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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Cheese Fondue

Happy New Years Eve! I can't believe that 2013 is already coming to a close. It has been such a fun year for us, but I can not wait to see what 2014 will hold for us. I was brain storming up some new ideas to try for our New Years celebration, and I thought about cheese fondue. Fondue is something that we both love, but we don't live in an area with a restaurant that serves it.

Its funny I got this fondue pot years ago. I think I got it in a Christmas raffle. We never used it, and I think I actually tried to sell it in our garage sale this summer. Luckily it didn't sell. I got it out and made this amazing cheese fondue. It was really quite easy to make, and now that I know how easy it is I will be using the pot a lot more.

I made the fondue on the stove and then transferred it. It amazed me how warm the candle kept the cheese fondue. The cheesy goodness was bubbling like a volcano as I took these pictures. Later as we were eating and enjoying it I was thinking that I should have videoed it. Oh well... maybe next time.

Part of the fun of fondue is picking out what to dip. I bought the ingredients for the cheese fondue, but decided to use what I already had around the house for the dippers. This is what I put in each ramekin. The first ramekin has one piece of regular potato sandwich bread, you never would have guessed it from the pictures. Next I cut up one medium sized apple. Then I cut up an orange for the third one. We weren't sure how orange and cheese would taste, but don't worry its amazing. Lastly I cut up 2 sausage sticks for the last ramekin.

We ate this and watched a movie. Perfect date night or perfect for your New Years celebration. Without any additional food this was perfect for the two of us. The qty would work for 4, if you had a couple of other appetizers.


8 oz of shredded cheese (ex 5 oz cheddar and 3 oz swiss)
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup of beer (white wine can be substituted)
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 1/2 tsp mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Shred the cheese in medium sized bowl. Add the flour and toss the cheese with the flour.

Prepare a double boiler. If you don't own one you can place a heat safe bowl or another pan over another pan with boiling water. Heat the double boiler using medium high heat. Add the beer, cloves, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce to the double boiler.

Once the mixture gets warm add 1/3 of the prepared cheese. Stir and allow the cheese to melt most of the way. Then add half of the remaining cheese. Stir again and allow the cheese to start to melt. Add the remaining cheese. Stirring slowly as the cheese melts completely.

Place warm cheese in a fondue pot, and keep warm as it is served.

Enjoy with a variety of dippers.

Recipe Source: Laura's Baking Talent

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Black Eyed Pea Salsa

This week is New Years week on the blog. We usually ring in the New Year pretty casually. We make a lot of apps, watch a movie and then watch the ball drop at midnight. Our app menu has included Caramelized Onion Dip and Buffalo "Chicken" Dip. I decided to do some research on New Year food traditions and found out that its a big deal to eat Black Eyed Peas on New Years. Tradition says it will bring you good luck.

I have to admit that I had never heard of Black Eyed Peas but I am all for good luck. Shopping this weekend I looked for them, not sure what I was going to make with them yet. I looked in our normal canned veggie section and didn't have any luck. I was scanning the canned veggie aisle... when I saw a section called Southern Vegetables. Southern Vegetables? I figured it was worth a look. And there they were Black Eyed Peas. There were only 3 cans left, so I guess I was lucky to find it.

It was kind of like I had my own can of felix felicis for the new year. "Liquid Luck" for those of you that are non Harry Potter fans.

Its funny because you eat all these desserts for Christmas, and then you start the new year and want to eat healthier, but its a horrible time for fresh veggies. We are spoiled in the summer here, but in the winter you get these sad veggies in the stores and they are pretty pricey considering what you can get when everything is in season here. I kept this in mind as I picked the ingredients. I wanted a nice mix of color, with a good mixed of canned veggies and fresh veggies. I think it worked out well.

Jim was helping me with the pictures, when came the question. Can we eat this now? I said sure. He took a big bite and was surprised by the jalapeno pepper. Usually I don't like things overly hot, but I thought this dip could use a little kick. He was hooked at that point and devoured the dip as he watched the bowl games. We did save some for New Years day, since I'm not sure celebrating early would count for our luck. If you don't like as much kick, then I would leave the jalapeno out or cut it in half.


1 can blacked eyed peas
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can sweet corn
1 red onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 cucumber, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Mix together all of vegetables in a large bowl: black eyed peas, tomatoes, corn, onion, green pepper, cucumber, and jalapeno pepper. Once mixed sprinkle on the lime juice, salt and black pepper. Mix again until everything is combined.

Chill until ready to serve. Enjoy with chips.

This recipe originally appeared on Laura's Baking Talent.

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Most Popular Posts of 2013

I want to take the time to thank everyone that reads the blog. It started out small, and I wondered if anyone would read it. It has now grown and I love that family, friends, fellow bloggers, and friends that I have never met read the blog each week.

I've been trying to grow the blog as I get the chance, adding in new features, etc. As we roll into 2014 next week I hope you continue to visit and enjoy the blog. If you ever have suggestions, questions or thoughts please feel free to leave a comment or contact me through email:

Since I am spending extra time with family this week I thought I would share the top 10 most viewed posts with you.

Top 10 Posts

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

 Pumpkin Granola

Pioneer Woman Apple Pie

Chocolate Mint Swirl Pudding Shoes

No Bake Banana Split Dessert

Corn Casserole

Chocolate Cherry Ganache Pie

Banana Split Cookies

Pumpkin Spice Lattes 

Grandma's Candy Apples

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Birthday Cake

Today I'm going to share a family tradition. When I was younger I asked my mom why we didn't have birthday cake at Christmas, since its Baby Jesus' birthday. Its hard to argue with this logic, so Baby Jesus birthday cake was born. I would say that 90% of the time Baby Jesus Birthday Cake is chocolate chip cake. This cake was pretty much a staple at my house growing up.

I volunteered to make Baby Jesus cake this year, because I thought it would make for a good post. I had already posted about chocolate chip cake though, so I decided to try a new cake. I spent a lot of time looking up recipes on other blogs and trying to find something that would be spectacular. I finally decided to make this cake.

I'm slightly afraid of getting cakes out of my bundt pan. See my Firecracker cake for more of my nervousness. As soon as I started making the cake I started stressing about it not coming out of the pan. As it baked I was still worried but I distracted myself with last minute wrapping.

So I took it out of the pan, and guess what the top part of the cake stuck in the pan. My first thought was #epicfail. To redo the cake I would have to go to the store to get more ingredients. I would have to go through the stress again, and honestly I wasn't sure what I would change.

Then I came to the conclusion, that Christmas isn't about a perfect cake even if it is Baby Jesus' birthday cake. Its about the birth of Jesus, and how he came to save us all. Looking at our manger on our mantle I think about the stable, the animals, the shepherds, and the wise man. Mary looks so peaceful and happy. If anyone had the right to not look happy and peaceful it was her, I mean she had to give birth in a stable. Mary did you know.

So you know what I did. I scrapped the top of the cake out of the pan. Mushed it together. Topped it with AMAZING peanut butter glaze. I'm sure I will get some teasing from my family, but that is ok. I'm thankful for the true reason of the season. Merry Christmas!


Chocolate Batter
1½ cups flour
⅓ cup cocoa
1 cup  brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
⅓ cup Vegetable Oil
1 cup water
1 Tbsp white vinegar
½ tsp vanilla

Peanut Butter Batter
1 Egg
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
¾ cup peanut butter
⅓ cup sugar
⅓ cup powdered sugar

Peanut Butter Glaze
2 Tbsp butter, softened
¼ cup of creamy peanut butter
½ cup powdered sugar
3 Tbsp milk, divided
1/4 cup miniature chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bundt pan.

Start by making the chocolate batter. Mix together the flour, cocoa, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Then add the  vegetable oil, water, vinegar, and vanilla. Stir until everything is well combined, but do not over stir the batter.

Next make the peanut butter batter. With an electric mixer combine the egg, cream cheese, peanut butter and sugar. When everything is combined add the powdered sugar. Mix in the powdered sugar with the electric mixer.

Add a small amount of the chocolate batter to the bundt pan. Then top with some peanut butter batter. Add more chocolate batter on top of the peanut butter. Then add the rest of the peanut butter batter, and then top with the remaining chocolate batter.

Bake for 40-50 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes, and then remove from the pan.

To make the glaze combine the butter, peanut butter, powdered sugar, and 2 Tbsp of the milk. Mix with an electric mixer. You want the glaze to be really smooth and easily drizzled. Add the remaining Tbsp of milk if needed. If the glaze is still to thick you can microwave for 10 -15 seconds to warm up the consistency. Drizzle all over the cake. Top with miniature chocolate chips.

This recipe was adapted from In the Kitchen with KP

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Easy Fudge

When I was growing up my grandma would make the most amazing fudge. We only had it at Christmas so it was a big treat. I now make the fudge to take to Christmas, I have to admit its made with love but its Easy Fudge. As I was cutting up the fudge this morning for pictures, I remembered a funny story. Well funny if you have a sibling that you like to tease.

I'm the youngest of 6 kids. There is a large gap between me and my oldest sister. She was starting college when I was starting kindergarten. She was in college and had to get her wisdom teeth out over Christmas break. I am sure it was very logical because she was home and had the time off from school. However it also meant that she would miss out on a lot of the Christmas treats including Grandma's fudge. 

We were suppose to eat the fudge in the kitchen, so that she wouldn't feel bad. Well a younger sister (who shall remain nameless) did decide it would be fun to eat some in front of her, and maybe do a fudge dance. Fudge dance? No explanation needed.. I am sure you can picture it.

I believe that in the end my sister had a piece of fudge and sucked on it till it melted in her mouth and she spit out the nuts. Some things like fudge at Christmas can not be missed. Now my mom is the one who is not a big fan of nuts. So I make fudge for everyone. Half of my batch has nuts and the other half does not.

This week and next will be a little different, no major themes. I will be just sharing some yummy treats that I will be making for our holiday celebrations. So come back and enjoy them!


3 cups of semisweet chocolate chips
1 can (14 oz) condensed milk
1 dash of salt
1 1/2 tsp of vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts if you want half without nuts (1 cup if you want nuts throughout)

Line a 9X9 pan with foil. Put a foil divider if you are doing the two types of fudge. Spray the foil with butter spray.

In a medium sized pan put the chocolate chips and condensed milk. Heat on medium - high heat over the stove. Stir constantly. As it starts to melt add the dash of salt.

When the chips are almost completely melted and start to thicken remove from the heat and add the vanilla. Mix the vanilla in. If you are doing half and half pour half of the fudge into the foil pan. Then add the nuts to remaining fudge in the saucepan. When the nuts are mixed in add the remaining fudge to the pan.

Let sit in the fridge until it sets, it will be about 2 hours. Remove from the fridge and let it sit out for 30 minutes or so, then cut into small pieces. You can cut right after removing from the fridge it will just be a little tougher.

Eat and Enjoy!

This recipe is originally from the Eagle Brand website.

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

M&M n Everything Else Bark

I'm making the switch from Christmas doing to Christmas relaxing. This past weekend I finished up my shopping. The Christmas Cards are sent. I only have a couple more days of work left. I'm excited to just relax and spend time with family. Before I completely relax though I had to share this EASY Christmas treat with you.  I made this last night, and it took me less than 10 minutes. Plus it cleaned out my misfit cabinet. Misfit cabinet you ask? I really just made that term up.. since I just re watched Rudolph. Its basically the part of the cabinet where I put all the leftovers from my other blog posts.


This bark starts out with chocolate graham crackers. The same ones I used in this chocolate cherry ganache pie. Then you melt almond bark (in the microwave), yup no double boilers for me. You spread the melted bark over the graham crackers and then top with pretty much anything you love.

I added Christmas M&Ms. Leftover from the M&M pretzels, and the Nutter Deer. Then I added some candy canes. Next came the dark chocolate and mint chips from these Chocolate Mint Muffins. Lastly I added some peanuts.

This would be great for any Holiday get together or could be packaged as a gift. Who doesn't love the gift of food, especially when it is food like this bark.


16 full graham crackers
6 cubes (1/2 package) almond bark
1/2 cup M&Ms
1/4 cup chocolate chips
4 candy canes, broken
1/4 cup peanuts

Start out by laying the graham crackers out on a cookie sheet.

Put the almond bark in a microwave safe bowl, and microwave for 45 seconds and then stir. Microwave again in 15 seconds increments stirring in-between till it is smooth. Spread the almond bark onto the graham crackers.

Sprinkle on your M&Ms, chocolate chips, candy canes,and peanuts.

Put in the fridge to set for 15 minutes or more. Take the sheet out of the fridge and break into smaller pieces. Each piece will be a little different in size and shape.

Eat and Enjoy!

This recipe originally appeared on Laura's Baking Talent. 

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

M&M Pretzels

Who loves easy? Come on I know you all raised your hands. Who loves something that is tasty and bite sized? Yup your hand is still raised. Who loves something that kids can help make? Yup still keeping that hand raised. These are the simplest treat to make for any gathering and trust me they will be eaten up before you get home.

I think people love taking something that they can eat in one bite. You can do that slide by the dessert table and take one of these and no one will know. Its in your mouth before you know it. The pile looks the same. Take a cupcake or a cookie... someone might notice. It takes multiple bites. Plus if its one bite of goodness then it can't have a lot of calories right? Makes sense to me.

One of the guys I used to work with had an annual M&M party at Christmas. They would just serve every flavor M&M they could find. That is my kind of party. Does anyone know all the flavors of M&Ms? These are the ones I could think of: Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Crisped Rice, Mint Chocolate, Peanut, Almond, Orange Chocolate, Coconut, Pretzel, Wild Cherry, Cinnamon, Raspberry, Peanut Butter, Gingerbread, and Pumpkin Spice. Am I missing any?


24 pretzels (square or round)
24 chocolate kisses, unwrapped
24 M&Ms

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lay out the pretzels on a cookie sheet. Put one kiss one each pretzel. 

Let bake for 1-2 minutes. Take them out of the oven, and put one M&M in the middle of the melted kiss. Put in the fridge to cool.

Eat and Enjoy!

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Nutter Deer

I have to admit this week's theme is kind of humorous. Lots of times I have two things that I really want to share with you and they fit together and then I do a little digging for the third. Other times I know exactly what the three things will be. Well this week I knew I wanted to keep doing stuff that would be fun for Christmas. I also had one of the ideas picked out. The other two though were kind of floating out there.

I finally decided on three things that I really wanted to share with you that I thought were cute and super fun to make for the holidays. The one thing that they all have in common is that they involve Christmas M&Ms. So yup you guessed it. Its Christmas M&M week.

Now that I had my theme I needed to get supplies to make the last two posts. We ventured to Walmart yesterday to get our Xmas Cards and to get the supplies I needed. You will never guess what, they were out of Christmas M&Ms. They had lots of flavored ones (gingerbread, mint, etc). However they didn't have the traditional red and green M&Ms. So since these were the M&Ms I needed in my head... I had to make poor Jim drive us slipping and sliding to another store that luckily had them.

These Nutter Deer are too cute. They are almost to cute to eat in my opinion. We have a cookie n cake event at our church today.  After which we are going to see the Best Christmas Pageant ever at the local theater. I think that everyone will love these guys :) They are relatively easy to make, but I have to warn you I had some issues with attaching the antlers. I had to support the newly attached antlers with another cookie till it dried. So I had a whole assembly line going. I ended up doing 4 rotated the plat did 4 more and then the original ones were secure enough to move.

I used green for the eyes, because yes I had to have Christmas M&Ms. You could do brown or blue for the eyes as well. Maybe yellow or orange if you wanted alien reindeer. I also thought that it may be cute to do some brown M&M noses so that they are all not Rudolph. Just a thought.


1 pkg Nutter Butter Sandwich cookies
1 pkg Christmas M&Ms
40 square pretzels broken in half
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp corn syrup
1.5 Tbsp milk + additional as needed

Start out by making the glaze that you will use to attach the M&Ms and pretzels. Put the powdered sugar, corn syrup and milk into a small bowl. Mix with a spoon until everything is well combined. Test the constinency of the glaze. You want it to be pliable enough to work with but not runny. If it is to thick add more milk, until you get the texture needed. If too runny add more powdered sugar. Its easier to add more milk than powdered sugar so go conservative on the milk.

Take a nutter butter and place it on a plate. Take an M&M and add some glaze on the back of it and attach to the Nutter Butter. Do this for the eyes and nose. Then take a knife and add a small amount of glaze to the top of the cookie and attache the pretzels for antlers.

The glaze holding the antlers may need a few minutes to set before you move the cookie. Continue until all cookies are decorated.

Eat and Enjoy!

The glaze recipe was adapted from King Arthur Flour.

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