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Spaghetti with Roasted Butternut and Brussels & Greek Yogurt Cream Sauce

Spaghetti with roasted butternut squash and Brussels sprouts proves that that winter squash and vegetables transcend the seasons. Especially when paired with a Greek yogurt cream sauce.

Spaghetti with Roasted Butternut and Brussels & Greek Yogurt Cream Sauce

The weather was finally showing signs of spring sticking around but has suddenly revived its pesky habit of dropping to nearly below freezing today. Here I was getting into the groove of spring attire only to be denied once more. As a result I continue to crave roasted winter vegetables/squash such as Brussels sprouts and butternut squash. With this cold front sweeping the nation I figured a pasta dish with some season-transitioning flavors would help comfort the cold away, especially when paired with a creamy Greek yogurt sauce. I even put some fried sage on top, in all its crispy and falvorful glory.
One year ago: Creamy Pesto with Mini Ravioli, Asparagus and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Three years ago: Guiltless Cajun Chicken Alfredo
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Peepsters Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

My favorite chewy chocolate chip cookies get dressed up for Easter on the inside with PEEPS Peepsters stuffing.

Peepsters Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies 1

Yesterday I returned a couple unopened bags of candy melts thinking it wouldn’t be a big deal, it’s just sugar. There was nothing wrong, just didn’t end up needing them for a recipe, to which she replied, “Doesn’t matter I have to throw them out anyway.” Now I thought she was joking so I laughed, but after her unchanged facial expression I realized she was not. Apparently returned food items (even unopened, packaged sugar/chocolate) cannot be resold. It makes sense for fresh food or anything requiring refrigeration, but candy?? Upon discovering this I felt bad for returning them and voiced this to her. However, she shot back that I did not in fact feel bad or else I wouldn’t be returning them. She said it so matter-of-fact, again without any humor, that I felt like I should be offended. True I could have snatched them up saying I changed my mind and if I had a job right now I would have. Unfortunately I do not and keeping them is less important than being able to pay for things such as bills. In the end, Walmart can handle the loss a lot easier than I can right now.

Just in case you still think I am a bad person, how about some cookies? I used my favorite chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe using both semisweet and milk chocolate chips this time and then stuffed them with PEEPS Peepsters – fun chocolate Easter candies with marshmallow centers. These cookies are basically PEEPS stuffed chocolate chip cookies without the mess of an exploding marshmallow, which commonly happens if you stuff a regular marshmallow into the center of a cookie. 

Peepsters Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies 2

Three years ago: Double Cake Batter Truffle Ice Cream
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Easy Corn Salsa & CW CorningWare Giveaway

This sweet and tangy corn salsa is as easy to make as it is to watch disappear. With sweet yellow corn, black beans, pimentos, and bell pepper, what’s not to love?

Easy Corn Salsa 1

If you’ve been paying attention, you may have spied the new CW bakeware by CorningWare in my posts this week. CW is a new line of bakeware from CorningWare that comes in an array of vibrant colors and sizes (purple, blue, green, yellow, and red & 3 quart, shallow 1.9 quart, 1.5 quart, and 20 oz.). What first excited me about this bakeware were the colors, especially the purple ;-). It didn’t hurt that they also net together for compact storage – something I battled with constantly in my apartment’s tiny kitchen.

CW_Aerial_Hero_Stack

I made a sausage and egg breakfast casserole in the blue 3 quart baker, an asparagus & wild rice casserole in the green 1.5 quart baker, and today I am sharing a recipe for an easy corn salsa displaying in the blue 1.5 quart and red 20 oz. bakers. Although this salsa does not require any oven-time, I wanted to show off that this bakeware is just as good at serving food as it is at baking. As for the salsa, the recipe is from my PhD advisor’s wife. Whenever she made it for any event and I would be found hovering over it. Under my watch, it disappeared as quickly as it was made.

What you would make in the CW bakeware? Tell me using the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of this post and you will be entered to win your own set!

P.S. For those of you wondering, I qualified in the B1 group for pickleball. There are 5 groups starting with C, B2, B1, A2 and then A1 is the best. So I’m i the middle of the pack. I was told I could easily move up to A2 with just a little more practice. Maybe in another month if I’m still without a job…

Easy Corn Salsa 2

One year ago: Pear Yogurt Almond Cake with Cinnamon Brown Sugar Buttercream
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Apple Jelly Glazed Pork Chops

Facts: Glazes always improve a meal and apples pair well with pork. Therefore, the apple jelly glaze used on these pork chops is especially delicious and, better yet, easy to prepare.

Apple Jelly Glazed Pork Chops

Yesterday I woke up with a sore throat and a fitful of sneezes despite feeling perfectly healthy the night before. Of course it got progressively worse as the day went on, with full blown sinus pressure and a sore nose. My dad recently came down with a cold so it is possible that I am sick. However, I do tend to get allergy symptoms during the first allergy season after moving somewhere new but never again so long as I live there. Happened when I moved to Columbus, OH and Memphis, TN. The same phenomenon may be happening now that I am in Knoxville. Bleh, I hope it’s a cold because those symptoms don’t last as long.

Either way I have to power through these symptoms for my pickleball evaluation this evening. In case you haven’t heard of it, pickleball is similar to tennis except played on a smaller court with paddles and a wiffle ball. It is all the rage here and my parents play it religiously. Naturally, I got sucked in as well. With my tennis background it was easy to pick up once I adjusted to the shorter paddle. However non-group members can only play indoor or during outdoor open time. After three months the others have decided that it is time I went for evaluation to be placed in a group (5 different groups based on skill level), which would enable me to play more often in designated time slots. Wish me luck!

As for these pork chops, everyone knows how well apples go with pork so why not slather on an apple glaze made with apple jelly (homemade in my case because my dad is the jelly man). Glazing pork chops is all the rage.

One year ago: Slow Cooker Chicken Nachos

Two years ago: Cheesy Potato Casserole
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Easter Recipe Roundup

Complete Easter recipe roundup with recipes for Brunch, appetizers, sides, dinner and dessert!

Easter Recipe Roundup 2014
With Easter just a little over a week away I thought it was a good time to gather up some recipes to help you plan your Easter Brunch and/or dinner. Many of these have appeared at Easter events I attended in the past and I know they will be a hit with your friends and family too. Do you have a favorite recipe that you have to make every year? Somehow my favorite carrot cake recipe has not made it onto the blog yet but there are a few carrot cake-inspired treats on this list – Carrot Cake Batter Dip, Carrot Cake Waffles and Carrot Cake Oatmeal!

Check back as I will be adding new recipes as we get closer to Easter!

One year ago: Speculoos Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Dough Granola Bars

Two years ago: Flavor-Injected Glazed Ham

BRUNCH

Mini Razzle Dazzle Peanut Butter Cinnamon Rolls

APPETIZERS

Deviled Strawberries

SIDE DISES

Individual Scalloped Potatoes

ENTREES

 Crockpot Turkey Tenderloin

DESSERTS

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies 1

Previous Roundups: Easter Recipe Roundup 2012

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Asparagus & Wild Rice Casserole

Creamy wild rice and fresh asparagus come together in this baked side dish. Serve it alongside your favorite cut of meat – it’ll go with just about anything.

Asparagus & Wild Rice Casserole 1

Let’s talk plastic bags. I try to use reusable shopping bags wherever I go and have already told my story about them confusing retail but not grocery cashiers, yet sometimes they like to wait in the car instead of coming into the store with me. Such occasions result in a double dose of annoyance because not only do I have to get plastic bags but the cashiers have a habit of using excessive amounts of them. Yesterday I had one bag with a single can of black beans and another with just a block of cheese and container of sour cream. Apparently those three items would not get along if placed in the same plastic bag. I understand they don’t want the bags to break but that’s just silly. My milk was also bagged, which is not a light item and conveniently already possesses a handle. This is why I prefer self-checkout. Alas, I will just bring them back for recycling.

In other news (I need a new transition phrase because that one gets used a lot), I made a side dish! They appear so infrequently on this blog that I get excited when there’s one to share. Especially when it is something that pairs so well with a variety of things. Grilled steak? Definitely. BBQ chicken? You bet. I served it with apple jelly-glazed pork chops and it was wonderful. Wild rice and fresh asparagus are mixed together in a creamy sauce, topped with cheddar cheese, and baked until bubbly.

Asparagus & Wild Rice Casserole 2

One year ago: Baked Quinoa Chicken Parmesan

Three years ago: White Bean Chicken Chili
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Sausage and Egg Breakfast Casserole

This hearty breakfast casserole is easy to prepare and will completely satisfy with sausage, eggs, cheese, bell peppers, and a crouton base.

Sausage and Egg Breakfast Casserole 2

My laptop computer has been on the fritz lately. More than half of the time it freezes up doing even the simplest tasks such as opening Word. (Imagine my annoyance trying to work on this post.) I’ve scanned, rescanned, and cleaned out some files but nothing has helped. Granted it is pushing 7 years old but it spent 2 of those years not connected to the internet. That had to save it a little bit right? Either way, I have a bad feeling it is on its last leg and have begun baking up all the important files. I don’t think I could handle a scare like that after my USB incident.

Anyway, I am sure what you are really interested in is this breakfast casserole. It has the works for making up my favorite kind of breakfast casserole: sausage, egg, cheese, and bell peppers. Be aware the you must prepare it the night before and takes about an hour to cook, which is unsuitable for most weekday breakfasts, but perfect for weekends, brunch or even breakfast for dinner!

Sausage and Egg Breakfast Casserole 1

Three years ago: Funfetti Cheesecake Pudding Dump Cake
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Single Serving White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Rice Krispies Treat

Get your rice krispies treat fix with this single serving recipe. Make it your own with your preferred nut-butter and mix ins. I chose white chocolate peanut butter and peanut butter cups!

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Rice Krispies Treat 1

How many of you have already dug into the Easter candy? The holiday-shaped Reese’s are always my weakness, with their superior peanut butter to chocolate ratios. Just when I thought the temptation could not get any stronger, Reese’s coated these beautiful creations with white chocolate. There’s nothing I love more than PB+Choc than PB+WChoc, which lead to the birth of this rice krispies treat with a double dose of PB+WChoc. And it’s all mine!

Whip up this single serving white chocolate peanut butter rice krispie treat with a hidden white chocolate Reese’s cup in the middle and you will be the happiest person around, assuming you also love PB+WChoc – if not change it up to your preferences! It just might cause you to forget all about your imploded March Madness bracket. (Although I did win in both groups I entered upon Florida’s loss, despite Wisconsin’s loss whom I picked to win it all.)

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Rice Krispies Treat 2

Two years ago: Pretzel Crusted Peanut Butter Blondies with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Three years ago: Spicy Mac and Cheese

SINGLE SERVING WHITE CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER RICE KRISPIES TREAT

Serves 1

Ingredients:

1/2 Tbsp Peanut Butter & Co.’s White Chocolate Wonderful peanut butter

1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter

2/3 cup miniature marshmallows

3/4 cup Rice Krispies puffed rice cereal

1 white chocolate Reese’s peanut butter cup (I used the Egg shape)

Directions:

  1. Lightly grease a small bowl or tupperware, set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the peanut butter and butter. Add the marshmallows and stir until smooth. Mix in the cereal with a rubber spatula until evenly distributed.
  3. Press half the mixture into the prepared bowl. Place the Reese’s cup in the middle, top with remaining cereal mixture and press evenly. Allow to cool completely.
  4. Use a knife or small spatula to remove the treat. Enjoy!

Source: Adapted slightly from Something Swanky.

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Rainbow-Surprise Lemon Cake & Surprise-Inside Cakes Cookbook Giveaway

Traditionally frosting is the star of cake decorating, but what about the inside? Amanda Rettke proves that it’s the inside that counts with her cookbook, “Surprise-Inside Cakes”.

SurpriseInsideCakes hc c

When it comes to decorating cakes I am not an expert. Upon receiving the Surprise-Inside Cakes cookbook by Amanda Rettke (I Am Baker) I was a bit intimidated to go beyond the recipes for different layers of color and/or frosting without any cutting and cake-puzzle-assembling. It is truly impressive how many different interiors she was able to design and execute. But after reading through a few of the more complicated recipes I realized that with the right tools and some patience, paired with her excellent step-by-step photos and directions, I might be able to pull it off.

I really loved the smiley face cake and argyle cake but decided to start out small with one of the easier recipes – the rainbow cake. First I had to decide on a cake flavor. Amanda provides recipes for perfectly level cakes and frostings which can be used to create any of the surprise-inside cakes. However, you could also use your own recipe or even a boxed mix, I won’t tell. If using other recipes you may end up with a domed top which will need to be leveled off, unless of course you know that particular recipe does come out flat. Either way, a cake with these interior designs will look made from scratch no matter what recipe you choose.

Rainbow Balloon Lemon Cake 1

To see if a boxed mix would work, I decided to doctor up a white cake mix to create a lemon cake. (Did you know that rainbows taste like lemons? Well, at least this one does.) The cakes did dome but that was easily solved by slicing off the tops with a long serrated knife. After that I followed Amanda’s detailed instructions for assembling and frosting the cakes. I don’t think I’ve ever frosted such a smooth cake before.

Rainbow Balloon Lemon Cake 2

Upon that beautiful white scene I created my own balloon decorations using the cake-top scraps and leftover frosting. It looks like fondant doesn’t it!? Nope it’s something even better, something I have decided to call cake-ball-fondant! Yup, I am a genius. Instead of forming balls to be dipped in chocolate, roll flat with a rolling pin and cut out shapes with cookies cutters. Consider your mind blown.

Rainbow Balloon Lemon Cake 3

In order to find out exactly how I colored and assembled this cake you’ll have to read about it in the Surprise-Inside Cakes cookbook! To assist in keeping a copy into your hands asap I am giving away a copy of this awesome cookbook to one lucky reader. After checking out the recipe use the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of this post to enter.

Rainbow Balloon Lemon Cake 4

One year ago: Baked Eggs with Crispy Hash Brown Crust

Two years ago: Cheesy Cat Treats

Three years ago: Funfetti Cake Batter Smoothie
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Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

My favorite chewy chocolate chip cookies are now available in a chocolate lovers version, with a chocolate base and tons of chocolate chips for double the chocolate!

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies 2

One great thing about perfecting my favorite chewy chocolate chip cookies is barely needing to look at the recipe now to whip up a batch. It’s burned into my brain. This leads me to experimenting with things such as adding raisins and now doubling up on the chocolate. With already 3 cups of chocolate chips in the cookies, you’d think it would be at maximum capacity, but there was still room for cocoa in the base! You can use regular chocolate chips or try the springtime chocolate chips like I did for a pretty contrast. Throw some pastel sprinkles on there while you’re at it because it’s finally spring!

Is there a recipe that you have memorized? Have you ever changed it up?

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies 1

One year ago: Butternut Squash Orzo with Pine Nuts, Balsamic Drizzle, and Fried Sage

Two years ago: Chicken Pad Thai
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