Thursday, March 31, 2011

Happy April


I don't have any particular reasoning behind this month's flavor.  I wanted to do a scratch cake and settled on my mother-in-law's banana cake. I added my own twist on the frosting and made a caramel butter cream.  The decoration is really simple with some Easter candy.  I tinted the frosting green, to resemble grass with the eggs nestled in it. Perhaps like the Easter Bunny would leave hidden.  A really cute touch would be to tint coconut green and apply it to the frosting for a more realistic grass look.

Even if you don't decorate it for Easter, this cake and frosting recipe is yummy and can be made for any occasion.  Have a Happy April Fool's Day.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Visit Dinner Tool

I was approached today by Dinner Tool, asking if they could link my blog to their site.  I was flattered, but honestly never heard of Dinner Tool.  So after cruising the site, I really liked it.  They have a meal planner, shopping list, great articles, and some awesome blogs. 

I decided to agree to the link up and in turn would link back to their site.  You can check them out in the link below or they will be listed on my Fav Links page. Happy blogging!!!

Dinner Tool

Also visit their friends page and look for My Little Blogspot!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Caramel Mocha

There is a famous burger chain with golden arches that sells a caramel mocha coffee.  It is delicious and I have enjoyed it hot and cold.  My preference is the iced one, but today's recipe is for the hot one.  This is my interpretation of the carmel mocha, inspired by the oh so famous one. This version is also a little lighter.


8 oz freshly brewed coffee
1 tsp caramel syrup
1 tsp chocolate syrup (I used sugar free)
2 tsp vanilla creamer (fat free)
whip cream for garnish

Brew a fresh cup of coffee. Stir in creamer, caramel syrup, and chocolate syrup.  Add whip cream for garnish. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Easy Cheesy Crisps

I eat a lot of salad.  Every now and then you need to change up the toppings a bit.  Here's an easy cheesy crisp that will dress up any salad.

All you need is one tablespoon of Parmesan cheese per crisp.  In a hot skillet mound one spoonful of cheese.  Wait until the cheese starts to melt and flip it over.  Cook on the other side about a minute, let cool.  Makes a great salty bite to any salad.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wholesome Wednesday (Chocolate Covered Bananas)

Growing up, I attended our county fair every year.  It is quite a large fair and my most favorite part has always been the food.  I LOVE fair food.  By far, my favorite sweet treat is the chocolate covered bananas.  Each year I would make a bee line for the stand and get one plain chocolate dipped treat. 

There are various toppings you can use such as nuts, coconut, chocolate chips, or sprinkles.  Today I used rainbow sprinkles because they were handy.  I love this treat as a mom too.  It's a little indulgent with the chocolate, but for the most part, a healthier option than say ice cream.  This is also a great activity to get the kids involved in.  They can help roll the bananas in the toppings.

What you need:

3 to 4 firm ripe bananas, not too ripe
2 cups milk chocolate chips or merkens
Popsicle sticks
various toppings (sprinkles, nuts, coconut, etc.)

Peel and cut the bananas in half.  Insert the popsicle sticks and lay on a cookie sheet.  At this point put them in the freezer until very cold and firm (several hours).

After the bananas are frozen, in a double boiler, melt your chocolate until smooth.  Hanging onto the popsicle stick, roll your banana through the chocolate until evenly coated.  Top with nuts, sprinkles, coconut, etc.   Put back in the freezer until hardened.  Store in an airtight container in the freezer for several days.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Wreath

Back in February I posted an easy tutorial for a festive rose wreath.  I also mentioned that you could change it up for any season depending on the flowers you use.  Well, it is officially spring (even though I awoke to snow this morning) and here is the spring version.

Again all the supplies were purchase at a dollar store and cost $5.00.  I used four floral bushes with about 9 flowers on each.  For the full instructions click on the link below.  Happy Crafting!

Easy Floral Wreath

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Wing Macaroni and Cheese

So today's recipe is not much different from yesterday's.  It's the same basic concept of making a white sauce and adding cheese.  The only difference is I add hot sauce and shredded chicken.  This one doesn't look the most appetizing, but is full of flavor and packs a punch.


1/2 lb. pasta
2 c. milk (I use whole milk)
1 c. cooked chicken, shredded
8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
4 oz. Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
2 tbsp. flour
3 tbsp. butter
1/2 c. hot sauce (I use Frank's)
1/4 tsp. pepper
pinch of salt
(bleu cheese crumbles for topping, optional)

Cook pasta until tender in salted water, drain and set aside.  In a large sauce pot, melt butter and add flour.  Cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Add the milk and whisk until it comes to a boil and thickens.  Remove from heat and add hot sauce, salt, pepper.  Slowly stir in cheddar and jack cheese until melted. Fold in chicken until thoroughly mixed.  If desired, sprinkle with bleu cheese crumbles.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Some Things Just Aren't Meant To Be Healthy (Mac'n Cheese)

Today is supposed to be Wholesome Wednesday.  I had every intention to make a low-fat version of macaroni and cheese.  I experimented last week with several recipes, and I came to a conclusion.  Macaroni and cheese is not meant to be low-fat or healthy.  The texture just wasn't there, not be mention the lack of flavor. 

So today I made the full fat version and I am a happy camper.  I actually made two versions, Buffalo Chicken Wing Macaroni and Cheese and Four Cheese Macaroni and Cheese.  Today I will share the Four Cheese one.

The recipe is quite simple.  I made this one on the stove top and it can be ready in under 30 minutes.  It's great served with salad of mixed greens with a light vinaigrette.  Enjoy!


1/2 pound pasta of choice (I used corkscrews)
2 c. whole milk
6 oz. Gruyere, shredded
6 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded
4 oz. Monterrey jack, shredded
1/4 c. Parmesan, grated or shredded
3 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. pepper
pinch of salt

Cook pasta in salted boiling water until tender, drain and set aside.  In a large sauce pot, melt the butter and whisk in the flour.  Cook for about a minute until golden brown, then add milk.  Whisk until it just comes to a boil and starts to thicken.  Remove from heat and slowly add the cheese.  Stir until creamy.  Add the drained pasta to the cheese sauce and stir until evenly coated. (If desired, under the broiler melt a handful of cheddar cheese to form a crust.)

use good cheese, and shred it yourself

use a fun pasta shape

gooey cheesy goodness

Monday, March 7, 2011

Organizing Recipes's been a whole week since I visited the blog.  My computer was hit by a nasty virus and I was computer-less for several days.  I didn't realize how dependent I am on the computer, until I was without it.  What did I do before the land of cyberspace???  Anyways....I am back and have a neat little tip for organizing recipes.

I'm sure there are a lot of people who already do this, but I thought it was a simple idea and wanted to share it.  Several months ago, while having coffee with a friend, she showed me this HUGE 3 ring binder filled with recipes.  She loves to print recipes off of the Internet and tear pages out from magazines.  Her dilemma was she didn't have a proper place to store them.  Then a family member gifted her a really cute binder with dividers and lots of page protectors.  Viola, a new system for organizing her recipes.

Well, I finally got my rear in gear and made myself a smaller version.  I found a pretty binder for a couple of bucks, some dividers and page protectors.  It took me an evening of sorting, but it's done.  I have all my printouts and magazine clipping in one place.  Now they won't get lost or dirty and are handy for my culinary needs.

You can make this as simple or as elaborate as you wish.  Personalize it with an adorable front cover and get yourself organized.  I also do think it is a fabulous gift for a friend or loved one.  In fact, make it and include a couple of your favorite recipes to get them started.  Below are a few pictures of mine, but get creative and send me the pictures of your creations.

Festive 3 Ring Binder

Add Dividers and Page Protectors

Add Printouts

Add Magazine Clippings