• December 28, 2016

    December Round Up


    Whelp, looks like I managed to miss most of December, huh?  *sigh*  My goal was to have a homemade Christmas, which we did… but I totally underestimated how much time that would consume!  So, here we are with the monthly round  up and I’ll try to touch on everything we enjoyed this past month!



    As soon as Thanksgiving was over (ok, ok, ok… a little, teensy bit before it was really over) I pulled out all of my Christmas decorations and went to town on our house.  And since I felt like we needed a little extra cheer this year, I found a pencil tree to put in our entry way too!  So.  Two trees.  I threatened to put up a third, but lost the oomph to do it.  Ah, well, there’s always next year, eh?




    Then it was time to get started on my Homemade Christmas goal from my 30 before 30 list!



    The first craft I started was these beautiful Nordic inspired ornaments.  These became gifts for family and friends and were a lot of fun to make!  We also decorated our own home with them – we tried to stick to a red and white theme this year and they added something really special on the tree.


    In addition to ornaments, we gave friends and family Christmas cookies.  I made so. many. cookies.  And I learned how to use a cookie press (I think I need one of my own now…) for Danish vanilla cookies.  Oh, and the bread!  I made eggnog bread  and monkey bread for Christmas morning!  I was in the kitchen a lot this December!  *nods*  So glad my folks took care of us for Christmas dinner!


    Another craft project I worked on was this beautiful nativity.  I’ve always been frustrated that I can’t find a realistic nativity with Middle Eastern people – Jesus was not white, ya’ll!  Anyway, I loved the concept of the silhouettes, so that solved it all for me!  :)  Click here for full instructions and info on where to get the vinyl designs.  The last step is to spray the glass with Frosted Glass spray paint stuff… but it’s been so cold this December, I was afraid the temperatures would ruin the paint.  Next year, it’ll be frosty glass!


    Another favorite thing I did this month was the Secret Santa at work.  I always get too into it, but it’s really fun to spoil one of the amazing women I work with and let her know how much I appreciate her!  And I’ll admit, I kind of like being spoiled by someone else too!  Anyway, the most hilarious gift I received this year was socks with bandanna wearing corgi’s on them.  So silly – I really love them!  I think Ollie approves too…


    I didn’t have a lot of time for things other than all the crazy Christmas shenanigans, so I didn’t really consume much media.  I did make it out to see Fantastic Beasts  and Where to Find Them early in the month and Rogue One the weekend it came out.  I also caught Hairspray Live on NBC and I read one book for book club – Yes Chef, by Marcus Samuelsson.  We stayed home a lot and watched old Christmas movies while I worked on crafts too, so that was fun.


    And there you have it!  I’m pretty sure that’s all I’ve got for this month!  Sure felt busier than it looks like it was… but I learned my lesson!  I will start Christmas crafts way earlier next year!  I hope you enjoyed your holidays this year and felt the love of friends and family.  Best wishes for a safe and happy new year – see you in 2017!

  • July 6, 2016

    Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream


    I’m an emotional eater.  I always like desserts, but I especially crave sugars when I’m sad or stressed.  I’ve eaten a lot of ice cream lately, partly because it’s been rough going for a while and partly because my recipe is delicious.  I’m experimenting with new and different flavors, but if you want the tried and true, all-American vanilla, here is my favorite recipe:


    1 pint Heavy Whipping Cream

    1 pint Half and Half

    1 cup Sugar

    1 Tablespoon Vanilla

    Toss it all in your ice cream maker, following the instructions for your device, and wait.  My ice cream maker requires that I combine the ingredients and chill in the freezer before starting.  Once it’s chilled, I can transfer it to the ice cream maker bowl and turn it on.  After it’s done, I pour the ice cream into a new storage container and then freeze it for a while to set.  Yours may be different, but it’s pretty easy-peasy!


    If you want to add pieces of fruit or chocolate chips or whatever, you can do that when you transfer it into the storage container – just make sure to stir it up well enough that you don’t end up with everything on top or bottom.  I think you can also add it while the machine is stirring, but double check what your machine requires.


  • September 2, 2015

    Blueberry Buckle


    The following recipe was adapted from a recipe my Grandmother’s dear friend, Gwen, gave to her many years ago.  This recipe has been a family favorite since I can remember and definitely takes me back to sunny summer days with my aunt.  I always fancied myself an elegant pastry maker whenever I was in my aunt’s kitchen and I’m so glad to have those fun memories now.

    I hope this recipe brings you and those you share it with great happiness and that you might build your own fond memories with it.

    Blueberry Buckle Recipe

    By Erin Published: September 2, 2015

      The following recipe was adapted from a recipe my Grandmother's dear friend, Gwen, gave to her many years ago.  This recipe has been …



      1. IngredientsGather ingredients and set oven to 375 degrees.
      2. DoughMix first 4 ingredients completely. Stir in flour, salt, baking powder.
      3. Fold-in-BlueberriesFold in berries taking care not to smash them in the process.
      4. Ready-to-BakeSpread in a 9" pan.
      5. Topping-IngredientsCombine topping ingredients to create a crumbly topping.
      6. Crumble-ToppingTop cake mixture with crumble mixture and bake for 45 - 50 minutes.


      Pro-Tip: Try not to over blend your crumb topping.  Ultimately, what you really want is chunky bits of butter covered in sugar.  This is not a health food.  *grin*

    • February 11, 2015

      Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Sauce


      While I don’t have much use for the typical Valentine’s Day, I do rather like having an excuse to eat decadent chocolate!  I assume you feel the same way about chocolate as I do, regardless of whether or not you love Valentine’s Day, so enjoy my new favorite recipe!

      Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Sauce

      By Erin Published: February 11, 2015

        While I don't have much use for the typical Valentine's Day, I do rather like having an excuse to eat decadent chocolate!  I assume …



        1. IngredientsGather ingredients and preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
        2. Sugar-Water-MixtureIn a small saucepan, combine water, sugar, and salt over medium heat. Stir continually until fully dissolved then set aside.
        3. Melt-ChocolateUsing a double broiler, melt all the chocolate. Once it is melted, transfer chocolate to a mixing bowl made of metal, glass, or ceramic.
        4. Combine-ButterCut butter into pieces and slowly combine into chocolate.
        5. Combine-Sugar-Water-MixtureBeat in sugar-water mixture and eggs.
        6. Wild-OrangeAdd 3 (or more, if you want a stronger orange flavor) drops of Wild Orange doTERRA Essential Oil.
        7. Prep-the-PansYour cakes will be baked in a bath of boiling water, so prepare a large pan that will hold your smaller cake pan or ramekins. Boil water, then pour the batter into small cake pan or ramekins. Fill the larger cake pan with water around the smaller pans.
        8. HawtBake cakes for 45 minutes. When done, the center will still look wet - this is expected. Remove small dishes from the large pan and let cool in the refrigerator overnight.
        9. Sauce-IngredientsFor the Raspberry Sauce, gather together the following ingredients: 2 1/2 Tsp. Cornstarch 3 Tbsp Sugar 1/3 Cup Water 12 oz. Raspberries
        10. SauceIn a small saucepan, combine ingredients and cook over medium heat. Mash up the berries and stir constantly until boiling. Once boiling, continue to stir for 1 minute.
        11. Strain-the-SauceStrain the sauce over fine mesh to separate seeds.
        12. Enjoy!Pour sauce over cake and enjoy!


        Pro Tip:

        The Raspberry Sauce is also amazing over ice cream and yogurt!  This recipe makes a large batch, so if you don’t choose to cut it go ahead and treat yourself to even more yummyness!

        The cake is very dense and rich – it would be lovely with some whipped cream to go with the sauce.  Also try some mint!  Mmmmm!


      • December 10, 2014

        Chocolate Candy Cane Popcorn



        You know what I’ve noticed about holiday treats?  Most of them are difficult to make.  And they are expensive.  Also, calories.  And sugar.

        So.  Much.  Sugar.

        So, I set out on a quest to make a semi-healthy, inexpensive, beautiful treat that is easy to whip up.  This, ladies and gentlemen, is it:


        Chocolate Candy Cane Popcorn Recipe

        By Erin Published: December 10, 2014

            You know what I've noticed about holiday treats?  Most of them are difficult to make.  And they are expensive.  Also, …



          1. IngredientsGather ingredients.
          2. PopcornCover 2 cookie sheets with wax paper. Spread the popcorn out over the prepared cookie sheets in a single layer.
          3. Chocolate-DrizzleUse a double broiler to melt the chocolate. Drizzle melted chocolate over the popcorn.
          4. CandySprinkle the smashed candy cane on top before the chocolate cools.


          Pro Tips:

          If  you can’t get the candy cane to stick to your chocolate, go ahead and just mix the candy in with the chocolate before pouring it on the popcorn.  It might not look quite as pretty, but it will taste great!

          Use kettle corn instead of regular popcorn for added sweetness.

          Try different types of chocolate too!


        • October 30, 2013

          Cheesecake and Pumpkin Cupcakes



          Happy Halloween!  My gift to you on this sugary-sweet holiday of greed and gore is more sugar!  And pumpkin.  And more sugar.

          Really, though, you should thank me.  These are made of pumpkin.  Pumpkin is a vegetable.  These cupcakes are vegetables.

          Now that we’re on the same page and fully justified… go make these!

          Cheesecake and Pumpkin Cupcakes

          By Erin Published: October 30, 2013

              Happy Halloween!  My gift to you on this sugary-sweet holiday of greed and gore is more sugar!  And pumpkin.  And more …



            1. BatterPumpkin Cake: In a bowl, combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, combine pumpkin, 2 eggs, sugar, oil, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix the contents of both bowls together until smooth.
            2. Cream-Cheese-FillingCream Cheese Filling: Combine the package of cream cheese and powdered sugar until mixed well and not lumpy. Then, beat in 1 egg white and ½ teaspoon vanilla.
            3. Cupcake-TinNow, put liners in a muffin tin and layer the muffin cups starting with pumpkin batter, then cream cheese mixture, and topping it off with the pumpkin batter.
            4. CupcakesBake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. When done, let cool before frosting.
            5. While the cupcakes bake, you can work on the frosting. Keep the bowl you used for the cream cheese mixture handy, because you’re going to use the same ingredients to make some great cream cheese frosting.
            6. You’ll need: One 8 oz package cream cheese, softened 1 cup powdered sugar 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
            7. Toss it all in the bowl and mix well. When it’s smooth, you will be able to smooth it over the cakes or pipe it on if you’re in to that. Cool in the refrigerator until the cupcakes are ready to go.



            1. Let your cream cheese get to room temperature before mixing.  If it’s too cold, it won’t smooth at all.
            2. As tempting as it is, don’t fill the cupcake liners too full.  It’s difficult to make them all the same, but the more consistent you are, the better.
            3. Similar to pro-tip number two, don’t overdo the cream cheese filling.  It will bubble out the top or prevent your cupcakes from holding together.


            Original recipe found here: http://www.silvanaskitchen.com/gluten-free-cheesecake-filled-pumpkin-cupcakes/

          • October 16, 2013

            Pumpkin Spice Chai Thumbprint Cookies


            You may have noticed the silence around here last week… My best friend’s dog ran off last Monday and my hubby and I have been spending every available minute with them searching for their pup, posting flyers all over town, and babysitting their kids while they searched.  The good news is that they found him today!  He is doing fine and we are all so relieved to have him back safe and sound!

            To celebrate, I made cookies!  I have an incredible sweet tooth and October marks the beginning of the best time of year to indulge in sweet tooth satisfying snacks and treats.

            In an effort to resist fully participating in the Paleo diet, I have for you today the best cookies I’ve ever made.  That’s not saying much, really, because I usually burn cookies or make them so crumbly it’s impossible to get them up off the cookie sheet in one piece…  But, really, these are the best cookies you will ever eat.  And apparently anyone can make them.


            Adapted with minor adjustments from the recipe found here: http://passthesushi.com/chai-pumpkin-spice-thumbprints/

            Pumpkin Spice Chai Thumbprint Cookies

            By Erin Published: October 16, 2013

              You may have noticed the silence around here last week… My best friend’s dog ran off last Monday and my hubby and I have been …



              1. IngredientsGather your ingredients and combine the cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg together; set aside.
              2. MixerCream the butter and sugar together with a hand mixer until fluffy. Add the chai concentrate, egg, and vanilla, mix well. Next, add the flour, baking soda, salt and 1/2 tsp. of the chai spice mixture you prepared earlier.
              3. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
              4. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
              5. DoughRoll the cookie dough into 1 inch round balls and line them up on the baking sheets, leaving about an inch around all sides of the ball of dough.
              6. KissesBake the cookies for 12-15 minutes. Meanwhile, unwrap enough Kisses for your cookies.
              7. CookiesWhen cookies are done, immediately place Kisses in the center of each cookie and sprinkle with a little of the leftover spice mixture. Let the cookies cool completely before picking them up as the Kisses will sometimes fall through the middle, leaving you with a chai cookie doughnut.

              Pro Tips:

              The cooler the dough is, the better it will roll into balls for you.  As it warms up, the dough becomes more and more sticky.

              When you place the Kisses, be careful not to move them around too much until the cookies are totally cooled.  The dough is hot and chocolate melts so… it can get messy if you fiddle with it too much.