teriyaki chicken salad sandwich*

My little sister is the cutest! Last night she came over to hang out with me and do a little yoga. I have never done yoga in my life, but my best friend Ashley was telling me that she discovered that there was yoga on Xfinity on Comcast. I decided to look it up and check it out the other day and I had no idea how hard yoga is! It is definitely a workout. Anyway, I decided that I should give it a shot so I invited my sister to join me in this adventure. So she came over with my little nephew Xander (love him!) and we about died doing yoga! I didn't know my body could twist/bend that way. It was an experience to say that least!

So once the torture was over, we ordered some Chinese, since it is so healthy and all, and just hung out. My little nephew is only 5 weeks old and I have babysat the little guy 3 times. I asked her how she dared have me watch him so much, when I don't even have kids myself. She said that she sees the way I take care of my dog, so knew I would do a good job. HAHA! That is sad! I told you little Tankers is spoiled! I cracked up for a good 5 minutes! Oh man...

This sandwich is so delish! I love chicken salad!! However, I do not love chicken salad with grapes. I don't know why, but mixing fruit with my meat seems weird. This recipe has mangoes and pineapple in it, so I'll admit, I was skeptical. Especially because I am not a huge fan of mangoes. Let me tell you, it works! The teriyaki sauce mixed with the mayo is pure heaven, and the crunchiness of the toasted almonds is magical! I tried to be good and eat it on a piece of whole wheat bread, but let me tell you it was hard to turn down the buttery croissant! I am sure the combo of this amazing chicken salad and the croissant would have been to die for!

orzo & vegetable confetti salad*

This salad is so fresh and the perfect salad for summer! It would be perfect for a family reunion or picnic, and you don't have to worry about keeping it ice cold because there isn't any mayo or other ingredients that do not do well in the sweltering heat.

cherry cheesecake cupcakes*

I have been wanting to make these cupcakes forEVER! Ok, maybe only a few months, but I should have thought of this idea forever ago! I was thinking that I would just make it with a white cake cupcake, but then I had this thought. I wonder if there was a recipe for a graham cracker cake batter?? And alas, THERE IS!! With some minor adaptations to the recipe, it was the perfect cupcake to house some yummy cherry pie filling with a no bake cheesecake swirl topping, a cherry puree drizzle, then finished off with a piece of graham cracker. AMAZING! My new FAVORITE cupcake - I think I say that a lot...!! :)

The no-bake cheesecake filling I have been using for years. Like-since I was probably 13. It is so amazing and SO easy. Especially with a homemade graham cracker crust and raspberry topping. So you want a quick and easy cheesecake recipe, use that filling and make yourself a yummy cheesecake. I don't know why I never thought of using it as a frosting until now. But it is my new favorite discovery!

chicken cordon bleu*

I don't know what has gotten into me, but I have been cooking and baking all day. To be honest, I don't cook a whole lot at home. Well, I cook, but mainly the same meals over and over. It is not too often that I get very creative. But I do have my reasons. The first reason - I don't have that much time. Once I get home from work it's usually between 5 and 6 and there is not much to time to cook a full blown nice meal. The second reason, I love my husband but he is not very adventurous. HOWEVER, notice that is a big HOWEVER, he has gotten a lot better lately. For instance, a few months back he ordered a mango salsa chicken salad from a restaurant that had VEGETABLES and MANGOES in it. That is insane! I nearly dropped over dead! And thirdly, cooking nice fancy meals on a constant basis is expensive. I like to go shopping for things other than food, and it bugs me if I have to spend all of my money on food. Is that weird?? Maybe. But seriously, food is expensive! That and it is just Landon and I, so it is hard for me to justify spending too much money on food, when 9 out of 10 times it is cheaper for us to eat out. Oh, and fourthly, I am around food ALL DAY. It is a wonder I am not 300 pounds yet. So it is not as exciting for me to cook at home when I am cooking nearly everyday at work.

Anyway, back to my cooking and baking of the day. Today I made chicken cordon bleu for the first time, some mashed potatoes and gravy, homemade fluffy dinner rolls, and a big cookie with homemade vanilla ice cream for dessert! This is when I was reminded that I don't have time to cook like this all the time. I started cooking at 2 and just finished up and it is almost 7:30. Of course I had some down time in between to throw in 5 loads of laundry. I was very productive today, but now I am pooped and am seriously craving a diet Dr. Pepper right about now. If only it wouldn't keep me up all night...

I have always loved the little chicken cordon bleu's you can buy in the frozen section at the store, and a couple months back Landon ordered it from Mimi's and it was amazing! Ever since I have wanted to try my hand at making it myself, and today was the lucky day! And even though I was totally scared out of my mind because I didn't think I could make it work, it turned out perfectly and even looked edible!! If I can do it, anyone can do it! Give it a try.

This recipe is amazing. The chicken is nice and tender and the middle with the ham and melty cheese is amazing. Then the crunchy crispy outside is the perfect little package to this amazing dish!! And again, you can tell the pictures were taken in my dark dreary household.

Chicken Cordon Bleu
from Buttery Books

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
6 thin slices of Swiss cheese
6 thin slices of ham
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon paprika
Kosher salt
Coarse ground pepper
1 cup bread crumbs, preferably Panko (HIGHLY suggest the Panko! Love it!)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 eggs
2 teaspoons water
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil

Wash chicken breasts and pat dry.  Between two pieces of plastic wrap, gently pound out chicken  to 1/4 inch thickness.  Be careful not to tear chicken.  Place a cheese and ham slice on each chicken breast.  Tightly roll each chicken breast over the cheese and ham and squeeze the chicken roll to help seal.  Secure seal with toothpicks, if necessary.

Mix the flour and paprika together in a flat dish.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Set aside.  Mix bread crumbs and thyme together in another flat dish.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Set aside.  In another dish, mix whisk together eggs and water.  Arrange dishes next to stove top where the chicken will be frying.

In a large saucepan, heat butter and olive oil over medium-high heat.  Lightly dust chicken rolls with flour mixture, then dip into egg mixture.  

Gently coat each roll in the bread crumbs and place in pan to fry.

Cook until chicken is browned on all sides and juices run clear. Transfer breasts to serving plate.   Remove toothpicks if used. 

Serve with a wedge of lemon or a cream sauce, if desired.


brooke's best bombshell brownies*

I am having dessert blogging withdrawals. I don't know if I have ever gone this long without posting a dessert, so even though I have a ton of "meals" to put up, I just NEED to put up a dessert :). I mean, who doesn't like dessert?

So, my hubby recently had a breakthrough. It is so great, yet so awful all at the same time. He LIKES dessert as of late. This is my dream come true! But then again, now we are making brownies and big cookies and eating ice cream. If you haven't noticed I have not mentioned my "healthier eating" lately. That's because, even though I try my hardest, I still end up eating something everyday that I really shouldn't. It has always been harder for me to eat good at work because there is everything there! And we are constantly making cupcakes and I'm surrounded by fruit roll-ups (my weakness) and other amazing things, but at home I never have anything around because if there is anything around I will "have" to eat it all by myself - and heaven forbid something sweet go to waste :). Now - not the case. Landon will eat it with me. Which means we have amazing desserts around because that's all I can think about until I make it and then we eat it and....AHHHHH!!!

So - Landon has been liking brownies lately. We have just gotten the boxes of brownies at the store a couple of times because I have been super lazy, but then one day I decided to make my own. I found this recipe on the internet and they looked pretty amazing, so I whipped them right up and topped them with ice cream! They are pretty yummy! They taste just like a box mix to me, which is fine because I think those are pretty good. However, when I ate a piece the next day I wasn't the biggest fan - even after I heated it up in the microwave. They were a little hard and not as gooey and amazing. So my suggestion would be to make sure you are going to finish them when they are fresh that same day. Other than that, I have no complaints. And of course, as you can see, I definitely made these at my house because the pictures are all shadowy and horrible! SORRY! Oh, and I halved this recipe because I did them in a 9x9 pan so that I didn't end up eating a whole cake pan of brownies mostly to myself!!!

Brooke's Best Bombshell Brownies
from Allrecipes.com

1 cup butter, melted
3 cups white sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish.

Combine the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each, until thoroughly blended.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Gradually stir in the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture until blended. Stir in the chocolate morsels. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking dish.

Bake in preheated oven until an inserted toothpick come out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove, and cool pan on wire rack before cutting.



smoked turkey artichoke panini*

Heritage is holding their annual fund raising scholarship gala in October and each department puts together a gift basket to put up for auction.The proceeds go to funding college scholarships for the students. Last year our department did a BBQ basket with the BBQ cooking tools, cookbook, apron, picnic basket, tablecloth, and fancy steaks. This year we just needed to go bigger and better. And, I must say, I am SO EXCITED! We are going to do a BAKING basket! Seriously, my heart beats faster just thinking about it - because I am a dork like that :)! It's the little things that make me happy! So here is what we are thinking should go in the basket:

*cute bright glass mixing bowls, apron (I am trying to get Flirty Aprons to donate - cross my fingers!), cute baking cups, baking/cupcakes cookbook, piping bag & tips, spatulas, muffin tins (regular & mini), round cake pans, cake leveler, cupcake corer, sprinkles, cute measuring cups, rolling pin, neon food coloring, freshly baked cupcakes and/or other baked goods from a local bakery and so much more*

I am trying to get some, if not most, of it donated. The gala isn't until October, but today Sarah and I were on the phone already calling different businesses trying to get some donations so that our basket can come to life! I will keep you updated - since I am so sure you will lose sleep over the matter :).

These paninis are SO AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING. Ok, I'm done. After one more AMAZING! We buy a whole wheat ciabatta bread that we make our paninis with and I am telling you - with all of the incredible ingredients inside - it makes for a mouth watering, stomach growling, heart stopping - well, maybe not heart stopping - but a very savory delicious sandwich! But please, do not leave out the garlic-herb sandwich spread. OH MY DELICIOUS! Please - make this sandwich. Make it now!

Smoked Turkey & Artichoke Panini
from Our Best Bites

One loaf rustic sourdough bread (I used whole wheat ciabatta - highly suggested)
One jar marinated artichoke hearts
Garlic-Herb sandwich spread (see below)
Smoked Deli Turkey
Swiss cheese (you could also use baby swiss, provolone, or smoked provolone)
Tomato, sliced
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Spread garlic-herb mayo on each slice of bread, then layer cheese slices on each. Pile generous amounts of turkey slices on one side of each sandwich, followed by tomato slices and artichoke hearts.

Brush both outer sides of sandwiches with olive oil and grill until golden brown. I actually left off the olive oil, and just toasted it without it.

Garlic Herb Sandwich Spread
from Our Best Bites

1 1/2 C mayo
1 large clove garlic
1/2 T lemon juice
zest from 1/2 lemon (1/4-1/2 t)
1/2 t fresh rosemary
1/2 T fresh oregano
1T fresh basil
Place mayo in a small food processor. Finely mince garlic, or press, and add to mayo. Add lemon zest then juice. Chop all herbs and add to mayo mixture.

I chop everything first to assure it gets evenly chopped in the food processor. If you do it by hand, without a food processor, just finely chop everything, and make sure to press garlic so you don’t get any big chunks.

Process until smooth and combined. (Or stir if doing by hand.)

This is best if made ahead so flavors have a chance to merry and intensify.

Garlic-Herb Sandwich Spread = AMAZING!!


pineapple & watermelon salad*

I went to dinner with my best friend Ashley last night and she said the funniest thing I have heard in awhile. She was saying how she hates when her food is so hot it burns her tongue. Landon is exactly the same way. He literally sticks my hot cooked meal in the freezer for 5 minutes before he eats it. I could probably just make him a casserole or something and not even bake it. It's depressing. Well, evidently Ashley is the same way about her annoyance with hot food. When we were at dinner she ordered a classic lasagna and, as she stated it, it was so hot it burned her toes! I seriously about died laughing. I don't know if it is because it was a long day and I was starting to lose it, or because when Ashley and I get together sometimes we get a little crazy. Either way, I thought that was hilarious! Ashley, I love you!

This pineapple and watermelon salad is so refreshing and the PERFECT summer salad! The basil with the lime juice over the yummy fruit is so fresh and exactly what the doctor ordered on a hot day.

Pineapple & Watermelon Salad
from MyGreenDiet
as seen on The Girl Who Ate Everything

1 pineapple, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/3 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
1 lime, juiced
1/2 watermelon, cut into bite-sized pieces
Mix pineapple pieces with basil and lime juice. Place watermelon pieces in serving dish and pour pineapple over the top. So not stir together. Garnish with lime and basil.

buffalo chicken pizza*

This is my new favorite pizza! Which is surprising because I am not a huge fan of buffalo sauce. I think the only buffalo sauce I really like is at Winger's. Their sticky fingers are amazing! Only the sticky fingers, though. I am not a fan of chicken wings. Or any chicken on the bone really. I don't need to see the anatomy of the chicken while I am trying to enjoy my dinner. But that's just me :).

The buffalo sauce for the chicken in this recipe is so amazing! It is a little sugary and not too spicy. But let's talk about the white sauce on this pizza for 2 seconds. This stuff is incredible! It is so simple at only 4 ingredients, but WOW! This white sauce would be amazing on my husbands chicken garlic pizza he loves that he gets from Papa Murphy's. I am going to have to recreate that pizza and see if I can win him over with my version!

Buffalo Chicken Pizza
original recipe from The Way The Cookie Crumbles
adapted version from Tracey's Culinary Adventures

1 lb pizza dough, stretched to a 12-inch round (we did 7" individuals for the students)

Buffalo Sauce
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup Frank’s hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

White Sauce
1 tablespoon plain yogurt
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
pinch of sugar
pinch of garlic powder

1 large (or 2 small) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup red onion, diced

At least 30 minutes before you plan to bake the pizza, preheat oven to 500 F.  Set a pizza stone on the bottom rack of your oven.

To make the buffalo sauce, add the butter to a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat.  Cook until melted, then mix in the hot sauce, brown sugar and cider vinegar.  Add the shredded chicken and toss to coat with the sauce.

To make the white sauce, mix the yogurt, mayonnaise, sugar, garlic powder and a pinch each of salt and pepper in a small bowl to combine.  Set aside.

Transfer the dough to a well-floured pizza peel, if you have one.  (We don't, so I always use parchment paper.)  Spread the white sauce in a thin, even layer over the dough, leaving a small border around the edge.  Top with the chicken, then the mozzarella and finally the red onion.  

Bake on the preheated pizza stone (or the back of a baking sheet if you don't have one) for about 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is browned and the cheese is bubbling and browned.  Transfer the pizza to a cutting board and let stand for 5 minutes before slicing.

Really, you have to try this to believe how amazing it is! Again, the sauce. Both the buffalo and the white sauce. AMAZING!!!!


grilled chile-lime shrimp*

Last night there was an awesome little shower storm that got me all excited thinking that I might not melt away at work because it might actually be cool. I woke up this morning and there was still a little bit of water on the driveway. Immediately I made the worst decision I made all day. I decided to wear a 3/4 sleeve SWEATER. Somehow it made sense in my mind, because it was only 3/4 sleeve, so it seemed "summer - ish", yet perfect for a rainy mid-July day. How this made sense in my head, I have no idea. I have been dying ALL DAY! Today we had the flat grill going, the ovens on, and I have been running around since the moment I got to work! I learned my lesson. I will not be getting out any sort of sweaters, 3/4 sleeve or not, until October. Rain or no rain, it is much too hot, especially in the kitchen, for that kind of apparel!

Anyway, today was another awesome day with some awesome new recipes! Today we made these yummy grilled chile-lime shrimp, fiesta lime rice, cherry squares and a to DIE for buffalo chicken pizza. All of which will make their way on here at one point or another!

This shrimp is AMAZING! Keep in mind, I do NOT like shrimp. Like - at all. Unless it is breaded, deep fried, and with fry sauce.  This shrimp - this shrimp is different. The marinade is simply amazing. Although it is still kind of hard for me to get over the texture, I actually chose to eat this shrimp for lunch! That is a big feet people, small as it may seem. Also, my co-worker Dianne said that this meal was the best $3 meal that she has EVER bought! Now THAT is a compliment!!!

Grilled Chile-Lime Shrimp
from Better Homes and Gardens magazine

1 tsp. finely shredded lime peel
1/4 Tbsp. lime juice (about 1 1/2 limes)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely minced
1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp. cilantro
1 Tbsp. honey
1 1/2 lbs. medium shrimp (about 6 per person)

Preheat grill to medium-high.

In medium bowl, combine all ingredients except shrimp and stir well. Peel shrimp except for tail, and devein. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
Place shrimp in large resealable bag. Add marinade. Through bag, rub marinade into shrimp. Place in refrigerator for 20 minutes. Halfway through, turn bag and give shrimp another marinade massage. (Do not marinate longer than 20 minutes, or the acidic lime juice will cook the shrimp).

Place shrimp on cutting board and nestle them together in groups of six. Using 2 bamboo skewers for each group, skewer the shrimp together (this is for nice presentation, keeps shrimp from falling into the grill and makes them easier to turn). NOTE: Soak bamboo skewers in water for 15 minutes prior to use, to keep them from burning.
Grill shrimp on an oiled grill rack 2 minutes per side, or until opaque.


grilled chicken w/ peach bbq sauce*

We served this grilled chicken with peach bbq sauce at the banquet this last Wednesday. I didn't hear much feedback either way as to whether or not the students and staff thought it was tasty, but most of my staff as well as myself thought it was pretty good! I know that there was a lot of skepticism because it was "peach bbq sauce", but when I was making the sauce I was so excited to try it because it smelled AMAZING!

While making the sauce, I used our new BlendTec blenders that got donated to us during the last parent conference by Tom Dickson, the creator of BlendTec. We absolutely LOVE them and use them all the time! They are also nice enough to let us borrow extra blenders from them when we have our smoothie days a few times a year! THANKS BLENDTEC!

Grilled Chicken w/ Peach BBQ Sauce
from Gwyneth Paltrow via Bon Appetit, June 2011
as seen on Tracey's Culinary Adventures

9-10 oz frozen sliced peaches, thawed and chopped (or 1 cup chopped peeled fresh peaches)
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons adobo sauce (from canned chipotle chiles in adobo)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 lbs)

Add the peaches, ketchup, lemon juice, garlic and adobo sauce to a small saucepan.  Season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer until the peaches are soft, about 10 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let cool. 

Transfer to a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

(P.S. the BlendTec blender even has a button for sauces! How convenient!)

Transfer half of the sauce to a resealable plastic bag.  Add the chicken, seal the bag then use your hands (on the outside of the bag) to coat the chicken with the sauce.  Marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes, or in the fridge for up to 8 hours.  Cover and refrigerate the remaining half of the sauce.

Preheat grill to medium-high. Oil the grill racks thoroughly to keep the chicken from sticking.  When hot, grill the chicken until charred in places and almost cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side.  Brush all sides of the chicken with some of the remaining sauce then continue to grill until cooked through (chicken will register 160-165 F on an instant read thermometer), about 1-2 minutes more per side.  Let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.  Serve with remaining sauce.



spicy beef & black bean chili*

Week 1 of my new summer menus has come and gone with much success! I am in love with all of the new recipes we have had so far. Usually I am going in and changing several recipes because they either didn't go over well with the students or they really aren't feasible for our special situation. So far, however, I do not need to make a single change! WAHOO!

This spicy beef and black bean chili is probably my favorite of the week. It is pretty darn tasty if I do say so myself (and shhhh..it's healthy, too :).

Spicy Beef and Black Bean Chili
from The Girl Who Ate Everything

1 pound ground sirloin
1 Tablespoon less sodium Taco seasoning
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, undrained
1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained
1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
6 Tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
chopped green onion or cilantro for garnish (optional)

Cook beef in a medium pot on medium high heat until browned. Drain and return to pan.  Stir in taco seasoning and all of the other ingredients except sour cream and garnish. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 7-8 minutes or until heated through. Pour into bowls and top with sour cream and garnish. Yields 6 servings (1 cup each).

Each serving with sour cream: 298 calories

My suggestion: garnish with cilantro. I am a cilantro fanatic and it really added the perfect fresh touch that this chili needed! And DO NOT leave the sour cream out of the mix because the creaminess it adds is simply amazing! Oh, and I cheated and added some shredded cheese on top, too. I couldn't possibly let it be TOO healthy! We served this with a yummy piece of corn bread on the side. Oh man, I wish I had a big bowl of this right now - even though it is 93 degrees outside :).


100th post!!!*

Happy 100th post - to me :). I am going to switch it up and NOT do a recipe. Crazy, I know. For my 100th post I decided to fill out a little survey about myself so that you all can get to know me a little better. Even though some of the questions have nothing to do with anything...haha! Here we go!

1. What time did you get up this morning? 4:45 a.m.
2 .Diamonds or pearls? diamonds - although back in the day I would have said neither. Now, I'm all about the bling!
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? hangover 2

4. What is your favorite TV show? I have a few, but you can't laugh. keeping up with the kardashians, teen mom, 16 and pregnant (scares me out of having a kid and I'm 24), and anything food network
5. What do you usually have for breakfast? lately a fiber 1 bar or greek yogurt
6. What is your middle name? Beth

7. What food do you dislike? mushrooms, fish (minus my panko crusted salmon - yummy!), whoppers (the candy), cantaloupe/honeydew, tomatoes, strawberry flavored things, "fake" apple pie filling, things that look like they would taste amazing and really don't, I actually have a lot so I better stop while I am ahead..

8. What is your favorite CD at moment? Taylor Swift Speak Now and Eminem Recovery - yeah doesn't make sense I know

9. What kind of car do you drive? Acura TL

10. Favorite sandwich? wendy's spicy chicken sandwich or quizno's classic italian, oh and my caprese paninis

11. What characteristic do you despise? judgmental

12. Favorite item of clothing? victorias secret lounge pants
13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? oh man..tough question. it used to be the Altantis hotel and resort in the Bahamas, but we went there this last February. AMAZING place I tell you! I really don't know...I'm gonna have to skip.
14. Favorite brand of clothing? big star jeans. love them.
15. Where would you retire? winters in st. george and summers in san diego

16. What was your most recent memorable birthday?
this is going to sound sad but I have the worst memory. I know the last one my cute hubby got me my ugg boots I wanted forever! other than that...it's all a blank haha
17. Favorite sport to watch? FOOTBALL all the way! September 11th baby!

18. Furthest place you are sending this? i'm not "sending" it anywhere..

19. Person you expect to send it back first? uhh..probably no one

20. When is your birthday? november 6th

21. Are you a morning person or a night person? umm I guess morning since I am like a grandma and am out like a light by 10:30.

22. What is your shoe size? 6.5 or 7
23. Pets? my son, Tank - he's a yorkie. isn't he the cutest??

24. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us? we find out next week if we got our house!! wahoo!

25.What did you want to be when you were little? I don't think I really thought about it when I was little, but in high school I wanted to be a marketing director.

26. How are you today?
tired from a long week and still have tomorrow to go!
27. What is your favorite candy? at this moment the big laffy taffy's with the sprinkle things on top - and I don't like sprinkles so it's very weird to me

28. What is your favorite flower? lily

29. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? any day after the middle of September. that month is going to be insane!

30.What's your full name? Alyssa Beth Cundy (Sperry is my maiden name if you want to get really in depth)

31. What are you listening to right now? my puppies bling - that's what we call his tags because they make so much noise when he walks

32. What was the last thing you ate? a string cheese

33. Do you wish on stars? nope

34. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? bright pink

35. How is the weather right now? 89 degrees and sunny - although it feels much hotter

36. The first person you spoke to on the phone today? my mother-in-law - LOVE her! oh wait, that's a lie. someone in ISU to get their meal numbers. I forgot that included work phone calls!

37. Favorite soft drink? diet dr. pepper

38. Favorite restaurant? bear paw in st. george

39.Real hair color? blondish brown. not cute.

40. What was your favorite toy as a child? my little stuffed cat that had the baby kittens that you could stuff inside of her belly. what was that called??? ugh..I can't think of it! it's gonna drive me nuts!

41.Summer or winter? summer ALL THE WAY. I hate the snow/cold/miserableness

44. Coffee or tea? coffee. pumpkin mocha from starbucks is my all time favorite.

46. When was the last time you cried? uhh...hmm...it's been awhile. that's weird.. :)

47. What is under your bed? a card table and four chairs haha!

49. What are you afraid of? snakes, car accidents, heights

50. Salty or sweet? most of the time sweets. I could eat dessert for dinner.

51. How many keys on your key ring? 6

52. How many years at your current job? 3 1/2 years, and only 40 more to go! good thing I LOVE that place!

53. Favorite day of the week? Friday. I don't like Saturday because then you only have one more day to sleep in and Sunday all you can think about is how the next day is Monday

54. How many towns have you lived in? 5, but I have moved 21 times
I think
55. Do you make friends easily? I like to think so.. :) 

The end! It's sad how long that took me! If you have any questions about me, feel free to ask anytime :). And if you decide to take this for yourself, I would LOVE to read it! Post on here or e-mail me at alyssaliz@hotmail.com. Thanks everyone for an awesome 100 posts and I can't wait for many more to come!!

better than anything cake*

I am SO excited to have my first post as Croutons and Cupcakes!!!! Why the change, you ask? Well, Cundy's Culinary Creations is SO LONG, and just to rattle it off to someone that wants to look at it really turns into quite the ordeal. First of all, I always have to end up spelling it out because Cundy is not very common. Second of all, there is just so much going on in that title that some people have a hard time spelling it exactly right so that it will work when they type it in. So yesterday I came up with Croutons and Cupcakes!

For those of you that know me, croutons are my absolute FAVORITE food! Yes, that's right - I cannot get enough of that savory stale bread. In my earlier years when I lived with my parents, my mom would shop at Sams Club and would buy the jumbo bag of croutons. I literally ate them out of the bag like chips. Cannot get enough. And it should be pretty obvious where the cupcakes come in play. My blog posts are definitely not lacking in the cupcake area. I just LOVE the things!

So welcome everybody to Croutons and Cupcakes! I am also really digging the new layout! It is so stinkin' cute! Anyway, let's get to this amazing dessert.

So I wanted to start off my first post as Croutons and Cupcakes with none other than a dessert. Surprised? I didn't think so. If you have never tried better than anything cake (a.k.a. better than sex cake), you are surely missing out. It is one of my very favorites. I have been thinking that I need to make it into a cupcake at some point, so be on the lookout for that!

Better Than Anything Cake

1 box Devil's Food Cake Mix + ingredients called for on the box
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups caramel topping
1 pkg. whipped topping (or make homemade - that's what we did :)
1 pkg. Heath toffee bits (you can find them by the chocolate chips at the store)

Mix and bake cake according to the directions. Set aside and let cool.

While the cake is cooling, mix sweetened condensed milk and caramel topping in a medium saucepan. Heat over low heat just until the two are well combined. Remove from heat and set aside.

With the end of a wooden spoon poke holes in the cooled cake. You don't have to be exact about your holes, but make sure there is a good amount so that the caramely milky goodness can seep through.

Pour the caramel/milk mixture over the cake so that it goes into the holes. After you have filled all of the holes, continue pouring over the rest of the cake so that it is well covered. Put the cake in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

After cake has completely cooled, spread the whipped topping evenly over the top. Then sprinkle on the Heath toffee bits.

EAT UP - and try not to eat the whole thing in one sitting!

So moist and sweet and chocolaty and crunchy and creamy - I just don't even know. This cake is the epitome of AMAZING! Oh, and by the way, my next post will mark my 100th recipe! Pretty big deal if you ask me :).


bowtie chicken caesar salad*

Hello everyone out there!! Do you remember me?? I have been busy Busy BUSY! But I have some great news! My summer menus are completed and underway! Oh, and not to mention we have welcomed two new staff into our department! I should have taken their pictures today so that I could introduce them better. Joan is our new Food Service Worker and so far she is so great to work with and has the best personality! Colton is our new dishwasher and he has been working a little over a week and has been so awesome! I have heard nothing but positive things about both of them from all around campus and I am so excited when they are out of training so that they can hang out with us all day! I will try and remember to get a picture tomorrow, and also still need to get a picture of everyone in my department so that you all can see a face to the name :). And I just want to tell you how EXCITED I am to FINALLY be fully staffed! I have been fully staffed for about 2 weeks in the 13 months that I have been the director of food services. It is really like a huge sigh of relief! Now I need a vacation :).

So with the launch of our new menus and a huge sports banquet tomorrow for the students, we were SWAMPED today! Also, we fit in going to lunch at Applebee's for Jamie's, Jackie's and Colton's birthdays. We are a bit behind haha. Anyway, today Karen made this amazing bowtie chicken caesar salad, we made the cake for our better than sex cake tomorrow for the banquet, we made some chicken tikka masala for dinner, a birthday cake for one of the students, and I made some peach bbq sauce for our grilled chicken with peach bbq sauce tomorrow for the banquet. As well as our regular fruit cutting and salad bar making in between. Phew..that's a lot of stuff! Oh, and I forgot that Sarah and I ran to the store to buy a ton of vegetarian food as well as some necessities for the banquet and the upcoming camping trip this weekend. My days have been this crazy for what seems like ever, so this is my excuse for my lack of blogging existence. Forgive me, but I am BACK!

I love the Caesar dressing that we use at work. It is actually just the Sysco brand, but it is my favorite! I have tried a couple of different kinds whether it be a bottle I bought from the store or at a restaurant, and none I like as much as our plain old Sysco kind. I guess I could attempt to make some, but to put anchovies or whatever they use would totally freak me out. I know they are in there, but I don't want to see them be put in there. You know what I mean? Anyway, when I saw this recipe for a bowtie chicken caesar salad I was THRILLED! I have seen this meal on the menu at the Pizza Factory, and heard that it was amazing, so couldn't wait to try it out for myself. I thought pasta mixed in with salad sounded like a crazy idea, but it totally works!

Bowtie Chicken Caesar Salad
adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

2 bunches romaine lettuce, chopped
1 bag home-style seasoned croutons
1 bag toasted almonds (I forgot to order almonds, so left them out this time...oops!)
2 chicken breasts, grilled with salt and pepper
2 cups bowtie pasta, cooked
4 - 6 oz. shredded parmesan cheese
Caesar Dressing

Toss all the above ingredients with Caesar dressing right before serving. Serves 20-25.

 Yummy yummy in my tummy!

Stay tuned for some of the recipes for our banquet tomorrow. On the menu is caesar salad, grilled chicken with peach bbq sauce, roasted red potatoes (a pre-blogged about recipe), asparagus with balsamic browned butter, garlic bread, New York cheesecake with raspberry sauce, and better than sex cake!


fiesta chicken pasta salad*

Happy 4th of July everyone! I am absolutely convinced that holidays are just no fun unless you have kids. Even the 4th of July. Landon and I contemplated buying fireworks, but then came to the conclusion that it really didn't sound that fun. However, I am sure if we had a little one that I would buy them for sure because we would just love the see the awe on their face as the fireworks did their thing.

Instead we are sitting here watching True Grit. If there are two kinds of movies I don't like it is Sci-Fi and westerns. I am not a big fan of most action movies either, but never ever have I wanted to watch a Sci-Fi or western. And yet here I am...which is why I am blogging :). Landon is sure lucky I love him! Anyway, the point of this story is that someday holidays, like the 4th of July, will be more exciting if and when we decide to have kids. Now don't get it twisted, we are not planning on having kids until I am 30. This is no exaggeration. I simply don't have the time, and I refuse to have my child be raised in a day care. That is a subject all it's own, so let's get to this yummy pasta salad!

I found this recipe yesterday on BettyCrocker.com. Gotta love that Betty Crocker! I wanted something yummy to make for our 4th of July dinner, and decided this sounded amazing! Before I get to the recipe though, I have a confession to make. Last night I wanted to make a big cookie for Landon and I to enjoy, and started in on the ingredients. I then realized that I didn't have a single egg. I decided to give up and finish making it the next day, because where it was Sunday all of the nearby grocery stores are closed and I did not want to drive all the way to Wal Mart. Then, I had a revelation. I bet my renter downstairs had an egg! She's been out of town all week, plus I have to do my laundry down there every Sunday anyway. Yes - I did. I raided her fridge and stole an egg. I really do feel awful about it. First thing this morning I ran to the store to buy some ingredients for this pasta salad, and also bought some eggs. The second I came home I ran downstairs and replaced the stolen egg. Good as new. I still feel guilty...but I figure had she been home and I asked her for an egg she would have without a doubt let me borrow one with the promise of an egg in return. That was how I have lived with myself thus far. So, thanks Effie for the egg!

Fiesta Chicken Pasta Salad
from Betty Crocker

  package Betty Crocker® Suddenly Salad® classic pasta salad mix
cup sour cream
tablespoons water
teaspoon chili powder
cup cherry tomato halves
  cup julienne strips green bell pepper (I left these out)
  green onions, chopped
  cup cubed cooked chicken or roast beef
Tortilla chips
  cup shredded Cheddar cheese (2 ounces)
Old El Paso® salsa (any variety) 
Empty pasta mix into 3-quart saucepan 2/3 full of boiling water. Gently boil about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Drain pasta; rinse in cold water. Shake to drain.

Stir together Seasoning mix, sour cream, water and chili powder in large bowl.

Stir in pasta-vegetable mixture, tomatoes, bell pepper and onion. Stir in chicken.

Line serving plate with tortilla chips. Mound salad onto chips; sprinkle with Cheddar cheese. Serve with salsa. Refrigerate any remaining salad.
Makes 4 servings 

This salad is very good! It has a little tang to it and is very flavorful. The next time I make it I think I am going to add some Cholula so that it has a little spice. It is really a meal all its own, but it went very well with our BBQ hamburgers, potato chips and a warm brownie with vanilla ice cream for dessert! Happy 4th of July!