!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Happy March!

It's been awhile since I've posted.  I've been busy getting things ready for Trey's 1st birthday party next weekend!  More to come on that later.  For now though, I thought I would share some St. Patrick's Day Cake Balls!

I love making cake balls, they are so easy and look so great!  These were chocolate cake, cream cheese frosting, and white Almond Bark coating.  Go here for the how to!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Valentine's Day Cookie Bars

Holiday food day at work only means one thing, time to bake!

Valentine's Day Brown Sugar Blondies
makes a 9x9 pan
*Double the recipe if you would like to make it in a 9x13 pan.*
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 c. butter
  • 1 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 - 1 1/2 c. Valentine's Day M&M's
  1. Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Melt 1/3 c. butter. Place it in a mixing bowl then add 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar; mix well and cool slightly. Add egg and vanilla and blend well.
  3. Add the flour mixture a little at a time, mixing well. Mix in about 2/3 c. of the M&M's.
  4. Spread in a greased 9x9 pan. Sprinkle more M&M's on top (about 2/3 c. more, or desired amount).
  5. Bake 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees. 
Recipe from Cupcake Diaries

And of course, here is the picture of the fearless foursome all decked out for the holiday!  Love these kids!  Brynn's Daddy took the picture, great work Anthony!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Bowl Sunday!

One of my favorite days of the year!  What's not to love about it?  Great football (usually), good friends, beverages, and yummy snacks!  And on that note of yummy snacks I bring you chocolate peanut butter cookies!  These puppies are delicious!  Chocolate and peanut butter might very well be one of my favorite combinations of all time and this cookie marries them together perfectly!

I found this delicious recipe on one of my go to blogs for yummy desserts, Annie's Eats!

And here is a picture of Trey ready for the big game to begin!  Happy Super Bowl Sunday everyone!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bear Down Arizona!

If you know me then you know I am a HUGE Arizona Wildcat fan.  And, so is my Mom and her side of the family.  Well as basketball season is in full swing I decided a Bear Down wreath was in order!  I do not have a typical front door so I don't ever get to showcase any wreaths.  Therefore, I decided to make one for Mom's door!  
If you want to make a wreath for yourself you can follow my tutorials here or here!

I think my favorite part of this one is the Bear Down sign, all glittery and pretty!  Simply take a piece of wood and use Mod Podge to put any kind of scrapbook paper onto it.  Then paint wooden letters in a matching color and hot glue gun them on.  I added a Wilbur the Wildcat sticker as well that I got from The University of Arizona bookstore!  Drill a small hole on each side of the sign and attach to the wreath using floral wire, just as you did for the poly mesh and the bulbs.
Oh and the basketballs are on "picks" so they can be removed and replaced with footballs when fall comes!  A dual season wreath!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Biscoff Cookie Spread Cupcakes

I know what you're probably thinking, what in the heck?  You know those yummy little shortbread like cookies you get on the airplane sometimes?  They look like this......

Well now there is a spread made out of them!  Just like peanut butter but it taste like these yummy little cookies.  And it comes in creamy or crunchy.  The crunchy is my personal favorite because it has crumbled up pieces of cookies in it, yum!  Found in the peanut butter section of your local Walmart ;)

Well everyone at work was excited about this new spread and so I decided it would be a perfect filling for a cupcake.  Kind of like a peanut butter and chocolate cupcake, you know?  My dilemma though was the frosting.  The spread is very sweet and I knew these would be super rich cupcakes and I didn't want to overdo it with an equally sweet frosting.  So I decided to do a simple chocolate ganache topping.  And I must say, these puppies are quite the tasty treat!  I used a boxed mix this time (shhhh, don't tell) to keep things simple.  But, any chocolate cake recipe would work.

1 box chocolate cake mix and ingredients it calls for on box
2 jars Biscoff Spread
4 ounces finely chopped semi-sweet Baker's chocolate
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter at room temperature cut into slices

1.  Make cupcakes according to package directions.
2.  Once the cupcakes are cooled use a paring knife to cut a circle out of the middle of the cupcake.  Be careful not to go all the way to the bottom of the cupcake.
3.  Spoon the Biscoff spread into the cupcake and smooth off the top.

4.  Finely chop the 4 ounces of Baker's chocolate and place into a small bowl.  It will be easy to top the cupcakes if you use a small bowl because the ganache topping will be deeper in a small bowl.
5.  Heat the heavy whipping cream on the stove until it starts boiling.  
6.  Pour half of the cream into the bowl with chocolate and let sit for 30 seconds.
7.  Whisk the chocolate until uses small circles to stir.  Once it is smooth and combined add in the remaining cream and continue to whisk until combined.
8.  Add in the butter one slice at a time slowly whisking until just combined.  You do not want to over stir, it will cause your ganache to not be as shiny.
9.  Dip the tops of your cupcake into the ganache.
10.  Put finished cupcakes into the fridge to allow the ganache to set.
11.  Serve at room temperature.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake

So, as I have mentioned before, I got a little behind on posting.  This wonderfully delicious dessert was from my Mom's birthday back in December.  Only a month late!  This one was yummy, coffee flavor, chocolate, and cheesecake.  How can you go wrong?

Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake
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For the crust:
32 chocolate sandwich cookies, finely processed into crumbs
5 1/3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Small pinch of salt
For the ganache:
1½ cups heavy cream
20 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
¼ cup coffee flavored liqueur
For the filling:
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1½ tbsp. all-purpose flour
1½ tbsp. dark rum
2 tbsp. instant espresso powder
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ tsp. mild-flavored (light) molasses
3 large eggs
For the topping:
1½ cups sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

To make the crust, butter a 9-inch springform pan and place it on a baking sheet.  Combine the chocolate cookie crumbs, melted butter and salt in a small bowl.  Toss with a fork to moisten all of the crumbs.  Press into a thin layer covering the bottom and sides of the springform pan (at least 3 inches up the sides).
Bring the cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan.  Place the chocolate in a medium bowl.  Once the cream reaches a simmer, pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand 1-2 minutes.  Add the coffee flavored liqueur and whisk in small circles until a smooth ganache has formed.  Pour 2 cups of the ganache over the bottom of the crust.  Freeze until the ganache layer is firm, about 30 minutes.  Reserve the remaining ganache; cover and let stand at room temperature for later decorating.
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F and position a rack in the middle of the oven.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until well blended.  Beat in the flour.  In a small bowl, combine the rum, espresso powder, vanilla and molasses, stirring until the espresso powder dissolves.  Add to the cream cheese mixture and beat until well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between each addition.
Pour the filling over the cold ganache in the crust.  Place the springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake until the top is lightly browned, puffed and cracked at the edges, and the center moves only very slightly when the pan is lightly shaken, about 1 hour.  Transfer to a wire cooling rack.  Cool 15 minutes while preparing the topping (maintaining the oven temperature.)
To make the topping, whisk together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla in a small bowl.  Pour the topping over the hot cheesecake, spreading to cover the filling completely.  Bake until the topping is set, about 10-15 minutes.  Return to the cooling rack and let cool at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.  Transfer to the refrigerator and let cool at least 3 hours, until completely chilled and set.
To finish, wrap a warm towel around the outside of the springform pan to help loosen the crust from the sides.  Carefully remove the springform.  Transfer the cake to a serving platter.  Place the reserved ganache in a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip and use to garnish the top of the cake as desired.  Garnish with chocolate-covered espresso beans as desired.  Chill until the ganache is completely firm, at least 6 hours.

Source: Annie's Eats

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Healthy Chicken Fajitas and Homemade Salsa

I found this recipe and it sounded really good so I had to give it a try.  Turns out, it was!  Even Roy liked it which never happens with recipes deemed healthy!

Slightly adapted from here
  • Chicken Breast sliced thin
  • 1 medium Green or Red Pepper or both!
  • 1/2 cup Onion (your favorite type)
  • 2 or 3 leaves Lettuce
  • 1/4 cup Homemade Salsa (see below)
  • 1 whole Juice of a Lime
Put raw chicken, peppers and onions into a foil pack, add the juice of a lime along with your favorite spicy seasoning and throw on the low heat setting of the grill for 30-45 minutes. Flip every ten minutes until its cooked through. Put into lettuce leaves with your salsa and enjoy!

Note: This is for one foil pack so just multiply the above recipe out depending on how many people you are cooking for.

(Makes about 2 cups)
Slightly adapted from here
  • 3 mediums Ripe Tomatoes Chopped
  • 1/2 medium Onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Cilantro Chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/2 medium Lemon Juice
  • 1 clove Fresh crushed garlic
Mix well all ingredients in a serving dish. Add a little bit of water if needed. Salt to taste. You can, of course, 
make your salsa as hot as you want, by adjusting the amount of hot sauce you use.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happy New Year!

Ok, so I am a little behind with my posting.  The holidays were crazy and I didn't have time to put updates on here from all the events.  I will start with the New Year's Eve cake balls I made.  I decided to do strawberry cake with strawberry icing.  Then I dipped it in this confetti looking Candy Melts that I found.  Then used black gel writing to put '2012' on with.  You can find the recipe here.

We went over to our friends house to hang out with the usual cast of characters.  We of course had matching outfits for the kids and had to take a picture of the 4 babies in their outfits.  Born in 2011 is what the onesies say, it's a little hard to tell!

2011 was quite the year for our family.  Here is a brief recap of some of the significant events this year:
- We welcomed our first kid into this world on March 5th who has turned out to be the sweetest little boy ever!
- Took a cross country voyage to Arizona with Trey when he was 3 months old to visit family, see my little sister graduate high school, and have Trey baptized.
- My Mom moved to Arkansas to be Trey's babysitter during the day!  Leaving the town and house I was sure she would end up in forever.
- Trey had his first plane ride at 6 months old to see Roy's littlest brother get married!
- We met up with Tata and Nana in Pittsburgh to celebrate Roy's Dad turning 50 and watch his beloved Steelers beat the Seahawks!
- Roy and I both turned 30, ugh!
- Mom found out she had colon cancer 2 days before Christmas, had surgery on Christmas Eve, was sent home a few days later with a clean bill of health!
- My Dad drove out to Arkansas to stay with us and take care of Trey during the day while my Mom recovers.  I think he was just looking for an excuses for some quality Grandpa/Trey time ;)
- We rung in the New Year with some of the best of friends anyone could ask for!

Here's to having a GREAT 2012!  And wishing you all the same!