My 1st Giveaway!

I told you all a few days ago that I had been given the opportunity by a great company to do a giveaway for you.
I am super excited (and a bit jealous given my love of aprons and vintage inspired things,) to get this started!

My readers have a chance to win this ADORABLE "Sweetheart" apron in red.

To win, just head on over to her site and check out the awesome vintage goodness, come back and start making your comments:


  • Followers get TWO entries. Just leave your email address, let me know you are a follower and number your entries for me.

  • Non-followers get one entry. Make sure you leave your email address as well so I can get a hold of you if you win.

  • Facebook Fans get one extra entry

  • One extra entry for each time you Tweet this or post it on Facebook. Just comment with the link. (This is one entry per day, each)

I will announce the winner on Wednesday July 7th, so you have a week to gain those entries.
EXCITED? I know you are. That apron rocks! Don't forget to check out CarolynsKitchen.com for all the adorable matching gloves and garters!

Good Luck


Omelet Croissants

I started making this one sometime last year on the weekends. It's made its move between breakfast and dinner a few times. I was a bit terrified of the term omelet in the title because I wasn't sure I could form it right, but this one is easy peasy.

(makes 2)
3 eggs
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp chicken bouillon granules
1 green onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp finely chopped sweet red pepper
1/4 tsp lemon-pepper seasoning
1/2 tsp butter
2 croissants, split
4 1/2 tsp ranch salad dressing
4 slices Canadian bacon
4 slices Muenster cheese (I usually use Provolone or Swiss)
1/2 cup fresh arugula (or spinach)
4 thin slices of tomato

1. In a small bowl, whisk eggs with water and bouillon and set aside

2. In a small nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook onion, lemon pepper and red pepper in butter until tender.

3. Add egg mixture. As eggs set, push cooked edges toward the center, letting uncooked portion flow underneath, When eggs are completely set, fold omelet in half and cut into two wedges.

3. Spread croissants with ranch dressing. On croissant bottoms, layer the bacon, omelet, cheese, arugula and tomato. Replace tops.

4. Cook on a panini maker or indoor grill for 2-4 minutes or until cheese is melted.


Beautiful Blogger-ness

I got a Beautiful Blogger Award today from the lovely

(OK, no lie, in the middle of typing this, my husband yells at me to turn around and our little Nathan is crawling for the first time. SO PROUD. and so sad. My baby is growing way too fast.)

I got a Beautiful Blogger Award today from the lovey Jess at IROCKSOWHAT. She's totally adorable, even if she does have finger toes.

 Now I'm supposed to tell you 10 things you wouldn't know about me.

  • I'm an Air Force brat. I've lived a lot of places and seen even more.
  • I met my husband in a bar. He the musician, and me the bartender who booked his band to play. It was love at first sight, the truly disgusting kind.
  • I love the snow. LOVEIT. I lived in North Dakots for a while when I was a kid and it was awesome. In fact, we honeymooed in Tahoe in February of 2009. I could move there in a heartbeat. 
  • The last meat I ever ate was at a Boston Chicken when I was 14 or 15. 
  •  I gained over 60lbs with each of my sons. I was large and in charge. I told myself, the bigger the belly, the cuter the baby. And it worked. I lost all of it and then some after the first one for our wedding......
  • Then I got pregnant on our wedding night. Scouts honor. I think we are a reproductive dream.
  • I once lived with 4 band members. Fact: Band boys are dirty and they stink.
  • I love to sing. I went from choir geek to rock godess and I miss it dearly.
  • My father died in a plane crash when I was 13. He was a fighter pilot.
  • I had a nightmare case of Post Partum Depression after my second born. Like, visions of jumping out the window to see how many bones I'd break, hiding in the bathroom planning to get in my car and dissappear, envisioning putting my face through mirrors, crying all day, wanting to give my baby away and drown in the ocean kind of PPD.

Next, I pass this award on to 3 bloggers I adore:

Bodacious Banana Bread

I had planned on making my regular old banana bread this weekend and I ran across this recipe and knew I had to try it out. Thank goodness I did. The whole family ate this one, including the baby. It was delicious.

Banana Bread with Oatmeal Cinnamon Streusel

Bread Ingredients:
5 or 6 over-ripe bananas, smashed up (small to medium)
2/3 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking soda
dash of salt
3 cups cups flour
Streusel Ingredients:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup old fashion oats
1 tsp cinnamon (I was actually out of cinnamon somehow so I omitted this, you can use more or less to your liking)
6 tablespoons cold butter

1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray your loaf pan/pans. (I used parchment paper instead.)

2. Mix bananas, butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla together. sprinkle baking soda and salt around on top of the banana mixture. Then gently stir in flour - just till incorporated. Do not over mix.

3. In a small dish, mix together the dry streusel ingredients. Cut in the cold butter.

4. Add the batter to the loaf pan. Sprinkle the top generously with streusel.

5. Bake until toothpick comes out clean. Mine took about 50 minutes in my crappy oven. I'd suggest to start checking it at 30 minutes.
Recipe from Heidi Bakes

I actually got a text from my husband as I was typing this out that's said "That banana bread was the bomb with my coffee this morning." So there you go. Five stars from Bill.

Go to THIS post for the apron giveaway!


Dear Darling Groupies,

Dear Darling Groupies,
Have I told you how much I love you guys yet? Cuz I do.

Fun things:
  • My new tattoo was featured over at Cupcakes Take The Cake. LOOOOOVE IT.
  • I've got a super fun giveaway coming up. Normally, I'm not into giveaways, but after contacting an amazing vendor to ask for permission to publish a link to her site, she offered one of her goodies. Stay tuned for that.

And feeling inspired by the lovely sisters at Kuzaks Closet, I decided to show off a few of my favorite wedding photos.
It was the best wedding ever, my unbiased opinion of course. This is at the St Regis Resort on Topsail Island, North Carolina on February 15th, 2009.

All images are courtesy of Nicole Dixon. You can visit her site via the link on the right sidebar of my blog. She also shot the photos during labor and delivery of our first son, Jackson. If you are interested, you can see those photos on her website under the Birth section. Bring tissues.

Oh yes! I forgot to show off this! Being rock and rollers, we of course had to have a rock poster in the lobby to welcome people to our wedding. It's in our house now. Amazing.

OK, that's all for now. Promise to get back to things to stuff your face with soon!



Adding to my collection of colorful skin, today I received this little beauty from my husbands longtime friend, Iggy Sweeney at Bodystain Tattoo. Yep. I love baking THAT much.

Do It Yourself Laundry Detergent

I have no doubt that most of you reading this feel like you are constantly doing laundry. I know I do. Not only is detergent not cheap, but my boys both have eczema and are pretty sensitive to dye and perfumes. That means we are buying the stripped down versions of detergent which aren't any less expensive. So, I decided to make my own using the best of several "recipes" i found getting my Google Degree in DIY detergents.
Powdered is the easier of the 2 types to make, so naturally I opted for that.

If you want to try Fels-Naptha instead of Ivory Soap, this is what it looks like.

The soda I used in the first pic is just fine (see the little pile of laundry on it?), but if you want washing soda (virtually the same thing) this is what you are looking for. I've used both interchangeably

1 bar of soap (really it can be any kind you like, just keep it simple.) 
1 cup of washing Soda (Arm & Hammer)
1 cup Borax, 20 Mule Team

I found all three of these at Wal-Mart, the soda and Borax were in the aisle with the detergent.


1. Start by finely grating the soap. I got a 3 bar pack, so I just tripled the recipe and grated all three.
2. Mix the remaining ingredients in a large bowl, add soap and mix well.
3. Store in a container with lid.

4. Use 1 tablespoon for regular loads, and 2 for heavy loads.

Now if you really feel the need for it to smell fruity, you can add a few drops of essential oil. You can also add Oxyclean if you like for big stains.

Borax $2.98
Washing Soda $2.12
Ivory Soap $ 1.07, about $1.50 if you are using Fels.
*I used all the soap, but there is still enough of the powdered ingredients to do this at least 4 more times.




If you aren't a fan of OSU football, don't live in Ohio, or follow Big 10 sports, you are probably thinking something like "What the hell is a Buckeye?" I know, when we moved to Columbus when I was in 3rd grade, none of us had ever heard the term and people looked at us like we were from another planet.
A Buckeye is a nut that fall from trees here in Ohio. They look like this: 

and when the pod opens, they look like this:


More importantly though, the BUCKEYE is the mascot for The Ohio State University. Football is kind of a religious experience around here, and during the season, you wont go much of anywhere without seeing these delights, which are the chocolate and peanut butter version of the nut. Most everyone I know can make these at the drop of a hat:

On Fathers Day, I got the brilliant idea to turn that addicting treat into a cupcake. I call them "Cupeyes." I worked for over 3 hours yesterday making the treat and I wanted to share with you how they came out. I'm pretty proud of them =)

I haven't posted the full recipe because I'm considering selling these later and a lot of my readers are Columbus natives. Below is the recipe for the Buckeyes themselves, however, if you'd like the cupcake and frosting recipe I'll be happy to email it to you.

1 1/2 cups peanut butter
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 cups confectioners' sugar
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips


1.In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter, butter, vanilla and confectioners' sugar. The dough will look dry. Roll into 1 inch balls and place on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet.

2.Press a toothpick into the top of each ball (to be used later as the handle for dipping) and chill in freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.

3.Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler or in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir frequently until smooth.

4.Dip frozen peanut butter balls in chocolate holding onto the toothpick. Leave a small portion of peanut butter showing at the top to make them look like Buckeyes. Put back on the cookie sheet and refrigerate until serving.


Chicken With Rosemary Butter Sauce

Another one of Bill's favorites. The first time I made it he gobbled it up, asked what was in it and said, "Oooooh! THAT'S why it's so good." Another one in regular dinner rotation.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
4 Tbsp. butter, divided
1/2 cups white wine or chicken brother
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook chicken in 1 Tbsp. butter for 4-5 minutes on each side or until juices run clean. Remove from pan and keep warm.

2. Add wine (or broth) to pan; cook over medium-low heat, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan. Add cream and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cook and stir until slightly thickened. Stir in rosemary and remaining butter until blended.

3. Serve sauce over chicken.



I really need this shirt.
Like, reallyreally.

Check out the awesomeness that is bakeanddestroy.net.

p.s. I'm getting my food related tattoo on Friday thanks to a super generous friend and tattoo artist. YAY!

Strawberry And Cream Cupcakes

This weekend I babysat a couple of kids for a friend of mine. It was a bit hectic to double the number of children around here but we made the best of it. One of the "kids" was a 13 year old girl. Being the lone female in this house, I was excited to have another one around. Having assessed her love for pink given the bright pink hoodie she worse the first night, I quickly decided that the following day, we would bake together.
I needed to bake something that wouldn't take too much effort or time away from the task at hand; playing mediator to 3 and 6 year old boys. I found this recipe on good ole Betty Crocker's website and it seemed promising and had good reviews.

1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® white cake mix
1 1/4 cups strawberry-flavored soda pop
Vegetable oil and egg whites called for on cake mix box
Red food color
1 container (1 lb) Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy® cream cheese frosting
Fresh strawberries, if desired

1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups. Make and bake cake mix as directed on box for 24 cupcakes, substituting soda pop for the water and using oil and egg whites. Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes

2. Stir 1 or 2 drops food color into frosting. Frost cupcakes.

That's it!

Her first adventure with a pastry bag

Cute right? The only one I did was the one at the top of the page. She handled the rest. And she even jotted down the recipe to take home on one of my recipe cards.

Be On The Lookout!

Things in the Bullpen: Omelet Croissants, Texan Ranch Chicken Casserole, Spicy Sausage Penne, Italian Chicken, Basil Sirloin, Black Bean Cakes, 2 fun cupcakes, and DIY detergent for a just a few pennies a load.
Thanks for being a faithful fan. Love my groupies =)


Cream Puff Pie

Kind of a cross between a cream puff and eclair, this was a test of my ability to be patient. Like I've said before, I tend to rush through things and this recipe showed me who was boss. I learned good things come to those who wait.  I've added some of my notes, as well as the recipe for an eclair frosting I added to it. If you have time, I recommend adding it too.

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
2 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons hot water
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
4 cups milk
3 (3.5 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1/4 cup chocolate syrup

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2.In a large heavy saucepan, heat butter and water to boiling over medium-high heat. Add flour and reduce heat to low. Cook and stir until it forms a ball and pulls away from the pan. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Beat on LOW and allow to cool a few minutes. (If you have a stand mixer, I suggest using the hook attachment.) Beat eggs in a separate bowl. SLOWLY add eggs to batter, one at a time, beating well, on low after each egg.
This is the part not to rush. The 1st time I did this. I added the eggs too quickly and mixed it all on medium and got a soupy mess. You need the ball to still somewhat hold its shape. In fact, I didn't even add the last half of egg. Just take it slow. The second time, I had to force myself to add some egg, then put dishes away. Add some egg, fold half a basket of laundry. You get the idea.

3.Spread batter in bottom and up the sides of an ungreased pan. You can use a 13x9 or TWO round pans like I did. Just split the batter between the two. It also helps to spray some cooking spray on your fingers as you press the batter into the pan since it is so sticky.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 35 minutes. Cool completely. You may have bubbles in the puff when it comes out and that's totally fine, just push them down like I did.

4. To make the optional icing for the bottom layer: melt the chocolate and 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir in 1 cup confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in hot water, one tablespoon at a time, until icing is smooth and has reached desired consistency. Remove from heat, cool slightly, and drizzle over the puff. I used a pastry brush to paint it on.
5. To make the filling: Place cream cheese in a large mixing bowl. SLOWLY add a small amount of milk and beat until smooth. Then you can slowly add remaining milk. If you rush this, you will end up with a filling that has chunks in it. It will still taste good but wont look smooth. Once combined, add pudding mix and beat until thickened. Spread over cooled shell. Top with whipped topping, and drizzle chocolate syrup over the top.


What's your kitchen missin'?

Much like ANY hobby, cooking and baking require lots of supplies. And of course, they always come out with new stuff and we need em' all.

You should have seen my Bed Bath & Beyond wedding registry. It was FULL of goodies I needed/wanted for the kitchen. However, I was a little uncomfortable and unsure of the protocol on how to politely give out my registry info since I didn't have a bridal shower. I did get 3 awesome items from it though, some amazing new pots and pans, a waffle maker (for Bill to make us waffles on the weekends,) and a Quesadilla maker, which we LOVE.

I was lucky enough that my mother gave me her Kitchenaid Stand Mixer a few years ago. I love that damn thing. Over the years I have been collecting things either buying them myself or as hand me downs. There are of course a few things I lust after......

For starters, I don't have a food processor. Or a blender. I get by with a Magic Bullet but as you know, it's tiny.

I have the worst cutlery collection ever. A hodge podge of restaurant steak knives and leftovers from mom's collections, they are so dull I mash tomatoes with them instead of slice them.  

So, tell me! What's YOUR kitchen missin'?


Slow Cooker Beer Beef Au Jus Sandwiches

I must say, even myself the vegetarian is overcome by the smell of these cooking all day. They were a hit the first time I made them and in the regular rotation now. Bill likes to top these with provolone cheese and hot peppers.

4 lbs beef rump roast
2 envelopes (1 ounce each) dried onion soup mix
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano (I use Italian seasoning)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cans beef broth
1 (12 oz) bottle or can of beer

1. Trim fat from beef and then place roast in slow cooker
2. Combine all remaining ingredients and pour over beef. Cook on HIGH 6-8 hours or until tender.
3. Remove beef from slow cooker. Shred beef with 2 forks, return beef to cooking liquid and mix well. (I usually let it cook another 30 mins or so here but it's not necessary.)
4. Serve on rolls, with a side of Au Jus for dipping.
5. Chow down =)


Easy CookBook gifts

This past Christmas was a rough one. I had a newborn baby, no energy, a very very nasty case of post partum depression and not much money.
I needed a simple, inexpensive gift that I could work on during my sleepless nights and required next to no shopping.

Everyone knows I love to cook and my favorite sous chef is my 3 year old son. He's the best mixer upper and taste tester around!
Here is what I came up with. This is an awesome gift for ANYONE and for any occasion.

Start with a trip to the dollar store. Items you will need:
Mini photo albums (I got mine at 2 for $1.00)
Lined note cards (A buck a pack)
Potholders (2 for a $1.00)
Wooden Spoons (4 pack for $1.00)

I then flipped the covers inside out, and cut scrapbook paper to fit, covered the cheesy beach scenes and replaced the covers.

Next, copy your favorite recipes onto note cards. Since this was technically a gift from my son, I included some silly ones too; "Jacks Favorite Dessert Recipe," then I let him "write" the recipe and I translated it at the bottom, writing in "Marshmallows."

Next, take a cute photo for the cover. My family really gets a kick out of how much Jackson likes to help cook, so I posed that photo above and slid it into the cover. Next, just stick all the recipes in the photo slots. I then paired each book with a cute potholder, tied a spoon with a ribbon and Viola!

And by the way, if any mama's reading this are suffering from PPD, please don't hesitate to contact me if you need a listening ear. All those things you are feeling, are ones Ive had too and I am more than happy to let you vent. Sometimes its easiest to talk to someone we don't personally know. If you aren't comfortable with that, please check out postpartumprogess.com

The Girl Creative Party Blog

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