Friday, April 26, 2013

chocolate “neiman marcus” bars

chocolate-neiman-marcus-bars

I discovered that this recipe had both chocolate cake mix and cream cheese in it, and I knew I had to try it immediately! It tastes like a fantastic brownie, with a hint of chocolate cheesecake.

Ingredients:
1 box chocolate cake mix
4 eggs
1 stick butter, melted
16 oz (1 pound) powdered sugar
1 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, two of the eggs, and the butter. Spread it into a greased
9 x 13 inch baking dish.

Next, in a new bowl, mix the powdered sugar, cream cheese, cocoa powder, and the last two eggs. Use a hand mixer until it is smooth and blended. Stir in the chocolate chips, and then spread the mixture evenly over the top of the cake layer. 

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in a 350 degree oven. When it’s out of the oven, let it cool for thirty minutes, and then move it to the fridge for at least two hours.

Thanks to Mix and Match Mama for the recipe! She has other varieties of the “Neiman Marcus” bar as well… lemon, candy cane, white chocolate pumpkin, snickerdoodle, chocolate peanut butter, red velvet, and the original.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

a spa day for mamas


Today, my MOPS group had a spa day. The local cosmetology academy sent the students over to do manicures and pedicures for us for free!


I made my hot fudge as a dipping sauce, and the other girls brought in marshmallows, pretzels, grahams, strawberries, bananas, and cookies. I won this little crockpot at my family’s Christmas party, and I was glad to use it for the first time!


The manicure table.


Pedicures


This little guy slept through the whole thing!


I wish I had gotten photos of the cool colors and designs that some girls got for their nails and toes, but here are mine—OPI’s “Berlin There Done That” (gray/taupe), with OPI “GoldenEye” on my ring fingers ;)  With my luck with manis/pedis, I have already ruined one nail and one toe. Oh well—it was free!

I don’t know what I’m going to do when MOPS is over for the summer from May to September! I love these ladies.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

peanut butter cups

peanut-butter-cups

These peanut butter cups are really simple to make. They have an almost-crunchy peanut butter layer, topped with milk chocolate and sea salt.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup milk
sea salt

Directions:
Line a mini muffin tin with mini cupcake liners. (It’s possible to use a regular muffin tin, but you’ll have large peanut butter cups.)
Melt the butter and peanut butter together in the microwave until the consistency is smooth and creamy. Mix in the graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Evenly distribute the mixture among  the muffin cups. (I used a tablespoon measuring spoon to do this.)

Put them in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes to set the layer. After they have chilled, melt the chocolate and milk in a double boiler. You can use a microwave instead, but be careful not to overcook or burn the chocolate.

(Thanks to my mother-in-law for my awesome new Pampered Chef double boiler!)

When the chocolate is melted and smooth, spoon it evenly over the peanut butter layer. (I used a teaspoon measuring spoon.) Sprinkle a little bit of sea salt on top of each. Put the muffin tin back in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Store covered in the refrigerator.

After I took it out of the wrapper:

My chocolate never completely hardened, it just became a thick almost-frosting. Although I’m used to a peanut butter cup being solid chocolate all the way around, these are easy to make, and very decadent!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

banana bread

banana-bread

This recipe is in my recipe book as, “Aunt Tina’s 8th Grade Banana Nut Bread”. I copied it down from my Aunt Tina a few years ago, and she must have gotten it from home economics class in middle school! This is my go-to recipe when I have browning bananas. It is very easy, and we polish off the whole loaf in a day or two.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3 medium-sized bananas, mashed (sometimes I’ve used two large)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat oil and sugar together.
Add beaten eggs and bananas. Beat well.
Mix flour, baking soda, and salt together, and add to the first mixture.
Next, put in the milk and vanilla. Beat well, and stir in nuts, if desired.
Bake in a greased and floured loaf pan for 50 minutes
(originally it said one hour, but with my oven, it turns out best at 50 minutes.)

I love that when it’s fresh out of the oven, the top crust gets a little crunchy, and the inside is moist and soft.

Thanks Aunt T!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

19 months!

A year ago, I still had a baby:



Today, I have a 19-month-old little boy!

I see so many signs of Nolan getting older. He is starting to love playing with cars and his wooden train set. He makes cute little noises for the cars/train while he rolls them along. Yesterday, we went for a walk, and he was so content to watch and listen. He was amazed by all the birds flying by, he told me “car” every time he saw one pass, and he woofed at the three Boston terriers who came out of their doggy door to peek at us. He loves to pretend to sip out of our empty coffee mugs in the mornings. And he is definitely learning right from wrong, although he is just too curious to stay away from the wrong.

I saw this quote a few places this week, and I need to print it off as a daily reminder for myself on my wall.

“you will never have this day
with your children again.
tomorrow, they’ll be a little older
than they were today.
this day is a gift.
breathe and notice.
smell and touch them;
study their faces
and little feet
and pay attention.
relish the charms of the present.
enjoy today, mama.
it will be over before you know it.”
Jen Hatmaker

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Friday, April 5, 2013

s’mores bake

smores-bake

This is basically a s’more with a chocolate chip cookie baked inside of it. I found this recipe through Pinterest, and since I love all things s’mores, I had to try it. These bars are so rich and delicious!



Ingredients:
four graham crackers
16  1/2 ounce package Nestle chocolate chip cookie dough
4.4 ounce Hershey’s milk chocolate bar
10.5 ounce bag of mini marshmallows (I only used half)



Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place graham crackers in a glass dish. You can use a 9 x 9 inch or 7 x 11 inch (as shown).


Press out the dough onto a piece of parchment paper, in the shape of your baking dish. Then lift the dough off of the paper, and place it on top of the graham crackers. Bake for 8 minutes, or until mostly cooked through.


Once out of the oven, place Hershey squares evenly over the dough. Cover the whole dish with mini marshmallows. Then place it in the oven a second time until the marshmallows are light brown (for me this was an additional 8 minutes, but keep an eye on it.)



Yumm!!

recipe source

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

bundts twenty-one to twenty-five

I can’t believe I’ve made 25 of these cakes already!
Here are five I’ve baked recently from Mix and Match Mama.
The links below the photos will take you to their recipes.


PiƱa Colada
This cake is healthy because it has a can of pineapple in it, right? I had leftover coconut after making my Magic Cookie Bars, so it was the perfect choice!


Chocolate Chip
This was the original bundt cake recipe that was the catalyst for Shay’s now-84 varieties.
After one bite, I could see why. (We ate it in celebration of Nolan’s 18 month birthday.)


Oreo
I used the yellow “Spring” Oreos. You need a tall glass of milk to go with this cake!


Pistachio
Green cake, green frosting—was great for St. Patrick’s Day.
The pistachio was a mild flavor, not overpowering at all.


Cadbury Cream Egg
I love Cadbury Cream Eggs. I buy a few every year because they were my sister Hannah’s favorite Easter candy, and they remind me of her. This cake has four Cadbury Cream Eggs baked into it, and three on top of the frosting. Mmm!

See the first 10 bundts, then 11-15, and 16-20.

Monday, April 1, 2013

april pin-spired

pin-spired

I'm linking up with Mel, Shay, & Sheaffer, to post three outfits that I created this month

based on looks that I liked on Pinterest.



Cardigan: Target //  Lace Shirt: American Eagle //  Jeans: a.n.a. at jcp // flats: Crocs

I really liked the cream-colored top with coral pants in the inspiration photo. I’ve had these coral pants for about a year, and they’ve become one of my favorite items of clothing ever.



Cardigan: Target//  Dress: TJ Maxx //  Scarf: bought in France

I found this maxi dress for $3 last summer. I put it away for the winter until I found the photo above on Pinterest. I realized I could warm up the sleeveless dress with a cardigan and a big scarf. 



Denim Jacket: Old Navy //  Dress: Target (today it’s only $9.78!) //  Flats: Crocs

This was my Easter outfit yesterday. I have always wanted a denim jacket. I was a little worried that they were going to go out of style, but they never seem to! When I walked into Old Navy last week, a family of mannequins greeted me, all wearing denim jackets. So now I own one! It is really fun to wear sequins, too :)

See my March Pin-spired, and February Pin-spired.

If you are new to my blog, thanks for visiting!

Feel free to stay awhile, or follow along!

Hope you had a fantastic Easter weekend! He is Risen!

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