Monday, September 30, 2013

Butterscotch Marshmallow Bars

I made these Mello Scotch Bars from Shugary Sweets for my birthday.  Yeah, I know.  I'm weird.  I didn't want cake.  Cake was too much effort with the baking, and the cooling, and the frosting, and the keeping the cat from eating the frosting. 


My birthday, and If I gotta make something for myself I don't want to have to spend all day doing it.

I'm so fancy with my photo props: house phone, water bottle, plastic wrap.  Just keepin it real!

The bars were very sweet, but I have a massive sweet tooth so that's ok.  Some people might think that a tiny bar is no comparison to a big ole slab of cake.  To you I say, "Plbbt."  The candles stuck in these bars just fine.

I was a bit worried that the marshmallows would turn into little pebbles after coming out of the oven.  No pebbles here.  Hooray! 

Butterscotch Marshmallow Bars from Shugary Sweets
1/2 c butter
1 c butterscotch chips
2/3 c br sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 c marshmallows, (the little ones, not the roasting variety unless you wanna cut them up but that's too much work)
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray 13×9 baking dish with Pam.  (Or better yet, line the pan with parchment for super easy removal from the pan.) In sm micro safe bowl, nuke butterscotch chips and butter for 30 sec at a time, stir between each time until chips are melted. Set aside. In lg bowl, add br sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix in melted chips, flour, baking powder and salt. Fold in choc chips and marshmallows. Pour batter into dish and bake 18-22 min. Cool to room temp, then cut into bars. Chill for at least an hr before serving to allow bars to set.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Lemon Mug Cake

Yeah, another mug cake. You can't be tired of seeing these recipes can you?   I like variety! Lemon to me is just so summery.  Sometimes chocolate is too heavy for summer.  I think it's something about the way it coats your mouth.  Or maybe that's just me?  Personally, I feel this lemon mug cake from Kirbie's Cravings is a perfect summer treat for one. 

Lemon Mug Cake from Kirbie's Cravings
1/4c flour
1/4 t baking powder
3 T milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
2 1/2 T sugar
1 T oil
1 T lemon juice
lemon zest -if you have it.  I didn't and it turned out tasty

Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, milk, oil, lemon juice and zest, if using, in micro safe mug. Cook in microwave for 45-60 sec. Let cool before eating. Add a lemon glaze if desired.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


I made these cinnamon chip snicker doodles from Averie Cooks early on this summer.  I had a bag of Hershey's cinnamon chips that I'd been saving for just the right thing.  Why do stores only carry cinnamon chips seasonally?  Don't they realize people have cinnamon chip cravings besides Thanksgiving and Christmas?  Sheesh.

Anyhow, the cookies were rockin awesome with cinnamon goodness. Although, mine didn't rise and get poofy like they did on Averie Cooks.  I baked them right from the fridge too.  Maybe it had something to do with the humidity?  I even tried baking them right from the freezer.  Alas, poofy cookies were not to be.

Poofy cookies or not, these were still an excellent use of my precious cinnamon chips and a must bake for all you cinnamon fiends out there!

Soft and Chewy Cinnamon Chip Snickerdoodles from Averie Cookies
1 egg
1/2 c butter
3/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c sugar
1 T sour cream
1 T vanilla
1 1/2 c flour
2 t cinnamon
2 t cornstarch
1 t cream of tartar
1/2 t baking soda
10 oz bag (1 2/3 c) cinnamon chips
granulated cinnamon-sugar mixture for rolling, optional

Mix egg, butter and sugars on med high with paddle attachment of stand mixer for 5 min til lt and fluffy.  Add sour cream and vanilla, beating 2 more min.  Scrape sides and add flour, cinnamon, cornstarch, cream of tartar, and baking soda, beating 2 minutes. Add chips. Scoop out dough and chill dough balls for several hrs to 5 days. Warm cookies will spread worse than mine did. When ready to bake preheat oven to 350.  Bake 2" apart on lined cookie sheet.  Bake 8-9min, til tops and edges just set.  Do not bake more than 10 min, cookies will continue to cook as they cool.  After 5 min cooling on cookie sheet transfer to rack or paper towels to come to room temp before storing in air tight container.  The dough freezes nicely and bakes up well frozen, but you may need to add additional time for dough straight from the freezer.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Carrot cake poke cake

Here is a recipe I made back in...oh I don't know, maybe May.  I THINK maybe I made it for some sort of family gathering, but I don't remember what.  I do remember that it was swept out of the house before I could take a picture and I returned with an empty pan.

What on earth am I talking about?  I'm talking about carrot cake poke cake from Something Swanky.  A super easy cake made from carrot cake mix.  It also has something that I'd never heard of:  Cool Whip Frosting. 

It's an evil hybrid of pudding, frosting and cool whip.  Magically delicious. 

I was surprised to find it in the grocery store. Right there on the shelf next to the ordinary Cool Whip.  Who knew.
Anyhow, if you are a carrot cake fiend like we are in this house, (yeah, even the cat likes carrot cake..Bad Boo!) make this recipe.  It's om nom good.

Carrot Cake Poke Cake from Something Swanky
9x13 Carrot Cake recipe of your choice, baked and cooled (I used a box. Don't go fancy on me here...A cake w pineapple and raisins will get all weird with the condensed milk. )
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
8 oz Cool Whip
10.6 oz Cool Whip Vanilla Frosting (Cream Cheese flavor)
6 oz (half a tub) whipped cream cheese (must be whipped)
 1/2 c caramel sauce or more
1 c chopped pecans or more

Leave cake in dish it was baked in. Poke 20-25 holes, spread evenly, over top of cake with bottom of a wood spoon or chopstick. Pour sweetened condensed milk over top, trying to fill holes. In lg bowl, with hand mixer, beat together cool whip, cool whip frosting, and whipped cream cheese until smooth. Spread over cake. Pour caramel sauce over top, and sprinkle with pecans. Chill overnight. Cut into 12 squares.

Friday, September 20, 2013

What Not To Do With Cucumbers

I planted one lonely cucumber plant.  This spring I debated whether or not that was a good idea, you know, just in case the one plant dies...then you've got a backup. 

Whoooo boy.  Am I sure glad I only planted one cucumber.  That sucker is prolific.  I'm pretty sure there is a law of physics where you have to have at least 4 cucumbers on your kitchen counter at a time.


I've given cucumbers to the food pantry, my best friend, my husband's best friend, and Blockette's teacher.  I still have an overabundance.  Cucumbers up the wazoo.

What on earth was I going to do with all these cucumbers?  I did a search online and found this recipe for a cucumber drink.  It called for a pound of cucumber, 1/2 c lime, 1 1/4c mint, 1/2 c sugar and 1 c water.

Long story short, you make a simple syrup out of the sugar and water, then dump it and all the other ingredients into a blender and puree.  After straining, you then add 3 more cups of water. 

The recipe said to leave the skins on.  That the skins would give the drink a lovely green color.  Um no.  It made the drink a pukey green color.  That was problem number one.

Problem number two was my mint had gone to seed.  I had a dilly of a time trying to get a cups worth of mint. And then there was the tiny matter of a giant moth that hid inside the mint I brought outside.  I mean it wasn't Mothra, but it wasn't one of those dainty white ones.  Think Silence of the Lambs.  Yeah.  There was lots of screaming. 

The third issue was that I realized my lime juice had gone bad.  So I mixed everything up without that.  I tested the drink to see how it was before I went out and bought some lime juice.  It tasted...ok, but it seemed like it would be a lot better with the lime.

So Blockette and I headed out to the store where I purchased some non-brown non-lumpy lime juice, which I added to my cucumber drink.

I poured the three of us each a glass.

We all took a sip and declared it "not bad."  Then we had another sip.  My family was silent.  (Yeah.  They are some smart peeps.)  They all looked at me.  Blinking.  I quietly grabbed their glasses and dumped their contents down the drain, along with the remaining gunk in the pitcher. 

Then my husband said, "Honey?  Never EVER make that again."

Done. And. Done.

(Although, I think if I used better mint and peeled the cucumber...Kidding honey!  Just kidding!)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Peeling Tomatoes

I grew a pretty fruitful tomato plant this year, so I've already had to make several small batches of tomato sauce.  I'm still too chicken to can it though.  I don't think I need to with only one super fruitful tomato plant.  We're using up the sauce fast enough that I'm not running out of room in the freezer, so I think I'm ok.

Tomatoes are not my thing so I don't particularly care for a chunky sauce.  So that means pealing the tomatoes.  Do I ever remember how to do this from year to year?  Absolutely not.  I'm tired of searching for directions on how to do this so I'm posting them here.

These directions are basically from alrecipes, but I'll break it down on here as well.

1. Get a big pot of water boiling.

2.  Make a big bowl of icy ice cube a riffic water right next to the stove.

3. While you are waiting for your water to boil.  Cut an "X" into the bottom of your tomato, just through the skin.  This year I grew some funky shaped heirloom tomatoes.  Some of them looked like 2 mutant tomatoes growing together.  For those freaky guys I cut an "x" on each section of the mutated fruits. I've also found it helpful to cut out the stemy core thingie at this point.

4. Once the water is boiling, turn it down to simmer and place the tomatoes in the pot with a slotted spoon.  Try not to over crowd them.

5. Let them bob and weave in the water for about 30 seconds.

6.  Remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon and plunge them in the ice bath.

7.  After the tomatoes have cooled enough to the touch, the nasty skins should peel right off.

Warning: Do NOT attempt to do this with apples.  Mom...I'm looking at you.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I'm back...with oatmeal goodness.

My little hiatus went a bit longer than I anticipated.  We had a family friend have some medical issues that threw me for a loop.  He spent most of August in the hospital, but, thankfully he is home and on the mend.

Blockette is enjoying the third grade.  For some reason, this year, more than others, I'm finding that I'm missing her.  Don't get me wrong.  It's not that I didn't miss her in years past, while she was at school.  I think this summer we were busier than normal, so we didn't have a chance to get sick of spending all day, every day with each other.

My illustrious career as a crossing guard has been interesting this year as well.  School starts later in the day this year, so at the end of the day the parents are antsy to get home or something.  I've had more than my share of near misses, and school hasn't even been in session for a full month yet.

I've also been having issues with my knees.  Basically, my knee caps aren't tracking correctly and they pop out when I try to do little things like walking.  Let me tell you, this is not a fun ailment to have when your job is basically walking for 45 min twice a day.  I've been extremely cranky and that makes me not want to blog, or clean or do anything except eat chocolate covered almonds.  But, I'm working on strengthening the muscles around my knee, and finally found a knee brace that isn't so huge that it could pass for a skirt.  I can actually get stuff done again. So a blogging we will go...

Let's talk about breakfast.

Like many people, I don't have a lot of time for a fancy breakfast.  When I get up I water the plants, make Mr. Blocko and Blockette's lunch, eat and then head out the door to work.  A few years ago I used to just eat a bowl of cereal, then started having digestive issues so  I switched to Yogurt and granola.  Not only did it not change the digestive issues, but the sugar levels in the yogurt and granola left me feeling shaky and twitchy.  My Dr said dairy was the cause of my digestive problems, so I should limit the amount of milk products I consume in a day.  I went to just eating toast.  This was all fine and dandy until last spring when I got a bike and rode to work.  That toast just didn't give me enough fuel.

Then I tried almond milk.  It wasn't so bad, so I started having regular cereal again.  However, I found that I didn't feel satisfied from that either.  I was toying with the idea of eating hot oatmeal, but at the time it was nearing summer.  The idea of eating something hot didn't appeal to me one bit.

But oatmeal doesn't have to be eaten hot.  Did you know you can eat it cold as well?


I had no idea!

And get this...I don't even cook it.  Not at all!

Cold Overnight Oatmeal - serves 1
1/2 c oatmeal (I like quick cooking, but old fashioned works as well)
1/2 c milk (I use unsweetened almond milk as I'm trying to keep the AM sugars in check)
1/2-1 T semi sweet chocolate chips

Before you go to bed at night, combine all the ingredients in a container, making sure all the oats are covered by the milk.  I like the small round ziploc brand containers, but a bowl with plastic wrap will do the trick as well. Stick that bad boy in the fridge and in the morning, just add a splash or two of milk to get the consistency of your preference.  That's it.  You can really add anything you like, but for me, just a pinch of chocolate chips gives me the hint of sweetness I crave, without going overboard. The chocolate chips soften up in the milk overnight as well.  They still have a little bit of bite to them, but they aren't rock hard like you think they might be from sitting in the fridge.