Sugar, Butter, Flour

The year was 2007, I was home for a bit of the summer and there in the newspaper was a black and white advertisement for the newest Keri Russell movie, "Waitress." I remember looking up the preview and falling in love with the story, the people, and the pie. As soon as it was out on DVD I bought it watched half a million times. 

It was quirky and sweet and heartbreaking and delicious. To me,  it was a beautiful story, that's right, all baked up in a pie. I loved it. 

When the musical came out, I swooned. I've been dying to go up to NYC to see it and weep into a sweet jar of pie. I've worn out the soundtrack and even set a fun piece to the opening song in my pointe class--yes, pointe. And it was darling! 

At one point I had scoured the internet for Bad Baby Pie, Mermaid Pie and others. I'd spent time reading up on how they developed the recipes including the spaghetti pie which apparently did not turn out too good.

Two weeks ago I happened to see that they had indeed released a pie book inspired by "Waitress" and I nearly fell out of my seat. So for my birthday, my sweet mother ordered it for me.  

Behold, all the beauty and deliciousness one needs is in this book. 

I poured over it when it came in last week and I've already made note of each one I want to make. I'll have to seriously to pace myself here. 

It's a beauty and I'm so excited to start working on these incredibly mouthwatering recipes! If you need me, I'll be in the kitchen drooling. 

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Ramen Wasn't Build In a Day

Ok, actually ramen can be made in a day especially if you use this super duper easy recipe! 

Ahhhhmazing! 

Ahhhhmazing! 

A few months back I met up with some girlfriends at this great restaurant for some ramen. Now, I've had ramen soup before but it was in a styrofoam cup and friends, if that's the only way you've had it, you need to venture out because dang! It's actually wonderful! 

Taking my leftovers home, I soon realized that it is best to consume said wonderful ramen while it's hot. Just trust me. In any case, I thought it was simple wonderful and I had to figure out how to make it. Listen, there are plenty of recipes out there. I did some digging and reading and more searching and more reading until I decided to. just. wing it. 

Yep. I went rogue, took what I knew from what I read and just let it happen. Last Friday after a torrential rain storm--I'm not even kidding, by the way, it was raining like crazy--I thought this concoction would be both fun and creative, which it was. And it was delicious and spicy and wonderfully warming and so good I ate all of it this weekend. Well, with the exception of the bowl I offered to my sweet Pyro Man husband who also agreed it was kick butt good.

I started off with the idea of ramen and basically it turned into a spicy asian chicken soup with ramen noodles. Do I care about the overuse of details in that description? Nope. All I care about is remembering what I did so I can do it again! So here we go, diving in:  

Throw Together Ramen

32 oz of Chicken Broth 

2 cups of water

4 chicken breasts

2 packages of ramen

1-2 tbsp of oil 

1/4 cup of yellow onion

1/4 cup of celery 

1/4 cup of carrots

1/4 cup of peas

green onion for garnish

Spices: Garlic, Red Pepper, Ginger, Salt & Pepper

Soy Sauce (I use a reduced sodium or Tamari is good!)

Sriracha 

Directions

1. Add the oil into a pot, heat and begin cooking cubed chicken. Halfway through, add the onion, carrots, and celery. Splash some  soy sauce for taste and season chicken with salt, pepper, a clove of garlic (or 1/4 tsp of pre-diced), and a couple dashes of ginger. Cook until chicken in tender. 

2. Add the broth and 2 cups of water. Season broth with soy sauce and Sriracha to tasting. Add in more garlic and red pepper flakes for flavoring and another dash of ginger--approximately 1/8 - 1/4 tsp each, more red pepper if you want some spice! Bring soup to gentle boil. 

3. Add in two packages of ramen, no additional seasoning from the packages--throw that away, please! Add in peas and let cook for 3-4 minutes. Taste broth and add extra spices as needed.

4. Serve up, add diced green onion on top. Any additional soy sauce  and Sriracha can be added to everyone's own preference. All you gotta do now is enjoy! 

It's great reheated the next day and best part is that is does not look like there's a layer of gelatinous fat sitting right on top. Nope, pretty clean eating. When reheating, splash a bit of extra water in the bowl as the ramen will soak up some of the broth. 

The only thing I can think I really missed is the egg. Man, that would have been the perfect topping! 

Yeah. It's that good. 

What's your favorite throw together meal?

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New Birthday Cake Traditions

Janson's birthday was last week and I was totally flabbergasted when I asked him what kind of cake he wanted.  Usually a red velvet or strawberry boxed cake will do for my man, but this year he asked for a new cake: Boston Cream Pie Cake. 

Challenge accepted! 

I started doing my research and the more I talked with him about it the more I began to realize that he had a very specific idea of how he wanted it done, too. No, it couldn't be a sheet cake, it had to be round. Wouldn't it be cool if it was a poke cake so the pudding could fit all the way through each layer? Ladies and gents, this man knew exactly what he wanted. 

I took a crack at it, just like he wanted, boxed cake with icing and instant pudding, too. Truth be told, it turned out a lot easier than if I had done it all from scratch, but I'm thinking I'll try my hand at it again without the instant options just to see the difference. 

The only problem with trying out something for the first time is you run into little bumps in the road and the pictures doesn't turn out quite as pretty as you hoped. In fact, I took very few pictures because I was too busy figuring this sucker out and in the learning process, it didn't turn out too pretty...Who cares though! It's birthday cake! 

The anticipation of the first piece! 

The anticipation of the first piece! 

OK, so here it is, a quick and dirty recipe for what turned out to be a deliciously ugly cake: 

Boston Cream Pie Cake

1 box of yellow cake mix - make according to directions

1 box of instant vanilla pudding (two for extra thick layers and leftover pudding) - make according to directions

1 can of milk chocolate frosting

My mother is probably cringing with thought of all boxed items right now, no doctoring necessary. I actually wish I could see her face while she's reading this.  

We dove in before I got a shot, clearly too excited to try it! 

We dove in before I got a shot, clearly too excited to try it! 

Bake two round layer cakes, let them cool and pop them out onto a rack. After they're cooled, whip up your instant pudding. While it's still a little on the liquid state, place your bottom layer on your plate for serving. Poke holes in the cake with the round end of a large spoon and drizzle about half the pudding on top of the bottom layer of cake. Fill in the holes well and smooth the pudding of the top. 

Take the second layer of cake and place on top. Poke holes just like you did before and drizzle the rest of the pudding on top. This is where I made my mistake. Don't get to too much pudding up there. A light layer will do you just fine! 

We went a little too heavy on the pudding, people. Just a warning. Also, please excuse our fridge. 

We went a little too heavy on the pudding, people. Just a warning. Also, please excuse our fridge. 

Chill the cake as is for 1-2 hours. 

Pull the cake out and warm 1/4 to 1/2 the can of icing in the microwave BRIEFLY. It doesn't need to be melted, just soft enough to drizzle and spread. 30 seconds is too long so I aimed for 20--try 10-15 seconds and stir. Let it cool for a moment before drizzling on top, letting a little slide on the side. 

Now, if you made it too hot, it will immediately slide off to the side. No problem. The icing cools quickly, just use a spatula to scrap the sides and spread back on top carefully not to mix with the pudding.

Honestly, this is why my cake turned out a little on the messy side presentationally speaking. The pudding never melted or slide anywhere after being chilled, but that darn icing was a tad too warm and slide right off. If you can't tell, the presentation of this cake is supremely bothering me. 

Once the icing is in place, put it back in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour and then voila! You have yourself a very quick Boston Cream Pie Cake! 

*Always store this in your fridge. We used a cake dome on top to keep instead of plastic otherwise the icing would have pulled out with cling-wrap.* 

It's super sweet so you don't need a massive piece or else you'll be on sugar overload. It's really tasty, that's for sure, but I'd edit a few things next time I do it. 

We actually ate a piece for breakfast the next morning. I mean, it's practically a donut anyway so I see no problems here...

Next time we try it from scratch with pictures and a beautiful finished product. Really though, who cares? We're not meant to look at cake--we're meant to eat it! Am I right? 

Hands down, what's your favorite birthday cake to have?

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Creamy Chicken Crock-Pot

It's Janson's birthday week! It's been a couple years since we've celebrated his birthday together in the same place so I really want to make it feel like a special day for him. This week I'm planning on whipping up a few of his favorite meals.  Just wait 'til you see what kind of cake he asked for! I'm really excited to test it out! 

My husband can be a picky eater and yet, sometimes he will go for the more exotic of dishes at restaurants. I can't explain it.  Salsa? He loves it? Tomatoes and onions in a dish? All picked out, but he loves the flavor they bring. It's always interesting so when I hit a meal he likes, and actually eats leftovers of, it becomes a staple on the menu. 

This one is no exception. In fact, it's his favorite meal we make. It takes a little bit of time setting up, but it's worth it, trust me! 

Southern Living's Creamy Slow-Cooker Chicken

It's seriously one of the best crock-pot recipes around. Don't even think about skipping the browning part at the beginning--you just can't. Without those dripping, the sauce just isn't the same. 

We tend to dump a huge pile of mushrooms on top for Janson. I like to saute up some green and yellow squash with onions, carrots, a little bell pepper. You just dish up some rice, throw some veggies on the side of the bowl and layer the chicken and sauce in there. It's just....sigh....wonderful. 

We're definitely whipping this up this week and I'm sure it won't take long for us to finish off the leftovers!

What's one of your favorite dishes to make in the crockpot?  

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Toast to Friday

Taking a little time to enjoy the Friday morning with my favorite weird breakfast: toast bread with peanut butter, sliced banana, honey and chia seeds. 

Here's to the end of good week and the start to a new weekend! We can all clink coffee cups and head into this day feeling caffeinated and full of chia seeds. It's aces already! 

What's your favorite breakfast food?

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Friday Five: Five Meatless Recipes

No meat on Friday's at this time of year and it never fails that I scramble for dinner ideas. SO, here are five ideas I'm mulling over for dinner the next few weeks! 

Friday Five: Meatless Meal Ideas

1. Pizza - Can't go wrong with a good veggie pizza or even go for a margarita pizza. Either one works for me especially if it's homemade or from my favorite pizza place, Hideaways! 

2. Pasta - I like a tortellini dish with tomato sauce and a side of salad. Of course there's an Asian noodle dish I like from the Barefoot Contessa, too. Dress some pasta up with sauce, veggies, lemons or fish, doesn't matter 'cause pasta is G-O-O-D! Did I mention mac'n cheese is a total option here? 'Cause it is and I think I will definitely put this on my menu plan.

3. Fish  - I enjoy a good salmon filet now and again. I like it baked with lemon and veggies, but if I'm feeling a little adventurous, a honey ginger sauce glaze can shake things up with a spicy kick. 

4. Shrimp - These little guys can be fixed up just about anyway but I sure do like 'em pan seared! Pioneer Woman has a Summer Stir Fry that's really nice and I just made a shrimp etouffee on Mardi Gras that hit the spot. You can't go wrong with shrimp. Unless you're allergic. Then it can go really wrong. So don't eat shrimp if you're allergic. 

5. Veggie night - This could be baked potatoes and salad or even just a big ol' salad with lots of fixin's. How about a zucchini quesadilla? Not everyone is a veggies fan but I think it's all about how you whip it up. Pick a fun new dressing for a salad or protein up your baked potato with cottage cheese. In fact, add some cheese and quinoa to your broccoli and you've got yourself a nice bowl of awesomeness. 

Alright folks, what are some of your favorite meatless meal ideas?

Homemade Shrimp Etouffee was a perfect! I have to remember more shrimp for Pyro Man! He tried to pick them all out for his own bowl! 

Homemade Shrimp Etouffee was a perfect! I have to remember more shrimp for Pyro Man! He tried to pick them all out for his own bowl! 

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Lesson Learned: The Tale of Sad Co-Workers

Well, Monday night, after a particularly long day, I set out to whip up a batch of Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookies for my Valentine. We went light this year since we've had some big changes and it was going to be a busy week. Make the cookies, no problem. Or so I thought. 

No, the problem happened when I posted about said cookies and then did not show up to work with aforementioned cookies. Every time I bake I usually bring up the batch to share with everyone at work--it's a nice to have a sweet treat now and again and I love sharing. I didn't do that this time and it did not go unnoticed! 

I got a little razzing from some folks and they made me laugh so hard about it, but I tell you what: I will NEVER post about cookies without bringing some to share at work! I'm glad those little bits of goodness bring some sunshine to people's day. Plus, we dancers thoroughly enjoy our sweet treats! 

PS--These super easy and delicious cookies were found on Pinterest. The recipe is from Sally's Baking Addiction. Give them a try and I promise you won't be sorry! 

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I Love Cookies

I do. I LOOOOVVVEEE Cookies. I think they have to be one of the best dessert inventions ever. Why? Because you can eat them on the go, sitting down, walking, talking, and even running--just don't choke. 

They come in a million different flavors and in a million different ways and you can eat them plain, with icing, ice cream, sprinkles, chocolate or not, soft, crunchy, filled, puffy, or flat! The possibilities are endless. 

I broke down Monday and whipped up a personal favorite, Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies. And they were worth every bite. 

Go make yourself some. Seriously. Go do it.

What's your favorite cookie right now? 

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Throw Together Dinner

Last week I ran into a dinner problem when we ran out of leftovers. How that even happens, I'm not sure. Anyway, it pretty much turned into a YOYO meal (You're On Your Own--got that one from my one of my sweet mother-in-laws). Left with just a random assortment of stuff, my creative endeavor turned into a pretty awesome dinner, if I do say so myself. 

Sausage Skillet Mess

  • 1/2 pound of sausage (Kielbasa worked well) 
  • 1 -2 Tbl spn of olive oil --> I added extra after I added the veggies 
  • 1/4 cup of onion diced
  • 1 small zucchini sliced 
  • 1 medium carrot sliced
  • 1/4 cup of bell pepper chopped (red and green do well, but select what strikes your fancy!)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup of diced tomatoes (canned)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of cooked rice
  • 1 clove of garlic 
  • 1-2 tps of seasoned salt
  • 1-2 tps of Tony Chachere's (Creole Seasoning) 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 Tbl spn of parmesan cheese (cheddar or mozzarella would good, too!) 

Recipe makes enough for 2-3 servings, double up everything for a bigger helping! 

  1. Start a pot of rice ahead of time--you'll add it in to the skillet at the end of the recipe. 
  2. Heat up a skillet with your olive oil on medium, add your sliced sausage and let it start browning, stirring occasionally. 
  3. After a few minutes, add in onions, carrots and zucchini. Season veggies with 1/2 the seasoned salt and some pepper. As veggies start to soften, add bell pepper and garlic as well. 
  4. Once you see the sausage is really starting to brown nicely, add in the diced tomatoes, the rest of seasoned salt and Tony Chachere's. Stir to pick up all the goodness and drippings and let it cook for a minute or two, bubbling just a bit. (I like to taste test the veggies here, make sure the seasoning is just right and veggies are cooked right) 
  5. Turn the heat down low, add in the rice, stirring to mix together. If too dry, add more tomatoes and juice as needed.
  6. Add the cheese and stir, mixing all together.
  7. Service it up hot and enjoy! 

It's pretty darn delicious and makes for a pretty good meal the next day, too. I was too hungry to wait and take a picture so all you'll see is the leftovers. So. freaking. amazing! 

If can't find a jar of Tony Chachere's in your cabinet, two things: 

1. Go out and buy some now. You won't regret it!

2. Use this copycat recipe from Food.com to use in the meantime.

Amazing leftovers. So good, even Penny was hoping for a bite! 

Amazing leftovers. So good, even Penny was hoping for a bite! 

Happy Saturday, everyone! Hope you're enjoying your down time and doing something fun!  

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Oh Oatmeal!

Some people like it, some people don't, but I'm a huge fan. Oatmeal. I like the lumps. I like the texture. I like that it fills me and lasts a while. Best of all, I like that I can make it all my own. Using different spices and fruits, I've found a few favorites including these. 

Banana Nut Oatmeal

If you like banana bread, you're sure to like this. 

1/2  cup of oatmeal

1 cup of water

1/2 mashed banana

1 tbs chopped walnuts

Dash of cinnamon

Dash of maple syrup

Mix oatmeal and water together then stir in mashed banana. Cook on high for 1:30 to 2:00 minutes (depending on microwave). Once done, sprinkle cinnamon and splash a little maple syrup on there. Stir in the walnuts and you have yourself a banana walnut breakfast! 

 

Cranberry Apple Oatmeal

1/2  cup of oatmeal

1 cup of water

1 tbs of apple chopped (gala works best) 

1 tbs of cranberries

1 tbs of pecans

Dash of cinnamon

Dash of maple syrup

Splash of milk

 

Drop the cranberries and chunks of apples into your oatmeal before cooking to soften them. Once done, top with cinnamon and milk, stir and then finish with a little syrup...or maybe a little more. 

If you're really feeling in the mood for fall, try replacing the apple with a pear! 

 

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

1/2  cup of oatmeal

1 cup of water

1 tbs of pumpkin

1 tbs chopped pecans

Sprinkle of brown sugar 

Dash of pumpkin pie spice 

 

Cook the pumpkin in the oatmeal. Once done add the pecans, brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Can substitute the brown sugar for maple syrup or try honey. 

If you're ever looking to just simply change up your breakfast bowl without making it crazy, just throw in some raisins or golden raisins. I'm a big fan of cinnamon, but the truth is there are plenty of things in your cabinet you can try. 

What's your favorite way to fix up a breakfast standard?

 

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