Wednesday, October 17, 2012

To All The Crust Haters Out There...

Now when I say crust haters, I don't mean people who hate EATING crusts, I mean people who hate MAKING crusts. That's me :) I absolutely love pie crust, but it stresses me out to make it, and I feel like it takes a long time. My mother is absolutely pro at making pie crusts, but unfortunately I can't say I inherited her talent.

Anytime we take a trip to Hooper to visit the parents, my dad is always trying to talk me into making a pecan pie for him. The only reason it is difficult for him to convince me to bake him one is that I would have to make that darn crust. So, when I discovered these Pecan Pie Bars, I knew I had to give them a shot. Instead of a pie crust, they have more of a shortbread base. I was intrigued.

Let me tell you, I was not disappointed! These taste extremely similar (pretty much exactly) like pecan pie! The shortbread base really does taste like pie crust, and the gooey pecan topping tastes exactly like the pie! YUM. Although I consider my opinion to be important, the big test was to see if my dad liked them! Well guess what everyone? HE DID! The next morning I woke up to find 3/4 of the pan gone! Somebody got hungry in the night :)

I'd definitely say these bars receive an A+! An avid pecan pie eater and lover gave them a thumbs up. Now that means something!

Here's to you, dad.

Pecan Pie Bars
From Taste of Home Magazine

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt
1 package (10 ounces) English toffee bits or almond brickle chips (7-1/2 ounces)
1 cup chopped pecans


In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Press firmly onto the bottom of a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat the milk, egg, vanilla and salt until smooth. Stir in toffee chips and pecans; spread evenly over baked crust.
Bake for 20-25 minutes longer or until lightly browned. Cool. Cover and chill; cut into bars. Store in refrigerator. Yield: 4 dozen.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Better than what, now?

EVERYTHING. That's right, this cake is better than everything! Some call if Better-than-Se* Cake, but I'll stick to Better-than-Everything Cake :) I'm sure all of you have had the original Better-than-Everything cake... chocolate, caramel, toffee bits- you know the drill. Pure Heaven. I've got a slightly different version of this cake that will blow your mind. There's one ingredient that takes the stage to make this recipe incredible. So, who's the star you ask? Mr. PUMPKIN.

WOW. That's about all I have to say. WOW. Pumpkin recipes are being baked all over the country right now. Tis the season for things pumpkin! If you are a pumpkin lover, like myself, you will LOVE this cake. Seriously, run to the kitchen and whip this up right away. You will not be disappointed. I saw this recipe on Pinterest, but it comes from the blog Something Swanky .

Pumpkin Better-than-Everything Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1 small can pumpkin puree
1 - 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 - 8 oz. tub cool whip
1/2 bag Heath Bits
Caramel Sundae Sauce


Combine the yellow cake mix and small can of pumpkin puree. Do not add the ingredients on the back of the cake mix. Just combine the cake mix and pumpkin puree.
Pour batter into a well greased 9x13 baking dish. Bake at 350ยบ according to the directions for a 9x13 cake on the cake mix box.
Let cool for about 10 minutes after baking. Using the bottom of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over the top of the cake
Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the cake, filling the holes. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Spread the cool whip over top of cake. Sprinkle on the heath bits, and drizzle caramel over top (just to your liking). Refrigerate for 3-4 hours, or overnight.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Homemade Uh-Oh Crushed Oreo Cookies

OH. MY. GOSH. I discovered the most incredible treat the other day. You will die when I tell you about it. Let me tell you the story of how I came up with this delectable little cookie.

I signed Mr. G and I up to feed the sister missionaries this last Monday. I'm sure Mr. G is getting tired of all the crazy things that I sign him up to do without his permission, but he is always a good sport. Anyway, I wanted to make a fun dessert for the sisters without having to go to the store. Now, our newlywed cupboards are looking a little sparse lately so I knew this would be a task. I remembered that we had cream cheese in the fridge, and I always have chocolate cake mix on hand, so I decided that homemade Oreos would be the perfect treat to feed the sisters. Simple, but fun. Not to mention homemade Oreos are Mr. G's favorite treat so I thought I'd be earning big points for this one.

Come to find out, I did not have a chocolate cake mix. Shoot. I'm losing points with Mr. G, and the sisters will not have a delicious dessert to enjoy. All I found in our newlywed cupboard was a Butter Cake Mix. BUTTER. What the heck can I do with that? Since I enjoy experimenting with food, I decided that since the color of the cake mix is yellow, I'm going to pretend it's a yellow cake mix. Hmmm.... LIGHTBULB! I'll make homemade UH-OH Oreos! Genius! I'm not sure how they'll turn out, but I'll give it a try!

I threw in some chocolate chips that I found in the newlywed cupboard and was feeling pretty excited about my recipe. BUT, WAIT! I suddenly remembered that Mr. G and I bought a pack of Oreos last week for a recipe (the post will come in a few days) and we had some left over. YUM. How about I crush some of those up to put in the cookies? Oh, wait! What about the filling? Ya, I'll crush some up and throw 'em in the filling as well. What a treat!

Let me tell you friends, these were heaven on earth! To quote Mr. G:

"Sar these are really good. Like, REALLY good. I don't think you understand how good these are."

Given, Mr. G compliments my food always. He's a good husband that way. But, these seriously are to die for. Also, they are super rich! Make sure you have a glass of milk handy. Anyway, If you are looking for a twist to the standard homemade Oreo, give them a try! You will not be disappointed.

Homemade Uh-Oh Crushed Oreo Cookies

1 Yellow Cake Mix (Try Butter!)
3/4 Cup Butter
2 Eggs
3/4 Cup Chocolate Chips
5-7 whole Oreo Cookies, crushed (more or less- depending on your preference)

1 (8 ounce) Package Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 Cup Butter
2 Tablespoons Vanilla
2 Cups Powdered Sugar
4-6 whole Oreo Cookies, crushed (more or less- depending on your preference)

In a large bowl, combine cake mix, the 3/4 cup butter, and eggs. Chill about 10 minutes. Roll into small balls. Place on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 7-9 minutes. Cool.

To prepare filling, beat cream cheese, the 1/2 cup butter, and vanilla together. Add powdered sugar and mix together. Add the crushed up Oreo Cookies. Spread filling on top of cookie, and then top with another cookie.

*Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Newlywed and a REALLY Bad Blogger

Hi friends! I'm sure you have all given up on me and this blog of mine, right? Well, surprise, surprise! I'M BACK! Let me give you a quick update, and I promise there is a delicious recipe at the end of this post.

Here's my big update.....I GOT MARRIED!!!!!

Yes! It's true! I now have a husband, and might I add, he's the most wonderful husband a girl could ever ask for. It seriously rocks to be married. You always have a friend to play with, cuddle with, bake treats with, someone to boost you up on a rough day, someone who takes the trash out (It's a beautiful thing, really), someone who drives the car, lifts all the heavy things, turns off the light at night so you don't have to make a mad dash for the bed if you are afraid of the dark (there really are monsters, I swear), and someone who just loves to hang out with you. Tomorrow we will have been married 2 months!! I can honestly say that these past 2 months have been the best months of my life. Cheers to forever with the coolest guy ever!

Here are a few sneak peak photos from the day.

As you can see, it was a perfect day. We were both so happy to finally be married. It is so much fun being in love with your best friend! Sorry about the cheesiness, I'll move on.

Sean and I really like to make treats on Sunday. Don't you think that treats are completely necessary on Sundays? We do. So, a couple of weeks ago we made this delicious popcorn! The recipe is originally called Snickers Popcorn, but we didn't have Snickers so we made Reses PB Cup and Reses Pieces Popcorn instead. We followed the recipe as is, except we added different candy. So, play with it, get creative, and see what delicious popcorn you come up with!

Snickers Popcorn

(I found the recipe at Six Sisters' Stuff, but they adapted it from Cookies and Cups- I love both of those blogs! Check them out. )

4 quarts popped corn (about 1 cup kernels)
1 cup salted butter
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup salted peanuts (we didn't add these)
30 fun size Snickers bars chopped up (or any other candy you want to try)
3 oz melted choc chips

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Pop your popcorn and put popcorn and peanuts in a big brown paper grocery bag.
Over medium heat boil butter, brown sugar, salt and corn syrup for 5 minutes (stirring constantly). Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Pour over popcorn in the brown paper bag, roll closed and shake well. It blends so much easier than trying to fit it in a big bowl and stir. After the popcorn is coated well, spread onto a cookie sheet. Spread chopped Snickers over top of popcorn and put in oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle melted chocolate over top of popcorn. YUM!

*If not eaten immediately...can be stored in an airtight container.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Last Six Months

I'm sure that many of you were positive that I disappeared from the blog world since I haven't updated in about 6 months. The past 6 months have been some of the craziest, but also the most incredible months of my life. Let me tell you why.

First: I fell in love with the most incredible man I've ever met.

Sean and I have known each other since May. We met through some friends, and will be forever grateful to them for thinking we'd hit things off... because we sure did! We had the best summer together and started dating in July. He is truly my best friend and the guy of my dreams! Seriously, I feel like I walked up to this machine that creates your "dream guy" and typed in everything I'd ever want in a man, and out popped Sean. I never knew that I could love someone the way that I love Sean, or that I could feel such happiness either! Okay, okay, sorry for the cheesiness... ha ha basically it's been a blast! We seriously do the silliest things sometimes, but we definitely have a good time! Here's a little glimpse of some of the things we've been doing...

Attending Ugly Sweater Christmas Parties...

Going to see Mary Poppins...

Dressing up for Halloween as 50's folk...

Going on a field trip with my mom's class to the zoo...

Going to Jazz Games...

Taking a trip to California with my family...

Hooray for Disneyland!

We loved the beach!

Godiva is always heaven!

Those are just a few of the fun things we've been doing. I really love being with Sean!

And you wanna know what the best part is?

He feels the same way about me :)

So, on May 12, 2012 we're getting married!!!!!

I'm so excited I can't even stand it! Anyways, that's something that has been keeping me busy lately.

Second: School, School, School!

This year of school has contained the craziest semesters I've ever had. I am working on my special education semesters this year, and I love it, but I have never been so overwhelmed and stressed in my whole life. I have met some incredible people and have learned so much. I love special education with all of my heart and I know that it is something that I am supposed to do. I just hope that with all of this schooling I will be an effective special education teacher. I am working so hard and trying to absorb all of the information that I receive. I have had wonderful opportunities to teach Reading to special education students, and now math. It is a challenge, but it is very rewarding at the same time. I teach in the mornings each day and then I go to my college classes in the evenings. Jam packed days, but all positive and full of learning experiences. USU's special education program is ranked 17th in the nation, so I know that although the program is very rigorous, I am in good hands.

These girls are some of me dear friends who I met through the special ed program. I don't know what I'd do without them!

One of the incredible teachers and para-educators that I had the opportunity to teach in their classroom.

Third: Being an aunt!

I love these two little boys so much! I wish I could spend more time with them and see them more often, but when I do I am so happy! They are both growing up so much and I love when I get the chance to play with them!

I know this picture is blurry, but cute little B had the giggles and was wiggling so I couldn't get a clear picture! It was so stinkin' cute that I had to share!

Isn't he the cutest little guy ever? He sure has grown up since this picture was taken. He is so busy and curious about everything! He loves to play with toys and is crawling now!

Here's cute little Ashton boy!

He's such a busy guy! He loves to run around, play outside, and watch "ball" (football, basketball, etc.)

There ya have it! Those are some of the big things that have made my last six months busy, but so wonderful! I have still baked a little bit, not as much as I would like, but I try to make time for it! Sean and I recently made this yummy sugar cookies for Valentine's day. They are my aunt Cindy's sugar cookies, and boy are they delicious! If you want a soft, yummy, homemade sugar cookie, this is the recipe to try! We frosted them with some cream cheese frosting that I found from Tasty Kitchen. This frosting is heaven!!!!Give them a shot! You won't be disappointed... trust me.

Aunt Cindy's Sugar Cookies

Cream together:
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter

beat in 3 eggs

1 cup milk mixed with 1 tsp soda
1tsp vanilla

Then add:
6 cups flour
1 tsp salt
4 tsps baking powder

Chill for an hour. Bake for 8 -10 minutes at 350 degrees.

The Only Cream Cheese Frosting You'll Ever Need
From: Comfortably Domestic at Tasty Kitchen (here)

-8 ounces, weight Cream Cheese, softened
-1-½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
-½ cups Butter, Softened
-3-½ cups Sifted Powdered Sugar (or More Depending On Desired Consistency

Preparation Instructions
1. Cream together cream cheese, vanilla and butter until fluffy.
2. Sift or whisk powdered sugar to aerate it.
3. Stir powdered sugar into cream cheese mixture, 1 cup at a time, until well blended.
4. Makes enough to generously frost a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan, 24 cupcakes, or an 8-inch layer cake.

Enjoy!! Check out the link for this frosting because she has many different variations to try.