Thursday, May 15, 2014

French Dip Sandwiches Crockpot Style

So there are days that the crockpot can really be your best friend. Busy days. Stressful days. Lazy days. Hot days when you don't want to turn on the oven. Crockpot to the rescue! Here is a super simple, man satisfying, looks-like-you-worked-hard-but-watched-the-office-while-cutting-coupons-instead kind of dinner. Just a few ingredients and a few minutes to throw together and then come back hours later to delicious dinner!

3 lb beef rump roast
16 oz can beef broth (maybe a lil more depending of size of crockpot)
1 packet of onion soup mix
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
3 minced garlic cloves
Sliced provolone
French or Italian crusty bread or roll (like a baguette)

1. Place the roast in the bottom on crockpot. Add broth, onion soup mix, worcestershire
, and garlic in crockpot. Check to be sure the meat is covered with broth. If not, add more broth or water to be sure it's fully submerged.

2. Cook on low for 9-10 hours.

3. Slice baguette or rolls and toast in oven for a few minutes. Place sliced provolone on the bread/rolls and return to oven for a minute or two, just long enough to melt.

4. Remove meat from crockpot. Slice meat and pile up on toasty, cheesy bread. Reserve leftover juices in crockpot for dipping. Don't skip this step! The au jus makes this sandwich so incredible!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Tomatoes Tulips for Easter

Here is a beautiful floral arrangements made of tomatoes, cheese and asparagus for an Easter appetizer or a spring brunch. Simple. Cute. Festive. Requires little time. All my favorite things.

red and yellow cherry tomatoes
herbed soft cheese (I used garlic and herb soft spreadable cheese by Alouette)
asparagus stems, tops cut off

1. Fit a piping bag with any round tip and fill with soft herbed cheese.

2. Using a pairing knife, make two perpendicular cuts from the narrow tip of the tomato toward the base. Only go about 3/4 of the way down. Do not cut all the way through!

3. Pipe cheese into the center where the cuts overlap. You will have to use your fingers to pry the opening a bit.

4. Arrange filled tomatoes on the platter. Place cut asparagus stems on platter to mimic tulip stems.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Carrot Veggie Platter for Easter

If you are looking for simple and cute appetizer for Easter, then look no further! This is as easy as it gets, yet looks super adorable! Try it and I guarantee it will be a hit! You could pair this appetizer with an Easter bunny bread filled with dip. Then you have a bunny and his carrot. Also, you can eat the veggies from the carrot with the dip. Happy Easter!

3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 heads of broccoli florets

1. Arrange slices of carrots in a narrow triangle shape.

2. Add broccoli florets in a heaping pile at top of the carrot triangle to make the carrot!

That's it! Like I said. Easy. Cute. Perfect.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Easter Bunny Veggie and Dip Platter

Anyone who knows me well knows I LOVE Pinterest!! It's basically my favorite internet pastime. It has something for everyone. Even my husband, who loathes Facebook and the like, enjoys the humor boards and DIY building stuff pins. Well, I saw this on Pinterest last year and thought it was just the cutest Easter themed food and I had to make it. If you are looking for a cute addition to your Easter table, try out this Easter bunny bread filled with Spinach Artichoke dip and surrounded by cut veggies. You can use the veggies or the bread for dipping. Both taste great! Happy Easter!

1 loaf round boule style bread
1 loaf italian or french baguette style bread
assorted veggies (I used baby carrots and red/yellow cherry tomatoes)
black olives and celery, for garnish

1. Cut off the top circle of the round loaf carefully to make the bunny's face. Hollow out the body by  ripping pieces from the inside of the round loaf to set aside for dipping, as well as, make room for the dip.

2. Cut the ends of the baguette off for the bunny's ears and place on tray above the round bread/bunny's head. Rip/slice the leftover middle section of the baguette and add to other bread pieces for dipping.

3. Slice an olive in half for bunny's eyes and quarter an olive for a piece to use as the center of the nose. Thinly slice a small piece of celery for the whiskers. Arrange bunny's face on the round top piece of bread.

4. Fill the bunny's body with dip and fill on the empty areas on the platter with veggies and bread pieces. 

Adapted from : The Nesting Corral

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Baseball Cookie Favors

I made these Baseball Cookies for my best friend's son on his first birthday. Her whole family is huge Phillies fans and the baseball themed party was such a fun idea! It was a great day to celebrate with dear friends!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

5 years and counting, Love sugar cookies

My husband, my best friend, my always helping and fun partner, my favorite person has dealt with me for five fun years of marriage.

 Yep, five years since we said I Do. It's a long time. We have laughed and cried together. And I'm so blessed to go through life with him. He's just the coolest guy in every way.

My husband is "that guy". That guy who holds open doors and cares for everyone. That guy who likes spending time with me as much as possible. He's that guy who cares for my friends and family like they are his own. He's that guy who always wants to help the world and will lend a helping hand to anyone. He's that guy who's can build a wall or fix or a door, but will also helps with fill piping bags and ice cookies (and he's good at both!). He's the guy who reads devotions to me at night even though he's tired and always thinks of my needs above his own. He's that guy who works hard and loves his job and his students.

So yeah, he's pretty awesome.
And I'm pretty lucky.

Here's to many more years together! Happy 5th anniversary Robert!

Our church had it's Valentine's banquet on our five year anniversary and I was making some desserts. So wisely, I made a few extras for us to celebrate with. It was pure genius to get married right after Valentine's day and not at all because it was when we had off for president's day...

These sugar cookies were fun to make. And rather simple. Make sugar cookie dough. Roll and cut. Bake. Make icing. Edge and flood. Dot and pull with toothpick. The end.

It may seem like many steps, but it really isn't bad.

I have been experimenting with a many bakers, bloggers, and other talented individuals' sugar cookie recipes and I have found my favorite. At least for now. The very talented Bridget, from Bake at 350, has a fantastic recipe which I will be sharing with detailed photos soon. Go check out her blog. It's amazing!

And for some royal icing tips and trick, Sugarbelle has opened my eyes to whole new world. Many helpful tricks for decorating with royal icing. My favorite part... NOT SIFTING! I have been sifting sugar like an idiot all this time and guess what?  It made no difference. Perfect Royal Icing without sifting. Thank you Sugarbelle!

Happy belated Valentine's Day and remember to appreciate those in your life worthy of love!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Boy or Girl? Baby Shower Onesie Cookies

I was thrilled to make these pink and blue onesie cookies for a friend's baby shower. They would be perfect for a gender reveal too! Best wishes to your new little one, boy or girl!

I stole this photo from the lovely host and grandmother to be because it was too cute to not share.

In case you can't tell, I really liked these cookies...

Well, if you have to be obsessed with something, it can't be better than cute cookies!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Macaroni and Cheese Cupcakes

Every year for New Year's Eve, we head to my aunt's house for a lovely time ringing in the next year of memories and excitement! There is always tons of food, fireworks, games, and friends to help celebrate. I knew we were planning to play a bunch of board games, so I figured finger foods would be something useful to bring. So I used a variation of my grandma's baked macaroni and cheese and instead of baking it in a large rectangular pan, I used cupcakes pans and colorful wrappers. It made mac and cheese into a portable and cute savory cupcake. Make these for your next party and see them disappear!

For January's What's Baking Challenge, Eva from Eva Bakes, gave us the challenge to make something with small portions. So I figured these macaroni and cheese cupcakes were perfect! You get your own 'lil cup for just yourself! Of course, you can have more than one if you really want. In fact, I recommend it.

1 lb mini shells
2 1/2 cup 1% milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp butter
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tsp ground mustard powder
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp black pepper
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz Velvetta
1/4 cup grated parmesan or pecorino cheese

1. Heat milk, heavy cream, butter, salt, pepper, mustard, nutmeg, and paprika in a large pot over medium heat. Stir to combine all ingredients.

2. Add pasta and continue stirring constantly until it reaches a simmer. Then turn the heat down to low.

3. Continue stirring while the cooking the mac and cheese on low for about 12-15 minutes. The macaroni must always be submerged in the milk mixture, if the liquid evaporates too quickly add a little more milk and make sure the heat is on low.

4. Remove from and immediately stir in cheese until melted and combined. Let the pasta cool for a few minutes and prepare the pans. Line the muffin pans with cupcake liners.

5. Using a cookie or ice cream scoop, fill the cupcake liners with mac and cheese.

6. Pop pans into a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Valentine's Day Ideas

For myself and my husband, February is like the month of love. We are super into celebrating! We kinda love making presents for each other, surprising the other, and making fun treats! Since Valentine's day and our anniversary are only a week apart we basically celebrate all week. If you enjoy Valentine's day or just spoiling your significant other (or just yourself), try these favorite foods!

Valentine's Day Menu Ideas


(delicious! perfect for breakfast-in-bed)

(everything you could want; stacked and smothered)

(a yummy little morning delight)

Appetizers Ideas:

(a cute appetizer dish just for two)

(simple and elegant; a little Italian for St. Valentine)

Dinner Ideas:

(a dinner sure to make any meat lover swoon)

(a portion-friendly stack-up of everyone's favorite eggplant recipe)

(an amazingly romantic dinner that begs for a glass of wine)

Sweet Treats:

(perfect for two spoons)

(my husband always fawns over these)

(a classic valentines themed cupcake)

Superbowl Favorites

It's almost that time of the year where people get super excited to watch men in very tight pants run back and forth across fake grass. Yep, that's right, it's Superbowl season! With the approaching football fun, you may be preparing for a Super Bowl party, which is indeed the very best part of football. You get to eat wings and watch commercials. If you need some ideas for yummy Superbowl party treats, check out these favorites of mine!

Potato Skins
(seriously, what's not to love, potatoes with cheese and bacon?)

(got crackers, check. got wings, check.)

(simple and easy... plus its vegetarian friendly!)

(cupcakes + football = :)

(an easy to share savory treat)

(just like at the Cheesecake Factory: buffalo style chicken and cream cheese in a wonton)

Happy Football'ing!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Football Pull-Apart Cake

With football season upon us, it's time to start thinking about the best part of football season, the food. Here is a fun little cake I made for a Packer's game. My family have been long time Packers fans and I am a fan of making football theme food. So enjoy this football pull-apart cake.

For cupcakes:
My Vanilla cake mix
3/4 cup water
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup softened butter
3 eggs

For chocolate ganache:
1 cup bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
white decorating icing
colored candies (M&M, Reese's Pieces)

1. Mix all ingredients for cake in a large bowl to combine.

2. Line cupcake pan with wrappers and scoop batter in each cup (about 2/3 full).

3. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12-15 mins. Let cool.

4. While cupcakes cool, heat heavy cream in microwave for about 2 minutes. Pour over chopped chocolate and let it sit about 5 minutes.

5. Stir thoroughly until chocolate and cream are fully incorporated. Let cool. Beat on medium high speed for a minute or two, until fluffy and spreadable.

6. Arrange cupcakes in a football shape on a cake plate or baking sheet. Spoon dollops of whipped frosting all over the cupcakes. Use a knife to carefully spread frosting across all the cupcakes tops, like they are one unit. If the frosting is not spreading easily, dip the knife in a cup of hot water and then try again.

7. Fully cover the cupcake cake with frosting and even out the frosting. Sprinkle candies around the edge and pipe on football ties in the middle. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bloomin' Pepperoni Bread

Well, I know the holidays are officially over with the passing of Epiphany, and all that is left is football. Now, I'm going to be completely honest with you. I couldn't care less about football. The only appeal it has for me is the food. I watch the Superbowl for the commercials, but everything else you can take. I do, however, enjoy Superbowl parties. I like themes, and themed foods. I have made football pull apart cakes and even attempted those football Oreo truffles from pinterest (which I failed at). That is what I like about sports. The food. So without further ado, here is a great Super Bowl/football appetizer to share.

1 round loaf of french or Italian bread (I used a french boule)
1 pkg or stick of pepperoni, thinly sliced and halved
8 oz soft provolone, thin sliced
8 oz mozzarella, shredded
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper or peperoncini flakes if you are feeling daring
1 tbsp pecorino or Parmesan cheese
marinara sauce for dipping

1. Cut the bread lengthwise and widthwise, very carefully, without cutting through the crust. It doesn't have to be perfect so don't stress!

2. Stuff the bread with provolone, mozzarella, and pepperoni. Place stuffed bread on a parchment lined baking sheet.

3. Combine butter, olive oil, and seasonings. Brush over the bread to cover entire loaf and then sprinkle with grated cheese. Cover with foil.

4. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes and then unwrap and continue baking another 10-15 minutes until the cheese and pepperoni are slightly crispy.

Adapted from: The Girl Who Ate Everything

Monday, January 6, 2014

Maple Bacon Pancakes

Try this new spin on classic pancakes for a delicious Saturday morning breakfast. I love bacon. Everyone loves bacon. In my house, it's pancakes and bacon or no pancakes at all. I mean, pancakes are good, but they need a counterpart, another component to make them perfect. And bacon happens to fill that spot.
And my husband will never eat pancakes with maple syrup, ever. So I decided to embrace our love of bacon and maple syrup and try adding it to pancakes. It turned out great!

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp melted butter
6-8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1. Mix all dry ingredients, except the bacon, together in a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, stir all the wet ingredients together.

2. Combine both mixes together and stirring only enough to incorporate the two batters.

3. Fold the bacon into the batter gently and let batter rest for about 10 minutes.

4. Pour it onto a heated griddle or electric skillet and flip pancakes when bubbles form on the pancake tops. Eat warm, served with butter and maple syrup. Happy breakfast time!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Vegetable Tian

The new year has come and everyone is busy racking their brain with resolutions, changes, and new ideas. Many people will plan to become healthier and more food conscious in the new year. If eating your veggies and enjoying them is one of your goals for the new year, then this is perfect for you.

People always say how kids hate eating their vegetables. I know this because I was that kid. I ate maybe ten foods, none of which were nutrient rich. I was such a picky eater and I'm not entirely over that. There are still plenty of foods that make me squirm, but I did finally embrace veggies and found such delicious and healthy ways to prepare them. This is one of my husband's favorite veggie sides for dinner.

Happy New Year and may 2014 bring everyone many blessings and happiness!

2 onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
3 red potatoes
3 large tomatoes
1 yellow zucchini
1 green zucchini
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup provolone cheese, shredded

1. Saute the onion and garlic with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt over medium heat until softened. Set aside to cool.

2. Slice the potatoes and vegetables into thin round disks.

3. Spray a square baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Scoop half of the onions and garlic into the bottom of the baking dish.

4. Layer the veggie and potato slices vertically, in an alternating pattern. Then top with salt, pepper, and tbsp of olive oil. Spread the remaining garlic and onions over the veggies and cover with foil.

5. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle shredded cheese on top. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes until the cheese is golden brown.

Adapted from Budget Bytes