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Please excuse the lack of photos in some of my older posts as I am trying to slowly go back through and add the photos that were accidentally deleted

March 28, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday.... Grills, Pedis, and Cereal Bars

So.... I've decided to join in on the fun I've been missing out on over at Jamie's blog. It's What I'm Loving Wednesday!

Since I can't find the time to always get good photos in natural light, edit them, and then blog about it, I think I can make time to tell you guys what I'm loving weekly. So you can get to know me a little better too!

I'm loving my new grill that PJ bought me for my 27th birthday, which was Saturday by the way. I'm still taking gifts, thanks :)

I'm loving that I have no homework this week in my classes. Kinda feels like spring break again except that I do have to go to class.

I'm loving that I got my new summer and fall semester schedules. 



Time to change it up a bit. (Not sure why you can barely see it. In picasa it looked fine. Click on the photo to zoom in if you really wanna know what classes I'm taking, which I'm sure you don't!)


I'm loving my freshly painted toes from a pedicure with my niecey last week when she came in from Akron. I tried to take a picture but my feet looked funny. You can just imagine then. Bright pink for spring!

I'm loving these cereal bars I found at Kroger and I've become addicted to them. For reals. I'm seeing some homemade versions coming on. No I do not eat healthy, and yes I snack like an 8 year old.

I'm loving this website I recently found from this blog. I am always having all sorts of auto correct problems on my phone. You should really check out the other sites at the top, too. You know you wanna see some parents' texts, wrong texts, and really ghetto stuff. I know I do.

And lastly, I'm loving Godiva's milk chocolate salted caramel bar. If you don't know by now, I love sweet n salty.  I have a whole pinterest board devoted to it.

That's all folks! Come back next Wednesday to see what else I'm loving. And hopefully I can get some recipes on here sometime in the near future for you guys. Thanks for reading, friends!

Linking up here.

Peace, and bacon grease!

March 20, 2012

Bring on the Summer with Cherry Limeade Slushies!! {Eating the Alphabet Series}

Hey there my peeps! 

Have you heard about this fun challenge called Eating the Alphabet? Like I need another challenge, right? But I can't help myself! I love them all so much. And this one is no exception. This is my first time participating. The whole idea is to make a recipe using a fruit or vegetable (or grains or beans) that starts with a specific letter. This month we had the letters C or D. After much thought, I decided on using CHERRIES! (Did you know there aren't very many fruits or vegetables starting with D? Not many that my brain could come up with anyway!!)

Again, whipped up a nice long word document list of some possibilities. I do that. Lists are my thing. They make me feel accomplished when I can cross off even the simplest of tasks. I'm getting off track though... after much consideration I decided on a fun cherry limeade slushie. The weather here has been GORG and so summer-like so I was definitely yearning for these slushies. In March! That's dang near a miracle here in Cincinnati! Temps in the 70s and 80s... in March?!?! Yes, tis true. So slushies are in order. This weather calls for them!

Definitely gonna try this using blueberries, and strawberries. And whatever other fruit I can get my hands on! You should too.

Cherry Limeade Slushies
from Good Life Eats

*makes 2 servings 
  • 2 cups Limeade *recipe below
  • 1 cup crushed ice
  • 1 and 1/2 cups frozen cherries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice
  • 4 cups of cold water
First, prepare limeade by combining sugar and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved to make a simple syrup. Let cool. In a pitcher, combine the simple syrup, lime juice, and cold water. Chill
Once limeade is chilled, combine 2 cups of the limeade, crushed ice, and cherries in a blender. Serve immediately.

*Note: You can use 2 cups store-bought limeade if you want the shortcut version.

Just a note too that the limeade recipe above makes a whole recipe of limeade, not only the 2 cups called for in this recipe. So save that remaining limeade and store it in a jar or pitcher for another hot day!

Linking up here.

Peace, and bacon grease!

My entry into Just Something I Whipped Up sponsored by Appliances Online and the Bosch Washing Machines

March 19, 2012

March's Secret Recipe Club - Sausage Cheese Breakfast Biscuits

Why hello there! I've missed you. I've been blogging less these days.... I hope you'll forgive me! I hope to get back on track one of these days because I really do miss it.

I'm so happy to be bringing you a tasty treat today for The Secret Recipe Club. This month I was lucky to be assigned the wonderful blog, Feast on the Cheap, run by mother-daughter duo Mary Anne and Mariel, and Mary Anne is a professional caterer. I've got love for the catering business because that's what PJ does for a living! It sure would be nice to start a catering company one day. 

Um, loved this site! Every month when I get my assignment, I go through and list all the recipes I'm interested in on a word document and save it, and let me tell you... there were a LOT of recipes from this blog that made my list. But eventually I settled on their Southern Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Biscuits, because I can never pass up breakfast food. It's one of my favorite things. I love sausage almost as much as I love bacon. You know that's big, people. So I knew I wanted these balls in my mouth. Oh, oops. Too much?

Went to the grocery and got the necessary ingredients... including ground cloves and allspice, which I've never used before. Kinda pricey! I also purchased maple sausage, but when I got home I noticed that the recipe called for ground pork, not sausage like I had thought. I kinda realized that the recipe was calling me to make my own homemade sausage using ground pork (not ground sausage) and all of the spices, including the allspice and ground cloves. Since I had bought sausage and not ground pork, I didn't want to use all of the spices called for in the original recipe because then I may be over-seasoning it if the sausage I had bought was already seasoned, which I assume it is. So I decided that the best thing to do was just not use the spices since I bought sausage instead of ground pork as to not over season. So now I have some pricey allspice and ground cloves in the pantry waiting to be used up.... any suggestions??

We also halved the recipe as to only make about 25 instead of 50. Turns out that we only got about 20 out of them. Guess I made mine a little too big...

Sausage Cheese Breakfast Biscuits
adapted from Feast on the Cheap

*Makes about 20
  • 2 and 1/4 cups Bisquick
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 lb Bob Evans ground maple pork sausage
  • 1/4 lb extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • warm maple syrup, for serving
Position the oven rack to the middle level. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the Bisquick and buttermilk, stirring to combine. 

In a separate mixing bowl, combine the sausage and cheese, using a fork to combine thoroughly. 

Add the sausage-cheese mixture to the Bisquick mixture. Powder your hands with a tablespoon or so of  Bisquick or flour and gently knead the mixture until thoroughly combined. 

Shape the mixture into 1-inch balls, rolling between palms.

Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes or so until golden. Transfer to a serving tray and serve with warm maple syrup.

Printable Recipe

These balls were so tasty! I loved the mix of sausage and biscuit. Two in one! Can't beat that. And I liked the hint of cheesiness. I wanted to experiment and try it with some cool spicy pepper cheese I saw at the grocery store but thought that may mess up the whole recipe if supposed to be served with sweet maple syrup. The sharp cheddar worked well. Next time maybe I will be daring and try some different kinds of cheese! We will definitely be making these tasty breakfast balls for our weekend breakfasts. Can you say, "keeper"?

Linking up here.

Peace, and bacon grease!

My entry into Just Something I Whipped Up sponsored by Appliances Online and the Bosch Washing Machines

March 10, 2012

Joy the Baker Cookbook Review

Joy the Baker Cookbook: 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes

Author: blogger Joy Wilson

Publisher: Hyperion

Softcover 246 pages

I'm pretty sad that the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off challenge is ending, but so glad that I've got this cookbook to continue my baking journey. I was already a follower of Joy's amazing blog, but reading her cookbook made me feel like I knew her even more. Just an old friend who understands my love of cooking! She refers to her cookbook as "A celebration of butter and sugar". Sold! Hooked. I do.

I loved her down-to-earth, approachable writing style. Her short anecdotes before each recipe made reading this cookbook very easy and more personal.

The cookbook itself is also very easy on the eyes. It's bright and colorful and pink.... and I love pink. I'm all about pictures in cookbook too, and I loved all of Joy's beautiful photography for each recipe. 

I also loved that the recipes weren't too advanced for a beginner like me. At first I was a bit intimidated and thought I wouldn't be able to make many of the recipes. But they are very do-able, and I'm sure there are some that will challenge me a bit, but now I'm excited to learn and take on new baking challenges!

Besides all that, I wanted to make nearly every recipe in this cookbook! Seriously, I will be cooking from it for sure for sure. I have pink little post it notes bookmarking pretty much every other page of the cookbook. But I didn't get around to making them all obviously. But I did make some good stuff.

Remember these?

Chocolate Fudge Brownies with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting


Whole Wheat Honey and Goat Cheese Drop Biscuits

Peanut Butter Birthday Cake with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Did you all love them as much as we did?!

So yeah, now I wanna get my bacon bakin' on more often. Joy was a self-taught cook, and she inspires me to follow my dreams and do what I enjoy doing, which is cooking and now baking. It truly has been a pleasure baking from it. I've learned some things along the way about baking that I didn't know before, and made some delicious new recipes that I didn't necessarily know I could do.

I hope you've loved this series as much as I have! Now go buy that cookbook and help a bloggin sista out!

*This post is part of the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted at girlichef*
Peace, and bacon grease!

March 9, 2012

Peanut Butter Birthday Cake with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting (Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off}

I've made another fantastic recipe from Joy's cookbook for the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off challenge. Go me! And go Joy! She helped me make a special someone's birthday even better.

You see, Wednesday, March 7th was PJ's 30th birthday! The big 3-0! And I wanted to make it special. I already felt like I didn't do nearly enough to show him how important he is to me, but this cake definitely showed him. It's Joy's Peanut Butter Birthday Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting. Peanut butter lovers... doesn't that just sound amazing?! I agree. I agreed. So I made it for my love!

We both agreed that it was decadent and delicious and were yearning for more, but it was like midnight when we tried a piece and didn't wanna go overboard. Oh that frosting, oh that frosting! How do people come up with these recipes?! If I ever could whip up a recipe this good myself, I'd be so proud. I dunno how Joy came up with this masterpiece of a concoction, but I sure am glad she did. 

Peanut Butter Birthday Cake with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
from Joy the Baker Cookbook by Joy Wilson

Peanut Butter Birthday Cake 
*makes one 2-layer 8- or 9-inch cake
  • 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
Place a rack in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans. Nonstick baking spray works well too (that's what I did). Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together peanut butter, butter, and sugars until fluffy, for 3 to 5 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating at medium speed for 1 minute between each addition. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl as necessary.

With the mixer on low speed, add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Slowly pour in all of the buttermilk. When mixture just starts to come together, add the remaining flour mixture, beating on low speed until mixture just begins to come together. Remove the bowl from the mixer and finish incorporating the ingredients with a spatula.

Divide the batter between the 2 prepared baking pans. Place on 2 racks in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, rotate the cake pans to alternating racks, and continue to bake for 15 to 25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean.

Let cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, before inverting onto wire racks to cool completely before frosting. Frost cakes with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows). 

Cake will last, wrapped, in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days.

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
*makes enough to frost one 2-layer 8- or 9-inch cake or 24 cupcakes

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Place cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat the cream cheese for about 1 minute, ensuring that it is soft and pliable. Stop the mixer and use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the butter to the bowl. Beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed for 1 minute until thoroughly combined.

Add 1/3 cup of the peanut butter to the cream cheese mixture. Beat for 30 seconds on medium speed, until well combined. Turn the mixer on low and add the salt and powdered sugar followed by the vanilla. Beat until almost incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl. Beat on medium speed until all of the powdered sugar has disappeared and mixture is velvety soft. 

If using immediately, dollop 2 tablespoons of peanut butter into the finished cream cheese and fold in with a spatula. Don't completely mix, leave streaks of peanut butter throughout the frosting. Use immediately to frost cakes or cupcakes.

If storing for later use, spoon frosting into an airtight container, add peanut butter, swirl into the frosting and store in the fridge until ready to use. Bring frosting to room temperature before frosting a cake or cupcakes.

Frosting will last, in an airtight container, in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Printable Recipe

Oh, and as you all know I don't have a mixer so again, I just had to mix everything together myself. Use a mixer if you have one though for sure. Obviously I'm a newbie to this whole cake-baking thing. I should have read up on Veronica's cake tips for dummies before I frosted this cake, cuz I did a bad job! You can't see the frosting layer on the inside. Oh well, I'll just have to practice, buy the right tools, and keep getting better. Hopefully my later photos will be much better than this and I can see how much I've improved. I'll just keep doing my best and I'll get better and better with practice. Definitely need a cake leveler too... my cake's looking a little lobsided. But still just as tasty.

I can't wait to get home after work to devour the rest of this cake! Oh yeah, and of course PJ can help me. It is his birthday cake, after all  :)

Happy 30th birthday, my love! And to many more together!!!

*This post is part of the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted at girlichef*

Also linking up to Cookbook Sundays and here.

Peace, and bacon grease!

March 3, 2012

Mommom's Chocolate Bourbon-Spiked Banana Bread {Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off}

Here's to week 3 of the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off challenge! I don't want it to end. At least I've got this great cookbook to keep cooking from once the challenge is over. I wish I had time to make more this week for blogger's choice week.

I had a hard time choosing. I was really tempted to make a birthday cake for PJ since his is coming up this week. But this banana bread won me over, because I had some bananas and bourbon in the pantry to use up. 

When I went to use the lemon juice, I realized that it was expired so I didn't add in the teaspoon of lemon juice, but I'll leave that in the original recipe. I also didn't have the whole one cup of walnuts, so I used a mix of pecans and walnuts. 

Oh, and since I don't have a mixer I couldn't do that whole thing. Just had to use my hands and good old hard work. Isn't that what people did before mixers existed? I need one though. I'll still leave the original recipe the way it was regarding using the mixer in case you guys have one. I'm sure it's a lot easier!

Mommom's Chocolate Bourbon-Spiked Banana Bread 

*Makes one 8x4-inch or 9x5-inch loaf
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8x4 or 9x5-inch loaf pan. Set aside. 

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. 

Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute between each addition. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add bananas, lemon juice, and bourbon. Beat until well incorporated.

Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture all at once. Beat until almost incorporated. Stop the mixer and remove the bowl from the mixer. Add the walnuts and chocolate chips and incorporate the rest of the ingredients with a spatula. 

Spoon mixture into loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow loaf to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

*Banana bread will keep for up to 5 days, well wrapped, at room temperature.

    This was some mighty delicious banana bread. I loved the addition of bourbon. Next time I may skip the chocolate chips and walnuts, to really get that banana and bourbon taste. This was very chocolate-y, and I think I may have even used less than the 6 oz of chocolate called for. I can't wait to make this again with those modifications!

    Be sure to check out my other posts from Joy's cookbook - Chocolate Fudge Brownies with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, and Whole Wheat Honey and Goat Cheese Drop Biscuits.

    *This post is part of the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted at girlichef*

    Linking up here.

    Peace, and bacon grease!