Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chocolate-Covered Candy Cane Cookies

Once in a while, I like to make things with spectacular alliteration. It's just good business.

These are actually listed as Half Hearted Valentine's Cookies in my mom's cookie cookbook (I have no idea what the name is, and I couldn't find it online) that has recipes from tons of national brands - I found the recipe online here, and the recipe from Land O' Lakes is here, they are the national brand that put these in the book. So, people, go there. I'll feel guilty if you don't.

Who am I kidding? I have no e-feelings. Just make some cookies and we'll call it square.

Since it's winter and all, and nowhere near Valentine's day, I made these babies into candy canes, since they're flavored with peppermint.

Original Recipe:

Half Hearted Valentines Cookies

3/4 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter

In large mixer bowl, combine all cookie ingredients except flour. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until light and fluffy. Add flour, beat until mixed. Divide dough into halves. Wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.

Heat oven to 375 F. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out with floured heart shaped cutters. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until edges are very lightly browned. Remove immediately; cool completely.

For glaze, in a small saucepan, melt chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally, over low heat until melted (4 to 6 minutes). Dip half of each heart into chocolate.

Refrigerate on waxed paper lined cookie sheet until firm. Store covered, in refrigerator.

This recipe from CDKitchen for Half Hearted Valentine Cookies serves/makes 3.5 dozen

These cookies are fantastic! I made them with half whole wheat flour instead, and accidentally put a whole package of cream cheese in, so had to double the recipe and got a million pounds of batter out of it. I'll be making these for the rest of the month.

I started off by dipping the top of the canes in the chocolate, but figured it might look prettier if I dipped the bottoms. These cookies almost taste like a shortbread, but are lighter - probably due to the influx of cream cheese (whoops). For the rest of the batter, I might try holly (thanks to MrsBones, my elf for the WC holiday exchange, I have a bucket of new cookie cutters!) and put some berries on them. Or, gingerbread people with pants. And not made of gingerbread. Or something.


Monday, November 30, 2009

More things for my phantom baby.

You really can't keep me away from CBB, as hard as you try.

EggBaby's striped one-piece.

Their maternity's not to shabby, either.

And, some fun bedding.
Hoohobbers has fabric that I want.


Back to reality now. Chances of me having kids in the next year get slimmer every day. I wish my waistline was getting slimmer with those chances as well...alas, I have been eating my feelings lately. They just taste so damn good.

Friday, November 20, 2009

More stuff for my living room!

I have the picture of what I want to do with the west wall at home, so I'll upload that later.

In the is the north wall, again:

And here is what I'd like to do. I want to put two swing-arm plug-in wall lights on either side of the window. I want to stick with a base in the black family, as I think that's what will go best with the white window trim and the tan-ish wall color.

I have the following lamps (, love love love) picked as inspiration:

I'd also like to do a rug that's bigger than the brown one there, because my furniture is bigger now and needs a rug to match, and also because there's enough brown - I need some color. (clicky pic for more views!)

The blue one would be nice. I may head over to a flooring place to see if they have any remnants of nice light-colored rugs that they can edge or whatever you call it and I can have for less than $800, TYVM.

I'd also like some pillows to add color to the couch.

Mmm, corduroys.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Living room help needed!

Ok, so I have new furniture in my living room (relatively it earlier this year). I haven't put anything on the walls yet, except for 2 stars, because I'm deathly afraid of the walls falling down. They are plaster, and yes, have fallen before (half of the bathroom is drywall, part of one bedroom wall as well, and the ceiling almost fell on my mom so that went too!). **I fixed the pictures. Sorry about that.**

So, I think I know what I want it to look like, but I need some help. I currently have this:

↑This would be the west wall of the living room. See the wall? Bare. And the couch is low, so I need some stuff to put up there. Also, instead of the lamp and end table on the side, I want something else. I'd like to put a DVD shelf there, one that holds arond 200 because that's what we have now. It might need a lamp, obviously, but I'll figure that out after the DVD shelf.

↑Here's the front of the living room; north wall. See that floor lamp? Can't stand it there. I want wall lamps, and they have to be the plug-in type. I actually already have a portfolio at, which shows what I want. I just want to know which one to pick!

↓This would be the corner with the stars - I'd move a star for the wall light, duh.

SOOOOOOO...I'm trying to find a place where I can make polyvore-type boards for houses, so I can see what it all looks like together, with the lights I want, and the shelves I want from tar-jay, and the photo collages I want to put on the walls (hopefully without fallage). Any suggestions? Things that would go well? Anything?

Oh, and FYI, yes I did buy my dog a Snuggie.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

mmm, cute fabric.

This is way too cute. There are also cowboy ones, and different colors with kangaroos, but this is my fave. Just the right amount of pink not to be obnoxious.
Bloume Baby has the cutest stuff. Its prices are a little on the high side, but if you find that special item (like a kimono sweater), so worth it.

One more thing:

WANT THAT NOW! Heck with future kids, can I just display the toys at my house? I already have a viewfinder.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


In husband news, we've had a couple of talks (more to come, I'm sure!) and things are slowly getting better. He actually cuddled with me this morning in bed. And, he didn't touch my butt. That's a sure sign of I-want-morning-sex from him, and I was so happy I didn't have to turn him down, lol.

My chart had a fun little dip, which was somewhat odd. I was wondering if it's because the wieners have been waking me up at 6 when I normally get up at 7, but that really shouldn't matter. It only started this weekend, which coincided with daylight savings time (aka, the work of Satan). Apparently, wiener dogs + DST = tragedy for my 6-7am hour.

I also started checking cervix position (yes, I found it! it's not lost!), which is, ok, very odd and sometimes gross. Mostly because it goes along with checking CM, which, you can shoot me here, but totally disgusting. It's like checking how your snot looks every day. Checking the 'vix for firmness? Finding the opening? A bit unusual to me. I won't bring up the sea anemone metaphor again.

So, the schedule for babymaking has again changed, mostly because I am consigned to the fact that hubs is, at the least, PMS-y during school and very non-attentive to his lovely wife. And I'm going to need all the attention I can get when KU, just because I said so. I'm also going to need lots of Viva's creamy italian dressing, whopper jr's with cheese, and reading roll. Sooooo...we're now back to my original plan of April of 2010. Whee! That will give me some time to pay off my massive amounts of cc debt (thanks, wedding and new house) and finish up the small projects I want to do around the house (I see you, unpainted headboard and scarce living room lighting...oh, and blank walls, shut it).

Who wants to take bets about if this schedule holds?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Almost forgot!

I'm on cycle 2 now! Finally got AF, after 10-12 days of LP. FF and I disagree on that, mostly because of my weirdness in the CM department, but I'll be able to resolve that (hopefully) this cycle. I found the lost cervix, so that will help.

Oh, and AF? It only lasted 3-ish days, (almost) no cramps, barely anything. I don't remember this from when I was 16, but mayhap, just mayhap, I am not one of those women whom AF likes to target with its cruise missle-like symptoms.

Or, AFKarma is going to get me next time. ::shudders::

Oh, the Bump.

You make me LOL. Literally.

First, with your random boards popping up. Attachment Parenting provides endless hours of entertainment (though not the fun kind like 1st Tri; the educational "will I screw up my phantom kids?" kind) and Photography - well, we'll see with that one I guess. But Baby Names? Priceless. The ever-present debate on whether or not it's a boy's name is always a thing of beauty.

Second, with your "Is It Safe?" page.

Although, I'm so bookmarking that page for later. It may come in handy when I consume a fingernail-full of feta.

Oh, and also, I have a follower! Yay! I have to go check out who it is now...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Soups on!

Since soups are a big favorite of mine in the fall, I thought I'd recap soups I've done and those I hope to do in the coming months!

Last week I made a HUGE pot of Pasta e Fagioli ala Rachel Ray, which, although it differs from most of the pasta e fagioli I've seen in restaurants, is my favorite recipe for it. Mine is more like a pasta dish however - I always overdose on the pasta!

Another favorite of mine is Tyler Florence's Corn Chowder. It filled my dutch oven to the brim, and was spectacular. I can only imagine how much better it would have been with fresh corn, yum.

Broccoli-Cheese soup - I got this as part of a recipe exchange, and loved it, but thought I could do better next time, so hopefully this is one of the items I'll get to make again this season.

The soups I am looking forward to making this season:

Black bean and bowtie soup (this is basically black bean vegetable soup with farfalle; one of the ladies at church brought this in a while back and I looooved it)

Homemade chicken noodle soup (did this once, with broth and anelli, but looking to do it again with homemade chicken stock!)

Beef Barley soup (probably won't be a favorite of hubs, but I've always wanted a great, simple recipe for this)

Do any of you, out there in cyber-inter-web-land, have any great soup suggestions? What is your favorite soup for cold weather?

Friday, October 16, 2009


I am so so sorry I haven't been updating. I have been a bad blogger. But I have some darn good excuses! My lack of blogging is proportional to the amount of work I have been doing offline...I've actually made things, but they're old recipes that are already here! But don't worry, I have good things in the works:

Monday: I made chicken noodle soup for the first time! It was cheater noodle soup in a way though - picked up a rotisserie chicken from the store on the way home. I used these babies (anelletti), and chicken broth, onions, carrots, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, and a touch of rosemary. It wasn't incredibly impressive, it could have been more flavorful - but it sufficed to keep the chill away for a little bit.

Last night: Applesauce Spice Muffins, mmm mmm good. I filled the mini muffin pan almost three times (60 mini-muffins!) and made 12 big muffins to take to work. They taste just like applesauce. Post to come!

Tonight: will be prepping to make two bundt cakes this weekend. Will not be putting flower pots in the middle. Then, GREEK FESTIVAL!!!! Then, possibly going to drop food off/see my best friend and her kids. Small wonder is 6 weeks old! She's a cutie.

Saturday: wake up as early as freaking possible, make Chocolate Pumpkin Marble Cake for the bake sale Sunday, then make Pear Cake for a family reunion this weekend. *whew*

Sunday: set up for a 'Fall Fest' at church, run the bake sale, rush home, pick up hubs, go to reunion, and then MAYBE take a nap. LOL.

Monday: I have off!!! I'm going to drop my poor doggie off for some tests (he's peeing like a fountain on everything), then bake some stuff for my meeting that night. Hopefully I'll get to decorate the house for Halloween as well.

Next Saturday: make mac 'n' cheese for small wonder's baptism party, make cake for yet another meeting. If I'm going. Haven't decided this one yet. Oh and make cake/cookies/etc for coffee hour at church.

Next Sunday: Teach Sunday School, do coffee hour, run to small wonder's baptism party, maybe go to church talent show, maybe go to meeting.

Holy crap. Remind me again why I say yes to everything?

Monday, October 5, 2009

I have a meeting with a gyro and a couple of loukoumades.

Extra points if you say "yee-roh" instead of "jai-roh."

Greek Festival!!

Yeah, you heard me. Greek Festival. Every year, the Greek Orthodox church nearby holds a spectacular food-o-rama. Baklava, gyros, souvlaki, dolmades, pastitsio, loukoumades, the list goes on and on. And (wait for it) they're open until midnight this year. There *might* be some ouzo involved.

That's a full 12 hours of partying, PA Greek-style. Oh yum. The possibilities. I'm so sorry turkey-day challenge, you will need to be postponed due to fantastical deliciousness.

And just to show that I'm actually trying to get back into the swing of cooking...I'll be making pasta e fagioli tonight. I'll take pictures! Don't fret!

My newest lunchtime want & CD27

These are way too cool. I want them for me, screw the kids. ; )

Reusable Snack Baggies

Way too cool! did this happen?

Eh? nothing? how freaking long is this going to last?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

add another one to the list of things I want to buy now

or...another two...whatever.

because I wanted a my little pony, not a little brother (sorry, bro)

because...I carried a watermelon???

This is fantastic.

A portable food-masher for baby food. Hysterical.

I saw this on CBB and couldn't resist adding it to my collection of blogable baby things. When I went to their website, however, it piqued my interest. Juvenile Solutions, not a wonderfully pretty name like some baby sites, at first glance has a lot of baby-feeding accessories. I saw among other things the baby food masher, freezer containers for food, and (brace yourself) a cow-themed dining set. Priceless. I wonder if hubs would think I'm crazy if I buy it now...after all, I already have the diaper bag.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pasta from Roma

My sister recently spent some time overseas as part of a semester abroad program, and brought me back some pasta. I got a nice apron too, with all different kinds of pasta on it.

I told her I'd make the pasta and take pictures of it and put it online - and I believe she actually came over and had some of this particular dish.

So, a couple months late, here you go!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Paula's Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

We had a going-away party for two coworkers last week, and I volunteered (as usual) to bring dessert. It is, after all, the most important meal of the day. I'm sure the people who make that food pyramid thingy will come to realize this in time.

I decided to pick a new recipe, one that I hadn't tried before, and my cans of pumpkin were calling my name (and maybe gathering dust), so I chose Paula Deen's pumpkin gooey butter cake. My mom made this last year for T-day, and I only remembered that it was good, so I figured it would be a nice addition to the work spread.

Paula Deen's Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

Recipe courtesy

Ingredients & Directions:

1 18 1/4-ounce package yellow cake mix
1 egg
8 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan. Prepare Filling

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 16-ounce box powdered sugar

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar and mix well. Spread over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to over bake as the center should be a little gooey.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Ease of preparation: easy

Oh gosh, was this good. I got somewhat cautious about the center not being done, because each time I jiggled the oven rack, it still looked watery, so I may have overcooked it just a bit. Instead of "gooey," the center was sort of just moist. But oh my word, the sugar. The pumpkin. The cream cheese.

Confession: I used a can of pumpkin pie mix, I think it was the only thing I had left, so I didn't add the spices - it may have been better or worse for this, but I really can't say until I make it again, hehe. Served this with two kinds of whipped cream, the CoolWhipfrozen stuff, and the CoolWhipbrand-in-a-can style, just for comparison. I'm sure you know which turned out better - coolwhipinacan lost miserably to the favorite of pumpkin pie aficionados the world over. Didn't stop me from trying both. And squirting the canned version directly into my mouth (after everyone else was done, of course).

Sorry for the bad picture, I was in a hurry again and didn't get to take a pic with my real camera! This was almost the last piece of the cake, it went fast:


In the category of more stuff to suck in your tummy,

I give you The Cinch.

In the grand tradition of the Bella Band, the Be Band, Spanx, and all other items made to squish all your parts that like to hang out back in, comes the Cinch. I think this is the one that a friend of mine actually recommended, but now I'll have to check! Sounds intriguing, but does it really do all that stuff it says it does? I'm only convinced if Mama Duggar tries it out.

Friday, September 18, 2009

apparently, it's baby crack.

And yes, I was lurking on 0-6 this morning.

The Homedics SoundSpa Lullaby Machine. It plays traditional baby lullabies, and also has settings for ocean and rain sounds. If it works as well as they say...maybe I should buy it to drown out hubs' snoring.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

mmm, cream for boobies.

It's a good thing, apparently.

I'm on day 9 of charting, and I have to say, my chart does look mighty pretty. Little ups and downs, and I kept waking up every 3 hours the first two nights of temping, but all in all, not too shabby. I'll update as things progress.

Friday, September 11, 2009


What do I do now?!?! I guess I'll have to go to lunch.

Or...browse babyGap, since apparently they now have bedding, sippy cups, and high chairs (oh my).

I might die of :wantthat: overload.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

I told one of my coworkers I made this and she said "you ruined perfectly good zucchini bread by putting chocolate in it?" - my husband said the opposite; "you put zucchini in there? with chocolate?" It didn't matter when I told him the zucchini magically disappeared, he was already biased. That's ok; more for me!

(pictures to come, when I get a free second and ok lighting!)

Chocolate Zucchini Bread
1 1/2 cups shredded raw zucchini (about 1/2 pound or 227 grams)
1 cup (140 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (45 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted (not Dutch-processed)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup (120 ml) safflower or canola oil
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 cup (105 grams) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (125 grams) semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Grease (or spray with a nonstick vegetable spray) a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pan. Set aside.

Grate the zucchini, using a medium sized grater. Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, and ground allspice. Set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the oil, sugars, eggs, and vanilla extract until well blended (about 2 minutes). Fold in the grated zucchini. Add the flour mixture, beating just until combined. Then fold in the chocolate chips. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the bread has risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 to 65 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove the bread from the pan and cool completely.

Makes one - 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf.

This bread turned out fantastically, with a somewhat crispy crust and a moist inside. I didn't have ground allspice, so I took a whole one and attacked it with my microplaner - it smelled soooo good. However, there is a little discord with something in my recipe - it tastes a little, maybe, salty? Almost like there wasn't enough sugar. I did sub 3/4 of the flour with whole-wheat flour, so maybe it's just an adjustment to that.