Turtle Caramel Pretzels

This was the easiest, tastiest treat. As you can see, I had a little helper so this is something quick and fun you can do with the little dudes and dudettes. I got this from the ladies at Our Best Bites. So. Yummy!

Bite sized pretzels
A bag of Rolo caramel candies (about 55 in a bag)
Pecans (You can really top these with anything you like, get creative!)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with Parchment paper. Place pretzels on paper and top each one with an unwrapped Rolo.

2. Bake for 3 to 4 minutes, just until the Rolo's are a bit shiny and still holding their shape.
3. Press pecan halves into tops of Rolo's and allow to cool and dry before storing.
4. Share and Devour.



Anyone interested in a blog swap with me? I've never done one so I'm a swap dummy but Id like to try! Hit me up in the comments or email me at [email protected].

ok. for those of you who don't know, you and another blog basically "feature" eachother for a day. you write a bit about yourself, your blog and attach photos of your projects/kids/crafts/recipes etc. Its just a way to get your name out to more people.

Here are a few photos from the Balloon Festival we attended this weekend. It was so much fun! We just hung out on the grass watching the boys play and hot air balloons just kept floating up above our heads.  My husband and I decided we are going to try to go for a ride together some time.

Link Party

Let's try this again, shall we? I messed up the type of party. It's so much more interesting with photos, don't ya think? Link back up if you were on the last list. (Ahem, LACEY.)

I think it's about time to host another link party! I have so many great followers with all different types of blogs and I want you all to be able to hook up together!


I still haven't decided on a link party button, so if you want to use one, grab the groupie button up there. Otherwise, this is a true rock star link party; NO RULES. Link to your blog itself, a post you've done this week or one in the past that you just want to share to a new crowd. Try to visit the other blogs, and follow them and/or comment if you like. No pressure!


Chocolate Cherry Cookies

Another super yummy, super easy creation from the Betty Crocker website. I want to make these again and play with the flavors a bit. Like replacing the cherry with a hazelnut flavor!


1 pouch Betty Crocker® double chocolate chunk cookie mix
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons water
1 egg
1/4 cup almonds, finely chopped
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (from 12-oz. bag)
1/4 cup whipping cream
36 maraschino cherries, from 2 jars, drained, pat dry


1.Heat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, stir cookie mix, oil, water and egg until soft dough forms. Stir in almonds. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls

2. inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Place 1 cherry on each cookie. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Cool 1 minute before removing from cookie sheet.

2.Meanwhile, in small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips and cream uncovered on HIGH 30 to 45 seconds; stir until smooth. Spoon generous teaspoon on each cookie and spread over cookie. Allow chocolate to set until firmed; about 30 minutes.

The Summer Is Winding Down

I have ants in my pants waiting for fall to get here! We were living on the beach in NC for a couple years and I missed these Midwestern falls so much!

We've opted not to send Jack to preschool so I don't have any fun "Back To School" business to share, but here are some shots I took last night when the boys and I went out for a walk.

Summer Squash

I am aware that the photo is pretty bad, but I was entertaining and in a rush. I assure you this tastes wonderful though!

3 meduium yellow squash, sliced
2 medium zucchini, sliced
1 medium red onion, sliced into rings (I used a white onion this day.)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tablespoon olive oik
1 teaspoon dried parsely
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shredded mozarella cheese

1. In a large non stick slikket, sautee the squash, zuchinni, garlic and onion until crisp-tender, stirring occasionally.
2. Stir in seasonings and remove from heat. Sprinkle with cheese; cover and let stand until cheese melts.


I'll Bite, Round 2

Going to revisit this post .

Any question answered, Ask away Dolls!
Just leave it in the comment section below and I'll answer them in a post.

addendum: No questions from anonymous posters. This means you, stalkers.

.Fire Away.


Hello Cheekies!

Just a quick "Hello" to all of you visiting my blog via the feature on
Chubby Cheeks Thinks!
Big thanks to KIM for the feature =)

Chipotle Rice Casserole

This was a super tasty change for a taco night side dish. It has a smoky flavor that I loved and just the right amount of heat.


1/2 cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice
1 cup water
1 jar (7.25 oz) roasted red bell peppers, drained, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 can (15 oz)  black beans, drained, rinsed
1 can (11 oz)  whole kernel corn with red and green peppers, drained
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, drained
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped
1 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 plum (Roma) tomatoes, sliced

1. Cook rice in water as directed on package. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray 8-inch square (2-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix roasted peppers, beans, corn, diced tomatoes, cilantro, chipotle chiles, 1/2 cup of the cheese and the cooked rice.

2. In saucepan, heat oil over low heat. Stir in flour, using wire whisk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Gradually stir in milk, broth, cumin and garlic salt. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir about 1 minute or until slightly thickened. Stir into rice mixture in bowl. Spoon mixture into baking dish.

3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly around edges. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Arrange tomato slices on top. Bake 5 to 8 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.
Recipe via Pillsbury


Peanut Butter Pie

I saw this on Southern Plate last week and ran to the kitchen to make it, only to realize I was almost out of powdered sugar. BOO! So, I had to make it the following day instead. It was worth the 24 hour wait, for sure ;)
I modified the recipe just a touch, adding a recipe for Vanilla Whipped Cream for the topping instead of the suggested meringue.

9in deep dish pie shell
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 cups milk
2/3 cup sugar
dash salt
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs, separated
4 tablespoons corn starch
Vanilla Whipped Cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Bake empty pie shell according to directions. In a small bowl, place powdered sugar and peanut butter. Cut sugar into peanut butter with a fork until mixture is crumbly. Place half of mixture in bottom of baked pie shell, reserve remainder.

2. In a pot, place egg yolks, milk, 2/3 cup sugar, vanilla, salt, and cornstarch. Cover over medium to medium low heat until thick, stirring constantly. Pour over peanut butter in pie crust. Sprinkle half of remaining peanut butter crumbles on top. (The rest goes on top of each piece after topping with whipped cream.)

3. Bake at 325 for thirty minutes. Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Vanilla Whipped Cream
1. Chill beaters and bowl for 15 minutes.
2. Combine all ingredients and beat until stiff peaks form.


Chicken and Stuffing Casserole

This is one of those simple, brainless dinners you can keep on hand when you just don't have the energy for cooking. I used to make this a lot when Bill was in school.

1 (10oz) can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup American cheese (the recipe calls for cubes but you can sub. shredded)
4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into strips
1 (6oz) package of cornbread stuffing mix
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Bring soup and milk to boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir half cup of soup mixture into beaten eggs; add egg mixture to saucepan. Stir in American cheese and then reduce heat to low.
2. Cook, stirring until cheese melts. Grease a medium casserole dish and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare stuffing according to package directions. Spoon into bottom of casserole.
3. Place chicken strips over stuffing, pour soup mixture over chicken. Cover with foil.
4. Bake casserole about 25 minutes. Sprinkle with Cheddar cheese and back uncovered another 5 minutes, or until Cheddar is melted.


I give up

OK, I've been sitting here staring at the Hello Kitty sewing machine that my husband bought for my birthday, 2 years ago. I made some matching PJ pants for him and Jack that Christmas and haven't had the time, or the confidence to break it out again.
I keep seeing all these wonderful tutorials on my blog roll and I think I've decided to just give sewing another go. Where I'll find the time, I don't have a clue.

But it's too cute not to be using ;)


Pepper Steak

This is a dish my mom used to make when we were kids, so long ago that I was still eating meat then!

1 1/2 lbs steak (any cut, as long as it's thin.)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, sliced into rings
1 green pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 cup beef broth
2 Tablespoons Tabasco Soy
Salt to taste
Hot cooked rice

1. Heat oil in medium skillet and add steak. Cook until browned.
2. Add onion, garlic, black pepper and seasoning salt. Cook until onion is tender.
3. Add green peppers and broth and cook for 3-5 minutes.
4. Add soy sauce and simmer 2-3 more minutes.
5. Serve over rice.


Stepford Syndrome

When I started blogging, it was with a completely different blog and it had completely different content. It was open only to myself and a few friends and it was me trying to journal my way through the hell that is Post Partum Depression. The name of that blog was Stepford Syndrome, which is what I called it when I was struggling with feeling as though everything in my life had to be just right. I had to look like the mothers in the movies, I had to smile, have a clean home and be the perfect wife; maiden and Madonna. All this while I was having horrifying visions of putting my head through mirrors and jumping off balconies. Oh yes, lets keep in mind Nathan was born in November, so all of this was going on while I was trying to entertain family and be cheery for my 3 year old's sake during the holidays.

That $^*! is draining!

But, I got through it somehow. It took a lot of time, patience and love but I made it through the other side alive and with MOST of my sanity in tact.

Here I am, about 4 months "recovered" and suddenly, I'm finding that Stepford idea creeping up on me again.

I've been keeping incredibly busy and it's made me so very happy. But damn, I am TIRED. The quest for perfection is an endless, exhausting battle. So why do I keep trying to reach it?

Anyone else ever find themselves here?

♥ Nathan is sleepy these days too. Teething is hard work!

Boy approved cookies

These were a hit with my boys, my husband and Jack's little BFF, Lennon. It's a super simple recipe from BettyCrocker.com

Jumbo Childhood Fantasy Cookies
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® oatmeal chocolate chip cookie mix

1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® peanut butter cookie mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs
1 cup milk chocolate chips (I used semi sweet chunks)
1 cup candy-coated peanut butter pieces (aka. Reese's Pieces)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted if desired (...and I omitted these)

1.Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl stir cookie mixes, butter and eggs until soft dough forms. Stir in chocolate chips, peanut butter pieces and walnuts.

2.On large ungreased cookie sheets, drop dough by scant 1/4 cupfuls about 2-inches apart. Bake 13 to 16 minutes or until light golden brown.

3.Cool 1 to 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.


More Coffee, Please

I'm a busy girl today! I'm trying out 3 new recipes in one day. I just found this BluntCard saved on my computer and thought I would share it with you. Hope everyone is having a good week!



Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes

With Cream Cheese Frosting.....

And with Marshmallow Icing.


So I've made these twice in 2 weeks. I wanted to play with the recipe a bit after the first time, and I also wanted to try it with a marshmallow icing. Aren't the marshmallows the best part of sweet potato casserole? I've included the recipe for both frosting's for you, give em' both a go! These are reminiscent of carrot cake in flavor.

♥ You will need foil cups for this recipe. If you would like bigger cupcakes, fill the cups 2/3 full and place them directly on a baking sheet. No muffin/cupcake pan needed! ♥

Don't forget to grab my new button on the right sidebar! Wear it proudly, faithful groupies!

1 cup finely chopped pecans (optional, of course)
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
4 large eggs
1 15-oz.  can mashed sweet potatoes
2/3 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons orange zest (optional)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Place pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan. Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted, stirring once after 4 minutes.

3. Beat sugar and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition.

4. Whisk together mashed sweet potatoes, orange juice, and vanilla extract. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with sweet potato mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. (Too much mixing and the batter will toughen up. You want it to stay thick and fluffy.) Fold in toasted pecans and orange zest. Place foil baking cups in muffin pans, and coat with vegetable cooking spray; spoon batter into cups, filling two-thirds full.

5. Bake at 350° for 28 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove immediately from pans, and cool 50 minutes to 1 hour or until completely cool.
Adapted from Southern Living

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 16-oz. package powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended; stir in vanilla.
Marshmallow Icing:
2 egg whites
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/3 cup cold water
1 1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1. Put egg whites, sugar, water and syrup in top of double boiler. Beat until mixed well. Place over rapidly boiling water. Beat constantly with electric beater while it cooks for 7 minutes or until it will stand in peaks when beater is raised. Remove from heat.
2.Stir in marshmallows and vanilla. Beat until they melt.

Sister Sister Sunday


New Look!

You should all break out of that Google Reader frame for a minute and come take a look at my new blog design!!

Huge(!) thanks goes out to Kassie at designsbykassie.blogspot.com/ for the new look!


Stuffed Pizza Rolls

This is a super easy recipe for pizza rolls you can make 50 different ways in about a half an hour. You can stuff it with anything you want, just chop it up small enough to fit. They even make diced pepperoni that fits just right!

1 roll of refrigerated pizza dough
2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon olive oil (or melted butter)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
mozzarella cheese
your favorite pizza toppings, chopped
marinara sauce for dipping

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll pizza dough out to about 12in by 8in, then cut into 24 squares. Fill each square with mozzarella cheese and your favorite pizza toppings toppings.
2. Bring ends together and pinch to form a ball. Place seam side down in a greased pie pan.
3. Brush tops with butter/oil and season with garlic and Italian seasonings.
4. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

**Fair Warning** You're going to want to make 2 batches of these. They go quick.

Recipe from ourbestbites.com


Flashback Friday

That's my cousin and I at our aunt and uncles wedding. I wish I knew what year for sure but I'm thinking like, 1981 or 1982. Look at my hair! So girly.

The fun part about this photo is that he is getting married next month and his daughter and Jack will be the ring bearer and flower girl.

Flashback Friday Button


Darling Nicci's Petit Fours

I made these for Nicci last weekend. She's never had a petit four before and I was aghast! This is only because petit fours have always been my most favorite dessert. If I had it my way, we'd have had a tower of them instead of a wedding cake.  As it were, my cake was pretty amazing, see?

But that's beside the point. Back to the wondrous petit four. You've noticed I never do fruit based desserts, and that's because my husband hates fruit. Sad face. So I knew when I was going to bake for Nicci, it would be my chance to sneak in some sort of fruit.
I decided to make Strawberry & Cream Petit Fours.  Naturally, you can play with flavors and fillings with these. I filled the cakes with strawberry preserves and did a pink icing with a dollop of vanilla buttercream.
These are not, by FAR, the prettiest petit fours I've done, but considering we had 3 little boys under 4 between the 2 of us running amok, I think they are all right.
Wow, I've done a lot of talking about these little cakes, haven't I? Told you, they are my favorite!
♥ Note: You will need a candy thermometer for the icing recipe I've used. ♥

Hot Milk Sponge Cake
2 Eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbls butter
1. Grease a 9x9x2 baking pan (which I don't have. I use a regular 13x9 cake pan.) In a small bowl, beat eggs with mixer at high speed for about 4 minutes or until thick and lemon colored.
2. Gradually add sugar and beat at medium speed 4-5 minutes or until sugar dissolves. 
3. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to egg mixture and stir with spoon just until blended.
4. In small saucepan heat milk with butter until the butter is melted. Stir into batter and mix well. Turn into baking pan.
4. Bake at 530 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, turning pan halfway through, until done.  Set aside to cool

Once cool, cut the cake into 4 sections and then cut each section in half lengthwise. Using a pastry brush (or your hands) gently brush all the crumbs off the cake surface.  On the bottoms of each section, spread the filling of your choice, then replace tops. Cut into small squares and place on a rack that has been set atop the baking pan. (This is to catch and re-use the icing.)

Petit Fours Icing
3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups hot water
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla
About 2 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
Food coloring (Drops, not gels)
1. In 2 quart saucepan, combine granulated sugar, hot water and cream of tartar. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover, clip candy thermometer to saucepan. (Note: make sure thermometer tip is submerged but don't let it sit on the bottom of the pan, your reading wont be correct.) Cook until temp reads 226 degrees.
2. Remove from heat and cool at room temp until thermometer reads 110 degrees.  Stir in vanilla. Stir in enough powdered sugar to make it a pourable consistency. Tint with food coloring and spoon over pieces, allowing to dry after each coat. I usually do at least 3 coats.


Friendly Reminder:

PleasePlease don't forget to send out your recipes for the swap!!
If you can't, please let me know and I'll be happy to step in for you on your grouping. We want to make sure everyone gets back what they've given out. XOXO

Summer Babies

Just a couple shots of my baby boys enjoying their summer =)

My little fishie Jackson, who is 3 and a half now.

And my little lion, Nathan. Who is about 9 months.


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