Thursday, March 31, 2011

Still Raining...and Top 10 Countdown

To say it is still raining is an understatement. Torrential downpour would be a little more appropriate. If Calvin would actually dare to leave our doorstep there would be a good chance he'd be swept away. Yeah, its pretty bad, I'm not loving it. I also hate umbrellas. Mine is broken, so it doesn't open all the way, but its raining so hard I still use it. I look like a winner.  By the time I get my umbrella opened and closed getting in my car I am completely drenched and should have just made a mad dash for cover in the first place. Don't you hate that?

Because I have the rainy time blues, I decided to do a top 10 favorite dessert/sweet countdown. Are you excited?!?!

Please note, these are in no particular order as I don't have the energy to try to rank my #1 favorite dessert of all time...even though obviously that would be the Great Wall of Chocolate...but I will still count down from 10 as the anticipation for #1 will bring added excitement to this post.

You ready?

#10 Sea Salt Brownies
Oh my, I love these, very decadent and rich but the sea salt sprinkled on top balances it.  You should totally try these.

#9 Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes
This frosting Not even kidding.

#8 Ginger Pumpkin Bread
I know its not fall, but...this is just too delicious not to have on the count down. This bread is the reason why I have cans of pumpkin in my pantry at the end of March (I'm also prepared for pumpkin shortages). Whatevs, I'm adding the pumpkin cupcakes too.

#7 The most delicious Chocolate/cream cheese/ strawberry layered cake in the world!
No words.

#6 Flower Pot Ice Cream Cake

I made these with a sweet friend (who I miss very much!) and we had a wonderful ice cream party with our small group! It was so much fun. You must have a party and make these.

This was actually a delicious and easy vanilla almond cake with a delicious buttercream. The actual cake design turned out a little crooked. But lets be honest it holds a special place in my heart. 

I had so much fun making these for a sweet little girl who turned 1! You can see adorable pictures of her here

Nothing better than biscotti with a cup of coffee. Nuff said.

#2 Pretzels!
I know these aren't necessarily "sweet" but they are so much fun to make! I did coat some of them in cinnamon sugar so I'm gonna say it counts!

And here it is...

the anti-climatic #1 sweet that isn't necessarily #1 of anything

It is just a delicious dessert that happens to fall into this post as #1

It is just as delicious as numbers 2-10, not more so, not less so.

So with no anticipation whatsoever here it is...

#1 Chocolate Cupcakes with the most delicious Chocolate Frosting
Chocolate on Chocolate. yes. It is good.

Oh man...I didn't even get to talk about this, this or this! Oh well, another countdown for another rainy day!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rain, Rain Go away...

It's a gray gloomy day outside my window.
Yuck...livin' for the weekend.

So, to make the most of a gloomy day, I made some cookies

I have a problem. You see, I love toppings. All those self-serve frozen yogurt places that are all the rage (is it cool to say all the rage?) right now are dangerous for me. Topping and toppings galore! My frozen yogurt doesn't always turn out too great because I over "top" it...but oh the fun!

So I was making these cookies and adding whatever I could find in my pantry, totally delighted with all the possible "cookie toppings"... when...Bradley stopped me, reminded me of my problem and complained about having to go to the store to by "normal" cookies.  So the end results is simply: Oatmeal, Raisin, Cranberry, Chocolate chip cookies (the cherries, walnuts and coconut were intercepted). They are delicious (and Bradley didn't have to go to the store to by any cookies).

Oatmeal Raisin, Cranberry, Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Brown-Eyed baker

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Dash of salt
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375. Beat butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla extract until well blended. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, stirring just until combined.

Fold in rolled oats, raisins, cranberries, and chocolate chips. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons about 2 inches apart onto a cookie sheet.

Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. Cool 2 minutes and remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, March 28, 2011

I blame it on Florida Sunshine

I haven't blogged in a long time. Having a blog and not blogging makes me feel guilty. But, I blame it on the Florida sunshine. You see, the weather has been quite perfect here. Quite perfect. So basically cooking, baking or blogging has not been as much fun as...well laying in the sun, listening to country music, going to the beach, playing with friends and family, going out to eat, and you know, living the Florida life. Can you blame me?

Today it rained. It didn't just rain, it poured! All day long. Calvin doesn't like the rain. I don't like the rain. My broken umbrella doesn't like the rain. My blog likes the rain.

Unfortunately, I don't have any delicious recipes to share, because of all the sun soaking and restaurant eating, but I still cooked...

...if you count pouring pancake batter on a piping hot griddle. Or rather, Bradley pouring pancake batter on a piping hot griddle while I take pictures and tell him to "pour slower."

The Old Spanish Sugar Mill Grill and Griddle House...quite a mouth full huh?

Quite a delicious mouth full.

What do you think of the beard? Pretty cute

We had to wait 2 hours to make our own pancakes. Was it worth the wait?
Yes. Yes, it was worth the wait.

Come visit. We will eat pancakes together. Lots and lots of delicious the Florida sunshine.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Most Important Meal of the Day...

I have never been one to skip breakfast. As we all have heard, "breakfast is the most important meal of the day." I can never understand how people can function with skipping breakfast or just drinking a cup of coffee. I get all shaky and irritable if I just drink coffee without breakfast (or if I just eat breakfast without coffee for that matter).  Nope, not for me. I have to eat breakfast and then second breakfast. It's true,  if I leave the house for more than 6 hours I take 2 snacks. Once, I forgot to take 2 snacks...lets just say that won't happen again, at least not under Bradley's watch.

One of my favorite meals is oatmeal. I love oatmeal because you can PILE ON the toppings.
Delicious and heart healthy!

Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal

-1/2 Cup Old Fashioned Oatmeal, uncooked
-1 Cup Water
-1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
-1 Granny Smith Apple, chopped
-1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
-1 Tablespoon Water
-1/2 Tablespoon Honey, optional

Prepare oatmeal as directed but and vanilla before cooking. In a separate bowl, combine chopped apple, cinnamon, 1 Tablespoon of water and honey. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir apples so they cook evenly. Microwave for another minute, microwave until apples are cooked through, add more water if needed. When apples are soft, pour over hot oatmeal.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Granola Making

Granola making has turned into a Sunday afternoon ritual. I say "Granola Making" because it makes it sound really involved and fancy...which was what I had just assumed about granola. In fact, it is easy and delicious (I still think its fancy to make your own granola). The perfect activity for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

When I make granola I like to wear my Chacos, take breaks to water my homegrown herbs and pat myself on the back for using honey instead of a pound of sugar.

You should make this. It will make you feel like a health nut. You can wear Chacos if you want. You don't have to though.

Homemade Cinnamon Granola

-4 Cups Old Fashioned Oatmeal
-1 Cup shredded coconut, sweetened.
-1 Cup almonds, coarsely chopped
-2 Tablespoons Cinnamon
-1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
-a dash of cloves (one tiny shake)
-2 Teaspoons Vanilla
-1/2 Cup honey
-1/3 Cup vegetable oil

Dried fruit: 1 cup dried cherries, 1 cup dried cranberries, 1 cup raisins. 

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients. In a large measuring cup combine the wet ingredients and pour into the large bowl, mix well.
2. Spread ingredients on to baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes. Stir on pans. Bake for another 20 minutes.
3. Remove from oven when granola is golden brown. Granola will still feel soft, but it will get crunchy once it cools.
4. Once it cools add dried fruit. Store in an airtight container.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Health and Chocolate

I'm trying to be healthy. I want to eat better, sleep more and take Calvin for brisk walks.

I like exercising with Calvin, because for the first time in my life, someone is more worn out than me. 

I'm sure you've heard that you should eat chocolate every day. Something about heart healthy "flavonoids" (I have no idea what that is, but apparently that is a good thing according to WebMD, the source of all reliable medical information).

So, as a healthy person, who now browses (Martha Stewart does it again!) on a regular basis, I bring you...

Death by Chocolate. 

Okay, so maybe the name doesn't scream "health" and maybe it is loaded with delicious goodness that I can't find on "Whole" but...the health of your overactive sweet tooth will thank me. 

Death by Chocolate
From my college roommate and lots of chocolate covered memories

-1 (13x9) family sized brownie mix
-2 packages of Chocolate pudding (the small boxes)
-1 large container of cool whip
-1 strong cup of coffee
-10-15 crushed oreos, optional

Bake your brownies and prepare your pudding according to the directions. Once your brownies are done poke holes throughout and pour the coffee over top. Using a large spoon or ice cream scoop, layer brownies, pudding, cool whip making sure you have enough cool whip for the last layer. Top with Oreos.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Calvin Goes Camping

This weekend I was at a Ladies retreat with my church. My boys (Bradley and Calvin) went camping. Calvin was so excited about going camping on Friday that he unraveled the sleeping bag and tested it out.

It is hard to be mad that he makes a mess when you know he is just excited.

 He enjoyed his first campfire.

And he slept better than anyone else in the tent. 

Well Good Morning sleepy head!

And the best part was, he didn't even have to break down camp. My kind of camping experience, all of the fun and none of the work!