peppermint fudge cupcake jars*

Are you in need of a last-minute neighbor or co-worker Christmas gift? Well don't you fret, because I've got your back! Not only are these little jars adorable and look so festive, but they are amazingly delicious! I have given these jars away for gifts for two years straight! I just love their presentation, but even more I love knowing that they not only look great, but taste great, too.

Peppermint Fudge Cupcake Jars
from Our Best Bites


Ok people, STOP what you are doing and pay attention! Because I am about the share with you one of the greatest side dishes known to man. Remember when I told you that I was going to share with you my stuffing recipe here? Well, I'm not going to. Because my stuffing that I created was absolutely nothing compared to the amazingness that I am going to introduce you to now. This stuffing has been served by the amazing Executive Team at my works' Christmas party for two years running, and it is honestly my very favorite part of the whole event! So much so that I ate it for breakfast the next day. Judge me. I don't even care :).

Growing up I was obsessed with my Grandma White's Thanksgiving stuffing. It really is the bees knees. I LOVE dry stuffing - which hers was dry, and honestly couldn't have cared less about "wetter" stuffing. Even Stove Top stuffing is too wet for me. Well, this stuffing that I am sharing with you today is not dry and normally wouldn't be my "type". Yes, I now have a "type" of food I guess. Anyway, this stuffing was out of my comfort zone, but when this stuffing was presented to me I dug in and tried to be open-minded. It blew me away! The flavors and spices and BUTTER - oh my goodness gracious. It is pure stuffing heaven. 

from Glen Zaugg (master stuffing-maker)

peppermint kiss brownie bites*

Happy December! I cannot believe it is almost Christmas! This year I think we are going to be scrooge's and not even put up a tree. Not because we don't love our Christmas tree, but because right now our front room is still bare, and it would practically be the only thing in the room. It seems like a lot of work for it to just sit there all by its lonesome, without even any furniture for us to sit in to admire its beauty. We are buying each other couches for Christmas, however, so our room will soon not be so bare and next year I will definitely be more festive!

And I swear this year I am going to buy new tree decorations after Christmas when they are on sale! I have told myself that I was going to do this the last 2 years, but I think the hard part is where you won't even get to use them for almost a year. Doesn't make the shopping as much fun as if it would if you were to buy them right before. But this year is the year.

I am in LOVE with these peppermint kiss brownie bites! Only mine didn't really turn out to be 'bites'. I didn't make mine in a mini muffin tin, but in a regular-sized muffin tin. I made these for dessert for the students, and dessert is a really big treat since they only get dessert about once a week, so I figured they were appreciate a bigger 'bite'. And man, they did not disappoint! I could eat one of these every single day, especially during the Christmas season! You must make these for your next Christmas party or family get-together, or maybe just because it's a Tuesday. Whatever your reason, it's a great one if you have one of these little guys in tow!

Peppermint Kiss Brownie Bites
adapted from Picky Palate

chocolate pretzel bites*

So - today is going to be Thanksgiving for my little family. We actually celebrated last Sunday with my in-laws, and then Landon and I went to Chuck-A-Rama for Thanksgiving since we both worked. It actually worked out really well, because we get Thanksgiving 3 times in one week! And I'm not even sick of it. So even though I'm a little late, I am going to post an amazing recipe for stuffing that we are going to have for dinner tonight!

Question. Why do they call stuffing 'dressing'? And Miracle Whip 'salad dressing'? I am confused by all of this, and when people call these things by their alternate names I am picturing Ranch for both items. Is anyone with me??

So, in case you are wondering where I have been for what seems like forever, well - I was kitchenless for the majority of this week and last. You see, my house was tore up from the floor up - literally! We went on "vacation" a couple of weeks back, and that started a whole slew of projects. The husband and I really have a hard time relaxing, so we spent the majority of our vacation painting our house. Which led to days of painting/2-toning/touching up. This led to us wanting to get our hardwood floors redone - which led to everything crammed into the kitchen while the 3-day floor refinishing project begun. This led to our house being unlivable there for a couple of days - man, that stain is STRONG! And the projects continue on. Today my hubs and father-in-law are putting up new baseboards, while my 'Thanksgiving' dinner is cooking away. Whew, it makes me tired just thinking of our last few weeks. I will post pics when the transformation is complete!

These cute little chocolate pretzel bites I found on Pinterest, and naturally was dying to try. *WARNING* do not leave in the oven for more than 1.5 minutes. I am being serious right now. The first batch I made I left in for about 3-4 minutes, and the chocolate hardened right up and fell all apart. It was a sad moment. Seriously, 1.5 minutes MAX and you are good to go!

On the picture on Pinterest they used round pretzels. I am probably just blind, but I couldn't find them anywhere. So I settled on normal pretzels, and although they didn't look as perfect, they still turned out cute, and most importantly YUMMY!

Chocolate Pretzel Bites
as seen on Pinterest

apple pie cupcakes*

I am so deeply in love with these cupcakes that it is almost a problem. Although I have not made them more than once (yet), I have a feeling that these are going to be in my life for the long haul. I want to make more apple, some cherry, mixed berry, well basically any kind of flavor that would normally be a pie, then make it into a cupcake! They turned out so dang cute, and they tasted even better! But grab a fork people, because this is no eat-and-go dessert. Unless you want to skimp on the filling, and if you do that then shame on you!

The recipe called for a vanilla buttercream frosting, but I am sorry but I HAVE to have whipped topping on my "pie"! So instead I made some homemade spiced whipped cream, and you will notice some little specks in the picture. That is cinnamon people! Someone told me that they are going to buy me an industrial sized container of cinnamon for Christmas because I use it so much. Although she was kidding, I didn't think it was a bad idea :).

Apple Pie Cupcakes
adapted from Annie's Eats

lemon bundt cake*

Well, the other day I had to part with my beautiful HTC Evo. You see, since we moved to our new house my phone seldomly worked from my place of residence, and it's never worked from the house we stay in St.George or the in-laws cabin. So today I got the iPhone 4s from Verizon, which is where I am blogging from currently! At the house in St. George! Score! I still love my Evo and it will be greatly missed, but I must say that it is nice to receive phone calls on the couch. I am much too lazy to go outside in the corner of the lot in order to conversate (yes, spell checker is telling me this isn't a word - but it is now. Take that spell checker!) with people.

So on Sunday I turned 25. Scary huh. This was the first year where I didn't get the least bit excited that it was my birthday. I wasn't depressed about it, but it truly felt like just another day. The first sign that I am getting old. Now that is depressing.

For my big quarter-of-a-century day, the hubs gave me a gift certificate to Williams Sonoma (he is so good to me!), and one of the treasures I purchased was a bundt pan. I love it, LOVE it! So I made my own birthday cake! I decided on a lemon bundt cake, and I am telling you right now that it was simply AMAZING! We served it with some french vanilla ice cream, and I ate two enormous pieces. And secretly could have eaten more! I am currently planning the next time I can make this beauty again. Maybe tomorrow... :) So here she is!

Lemon Bundt Cake

mini chocolate trifles*

Back in the day I would make a chocolate trifle in my trifle bowl with chocolate cake, pudding and whipped cream (not homemade at that point. I wasn't that fancy when I was 15). It was one of my favorites that I made on several occasions. Awhile back I needed a dessert for one of the sports banquets that was being held for the students, and I wanted something that looked fancy, tasted great, and wouldn't take me all day. I decided to try and make some little individual chocolate trifles!

I wanted to be able to cut a little circle into the cake to put in the bottom of my little glass, but just knew that any old chocolate cake would probably fall apart the minute I tried to take the circle out of the pan. Then it dawned on me. Sponge cake! Honestly, I had never made sponge cake in my life, but it just HAD to stay together. It's like sponge - right?? Well, the end of this story ends fabulously, and my sponge cake came right out of the pan just as expected! The day of the banquet was the day that I went to Taylor Swift, and I had to leave early and was so stressed that I was leaving everyone hanging that I didn't even remember to try a trifle for myself, but I heard that they were very delicious! And I just loved the presentation!

Mini Chocolate Trifles
Serves 6

franky the frankenstein*

Happy Halloween! These cupcake toppers are so adorable and will add a little fun to any Halloween party or get together! I made these a couple of weeks ago for some of Landon's co-workers and girls (with some ghosts, too), as well as for our Halloween party at work today! I did the ones for work a little differently than the ones pictured, using black sanding sugar for Franky's hair instead of the spiked up frosting look. I loved both ways!

All you need to master these little fellas are:

White Dipping Chocolate (Candy Melts, Almond Bark, etc.)
Green Gel Food Coloring (MUST use gel. Regular food coloring makes the chocolate go all funky.)
Black Frosting (for the mouth and eyes)
Chocolate Frosting or Black Sanding Sugar (for the hair)
Lollipop Sticks

Melt the white dipping chocolate according to the directions. Add green food coloring until desired color. Dip the tip of a lollipop stick into the chocolate and place in the center of a marshmallow (the flat end, not the center of the round side). This will help hold the stick in place. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes so that the chocolate hardens.

Once hardened, take out of the freezer and dip the entire marshmallow into the green chocolate. If using sanding sugar, dip the flat end into the sugar so that it coats the whole end. It is OK if it goes onto the side. Place two M&M's near the top of the marshmallow, just under the sanding sugar. Let dry completely.

When dry, take the lollipop stick out of the marshmallow. Pipe on the mouth and eye balls with the black frosting. If using frosting for the hair, pipe on the frosting now. Spike up with a toothpick.

Easy as pie :). Except when you make 300 of them. Not my first suggestion, but they are definitely fun on a smaller scale. Enjoy!


spooky spiders and ghosts*

This time of year marks some very humongous events that have forever changed my life.

*One year ago this week I discovered the enormity of the food blogging world.

*One year ago this week I discovered my now-favorite passion - baking and creating goodies.

*One year ago this week I made the most creative thing that I had ever made in my entire life - these spooky spiders and ghosts.

These were made for our Halloween party at work, as well as for all of the students.These little guys brought a creative side of me that I didn't know existed, and I am literally getting teary-eyed just thinking of just how much they mean to me.

Now, the picture I have is one that I posted to my Facebook a year ago, so it's not the greatest, but these little guys will forever hold a special place in my heart. You can find the recipe of how to make them here from Luckily they have the cutest little picture with the recipe, so that you can see what they look like up close and personal. They will be a huge hit wherever you take them, and they will not fail to bring a smile to everyones face! You just can't help but be happy around these cutest little dudes.

Happy Halloween everyone!


chocolate chip cookie cheesecake*

If you are having a hankering for something sweet, this is it folks! I am absolutely in love with the presentation of this dessert, but it's the amazingness of it's sweet being that takes the cake - literally. It might even be too sweet for some, but even if you just take a bite or two, I promise you won't regret it.

If you would like to make it in one 9" springform pan, instead of 6 mini pans, the bake time will take about 20-25 minutes. It might even take longer, because I have made this twice (yes, twice in one week - get off my back) and it still was pretty doughy in the end - even after 25 minutes. So just a heads up, in case you are making this in a rush. Plan accordingly :)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake
from In Katrina's Kitchen

soft brown sugar cookies w/ browned butter frosting*

I saw these cookies on Pinterest and dreamed about them for days. There were several occasions that I about made them after dinner, but I really have done fairly well at eating pretty good and working out before work. So I did the next best thing. I made them for dessert for the students! Man oh man, these little babies are DELICIOUS! That frosting is something else. And the cookies literally melt in your mouth!

The next day I was still dreaming of eating another cookie. So what did I do? I made them after dinner :(. In the end I broke down anyway, but it wasn't fair that I had tasted this little piece of heaven and that Landon was left out. That is the true meaning of cruel and unusual punishment. I had the share the goodness with the one I love. So get off my back :). (And don't ask me how, because I made them twice, but I didn't take any pictures of the process. Sorry!)

Gooseberry Patch Soft Brown Sugar Cookies w/ Browned Butter Frosting
from SusieQTPies

pumpkin cupcake w/ salted caramel buttercream*

It seems like salted caramel is the new "thing". It is everywhere. I have always thought it sounded good, but really didn't get the big deal. Then I made it for this buttercream. Man oh man, this stuff is GOOD. I was skeptical about the buttercream, since I really am not a huge fan, but this buttercream is pretty tasty. I am still not the biggest fan of the texture, but the salted caramel flavor is really so amazing!

So, I found this recipe on Pinterest - of course - and tried to follow it word for word. But this was my problem. The cupcakes turned out fabulously. Really - so good! Then I got to the frosting. I tried to make the "salted caramel" twice, then gave up. In the recipe it says to let the sugar and water boil until it reaches a deep amber color. The first time I tried to wing it, while not really 100% sure what a deep amber color looked like. When I added my cream to mix in once it had reached what I thought was deep amber, the caramel got hard as a rock and the cream did not mix in at all. So I knew I cooked it too long. So I tried again. This time, however, I decided to Google what deep amber looks like. That was as much help as trying to get my puppy help me bake. Please, I beg you, Google what deep amber looks like. It is about as clear as mud. So I decided I would just let it be a bit lighter than my first attempt and was really feeling good about it this time. I added my cream, and again - hard as a rock. This is when I gave up. At least on that caramel recipe.

I decided to look up another recipe for a salted caramel buttercream, but I wanted one that used a candy thermometer so that there was no color guessing, no texture guessing. I wanted crystal clear directions. After looking over a few recipes, I still couldn't find one that used a candy thermometer. However, I decided to just pick one and try it.

These were my directions. Simmer until thickened; about 3-4 minutes. Ugh. How thickened would they like it to be? I had no idea. I attempted to guess for awhile, at least to what my idea of what the thickness should be, which was way longer than 3-4 minutes I might add, until I had a genius idea. I have made caramel a time or two and decided that I would just use a candy thermometer anyway. I figured if I let it get to about 230 degrees, just under soft ball stage, that it would work great because it would still be pourable, yet still have a firmness to it. So that is what I did, and it WORKED! Yay. You can try and guess if you would like, and if it works my hat goes off to you. I need much more clear directions, because I am just simply not that cool.

Pumpkin Cupcakes w/ Salted Caramel Buttercream
cupcake recipe from Made In Mel's Kitchen

buffalo chicken mac & cheese*

I finished my first Pinterest inspired crafting project about a week ago. I am loving my little pom pom flowers! They turned out so cute, and I have even had a request to sell them at the upcoming boutique at work! I am already going to be selling some cake pops and cupcakes (maybe), so why not throw in some adorable pom pom flowers?

Here's a pic up close and personal:

How cute are they?? The tutorial is from Ivey Handcrafted - if you, too, would like to make these cutest little guys! Or, if you don't want to spend the time, drop by the Heritage Boutique on November 3-4 and I will have some for you to purchase! If you want more info on the boutique, just e-mail or leave me a message on this post and I would be happy to give the low-down!

And, I have some exciting news! There has been a new addition to our little kitchen family. Welcome our new charbroiler for all of our steak, hamburger, chicken and pork chop needs!

We have already used it a couple of times and pretty much love it! We have determined, however, that we need to be more on the ball and have it preheated and ready to go, or else a 4 oz. piece of chicken takes 45 minutes. That is no bueno. But we will get the hang of our new toy, don't you fret! I am already loving the beautiful presentation it gives, and of course everything tastes better straight off the grill!

This buffalo chicken mac & cheese is simply amazing! I am not the biggest buffalo sauce fan, at least not straight up. But this mac and cheese is to die! The buffalo sauce just gives it the slightest tang and little bit of kick, and the crunchy breadcrumb topping just adds that perfect little bit of texture. I am in LOVE with this recipe! The students actually loved it, too. This will be on my menu for the long haul.

Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese
from The Girl Who Ate Everything

garlic naan*

I made this garlic naan to go with my slow cooker chicken tikka masala and basmati rice. It's funny, because when I decided to make the slow cooker chicken tikka masala, I did it so that I could be lazy yet still have a delicious Indian meal. Then, for some reason, I decided to make some homemade naan. That immediately made my lazy day not so lazy anymore. Not that it is a difficult recipe to make, but there are a few steps that go over a good couple of hours. Anyway, at the end of the day it was extremely delicious - the whole meal. It definitely would not be the same without the naan to scoop up the saucy masala! You must make this meal in it's entirety. If you have never had Indian before, this is something that most people enjoy (or so I hear), and I think it awfully tasty myself!

Garlic Naan
from Sweet Peas Kitchen

basmati rice*

I have just started my very first Pinterest DIY project! I am making little yarn pom pom "flowers" that I am going to glue to wooden sticks and put them in a cute vase! I have finished making my pom poms and just need to go and buy some sticks and a vase. They are going to be super cute! Here is the project on Pinterest:

*picture and tutorial courtesy of Ivey Handcrafted*

Only my "flowers" are cream, light brown, dark brown and maroon. Oh, I am so excited! I will post my very own picture when I am finished! I am also excited that I decided on this project, because in order to complete it I had to buy my very own hot glue gun! Imagine the things that I can make now. The possibilities are endless!

I really liked this recipe for basmati rice! It worked perfectly to go with my slow cooker chicken tikka masala. It will definitely be my go-to rice recipe from here on out!

Basmati Rice
from Epicurious

slow cooker chicken tikka masala*

This recipe is the second chicken tikka masala recipe that I have made. The recipe here is the recipe that we use at work. It is pretty yummy, but I like this slow cooker chicken tikka masala more! I LOVE this dish at the Bombay House, and I think this recipe is even more similar to the one that they serve there. It is thick, rich, and with just a little kick. This stuff is absolutely amazing served on top of some buttery, nutty basmati rice and piece (or two) of homemade warm garlic naan bread! Absolutely to die! (Recipe for basmati and a new naan recipe coming soon!).

The recipe calls for chicken thighs, still on the bone. I thought that was strange, but beside that I don't really like dark meat, and I definitely don't like meat on the bone. But serving meat on the bone with sauce over rice seemed completely absurd to me. So I diced up a boneless, skinless chicken breast and marinaded and broiled it like that. Worked perfectly! That would be my suggestion. However, I didn't cook it the other way, so it might be equally delicious like that. Just more difficult to eat I would imagine.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
from Meal Planning 101

orange creamsicle fruit dip*

I am in love with anything citrus! The same holds true with this fruit dip! This was another parent conference recipe (the last to be posted), but it is not the last time that I will be whipping up this amazingly fluffy delight. So so so yummy! Next time I make this, I think I am going to add some orange zest to give it a little extra speck of color, but other than that I wouldn't change a thing. However, unlike the recipe, I added vanilla yogurt instead of vanilla pudding, but I will be trying the vanilla pudding version next time. Sounds divine!

Orange Creamsicle Fruit Dip
from Madigan Made
as seen on The Girl Who Ate Everything 

caprese kabobs*

I am in love with caprese! Caprese salad, sandwiches or kabobs - I'm not picky. These kabobs were something that we served at parent conference a couple of weeks ago, and I LOVED the presentation! All you need is fresh basil, mini heirloom (or cherry) tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, balsamic vinegar and some little kabob skewers. Easy as that, and seriously looks so fancy! LOVE!

Don't you??

*as seen on Pinterest*


strawberry cream puff marshmallow kabob*

Remember the strawberry cream puff kabobs that I made here? Well, these are exactly those kabobs, only with a yummy marshmallow added into the mix! Not only is it a delicious addition, but I love the contrast of colors that the marshmallows add.

All you need are some strawberries, cream puffs (I got mine from the frozen section), marshmallows, semi sweet chocolate chips. and some skewers.

Skewer the strawberries, cream puffs and marshmallows in any order your little heart desires. Over a double boiler (or in a microwave safe dish if you prefer that option), pour about 1 cup of chocolate chips and stir until completely melted and smooth. Drizzle the melted chocolate over your skewer of delicious goodness.

Set aside for 5-10 minutes, or until the chocolate has hardened. Now eat your little heart out!

*as seen on Pinterest*


veggie dip cups*

These veggie dip cups would be perfect for any sort of entertaining event! They are a glorified veggie tray, all fancied up! You can pick any veggies you would like, as long as they can be cut up into a long skinny dipping stick. I chose red peppers, carrots, celery, and sugar snap peas. Other possibilities include green & yellow peppers, cucumbers, green beans, and maybe some broccolini! Oooh, that would be yummy!

As seen on Pinterest :)


s'more pops*

I am fresh from a mini vacation to St. George, and I must say that it was just what I needed! September was a CRAZY month, and I am so happy that we all made it through. But I have never been more excited to go somewhere where I didn't have to think about work and could truly relax. And relax we did. Both days we slept in until 11:00, and took a 2 hour nap on Friday. Then we went and saw The Help (SO GOOD!), and ate at our favorite breakfast spot, Bear Paw, twice! And that's it folks. That is all we did. A whole bunch of nothin. It was amazing!

And now we are back to the real world. Wish our mini vaca could have lasted a little longer, but work awaits us. Oh, and did I mention that Taylor was so fun?? This is the first concert I have ever been to with the hubs. He even liked it! She sang and played acoustic the song "Animal" from Neon Trees (since they are from Utah) and it was SO GOOD! My favorite song that she sang. But I loved how she learned to play that song so that she could sing it here and only here. That is so cool! LOVE her!

And again I continue with my s'mores obsession. I loved these s'more pops. And man, are they easy! Seriously. I wish cake pops were as easy to make as these little guys. And they are equally as delicious. We served these at our parent conferences last weekend, and they disappeared very quickly!

S'more Pops
from Gimme Some Oven

red velvet brownies*

Tomorrow I am going my first concert in about 6 years! Back in the day, I was a big fan of Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney and of course - *NSYNC. Well, I am still a fan of all of them, but I went to Keith twice, Kenny three times, and *NSYNC only once, but that was my first concert and will forever be embedded in my memory. I hate to admit it, but I used to be absolutely obsessed with the teeny bopper boy band. Like - internet stalking, every-TV-show-that-mentions-the-group recording, book collecting, poster hanging, and truly thinking in my young brain that Justin Timberlake would fall in love and marry me one day - kind of obsession. However, I was 12 so I'm OK with it :).

Anyway, on to the concert that I am attending tomorrow. The hubby and I are going to Taylor Swift! Oops, don't tell him I told you. He said that he will go if no one finds out, but we all know I am not going by myself - so sorry honey! You are ratted out! I didn't used to like Taylor. I don't really know why. But then something happened. Now I just cannot get enough! I love that she writes her own music and says it like it is. She doesn't care if she just flat out calls someone out in a song. She just does her thing. LOVE her!

These brownies were another one of the goodies that I made for parent conference. They were a huge hit and I am getting requests for the recipe left and right! So here you are all ya'll!

Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted from Smells Like Home

pumpkin pie dip*

Yay for Fall and pumpkin flavored things! I would take this delish pumpkin pie dip over pumpkin pie any day! I love that it is made with Greek yogurt, which means that it is healthier than your average fruit dip! If you don't have any Greek yogurt on hand, however, I am sure that vanilla yogurt would work fabulously. I wouldn't add any sugar, if you use vanilla yogurt, without tasting it first. And I added a little extra cinnamon than the recipe called for, because I am obsessed with cinnamon of course :).

Pumpkin Pie Dip
from Gina's Skinny Taste

peanut butter pretzel bites*

Boy oh boy, do I have a long list of recipes that I need to share with you all! We had our parent conferences this week and we got pretty creative making different snacking items, if I do say so myself! To give you an idea of what you have to look forward to, here is what I can think of off the top of my head.

*these amazing peanut butter pretzel bites - delish
*red velvet brownies
*orange creamsicle fruit dip
*veggie cups
*s'mores on a STICK
*caprese kabobs
*pumpkin pie dip

And more! We best start from the top. Although my picture isn't that fabulous and doesn't even begin to give these little guys the justice they deserve, they are pretty darn amazing! I had compliment after compliment, and everyone was dying to know the recipe! I did tweak the recipe slightly. The original recipe called for brown sugar, and I replaced it with graham cracker crumbs. I wanted them to have more of a Reese' peanut butter cup consistency. I think it was a good choice!

So, without further ado, I am pleased to announce the secret ingredients to the calorie-free and guilt-free (of course) peanut butter pretzel bites!

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites
adapted from Two Tiny Kitchens

s'more cookie bars*

I love making different versions of s'mores as much as I love Pinterest - which is where I found this yummy recipe! I have yet to have an official "over the fire" s'more, so I need to fill that void by making every s'more recipe possible! I think I am doing a pretty good job :)

S'more Cookie Bars
from Baked Perfection
as seen on Pinterest :)

dark chocolate cake*

We made this cake for one of the students' birthdays. They wanted a dark chocolate cake, with cream cheese frosting and topped with some Reese's and Oreo's. Luckily some of the cake got stuck to the bottom of the pan, so I got a little smidgen of a taste, and it was amazing! I was excited that this chocolate cake didn't call for coffee, because a lot of chocolate cake recipes do. I added some cocoa powder to the cream cheese frosting, then added some swirlies to the side and topped the cake with the candies. I think it turned out super cute!

Isn't it precious??

I saw the swirly idea somewhere, but I can't remember where. Probably Pinterest. I really cannot get enough of that site. I haven't ventured to anything but the food and drink section. I spend so long just looking at all the goodies that if I were to look at anything else my husband would probably trade me in for a more fun and exciting model :).

Dark Chocolate Cake

2 cups boiling water
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 1/4 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 3 - 9 inch round cake pans. In medium bowl, pour boiling water over cocoa, and whisk until smooth. Let mixture cool. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the cocoa mixture. Spread batter evenly between the 3 prepared pans.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool.

taco pizza*

Pinterest has taken over my life. Not really, but I do check it quite often - swooning over all of the deliciously fabulous foods that are "pinned" on the site. However, today I did more than just swoon. I made two different recipes that I found on Pinterest. I made some S'mores Cookie Bars, since I have this new found obsession with s'mores, and a Taco Corn Bread Casserole - which reminds me a lot of this Taco Pizza. Both recipes coming very soon, because they both turned out amazing!

This taco pizza has become a staple in my house. I made it for the first time probably a month ago, and since then we have had it 4 times. The best part:  it never gets old! And it is so versatile. You can make it with chicken, beef, pork, or with just the beans and cheese. Any which way is fabulous! However, please for the love of pete do NOT leave off the cilantro. That is my very favorite part! I could probably eat a cilantro salad for a meal in and of itself. Mmmm..cilantro is so amazing.

Now, I am lazy and have not tested out the pizza dough recipe that the Pioneer Woman has posted with the Taco Pizza recipe, but I am going to put it up anyway. I am sure it is absolutely to die for, since everything else the Pioneer Woman makes surely is! However, it works just fine with the pre-made pizza crusts they have at the store, or I have also used the Pillsbury pizza crust that they have in the little scary can things that you have to peel the paper off and then it pops open. I hate those things! If Landon is home I make him do it. Seriously, it's that bad.

Taco Pizza
from The Pioneer Woman

chipotle orange glazed pork chops*

Went and saw the movie "Crazy Stupid Love" with the husband today. SO GOOD. I highly recommend it. Like - I would buy it! And I don't buy too many movies - so this is big. I actually think the last one I bought was the Blind Side. Anyway, if you are a movie-goer you should definitely go. Or if you are a stay-at-homer, put it on your Netflix immediately after it comes out. Steve Carell is hilarious, and Ryan Gossling isn't too bad to look at :).

So, tomorrow is Sunday. Do you know what that means? FOOTBALL!! Not sure if I have shared this or not, but I am a huge football fan! My fanaticism (wow that is a word - I thought for sure spell checker would try and correct me!) of course started when I started dating Landon. I hadn't watched much football in the past, and had gone to a couple of BYU games - but mainly people watched, or sexy football player watched. I thought it was boring and that there was too much down time where nothing was going on. Then I learned what the game is all about - and now I cannot get enough! My team is the San Diego Chargers (even though Phillip Rivers drives me crazy). This is my second year doing Fantasy Football, and I am kicking butt I must say! I am number one in our league so far, so I can't wait to get week 2 started so that I can beat all of the boys yet again :).

Chipotle Orange Glazed Pork Chops
from an unknown magazine...?

cookie dough brownies*

I have been contemplating what to make for dessert for our parent conferences that are coming up next week, and DING DING DING - I think we have found a winner! I have seen cookie dough brownies on a few food blogs here and there and have always wanted to try them. However, I don't think I was prepared for the deliciousness that was about to enter my life. The cookie dough is really soft, and then having a fudgy chocolately brownie as the "crust" - BRILLIANT! If any of my readers are going to be around during parent coference - you absolutely must grab one of these!

Cookie Dough Brownies
from The Daily Herald

pumpkin cream cheese muffins*

I don't know when the first official day of Fall is, but I am actually really excited that is going to finally get cooler and for all of the flavors of Fall to make their appearance! This week the weather has really simmered down, and yesterday I was feeling especially festive. I started my day off with a Pumpkin Spice Mocha from Starbucks and then I was definitely in the Fall mood. We had a smoothie's day for all of the staff, and of course we can't have a smoothie's day without a goodie to munch on! What better munchie than a pumpkin cream cheese muffin? Pumpkin - Cinnamon - Cream Cheese. Enough said.

I was introduced to Pinterest this last week. I had heard about it over and over on Facebook, and finally decided that it is now my time to know what the fuss is all about. Oh man alive, someone is a genius! It's like my obsession with food blogs on steroids. If you haven't checked it out, you must like right now. I found these amazingly delicious muffins on Pinterest!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
from Annie's Eats

baked french toast casserole*

This week the regional NATSAP conference was held on the Heritage campus and we were assigned to serving breakfast and lunch to approx. 370 people! For lunch we served Cafe Rio type salads, which were pretty darn good if you ask me. But the cherry on top were the Dreamy Oreo Brownies that we served for dessert. If you haven't made these yet, go to the link and make them immediately! They are pretty rich and definitely aren't skimping on chocolate and Oreo's, but even if you can only handle a bite you will not regret it!

By popular demand, I bring you this recipe! I haven't posted it yet because I wasn't satisfied with my picture of the finished product. I don't know what I was thinking, but I took a picture of the french toast casserole we make for our students who have nut allergies, so it just looked kind of plain and didn't capture the full amazingness of this fabulous breakfast! My suggestion box is constantly filled with requests for french toast casserole, so it must be pretty delicious!

Baked French Toast Casserole
from Paula Deen (LOVE her!)

fluffy dinner rolls*

I have a very big problem. Although I LOVE my new-to-me gas stove in which I can roast my very own marshmallows for some quick and easy s'more making right out of my kitchen - the clock/temperature light thingamajig doesn't work! Do you know what this means?? I have NO idea what temperature in which I am cooking! This is bad. This is very very bad. I just attempted to make a big cookie for the husband and I to indulge in, and it took way longer than usual - and then I forgot about it because I was going back in forth between watching the cookie and some college football - and just about burnt the poor thing. Had I known the temperature of my sad oven, the cookie would have taken the 14 minutes in which it was timed. Oh boy...

The saddest and most upsetting part of this whole predicament is this. I have a choice. I can buy some living room furniture for our main floor living room which is almost completely empty at this time, and a new kitchen stove, and refinish our hardwood floors OR I can buy a vinyl fence. You would think this is a no brainer - right? WRONG. The dog wins again. At this point in time we have to take Tank outside on a leash to go to the bathroom every single time. We can't just let him out because the fence we currently have doesn't go all the way around and there are spots everywhere for the little guy to get out. So vinyl fence it is :(.

This recipe is in honor of all of you out there who are able to make it because your ovens will preheat to your desired temperature. I am so jealous of your lives. Please make these and think of me :).

Fluffy Dinner Rolls
from Jamie Cooks It Up

layered mexican casserole*

We went to the Family Tree for dinner tonight in the big ol' town of Santaquin, Utah. First off, can I just say we were the only ones in the restaurant that didn't have Wrangler's on. I haven't been there since I was probably 8 years old, maybe longer, but if there is one thing you can't forget it is their scones the size of a newborn baby! They may weigh as much as a newborn baby, too. Although the food wasn't too much to talk about, the scones sure are! Landon and I both got one with our meals, not realizing how big they really are, and only were able to finish about 1/2 of one. So we came home with 1 1/2 enormously big scones and I have no idea what to do with them! Does anyone have a recipe of something to do with leftover scones???

We have been making this layered mexican casserole for probably a year now, and I am quite fond of it myself. Today I had a request to post the recipe on on my blog, and I had forgotten that it wasn't on here already! I don't know what I was waiting for - but here it is!!!

Layered Mexican Casserole
from Dixie Regional Medical Center

blueberry granola parfait*

HOLY SMOKES it's September! Where has the time gone?? Awhile back I had mentioned that the most summerish thing I have done this year was paint a fence and weed my flowerbed. This is still the case, but I have been very productive-ish. We just moved! We are just getting settled in and deciding where to put all of our decorations and what furniture to buy and all that jazz. The worst part is that I was working the bulk of the time while my stuff was getting transferred from one place to another. Well, that really isn't the bad part - because I hate moving. However, now I don't know where a lot of my stuff is. Especially my kitchen gadgets and things. I need to go through and track everything down, and then organize so that I can actually find something. The good part is, now that the move is done and over with, maybe I won't be non-existent in the blogging world! Sorry for my complete abandonment, but I am back and better than ever!!!

I am IN LOVE with these parfaits! Seriously, they are unlike any parfait I have ever had! The students, however, aren't as in love as I am. At least not the boys. I think parfaits are a very "girly" food, but I'm OK with it. I would rather have one of these babies over a pancake any day!

Now, these are not your ordinary blueberries in these parfaits, people! They are marinated with the spicy goodness of none other than cinnamon itself! I have said it once and I will say it again, everything is better with a little cinnamon! Which, reminds me, it is almost FALL! Which means that the tastes of cinnamon and pumpkin and nutmeg can be found everywhere, and it is socially acceptable to arrive with a goody which contain these ingredients in tow! Can I get a HALLELUJAH! And it also means that I can put back up my fall decorations at work, since my office has been bare since Christmas :)

Blueberry Granola Parfait
from Mad Hungry

black bean, avocado, cucumber & tomato salad*

What better way to celebrate summer than with yet another yummy summer salad! This is another one that is perfect for picnics, family reunions, or any other fun adventure you are planning outside. It does not have any mayo or other ingredients that can spoil if in the hot weather for a long time. However, your avocados may get browner faster, but I promise it will be slicked up long before they get to that point!

Black Bean, Avocado, Cucumber & Tomato Salad
from Gina's Skinny Taste


1 seedless cucumber, peeled and diced
2 medium ripe tomatoes, diced
2 hass avocados, diced
15.5 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp red onion, minced
2 tbsp cilantro, minced
2 limes, juice of
salt and fresh pepper

Combine all the ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Makes 5 cups.

Easy as that! Enjoy!


sweet potato casserole*

Never ever in all my life have I liked sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes with marshmallows or sweet potatoes in the form of fries - it didn't matter. There is nothing out there that I have tried that involved a sweet potato that I was even slightly a fan of. Until now. This sweet potato casserole is OUTSTANDING! Not even amazing. It is SO STINKIN GOOD! Even though I really only liked it as long as I had a bite with both sweet potatoes and the topping, this is still a huge breakthrough. Sarah calls these "crunchy potatoes" and has been devouring them for years. Jealous.

Sweet Potato Casserole
from Diana Rattray

cherry limeade cupcakes*

Last week we had a luau for the students, which also happened to be our first BBQ of the summer. No, I did not just get the memo that it has been summer for the last several months, but because of different restrictions from the health department it is really quite the process to be able to cook outside. However, we got a temporary event permit, so I decided that we needed to make it more than just a plain old BBQ - and what better way than to have a fun luau! We had decorations and leis and of course - some cherry limeade cupcakes topped with a little paper umbrella! LOVE IT.

I really liked the lime cupcake, but I must admit - the cherry frosting really didn't do it for me. It didn't have a very cherry distinct flavor, and I absolutely love cherries, so that was a huge disappointment. I even added extra juice from the maraschino cherries, but it still wasn't very cherry-y. But the cupcake - so good!!! My suggestion: add even more of the juice or possibly get some cherry flavor extract. (I have a confession, I didn't know if cherry flavor extract existed - so I just googled it. It does! Phew.)

Cherry Limeade Cupcakes
from Java Cupcake

classic mac & cheese*

I am always on the lookout for a good mac & cheese recipe. The students just love it and I must admit - I do, too! Confession:  LOVE Kraft macaroni and cheese. I think I could eat it every single day. However, I do not like Velveeta mac and cheese. Not a fan. The cheese is kind of waxy and..I don't know. Anyway, although I know homemade mac and cheese isn't all that healthy, I feel like if I make it myself - it is only like 100 calories for a 2 cup serving. A girl can dream - right?

I loved this recipe. However, the next time we make it we are going to make sure that the noodles are really really saucy, or else it kind of dries up in the oven. But I refuse to do without the breadcrumb topping, because let's get real - that is the best part!!

Classic Mac & Cheese
from Annie's Eats

chocolate waffle iron cookies*

I'm back!! To blogging anyway. I really didn't go anywhere, but I have been SO busy! I have two new employees that joined our little kitchen family and I am looking for a third! We have had a few openings over the last couple of weeks, and it made work pretty crazy there for a minute.  But we already have some pretty awesome new additions, Katie and Ashley, and we already love them both! Welcome to Heritage, girls!

So - remember when I was talking about possibly buying a new house here?? Well-BIG NEWS! We are MOVING! We found this cute house in Spanish Fork to buy so that we could rent it out, and decided we liked it so much that we are going to live there! We have already rented out our house and we are moving at the end of the month. I don't know where we will find the time to pack up and move and work almost everyday, but somehow, someway, we are going to make it happen!

I made these cookies the other day because all of the directors were having a LONG meeting and I knew we would need something to get us through. They were a hit! The meeting started at 9:30 a.m., and we decided that since they were made in a waffle iron that they are basically meant for breakfast, so everyone dug in.

I don't even remember the first time I had these cookies. My mom has been making them for years, and then I took over when I was old enough to make them myself. They kind of remind me of a brownie or piece of cake, because they are just so chewy and chocolaty. And they look so fun since they are made in a waffle iron! Your kids/family will LOVE them!

Chocolate Waffle Iron Cookies
from Unknown

cucumber & grilled tomato salad*

On my way to work this morning, I was thinking. This is a dangerous past time I have from time to time. I was thinking about what the most "summerish" thing I have done so far this summer. This is what I came up with. Awhile back I weeded the flower bed and painted one of our wooden fences. That's all I got. I have not once stepped into a swimsuit. I have not once laid out in my backyard. I have not once gone to St. George. And I have not once had a picnic in the park with my hubby and little puppy. It occurred to me that it is AUGUST and I need to get in some summer activities before it is freezing cold and snowing all over again!

I would love to serve this delicious salad at my picnic in the park with my hubby and little puppy. I am not a fan of tomatoes, but these grilled tomatoes in this salad are SO good! And I have learned that I actually like feta cheese. I am not very adventurous when it comes to cheeses, and feta has always reminded me of blue cheese - which is one cheese that will never grow on me. But I had feta cheese at the last cooking class I went to at the Blue Lemon. Chef Todd made a roasted red pepper & feta cheese bruschetta and it was AMAZING!  Feta cheese in this salad is equally as delicious!

asian bbq chicken*

I don't think that I need to go into my obsession with Chinese food. But let's just say - I am pretty sure I could live in a pool of teriyaki sauce. That would make me one happy chickadee. The only other thing that would make me happier about Chinese food is having better Chinese desserts. A fortune cookie. Really? Is that all you got? Don't get me wrong, they are pretty good, but seriously? Although, I will never forget when I was 15 I had a fortune cookie that said "your place in life is behind the wheel". I was pretty excited about that. Obviously, if I remember after almost 10 years later about this monumental revelation given to me by a piece of paper, it must have been big news. Those fortunes will get ya!

This chicken is great for Chinese lovers or even those who aren't big fans! Where it is just a marinade, the flavors aren't as strong, but they add just that little touch of amazingness. We made ours on the flat grill, but actually BBQ'd on a BBQ grill sounds incredible. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!