Archives for March 2012

Strawberry Orange Margaritas

strawberry orange margarita 1

Have I mentioned how much I love Mexican food?  Like maybe once or a hundred times twice?

And you know what goes great with Mexican food?  Margaritas.

Interestingly enough, I have this thing about tequila.  The “thing” being that I don’t really care for it all that much.  Unless it’s in a frozen strawberry (or other fruit-flavored) margarita.  I can’t do the plain, on-the-rocks thing.  I don’t know, clearly I’m not a real margarita drinker.

But last weekend, I really wanted to be one.  The weather was gorgeous–perfect weather for sitting out on the patio, firing up the old grill, and just relaxing–and since we were having fajitas, margaritas seemed like the next logical step.

I’m nothing if not logical.


Strawberry Orange Margaritas
makes one blenderful
  • 6 ounces tequila
  • 6 ounces sour mix
  • 2 ounces triple sec
  • 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 1 cup (or s0, just eyeball it) strawberries, washed and hulled
  • ice
  1. In a blender, combine liquids, strawberries, and marmalade, and pulse to combine.
  2. Add ice--about three handfuls, or so--and mix until desired consistency is reached.

Happy Friday–have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

April Fool’s {a real one}

I’m not much of a prankster.

In fact, while I don’t like pranking, I like being pranked even less.

And fortunately for my friends and family, they all know this.

But last year I decided to be a hip, fun, cool mom to my 3-year old boy.  I made some silly April Fool’s Day food and drinks for dinner that evening–starting with “fruit punch” (red jello in a juice glass with a straw inserted–like this).

It didn’t go over well.

Doodle cried when he couldn’t get the “punch” through the straw.

Clearly, he takes after his mama.

Anyway, this year I decided I’d skip the event altogether, just to be on the safe side–and then I found a recipe for a traditional English Fool, which I didn’t even realize was a thing.

I don’t know, maybe I shouldn’t be penning a food blog.

But I am, so deal.  And also?  Make this–it’s basically pureéd fruit, whipped cream, and sugar.   It’s pretty darn good, even though it looks a bit drab in the photos.  Eating I can do–photography, not so much.

April Fool’s {a real one}
  • one small container (6 ounces) fresh blackberries
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 to 2 small peaches
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 container (17 ounces) plain Greek yogurt
  • extra fruit for garnishing, if desired
  1. Wash and finely chop your blackberries. Place in a small bowl and stir in a tablespoon of sugar. Let stand for 15 minutes to draw out the juices.
  2. Meanwhile, pour 2 tablespoons cold water into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand for 5 minutes.
  3. Strain the berries over a small bowl, reserving the juice. Microwave the gelatin for 20 seconds or until melted. Stir the gelatin and 1 tablespoon corn syrup into the berry juice. Fold in the berries and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Peel the peaches and puree in a food processor with a tablespoon of sugar and remaining corn syrup. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the cream and ½ cup sugar until stiff. Stir the vanilla into the yogurt, then gently fold into the whipped cream.
  6. Dollop the blackberry an peach mixtures on top of the whipped cream mixture.
  7. Spoon the fool into parfait glasses and refrigerate for half an hour. Garnish with extra fruit, if desired.
From EveryDay with Rachel Ray, April 2012

I’m linked up at these great parties this week: Crazy Sweet Tuesdays, Trick or Treat Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesday, Sweet Treats Thursday, Mrs. Fox’s Sweets, Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons, Itsy Bitsy Paper, Crumbs and Chaos, I’m Lovin’ It Fridays, and Weekend Potluck!

Italian Breakfast Pizza

We eat a lot of pizza around my house.

It’s like the perfect meal if you ask me.  It covers all the food groups, and basically eliminates any work on my part.  Unless, of course, we make our own–which is slowly becoming the trend around here.

It’s something Doodle will eat, and as long as we don’t let any peppers or onions touch his slice, he’s good to go.

So I thought, why just limit pizza for lunch and dinner?  Heck, let’s make it for breakfast, too, so I can completely ruin any chance I have of shoe-horning myself into a swimsuit this summer.

And technically, there are probably a lot worse things you could eat for breakfast, though most days I do actually stick to my old stand-by (oatmeal).  For this recipe, I used reduced-fat sausage, a lot of veggies, and skim milk.  I think it would work great with egg substitute as well, though the Tall Boy might revolt if I attempted to serve those to him.  =)

I love make-ahead breakfast casseroles, particularly when we have weekend guests, or are hosting brunch for family. That way, all I have to do when I get up in the mornings is pop the dish in the oven, put on the coffee, set out some fresh fruit, and relax!

Italian Breakfast Pizza
  • ½ pound ground breakfast sausage (I used reduced-fat)
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • a big handful of sliced mushrooms, about ½ cup
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • ½ bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • approximately half a loaf of Italian bread, cubed
  • ⅓ cup pepperoni (I used turkey)
  • 1 small can sliced black olives
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese, divided
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  1. Combine sausage, red pepper flakes and veggies (including your garlic) in a large skillet, cooking until sausage is brown and crumbly. Drain, and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, place half of your bread cubes in an 8x8 baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Top with sausage mixture, pepperoni, and olives. Sprinkle with half of the cheeses; then top with remaining bread cubes and cheeses.
  3. Whisk eggs in a medium bowl until smooth; add milk and whisk again to combine. Pour egg mixture over casserole, and sprinkle with Italian seasoning.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight. Before baking, allow the dish to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  5. Uncover casserole, and bake at 350 for 45 to 55 minutes (this took 50 minutes in my oven), or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
adapted from Deen Bros Family Holidays, 2011

Hope you’re having a great Wednesday!

I’m linked up at these great parties this week: Crazy Sweet Tuesdays, Trick or Treat Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesday, Sweet Treats Thursday, Mrs. Fox’s Sweets, Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons, Itsy Bitsy Paper, Crumbs and Chaos, I’m Lovin’ It Fridays, and Weekend Potluck!

Rainbow Sugar Cookies

If you know me at all, you know that I’m a girlie-girl.

As in, super girlie.

So, having a dirt-covered little boy sometimes causes me a little bit of anxiety.

I mean, I don’t really see why it’s neccesary to stomp around in dirt-caked shoes through my freshly vacuumed house, or to constantly ask me if I like spiders (saying I don’t would be a massive understatement).  I’m getting used to the fact that this is the type of behavior I have to look forward to for the next fifteen years or so, and I’ve made my peace with it (at least for the moment).

Last week we got Doodle a new pair of tennis shoes, since his current pair had clearly seen better days.  My mom and I suggested he keep the old pair for playing outside, and keep the new ones “nice,” at least until after our upcoming family vacation.

So the other day I stopped by my parent’s house after work to pick up Doodle, and he’d been out playing soccer and football in the yard with Granddad.  He stopped when he saw me, looked down at his new shoes–still in fairly pristine condition for a four-year old–and said, “Uh, mom.  I got some dirt on my Disney World shoes.  I guess they are just shoes for my regular life.”

Clearly, my parenting-skills regarding the avoidance of dirt are paying off.

Anyway, if you’re looking for some fun spring cookies to make for your regular life, try these.

Rainbow Sugar Cookies
  • 1 recipe sugar cookie dough, this one is my favorite
  • food coloring
  • sugar, for sprinkling
  1. Divide dough evenly among 3 bowls and tint dough by stirring in a few drops of food color.
  2. Shape ⅓ cup of each color of dough into a rope about 5 inches long and 1 inch in diameter. Place ropes side by side and a little more than ¼ inch apart on floured surface; roll until ¼ inch thick.
  3. Cut with cookie cutters so each cookie has 3 colors, and sprinkle with sugar.
  4. Place cookies 2 inches apart on a silpat or parchment lined cookie sheet.
  5. Bake according to your cookie dough directions, usually at 350 for 8 to 9 minutes.
inspired from Betty Crocker

I’m linked up at these great parties this week: Crazy Sweet Tuesdays, Trick or Treat Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesday, Sweet Treats Thursday, Mrs. Fox’s Sweets, Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons, Itsy Bitsy Paper, Crumbs and Chaos,  I’m Lovin’ It Fridays, and Weekend Potluck!

Carrot Cake Shooter

carrot cake shooter

You knew this was coming, right?  What better way to wrap up carrot cake week than with a carrot cake flavored drink?

Not to be confused with carrot juice, which–I’m sorry–but in my opinion, just can’t be that good.

This, on the other hand, is pretty darn tasty.  And let’s be honest…at my age, I’m not throwing back many “shooters” anymore.  Seriously, I made this on a Sunday afternoon (the things I do for the blog!) and it took me nearly 15 minutes to drink it as more of a “sipper” while I was cleaning up the kitchen and getting ready to watch basketball.

My weekends aren’t quite as wild as they used to be.

But maybe yours still are.  Or should be.  Maybe could be, with this fun little drink.

At any rate, have a wonderful weekend–it’s Friday!

Carrot Cake Shooter
  • ½ ounce Bailey's Irish Cream
  • ½ ounce cinnamon schnapps
  • ½ ounce Frangelico or butterscotch schnapps
  1. Pour all in a tall shot glass. Top with whipped cream and sprinkles, if desired.

Carrot Cake Popcorn

carrot cake popcorn

Last week we went to a kindergarten pre-enrollment meeting. Seriously, before this year, I had no idea school enrollment was such a big to-do. When I was a kid, my mom and I basically walked into the school office during “enrollment week” and the entire process was over in five minutes. I’ll spare you the details about how I’d talk my mom into taking me to enroll the very first moment possible, so I could find out who my teacher was going to be and if my girlfriends would be in my same class. And how we’d call around to our boy-crushes to find out what teacher they had, giggle, and act ridiculous.

I’m not going to lie, I was pretty much a school nerd.

Now, there are multiple pre-enrollment meetings. These are totally separate from the online pre-enrollment forms–and those must be completed prior to actual enrollment. Also, actual enrollment day is apparantly akin to Black Friday. To get the “good spots,” you’re encouraged to come early, presumably to arm wrestle or do special karate moves or whatever it takes to get well-positioned at the front of the line.


If I’m going to stand in line at the crack of dawn, I’d better be getting Adele tickets or a killer deal on a flat-screen television.

Anyway, since I’m not particularly athletic and have zero upper-arm strength, I thought I could package up some little goodie bags of this popcorn and hand them out while in line, all casual-like.  Then make a dart for the front while everyone else is busy eating.

What?  It could work.  Either that, or I’ll just be well-prepared with snacks while I am waiting.

Carrot Cake Popcorn
  • 8 cups popped popcorn, ½ cup unpopped kernels
  • 3 cups carrot cake crumbs (about ¼ of a 9x13 cake), or these cookies
  • 20 oz almond bark
  • ⅓ cup chopped dried pineapple
  • ⅓ cup golden raisins
  • ⅓ cup sweetened shredded coconut
  1. Pop the popcorn and pour into a large bowl. Add pineapple, raisins and coconut.
  2. Melt your almond bark according to package directions, and pour over the popcorn. Sir to coat completely.
  3. Pour the popcorn onto a waxed paper lined jelly roll pan and sprinkle with your cake crumbs.
  4. Let dry completely before eating.

I’m linked up at these great parties this week: Crazy Sweet Tuesdays, Trick or Treat Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesday, Sweet Treats Thursday, Mrs. Fox’s Sweets, Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons, Itsy Bitsy Paper, Crumbs and Chaos, I’m Lovin’ It Fridays, and Weekend Potluck!

Carrot Cake Ice Cream

carrot cake ice cream 1

Seriously, the best wedding gift we got was our Cuisinart ice cream maker. After nearly eight years of use, it’s still going strong and makes maybe the best ice cream I’ve ever had. And it’s easy-peasy, too, which is perfect for me, because I’d much rather exert energy eating ice cream than making it.

And while I can (and do) eat ice cream year-round, we never make it ourselves other than during the summer months.

Don’t ask me why; I don’t have an answer to that question.

Maybe it’s because I view homemade ice cream as a kind of summer reward, for all of those hot days working out in the yard.  Homemade ice cream just wouldn’t seem “as special” if I made it year-round, you know?

But then maybe one of the best things of my life happened.  All of these recipes for “two-ingredient” ice cream started popping up.  You don’t even have to have an ice cream maker.  I first saw it over at Cookies and Cups, and then Hayley made the prettiest looking bubblegum ice cream I’ve ever seen in my life.

And I knew what I had to do.


carrot cake ice cream2

I just couldn’t believe that you could make really great ice cream with only two ingredients.  But you can.

Okay, so nevermind the fact that I added a ton of other ingredients to this ice cream.  Even if I hadn’t, this stuff was fabulous on its own.  Umm, I may have “taste tested” it a few times as I went along.

Holy creaminess, this ice cream is so, so good.  Whip up some heavy cream, fold in a can of sweetened condensed milk (and any other add-ins you want), and freeze for six hours.  That’s it.

You can totally use a box mix for the cake in this ice cream.  You won’t use the entire cake, but don’t worry, I’ve got a way for you to use up the rest of it tomorrow.  And if you’re going to use a mix, use it to make these cookies instead.  I used four to five (medium to large sized) cookies for this recipe, and I was super pleased with the results.

Yeah, this is what it looks like going into your pie-hole. Do it.

carrot cake ice cream 3

Carrot Cake Ice Cream
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1½ to 2 cups carrot cake crumbles, plus another cup for garnishing
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  1. Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat your cream until stiff.
  2. Fold in your sweetened condensed milk.
  3. Add in remaining ingredients.
  4. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for 6 hours.

If you’re looking for some other carrot cake ice cream recipes, try these from:



I’m linked up at these great parties this week: Crazy Sweet Tuesdays, Trick or Treat Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesday, Sweet Treats Thursday, Mrs. Fox’s Sweets, Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons, Itsy Bitsy Paper, Crumbs and Chaos, I’m Lovin’ It Fridays, and Weekend Potluck!

Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls

carrot cake roll 2

So, I mentioned awhile back that last year for Easter I made like the best carrot cake ever. EVER.

And it’s pretty much been on my mind every day since.  I know, I know–I could make carrot cake any time of the year, but for some reason, I think of it as a springtime yummy.  Sooooooo, I’m taking full advantage of our fabulous spring weather, and I have an entire week of carrot cake recipes lined up for me you.

Interestingly enough, none of the recipes actually require making a carrot cake from scratch.

In fact, I’m not even going to give you a recipe for an actual carrot cake.

Yeah, maybe I shouldn’t really call this “Carrot Cake Week.”  But work with me, here.  Hopefully you won’t be disappointed.

I’m starting the week off with cinnamon rolls, because really, who doesn’t like cinnamon rolls?  Even the Tall Boy loves them, and he doesn’t typically go for sweets at breakfast–or any other time, for that matter.

I know it looks like this recipe has a million steps and is labor intensive, but it really isn’t!  Trust me, I’m not the most patient person in the kitchen, and these were really easy to make.  And if you haven’t tried making cinnamon rolls from scratch before, now is the time to try–these would be perfect for an Easter brunch.  The rolls themselves were not overly sweet,  but I corrected that post-haste by adding a huge gob of frosting on top.

What?  It’s not a cinnamon roll without frosting, is it?  Also, whoever came up with the idea of making cinnamon roll “breakfast food” ought to be sainted.

carrot cake roll 1


Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls
For the Rolls:
  • 1 cup milk, heated in the microwave for 1 minute or until it reaches around 100°F
  • 2¼ tsp (or 1 – 0.25 oz packet) active dry yeast, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup finely grated carrots
  • 1½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
For the Filling:
  • ½ packed cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup golden raisins
For the Frosting:
  • 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Lightly grease a 9-inch round cake pan. Set aside.
  2. Scatter yeast over warmed milk and allow to activate for about 10-15 minutes, or until frothy.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, spices, and salt in a large bowl.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, 1 Tbsp cinnamon, and melted butter. Set aside.
  5. When yeast and milk mixture is bubbly, stir in the applesauce and grated carrots. Add wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until incorporated. Transfer dough onto a clean lightly floured surface and knead until soft and smooth, adding enough extra all-purpose flour (up to 3 tablespoons) to keep dough from sticking, about 2 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Lightly flour work surface again and roll dough out to about ¼-inch thickness, about a 12-inch x 9-inch rectangle.
  7. Sprinkle brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter mixture evenly over the rolled-out dough, leaving about a 1-inch border around the perimeter.
  8. Scatter raisins & nuts evenly over the top and gently push into dough.
  9. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  10. Starting at a short end, carefully & tightly roll the dough jelly roll-style, making sure the filling doesn’t come out at the sides. Gently pinch seam closed. Cut the roll into 8 even pieces and place in prepared pan. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  11. If you're making this ahead, go ahead and refrigerate now, up to overnight. Otherwise, proceed to the next step.
  12. Remove the towel and brush the ½ tablespoon melted butter over the tops of the rolls. Bake rolls at 350°degrees for about 20 minutes, or until lightly golden on top.
  13. While cinnamon rolls are baking, prepare the cream cheese glaze. In a medium mixing bowl, beat all glaze ingredients together with an electric mixer until well-combined and smooth.
  14. Remove rolls from the oven and transfer to a wire rack. Drizzle with glaze and serve warm.
just barely adapted from Healthy Food For Living

I’m linked up at these great parties this week: Crazy Sweet Tuesdays, Trick or Treat Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesday, Sweet Treats Thursday, Mrs. Fox’s Sweets, Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons, Itsy Bitsy Paper, Crumbs and Chaos, I’m Lovin’ It Fridays, and Weekend Potluck!

St. Patrick’s Day Roundup

St.Paddy's Day Collage

Are you wearing your green today?

I hope you’re way cooler than I am and have some actual St. Patrick’s Day plans for the weekend.  Yeah, our plans include watching basketball (fun) and yardwork (not so fun).  We’re living the exciting life around here!  Whether St. Patrick’s Day is your cup of tea or not, I never turn down fun foods or drinks.  Here’s my round-up, if you need some last minute ideas:

  1. The Midori Sour, my all-time favorite drink from my college days.  Ahhhhhhh, sweet memories.
  2. Coconut Irish Cream Truffles are my new best friend.  I can’t tell you how many of these I’ve eaten in the last week.
  3. Mint Brownie Grasshopper Pie in a Jar.  It’s pie.  In a jar.  Made from a brownie mix and cool-whip.  Sooooo easy.
  4. The Shamrock-tini takes only two ingredients, perfect for those situation where complicated drink mixing might just be…well, too complicated.

And here are some other great things I’ve spotted from some of my fave foodie friends–it’s not too late to give some of these a try:

Irish Cream Coffee Cupcakes from The Plaid and Paisley Kitchen

 Triple-Treat Grasshopper Mint Brownies from The Domestic Rebel


Fudge Mint Popcorn from Inside BruCrew Life

Bailey’s Pudding Shots from Crazy for Crust

Thin Mint Diet Coke Single Serve Cake from Something Swanky

Shamrock Shakes from Sugarcrafter

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Whisky Frosting from The Comfort of Cooking

And, if you are looking for another awesome drink idea, check out the Fearless Homemaker’s Mint-Chocolate Chip Cocktail [Read more…]


shamrock tini 1

Whoo-hoo, we made it to Friday!

Not only is it Friday, but it’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend!  Even though I’m not really into celebrating the actual holiday (um, except for imbibing anything that contains Irish cream or mint), I made you a fun cocktail to celebrate.

And, since it’s me making it, this is a drink that tastes like a dessert.

Yeah, yeah, I know it’s not green, but it’s mint-chocolate flavored, so that totally counts as Irish, right?

Also, it only has two ingredients, so it’s easy to make even if you drink one or two too many, if you know what I mean.

shamrock tini 2

  • 2 ounces mint chocolate Baileys
  • ½ ounce vanilla vodka
  1. Add Baileys and vodka to a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  2. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass.
  3. Garnish with green sugar sprinkles and a dusting of cocoa powder, if desired.

Have a totally marvelous, rainbow filled weekend!