Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Pineapple Brown Sugar Bars

I follow Kristan on Confessions of a Cookbook Queen. If you don't read her blog, I would recommend it. She is quirky, clever, and she knows how to bake!

A few weeks ago she posted a recipe on her Pineapple Brown Sugar Snack Cakes. 

I am not this huge fan of pineapple. I remember being little and eating around the pineapple in a pineapple upside down cake, because the cake itself tasted so good! 

I thought that this recipe sounded really yummy and I was right!

So I set out to make them for our Memorial Day cookout this weekend.

These bars have a ton of flavor and the crushed pineapple gives the cake great flavor but you do not get huge chunks of pineapple. It almost dissolves into the cake. Also, the brown sugar topping gives that nice crunch on top!

Pineapple Brown Sugar Bars

1 box white cake mix
1 small box of instant vanilla pudding mix
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 x 8 pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, extract and oil. When mixing together fold in the drained crushed pineapple. Spread the batter into your 8 x 8 pan.

In a separate bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle this over the batter mixture.

Place the pan in the oven for 35-40 minutes. Until the edges are golden brown. You should be able to insert a toothpick and moist crumbs come out, but no raw batter. 

Allow the bars to set up and cool in the pan.

Enjoy these yummy bars!

Until next time,


Recipe is adapted from Confession of a Cookbook Queen's Pineapple Brown Sugar Snack Cakes.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Have a Safe & Wonderful Holiday Weekend!

We haven't been too busy this week, but I know we will have a busy holiday weekend.

Here is what our family has been up to!

We hope that everyone has a safe and wonderful Memorial Day weekend!


Until next time,


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies

I definitely have a sweet tooth. I came home from work and decided I had a craving for no bake cookies.

These are easy to make and perfect for the summer, because they don't heat up your kitchen.

Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies

2 cups granulated sugar
5 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
3 cups of quick cook oaks

Over medium heat on the stove, place the sugar, cocoa, butter, and milk in a saucepan. Make sure to keep stirring to help the mixture melt.

Bring mixture to a boil (make sure the entire surface is boiling) then set your timer for one minute. 

Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the vanilla, peanut butter, and quick oats.

Portion out the mixture in tablespoon size mounds on wax paper. Allow time for the cookies to set up before trying to store them.

These are a yummy treat for the summer!

Until next time,


Recipe adapted from the Food Network's Peanut Butter-Chocolate No Bake Cookies

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Happy Hump Day!

In honor of hitting the half-way mark to our long weekend, here is a funny cat picture to get you through the rest of the week.

Until next time,


Friday, May 15, 2015

New Book Recommendations for May

I love a good book. I am on the waiting list for a ton of books, but they all seem to be really popular, so hopefully I will have some more recommendations coming up this summer!

Here are a few of my more recent reads.

Chicagoland Vampire Series by Chloe Neill

"Some Girls Bite" is the first novel in the Chicagoland Vampire Series. This is a fun, spunky series. It's an easy read and quickly gets you attached to the main characters.

Here is a brief description:

They killed me. They healed me. They changed me.

Sure, the life of a graduate student wasn't exactly glamorous, but I was doing fine until Chicago's vampires announced their existence to the world. When a rogue vampire attacked me, I was lucky he only got a sip. Another bloodsucker scared him off and decided the best way to save my life was to make me the walking undead.

Now I've traded sweating over my thesis for learning to fit in at a Hyde Park mansion full of vamps loyal to Ethan "Lord o' the Manor" Sullivan. Of course, as a tall, green-eyed,
four-hundred-year-old vampire, he has centuries' worth of charm, but unfortunately he expects my gratitude—and servitude. Right...

But someone's out to get me. Is it the rogue vampire who bit me? A vamp from a rival House? An angry mob bearing torches? 

My initiation into Chicago's nightlife may be the first skirmish in a war—and there will be blood.

Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas

I wasn't sure at first how I would like this book, but it ended up being a entertaining read. It's a mix of reality TV competitions and medieval fighting. 

Here is a brief description:

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.
Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.
Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas
I am a sucker for a good love story. I love happy endings. I am fascinated by old world stories where ladies wear ball gowns and attend lavish parties.
I was drawn to the misfit of characters who ban together in hopes of finding husbands. 
Here is a brief description:
Four young ladies enter London society with one common goal: they must use their feminine wit and wiles to find a husband.So a daring husband-hunting scheme is born.
Annabelle Peyton, determined to save her family from disaster, decides to use her beauty and wit to tempt a suitable nobleman into making an offer of marriage. But Annabelle's most intriguing -- and persistent -- admirer, wealthy, powerful Simon Hunt, has made it clear that while he will introduce her to irresistible pleasure he will not offer marriage. Annabelle is determined to resist his unthinkable proposition ... but it is impossible in the face of such skillful seduction.
Her friends, looking to help, conspire to entice a more suitable gentleman to offer for Annabelle, for only then will she be safe from Simon -- and her own longings. But on one summer night, Annabelle succumbs to Simon's passionate embrace and tempting kisses ... and she discovers that love is the most dangerous game of all.
I hope you can enjoy a good read this month!

Until next time,


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Happy Hump Day!

I am currently catching up on Season 4 of Game of Thrones. I have read all the books and can't wait for the sixth book, Winds of Winter, to come out in 2016.

If you have not read the books or watched the HBO series, I would highly recommend it. It has action, romance, mystery, fantasy, and drama!

It is crazy the amount of characters and story lines that take place in these books! Here are the different family lines and their family motto.

I am excited to see what differences happen in the TV show versus what happened in the books!

Until next time,


Picture accreditation http://www.hdwallpapers.in/walls/game_of_thrones-HD.jpg 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Celebration Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am happy to say that I am blessed to have a wonderful, selfless, loving mother. I am also blessed to have a great mother-in-law. I am happy that we are lucky enough to have these wonderful ladies in our lives. 

In honor of Mother's Day this weekend, I made some chocolate chip cookies for dessert at the end of our dinner with my in-laws.

I love a good chocolate chip cookie, but I'll go out on a limb to say the Hubby really LOVES chocolate chip cookies! Because I decided to make this cookie on Mother's Day, I decided to name it my Celebration Chocolate Chip Cookie!

These cookies are soft and chewy, due to the fact that they have vanilla pudding in them. They can be fancied up by adding in candy or nuts!

Celebration Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
(1) 3.5-ounce packet instant vanilla pudding mix
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon of salt
(1) 12 ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (this is where you could add in candy or nuts)

  1. Using a stand mixer or bowl with an electric mixer, combine the butter, sugars, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until creamed and well combined.

  2. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, pudding mix, baking soda, salt, and beat on low speed until just combined.

  3. Add the chocolate chips, and mix by hand until just combined.

  4. Using a large cookie scoop or 1/4 cup measure to roll into balls and flatten slightly. (I added a few extra chocolate chips and M & M candies on top and pressed down slightly)

  5. Place mounds on parchment lined baking sheets, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. (you really need to chill the dough to prevent the cookies from spreading)

  6. Preheat oven to 350F. Bake cookies for about 11-13 minutes or until edges and tops are just set, even if slightly under cooked; DO NOT OVER BAKE!
  7. Allow the cookies to set up on the baking sheet before serving!
This is an easy recipe that just takes a little planning ahead. You and your family will enjoy these extremely yummy celebration cookies!

Until next time,


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Happy Hump Day!

Happy Hump Day! We are still recovering at our house from being sick last week! Here is one of my favorite quotes from the Harry Potter series.

Just remember the week is half over! Whew!

Until next time,


Picture accreditation http://imgkid.com/harry-potter-quotes-always.shtml

Friday, May 1, 2015

Weekend Trip to Tunica!

The Hubby and I celebrated being together 8 years this weekend! It's crazy how fast the time goes when you are having fun!

We made an unexpected weekend getaway to celebrate. We drove down to Tunica, Mississippi. It's about 7 1/2 hours.

We stopped in Memphis to eat at Marlowe's. It was a restaurant featured on Drive In's, Diners, and Dives on the Food Network. It was about a mile from Graceland.

The food was good, but service was slow, so it kind of took away from the fun. 

We drove the last 30 minutes to our hotel. We stayed at The Roadhouse. It was a small hotel & casino. It was a nice place to stay. For some reason it wasn't very busy, but we didn't mind that.

The Roadhouse is also walking distance from the Gold Strike and The Horseshoe.

Saturday we got up and drove to the Hollywood Casino to play poker. It's right near Sam's Town and Resorts. 

We got in a 3-6 limit game. This allows you to play for hours without ever losing a lot. We both were able to win some money.

I think we were the youngest at the table by about 45-50 years! 

It was a short getaway weekend, but well worth it. It's always refreshing to get away and enjoy time together!

Until next time,