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