Friday, February 28, 2014

Billy Joel and Brownies

My husband is a huge Billy Joel fan. He has been to now four Billy Joel concerts, including the Billy Joel and Elton John concert, which quite frankly, makes me a little jealous. So when I heard that he was on tour again and coming to our hometown, I knew we would be going! We were lucky enough to get tickets to the concert for Christmas, and headed up to Pittsburgh this past weekend to see the concert with my sister and brother-in-law. Now, I am nowhere near as big of a fan as my husband, but I definitely know and like his music. I must say that this concert was excellent. He sounded great and even added in some humor. My favorite part was during "Piano Man" when I swear every person in the stadium was singing. It was really like no "audience now you sing the song lyrics" I had ever experienced before. It was really pretty cool. And, of course, it was nice to get to spend time with James, my sister and her husband. We always have so much fun together!

I had been wanting to try this red velvet-cookies and cream brownie recipe for a while, so I decided to make and bring them with us to share! This way I got to try a new recipe and could ensure that I would not eat the entire pan (it's been known to happen)! They were definitely a hit!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Butternut Squash and Kale Oven Risotto

I have been trying to incorporate more meatless meals into my weekly dinner planning, and this oven risotto was a great addition.  Packed full of vegetables, it makes for a filling meal that was pretty easy to prepare.  Cooking the dish in the oven eliminates the time spent standing at the stove, slowly adding in liquid to the rice, and stirring incessantly, which was a welcomed change.  It also allowed me to spend more time sitting and watching the Olympics.  Anyone else totally obsessed with the Winter Olympics?  I just love it.  I can't believe they are almost over. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Skinny Fettuccine Alfredo

Hi All! It is mid-February and about time for me to get back on a semi-decent healthy eating plan, or rather, one that allows for a little bit of baking! I am getting a bit of a late start for 2014 because I decided that this year I would not be on a diet for my anniversary, birthday, and Valentine’s Day. I mean, all I wanted for my birthday was a cake (which I did get) rather than the one measly cupcake that I have requested in past years. But now, time to be better (there is a price to pay for that birthday cake, after all). That is why today I am bringing you one of my favorite lightened up recipes—Fettuccine Alfredo.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day, or You are the Machine Gun of Awesomeness

Happy Valentine's Day!  Or, for those people who hate, don't recognize, don't celebrate, etc. Valentine's Day, Happy Friday!  

These Hershey Kiss Rice Krispie Treats are a project that I actually started about a year and two days ago.  Sometimes, I am a great planner, but other times I don't decide to do something until the last minute.  That was the case with these Rice Krispie Treats.  Last year on the day before Valentine's Day, I decided I just had to make these for my coworkers.  Problem was, I didn't have a funnel to use as the mold.  So I proceeded to go to Walmart, Meijer, the gas station, Walgreens, etc. to look for a funnel that was the right shape.  Alas, all I could find were the funnels that were more angular in shape, and those just wouldn't work.  Needless to say, these yummy treats never got made.

Fast forward about 6 months.  I am visiting my mother-in-law, and there happens to be a Wegmans nearby.  We don't have Wegmans here, but that is where I did all my grocery shopping in college, so I was very (probably over-) excited to go.  While browsing the aisles before lunch, low and behold, what do I find but the perfect funnel to mold these Rice Krispie treats!  So this year, I was prepared.

White Chocolate Cookie Butter Muddy Buddies

Cookie Butter.  White Chocolate.  Really, does it get any better than that?  I have wanted to cook with Cookie Butter ever since I started seeing the myriad of recipes showing up on Pinterest using this ingredient, which previously I was more than satisfied eating right out of the jar with a spoon.  Seriously, have you tried this stuff?  If not, you need to stop reading this blog (but come back later), go to Trader Joe's, and get some of this creamy cookie goodness!!

I was lucky to have a jar of this in my house and to keep my husband's spoon out of the jar long enough to finally put it into a recipe.  *Note* all bets were off after the jar was opened, and it is pretty much gone only a few days later.  Anyway, I had also around the same time decided that I wanted to try to make muddy buddies.  It appears that muddy buddies have been popular for quite some time, but I seriously had NEVER heard of them.  However, I was intrigued as it seemed easy to make with a basically unlimited ability to tailor a basic recipe to try new flavor combinations.  So I settled on two of my favorite things, white chocolate and cookie butter.  I was not disappointed.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Deck the Halls Platter

Yes, I know that it is a bit late for Christmas themed posts, but in my defense, I did start this project before Christmas.  It just took a little longer than I thought!  And hey, now it is ready to go for this year.

I only recently started painting pottery, thanks to a close friend and Groupon.  I have been looking for a new hobby for a while, and I have found that this really allows me to clear my mind...and exercise my perfectionist tendencies in a controlled environment!  

Friday, February 7, 2014

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Welcome to my first blog post!  I decided to start my blogging adventure with this recipe because these are absolutely amazing cupcakes!  Enjoy!

Each year for the past few years, I have hosted a Sibling Thanksgiving for my and my husband's siblings and their families.  This was a tradition that I started in order to establish our own traditions and to carve out some time that we could all spend together without having to worry about the rush that often accompanies the holiday season.  Our Thanksgiving never takes place on the actual Thanksgiving Day--sometimes it is the weekend after, and this year we had it in early January. I look forward to this day every year and cherish the time that we get to spend together cooking, drinking, watching football and catching up!