Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Perfect After-School Snack

Well, we're nearing the end of August and what does that mean? You guessed it- School starts! Many children and adults around this area started school this week, but not me! My first day of school is not until next week so I still have one more week of freedom! Anyways, back to school. What's the best part about going back to school? Besides freshly sharpened pencils, brand new crayons, new clothes, and seeing old friends again... the best part about going back to school is having a delicious after-school snack! Right?

Look out because I have the perfect after-school snack for you right here. Simply Fudgy brownies. YUM. Enjoy one of these bad boys with a tall glass of milk and you are set! Josh sure gobbled these up this week and quite possibly drank an entire gallon of milk with them all. Talk about strong bones for that boy! I almost didn't get a picture of these brownies because I walked into the kitchen just as Josh was about to eat the last one! He agreed to let me take a picture if I would do it quickly... he really wanted to eat that brownie! Ha ha He also thought that the picture would look better if his zoo cup that he got for his birthday several years was in it filled with milk. Let's say it definitely adds character. :)

Simply Fudgy Brownies

Taste of Home "Cookies" Cookbook

1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chocolate chips

In a small bowl, combine oil and cocoa until smooth; set aside. In a large bowl, beat sugar and eggs. Stir in vanilla and cocoa mixture. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to chocolate mixture just until moistened. Stir in the walnuts.

Pour into greased 8-in. square baking pan; sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Enjoy! Happy Back-to-School!!!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Decisions and Cookies n' Cream Double Chocolate Cake Bars

Life is full of decisions and many of these decisions are very difficult to make. Sometimes you know deep down in your heart that a certain decision must be made in order for you to be happy in the long run, no matter how badly you DON'T want to make that decision. I feel like I have made one of those decisions recently. It has been rough, but I am hopeful for the future. I have faith that everything is going to work out the way that it is supposed to and that I will be happy. I've learned that it's important to realize that Heavenly Father knows who he wants us to become, and how we can become that person. He leads us down paths that are better for us than ones we are currently walking down because he knows what will be best for us in the end, and which one will help us to grow and become the person that he knows we can be. My family is my rock, and my friends are incredibly supportive. I don't know what I would do without them! Here are some pictures from this Summer of my dear friends and family members.

I have noticed that when I have a lot of things on my mind that I tend to bake more often. Baking is definitely an "out" for me! So, you all will benefit from my difficult decision stage because I have been whipping up some tasty treats lately! The recipe I'm blogging about today is Cookies and Cream Double Chocolate Cake Bars from Picky Palate. You all know how much I love Picky Palate! If you need a serious chocolate overload check out the recipes on her site. YUM.

These bars did not disappoint! Josh loved them. My dad loved them (Which is saying something because they are super rich and he isn't in to those kinds of treats as much as my mother and I are)! Yummy, gooey, fudgy, rich, chocolate, Oreo Bars right here!

Gooey Cookies and Cream Chocolate Cake Bars

1 Devils Food Cake Mix
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
14 Oreo Cookies, broken into bite size pieces

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line a 9×13 inch baking pan with tin foil sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Place cake mix, butter and egg into a large bowl, mixing to combine. Press into prepared baking pan. Top with broken pieces of cookies.

3. Pour sweetened condensed milk over cookies and top with chocolate chips. Bake for 23-25 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from oven.

4. After 5 minutes of cooling, run a plastic knife around edges to loosen, this makes it much easier to remove from foil. Let cool completely, remove foil from pan, then cut into squares.

Makes 12 bars

I hope everyone is having a fantastic Summer! Can you believe it's almost August? I can't! Gearing up for Round 3 at USU :) It will definitely be good to get back to Logan.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Oh Canada!

It turns out that Canada really knows what they are doing when it comes to treats. Have you ever had a Nanaimo Bar? (Pronunciation: Nuh-Nye-Mo) They are soo good! I have seen Nanaimo bars on several blogs, and I decided that they were something that I just had to make. They are a delicious no-bake treat, which is perfect for summer because turning your oven on isn't fun when it's so hot outside. I didn't even use my stove! I did it all in the microwave and it worked great. Give them a shot! You will be so glad that you did.

Nanaimo Bars

Recipe from "My Baking Addiction" Blog

Bottom Layer
½ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup sugar
5 tbsp. cocoa
1 egg beaten
1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs
½ c. finely chopped almonds (I omitted)
1 cup coconut

Melt first 3 ingredients in top of double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut, and nuts. Press firmly into an ungreased 8″ x 8″ pan.

Second Layer
½ cup unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. and 2 Tsp. cream
2 Tbsp. vanilla custard powder (I used Instant vanilla pudding powder)
2 cups icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar)

Cream butter, cream, custard powder(or pudding powder), and icing sugar together well. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer.

Third Layer

4 squares semi-sweet chocolate (1 oz. each)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator. Slice with a warm knife when ready to serve.

Enjoy!! I promise you will love Canada after trying one of these :)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Super Chocolate Ka-Blam Strips!

Okay, Okay, these actually aren't called Super Chocolate Ka-Blam Strips, but I liked that name better than the real one. I found these little goodies in my Taste of Home "Cookies" Cookbook. It's a fabulous cookbook, you should go buy it right now! Anyways, these are actually called Special Chocolate Treats. I thought they looked super fun and different than anything that I've ever made before so I decided to give them a shot.

I LOVED these little chocolatey strips of goodness! They are such fun little shapes to eat! The rich, fudgy filling is incredible, and the cookie crust has a hint of caramel that you'll fall in love with instantly. I plan on making these for my nephew Baylor's blessing this Sunday. I am in charge of making 5 desserts! 5! I'm so happy :)

I rate these a 10 for sure. The recipe calls for pecans, but if you are a not a big fan of nuts I think these would be just as tasty without them. I did make them with pecans this time, but I think I'll leave them out for Sunday.

Super Chocolate Ka-Blam Strips
Taste Of Home "Cookies" Cookbook

3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 Tablespoon Shortening
2/3 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 teaspoon water

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in vanilla and salt. Add flour; mix well. Cover and refrigerate.

For filling, melt the chocolate chips and shortening in a microwave or heavy saucepan; stir until smooth. Remove from the heat; set aside 1/4 cup for glaze. To remaining chocolate, add pecans, milk, vanilla, and salt; blend well. Cover and refrigerate until cool, about 15 minutes.

Place a 16-in. x 12-in. piece of foil in a greased baking sheet; lightly sprinkle with flour. Divide dough in half; place one portion on foil. Roll into a 14-in. x 5-in. rectangle. Spread half of the filling lengthwise on half of the dough to within 1/2 in. of edges. Using the foil, fold the dough over filling; seal edges. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

For glaze, warm reserved chocolate; stir in corn syrup and water. Spread over cookies. Cool completely. Cut cookies width-wise into 3/4 in. strips.

Need a reminder of how cute Baylor is? Here's my cute little B :)

Can't wait to see him Sunday! Happy Summer baking!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Welcome Home!!

Last week my dear friend K.C. John came home from his mission in Brazil!! I was so excited to see him! I have missed this crazy fella a ton. He gave his Homecoming talk today and he did an exceptional job. He was an incredible missionary and I know he worked hard and brought many people to the gospel. He is wonderful and I'm so glad to have him back!

Anyways, I decided that I am terrible at updating my blog. Yes, things have been crazy this summer, but that isn't really an excuse to go several weeks without blogging because I am still baking up a storm! Last night I made Oreo Balls/Truffles with a friend of mine. Anyone heard of those? I actually thought they were a very common, well-known treat, but apparently not! We made these last night because my friend had never had one and I was shocked! My fabulous roommate Annie used to make these for us all the time and they wouldn't last long. :) But in an apartment of 6 college girls what can you expect? ha ha

I forgot to take a picture of our Oreo Balls/Truffles last night, but I'll give you the recipe and a site to go to to get a super good picture of them! I'm so sorry, I'll try hard to be much better about blogging about all of the yummy things I make, and taking pictures of them too. Forgive me? No? Well, have an Oreo Ball and maybe you'll change your mind... :)

Oreo Balls/Truffles

1 Package Oreos, crushed
1 block Cream Cheese
1 package Chocolate Chips (white, milk, or semisweet)

Combine crushed Oreos and cream cheese. Form into balls and place on a cookie sheet. Refrigerate the Oreo Balls until firm- about 30 minutes- If you're impatient like me, stick them in the freezer ;)Dip Oreo Balls in chocolate until they are completely covered, place back on the cookie sheet, and refrigerate until the chocolate is set. Enjoy!

Click HERE for a wonderful Oreo Ball picture. Bakerella will never let us down. :)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Cookies and Questions

Don't get me wrong, I love running into old friends. It can happen quite a bit when you move away to school and then come back for the summer, and it's great! Really it is. But, with running into old friends, there comes the obvious "questions". I understand that questions are a necessary part of "catching up", but I prefer to do the questioning instead of having to answer them. Here are some examples of questions that are often asked when running into old friends:

Question #1- What have you been up to?

---- This question, if answered correctly, can eliminate the rest of the questioning if the answerer does well with convincing the questioner that he/she has been super busy, is happy, and is more concerned with what THEY have been up to. However, that often isn't the case, so we move on to question #2.

Question #2-
So you've moved home for the summer then?

---- Obviously if you see me at the local Walmart at 5:30 on a Tuesday evening with a cart full of groceries to feed a family, I've moved home for the summer. Next question.

Question #3- So what are you doing for the summer then?

---- Most of the time, I'm not really sure how to answer this question. And really, who knows what they are going to do all summer? Am I supposed to go through and tell them every little trip, family reunion, and swimming outing that I'm going to have, or what? Like I said before, who knows what they are going to do all summer, really? This question is kind of a discreet way to find out the answer to the next question without bluntly asking.

Question #4-
So do you have a job? Are you going to be working this summer?

---- Well, obviously in a perfect world, everyone would indeed like to have a great job and make some serious cash during the summer. That is most likely the plan for most poor college students during the summer. However, for some, finding a job simply for the summer since you'll be moving away in August can be quite difficult. The questioner should really avoid asking this question because it can often lead the answerer feeling rather discouraged and cause them to hang their head slightly. And with one discouraging question down, it's time to move onto the final question.

Question #5-
So are you dating anyone? Are there any men in your life? How's that part of your life going?

---- Now, let's be serious for just a second. With all the questions asked, this is the one that everyone REALLY cares about. The other questions are just warm up questions to make the questioner seem like they really care about all of the other areas in your life instead of just who you might be dating, and if you are getting married anytime soon. I don't mind answering this question at all because this area of my life is going really well! I usually tell the questioner that I've got a lot of really great men in my life and I'm just enjoying spending time with all of them! Which is very true. Let me introduce you to the wonderful men in my life that I enjoy spending time with....

#1- Baylor

Here's little B. He has the cutest little face and hair I have ever seen! He has such a sweet spirit and is such a little buddy! He makes me so happy every time he comes down to visit his favorite Aunt Sarah :) I love this little guy so much!

#2- Ashton

Here's little Asher Bug! He has the biggest eyes and the cutest little voice and giggle that I've ever heard. He makes me laugh so hard when he comes over because of how silly and excited he gets. He makes me so happy when he smiles at his favorite Aunt Sarah :) I love him so much!

#3- Joshua James

Here's Josh. This Fremont High Graduate, Eagle Scout, and future Aggie makes me so happy! Josh and I have a lot of fun together and can get laughing really hard! He is so kind, funny, and has a dang good voice! Seriously, this guy's got pipes! I love Josh so much.

#4 Jordan

Here's my older brother, Jordan. USU graduate, Agri-Service Employee of the century, dang good daddy, and caring brother all describe this guy right here. Jordan is so much fun to be around! He makes us all laugh so hard and always has a good YouTube Video for us to watch. I love Jordan so much!

#5- Mike

Here's Mike. BEST. BROTHER-IN-LAW. EVER. Mike is such a good guy! He is a great father, awesome husband, and a really fun brother-in-law. Mike works really hard and plays hard too. He is fun to talk to, and I feel like he understands where I'm coming from a lot of the time. I love Mike so much!

#6- My dad

Where do I even begin? My dad is absolutely hilarious, fun, caring, comforting, a great cook, and a selfless, outstanding father. He says and does the funniest things that keep us all laughing. He has a very positive outlook on life and is the strongest man I know (physical, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, etc). I love my dad so much!

Well, there ya have it! Those are the wonderful men in my life. Yes, I understand that my answer to question number 5, if I went into detail, is not exactly what the questioner is looking for, but they don't need to know the details, right? :) All they need to know is that I have lots of great men in my life whom I love spending time with. That's all. :)

I do have a recipe to include in this post today! This recipe makes all of these boys happy (minus the two who can't quite eat this kind of food yet). CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES!! Simple, yet so yummy! This is the go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe for my family. We give credit to my sister, Rachel, for this one. Enjoy!

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 cups chocolate chips- depending on how much you love chocolate :)
1 cup mini marshmallows (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil or coat with non-stick spray.

Cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar until fluffy. Gradually add flour, salt, and baking soda until combined. Then add the vanilla and the egg. Stir in chocolate chips.

Roll into balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies

So I'm pretty sure that the other day I made my favorite peanut butter fudge brownies that I have had so far! Now, these were actually the FIRST peanut butter fudge brownies that I have made, but I have looked at so many gosh darn recipes of them because I have been wanting to make them for months now, so I finally broke down and baked them. The reason that it took me so long to whip up a batch of these brownies is because Josh doesn't like peanut butter, and I knew this treat would be way to rich for my dad's liking, and I rely heavily on those guys to eat the majority of the treats that I make so that I will only have a few... SO... I have been waiting for the perfect time to make these so that I could share them with lots of friends! And, I figured that my roommate Karlie's birthday bbq was very appropriate :) All the girls of Apt. #6 always request a treat with the combination of peanut butter and chocolate. I'm pretty sure this is why we are such perfect roommates.

Anyways, these are sooo good! I know that I usually say that about everything that I make, but it's always true! These brownies were very fudgy, chocolaty, peanut buttery, and simply divine. The peanut butter filling in the middle tastes like a really yummy peanut butter cookie, which pairs perfectly with a warm, gooey brownie. It's like a brownie and peanut butter cookie sandwich. Yum. Perfect. Oh and don't forget the chocolate/peanut butter glaze on top! Three words- To die for. Seriously, this peanut butter fudge brownie recipe was heavenly... and dangerous. Don't make these if you are home alone all day. SCARY.

Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies

(The Sisters' Cafe Blog)


1 ½ c. sugar
½ c. butter (1 stick) softened
½ c. oil
1 T. vanilla
3 eggs
1 ¼ c. flour
¾ c. cocoa powder
¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 c. peanut butter chips (or choc chips)

1 c. creamy peanut butter
¼ c. vegetable oil
¼ c. sugar
2 T. flour
2 eggs
½ tsp vanilla

1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips or 2 TBSP cocoa powder
3 T. creamy peanut butter
1 ½ c. powdered sugar
¼ c. water
½ tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 and spray 9x13-inch pan. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add oil and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a small bowl combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt - blend well. While beating, gradually add flour mixture to creamed mixture – mix well. Fold in chips. Evenly spread ½ batter into pan.

Filling: In a small bowl cream together peanut butter and oil. Add sugar and flour – blend well. Add eggs and vanilla – beat until smooth. Carefully spread filling evenly over batter in pan. Top filling with remaining ½ batter and spread evenly. Gently cut through layers to create marble effect throughout brownies. Bake for 30 minutes – do not over bake.

While baking, in a medium saucepan, melt chocolate and peanut butter over LOW heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients – mix until smooth. If frosting is too thick, add 1-3 T. water. Spread frosting over brownies immediately after baking. Cool in pan 2-3 hours before serving.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


Today, after 5 1/2 years of homework, long classes, mind-changing, tests, projects, and more mind-changing this fine young man graduated from Utah State University!

Meet my older brother Jordan. Jordan is seriously an All Star. He is such a hard worker, a dang good husband, a caring brother, a great dad, and quite possibly the funniest guy around. I am so lucky to have him as a brother. Jordan is such an example to me. He does so much for so many people, and has no idea how much of an influence he has on them. He keeps pretty busy being the Assistant Manager at Agri-Service, a new dad of two weeks, and being the Priest Advisor in his ward. On top of all of this, he was so unbelievably busy with school too! But, no matter how crazy his life was, he always took time to call and check up on his little sis, and it meant so much.

Jordan and I can always get each other laughing so hard by talking about the silliest things. Sometimes we get talking, joking, and laughing so hard that we probably drive Amy crazy... Poor girl. Ha ha She is so great for putting up with us when we are together! Things can get pretty nuts. Anyways, I am so lucky to have such an incredible brother who I can have so much fun with, and who I can talk to about anything. I am so proud of him for working hard, figuring out what he wants to do(after changing his mind several times), and for graduating with honors. I love you Jord! Here are a couple of pictures from the day...

Baylor came to support his daddy! Future Aggie right here :)

Can't get enough pictures of the little cutie, can we? ha ha :)

Grandma and Grandpa Peterson. So proud.

My two good looking brothers. :)

Proud mother and grandma...

Now of course I can't have a post without a recipe to share with you all! Check out the cute cupcakes I made for our little after-graduation party...

Aren't they so cute?! I can't take credit for thinking of this idea all on my own because I saw things like this all over the web. But, I thought it would be fun to try! I baked some chocolate cupcakes (from a box-don't judge-I was tired and it was the easy option) frosted them with this delicious homemade chocolate frosting, and then added these cute little candy graduation caps on top! Here's what you'll need for the caps:

A bag of mini Reeses Peanut Butter Cups
A bag of Fun Size Hershey's Chocolate Bars
Mini sour straws(Rips), fruit roll-ups cut into strips, or anything else you can think of
Leftover frosting from cupcakes- you'll need it to hold these together

Put the Peanut Butter Cups in the freezer for 30-60 minutes. This helps the chocolate to stay in tact when you unwrap them. Turn the PB cups upside down and put a little bit of frosting on top. Cut the fun size Hershey's bars (4 squares) in half- they should now be in pieces of two squares. Turn the Hershey's pieces upside down and put them on top of the PB cups. Then, use a tooth pick and put a little dot of frosting on top of the caps and stick a small sour straw, or whatever you are using for the tassels, on top.

There you have it! Graduation Caps!

Happy Mothers' Day tomorrow everybody!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

These may look like just plain old chocolate cookies...

But they're not!! Check out what it's in the middle...

Oooooh look at all that ooey gooey caramel in the middle! One bite and you'll be floating around in chocolate-caramel heaven. Seriously. And chocolate-caramel heaven is a great place to be, trust me. Especially during finals week. :)

Anyways, whip up a batch of these cookies right now! They are way easy and so yummy! I found the recipe in the Taste of Home cookbook that I got for Christmas last year.

Easy Chocolate Caramel Cookies
Taste of Home "Cookies" Cookbook

1 package (18-1/4 ounces) Devil's Food Cake Mix
1 egg
1/4 Cup Water
3 Tablespoons Canola Oil
38 Rolo Candies
Chopped Hazelnuts (I omitted)

In a large bowl, combine the dry cake mix, egg, water and oil; mix well. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls. Press a candy into each; reshape balls. Dip tops in hazelnuts.

Place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until tops are cracked. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks.

Note: If the dough is really sticky, like mine was, spray your hands with cooking spray before rolling into balls.

Well everyone, have a great day! I'll see you in chocolate-caramel heaven :)

P.S. One more final until sweet, baking freedom. Can't wait.

Monday, April 25, 2011

2 more weeks and I'm your girl! PROMISE.

This is the last week of classes, next week is finals, then I move out, and then I am free to bake and blog all summer!!! YAY. I can't wait! In the meantime, check out my adorable new nephew who was born last week...

Isn't he the cutest little guy you've ever seen?! I.LOVE.HIM.TO.PIECES. I am such a proud aunt! Look at that smile and that hair! Doesn't this picture just melt your heart? This little guy makes my heart start dancin'! Being an aunt is seriously the greatest thing ever!

Anyways, I could talk about how cute he is all day, but I guess I should probably talk about baking! Who baked the funnest Easter treat? My aunt Deb made this heavenly Marshmallow Peeps Monkey Bread. Check it out here. Yummy, right?! Seriously, go to the grocery store right now, buy a bunch of leftover peeps that are now 70 million percent off, and make this RIGHT NOW. It was seriously so good! After my first bite I was addicted. WOW.

After this Easter weekend full of me eating way too much chocolate, I think I need to take a break from chocolate/sweets for a little bit. I know, I know, you're thinking "Sarah- finals are coming up. You are crazy to take a break from chocolate right now." Yes, this may be true, but I would rather not weigh 50 pounds heavier by the time school gets out! We'll see what happens. :)

In the mean time, make peep bread and pray for warmer weather! I promise, I'll have a yummy recipe for you to try soon. I got this new cookbook for Easter and I'm stoked to bake something from it. :)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

S'mores Stuffed Brownies- Is it Summer yet?

I am so anxious for Summer! Can you tell? I can't wait for family vacations, this guy to come home from his mission, swimming, boating, campfires, s'mores, NO SCHOOL, and my trip to New York!!

As you can see, there are a lot of great things that are going to happen this Summer! I'm so excited and very impatient. I guess I kind of feel like if I bake Summery treats then it will come sooner. I know that sounds absolutely ridiculous, but I feel like it just might work. :)

A couple of weeks ago I whipped up these delicious S'mores Stuffed Brownies from Picky Palate. I know, I know, I ALWAYS bake her stuff, but everything she creates looks so darn good, and tastes phenomenal- and these were no exception. These brownies were so chocolatey, fudgy, gooey, and s'more-tastic! Seriously, you HAVE try these. Head on over to her sight to get the recipe. They are super simple to make and you only need a few ingredients!

Look at all of these yummy layers! Brownie, Graham Cracker, Hershey's Chocolate, Marshmallows, and more Brownie on top. S'mores and brownies were seriously made for each other. Trust me on this one.

Bake these right now and enjoy the taste of summer. It's right around the corner I swear. :)