Thursday, December 30, 2010

Life with a baby

So I am pretty sure that while I am in LOVE with my sweet new baby girl....I am truly missing sleep. I'm not sure anything prepares you for the lack of sleep you experience with a newborn at home. Our little gal has her days and nights seriously mixed up...which is so funny to me since she seemed to have them totally figured out while inside me. She was never the type of baby to keep me awake kicking and poking me all night long in my belly like many other pregnant women experience. However...we must be making up for lost time now. Luckily Pat has been off for the past few weeks and has been able to pick up a feeding during the night to help out! It is amazing how wonderful a 3 hour stretch of sleep can feel!

Other than lack of sleep though...our Lucy is growing and changing so much! She went to the Dr. on Tuesday and is now up to 7lbs 4 ounces!!!! I love to see how much she changes each day.
She is very alert (when awake) and will follow voices! She can recognize both Pat's and my voices from across the room and makes the best eye contact while being fed!

Christmas didn't really seem like Christmas this year. Yes, we were excited to have Lucy as our gift...however we were more focused on feedings and poopy diapers than much of anything else. We had a great time spending the holiday with family! Here are some pictures of our sweet little Christmas baby:

Team Santa!

Family photo at my mom's for Christmas Eve!

Our little stocking stuffer!

All the girls!

Pat with Lucy and Roxy!

We had a newborn photographer come last week and take pictures of Lucy and I can't wait to show you those when we get them back! They turned out soo great!!

And finally here is the last belly picture of me...and then a picture of me and Lucy together!

There still hasn't been much cooking going on here because we have been living off all the wonderful food our friends and family have made for us recently. Which proves that sometimes the best meal is the one you don't have to make yourself!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Oh my sweet baby girl is FINALLY here! I meant to update my blog earlier about her arrival, but mostly I have been just soaking her in for the past few weeks! Oh...and trying to sleep when I can! I'm not sure anything can prepare you for just how exhausting and how incredibly rewarding having a baby is.

She came into our lives Tuesday morning, December 7th with a full set of lungs and personality to boot! It is so fun getting to know who this little person is. So far we have been lucky with a pretty good baby, but when she is ready to eat....she is READY to eat! Other than that she is pretty content, which makes mama and daddy pretty happy!

Here are a few pictures of our sweet little girl:

Born December 7th, 2010 at 7:42am
6lbs 1 oz 18 1/2 inches long

My sweet little Lucy!

My cousin Heidi who had her little boy John just a few hours before Lucy was born! How fun to have her right down the hall!!

We are home!
Lots more posts to come...but as I was so delayed in posting this I wanted to get something up!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

37 weeks and counting....

So we have a date! December 7th we will be meeting our sweet little girl! I can't believe how close we are! My dr. appointment yesterday confirmed what I had been thinking...we probably won't make it until the 10th like Pat and I had been hoping for. That's only because Pat would then have been able to take off the rest of the month....but we'll make it work!

My dr. told us her head was fully engaged and I was about a fingertip dilated. She will probably be a small baby too....somewhere right around the 6 pound mark I am guessing. Good thing I have some super cute newborn clothes for her to wear!

I am so looking forward to my maternity leave and meeting sweet Lucy! As Pat and I were going to bed last night I looked at him and said, "Oh my week at this time we will have a baby!" I am exciting and nervous all at once.

This weekend we plan on just taking it easy and enjoying time together. Her room is ready to go and the bags are (mostly) packed. We will try to spend a lot of time with Roxy too. Not sure how she will handle her new little "sister" but I think in time she will LOVE her!

And once pictures! I am so sorry! But I promise I will get better at that, especially once Lil' Miss gets here!

So....the next time I post I will probably be introducing our sweet little girl! Can't wait!!!

Stay tuned......

Shutterfly Holiday Cards!

So it's that time of year again so get those Christmas cards ready to be sent out! This year I am extra excited about our Christmas cards as they will also serve as an announcement of our new baby she isn't here yet, but will be very, very soon!!

I recently learned that Shutterfly is giving bloggers 50 free holiday cards to those who post about here I am!

If you haven't checked Shutterfly out before, you really should! They have fantastic products that are very user friendly and reasonably priced. I have a wedding album from them and soon will be putting together a baby album I am sure!
Anyways their holiday card selection this year is fantastic....below are a few of my favorites:

Check our your favorites at Shutterfly
And...if you are a blogger...get in on this deal fast! Head here for the info!

Friday, November 12, 2010

35 Weeks....

Wow...I can't believe I am 35 weeks pregnant today! Time just seems to by flying by which is a bit alarming since we still have so much left to do before our sweet little girl gets here!! It seems like just yesterday Pat and I were talking about starting a family and then wham, I was pregnant!

And then came the pregnancy roller coaster for the next, oh, 8 months! First they thought I was having an ectopic pregnancy, then that got cleared up. Then there were a few more scares here and there throughout the pregnancy including a fun trip to Labor and Delivery at 25 weeks! But thankfully everything has always turned out perfectly!

And now, our little bean is about 5 pounds and just about fully cooked!

I have been pretty tired again most evenings and so I come home and nap or lie on the couch for awhile. I am waiting for our final shower this weekend before I really start organizing the baby room....and because it seems like such a daunting task. I am not a very organized person to begin with....then add it all these teeny, tiny baby clothes and I am lost.

I actually spent my lunch break googling how to fold and organize baby clothes.

The last few weeks have been a mix of utter excitement and bittersweet moments. I keep looking at my wonderful husband knowing that very soon it will no longer be just the two of us. At night while we watch TV I think to myself how different everything will be in a matter of a few mere weeks. It almost makes me want to tear up a bit. Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled that Little Miss will be here and I know we will love her more than anything....but it's just knowing that this stage of our lives is coming to an end very, very soon.

We have another Dr. appointment set for November 22nd where we will hopefully schedule my c-section. That was a very difficult decision to make, but due to my previous surgeries, Pat and I felt that was the safest route to go for delivery. I'm not thrilled about having another surgery, but as Pat puts it, that is just temporary and my health that we are preserving is long term. So...c-section it is. I can't wait for our next appointment as I am anxious to know if I am making any progress towards going into labor and also to know when we will meet our little girl!!

She did give Pat quite a show the other night wiggling and moving away in my tummy! Pat kept calling her a Wiggle Worm and his eyes kept bugging out of his head at how much she was moving. I know I will miss feeling her movements inside me all day long once she is here. She is my constant buddy, always hanging out with me and encouraging me to eat lots of chocolate and ice cream!

Anyways, as you may have guessed, my cooking habits have slowed down considerably. I don't even have a picture to include in this blog as I left my flash drive at home, but soon I will update with a beautiful picture my mom took this past week of my baby belly and me!

So, while there may not be many recipes in the next few weeks/months, there will be plenty of baby updates...if that is the sort of thing you are into! :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Baby Showers!!

Yes...the time has finally come for baby showers! My mom threw a wonderful family shower a few weekends ago and then last night my Girl's Night girls put on a beautiful shower too!!! I have some pictures from my mom's shower that I will share, but unfortunately didn't take 1 single picture from last nights I will have to get some from my friends and then share with you!

For the shower on my mom's side, we had a bakery in town make the cute are these?!?!

Also it was great because my cousin Heidi was there and she is due 2 days before me! Can you believe it? She is having her third child and this one is a little guy....I am sure he will be a cutie like his brother and sister!!

Here is a picture of my wonderful mamma and me!!

The whole gang!

All of the wonderful gifts for our wonderful little girl!!

I just can't believe all the wonderful things we are getting for the baby girl!!! And, I can't believe how close she is to getting here. I wobble between total excitement, and total fear! But I think I lean more towards the excited side!

Pat and I are continuing to clean out our old work-out room and transform it into the perfect room for our little sweet pea! It has been a S-L-O-W work in progress....but we are getting there! Pat has been a huge help with organizing and moving stuff too. Hopefully this "nesting" thing all the baby books talk about kicks in soon....until then I would much rather take a nap! Haha!

For both showers I made a delicious Jalapeno Popper dip....and for both showers I failed to take a picture of it! So sorry! But I is REALLY, REALLY good. And, super simple to toss together!

Here is the recipe:

Jalapeno Popper Dip

2- 8oz packages softened cream cheese
1 cup mayo
1-4oz can chopped green chiles, drained
1-4oz can diced jalapeno peppers, drained
1/2 cup shredded Mexican style cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cooking Spray

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, mayo, green chiles, jalapenos, and shredded cheeses. Mix thoroughly with a spoon or spatula until smooth and evenly combined. Spread the mixture into a baking dish (approx 9x9 inches).
3. Sprinkle both the Panko breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese on top of mixture.
4. Spray lightly with cooking spray.
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the mixture is hot and topping is golden. Serve warm with baguette slices.

Last Bite: Well....this dip was super easy and super yummy! It has enough of a bite to really taste great, but not too much to feel like your mouth is on fire! showers with friends and family are just the best! One more baby shower to go...can't wait!!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ham and Cheese Sliders

Ahh...October! My favorite month of the year! I love how fall comes in during this month. Some days are chilly....others are quite warm like it is today! Fall also means Football season which I LOVE! I am a huge Colts fan...and for my husband...also a U of M fan. I so look forward to Saturday and Sunday afternoon, where all I have to do is cheer my team on...and eat!

These sliders are perfect for this time of year! They are quick to put together and very tasty. As I was making these this past weekend I was smiling to myself thinking about our little baby growing away in my belly. The recipe calls for you to sprinkle poppy seeds on the tops of the sliders and I was amazed to realize that at one point our baby was only the size of a poppy seed. Now she is just about 3 pounds and full of kicks and jabs all day long! I am more amazed that we will meet her in just 2 short months! Wow!

Anyways...back to the sliders! I hope you enjoy them!
Ham and Cheese Sliders
adapted from Annie's Eats

For sliders:
1 pack of Hawaiian Snack Rolls (there are 4 to a pack)
4 slices of ham
4 slices of provolone cheese

For sauce:
3 Tbs melted butter
1/2 Tbs yellow mustard
1/2 tsp dried onion
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Poppy seeds for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. To assemble sliders, put mayo on each side of slider roll. Place 1 piece of ham and 1 piece of cheese on one side and put the slider together. Place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
3. To make the sauce combine all ingredients except the poppy seeds into a small bowl and whisk to combine. Drizzle over the sliders. Sprinkle with poppy seeds.
4. Cover with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 2 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Serve warm.

Last Bite: Super easy and super fast. Feel free to experiment with these as well...I am sure there are some great flavor combos out there! Enjoy!

Monday, September 20, 2010

One Year Anniversary

Disclaimer: There is no recipe and no food photos in this post....just the wandering thoughts of a happy, pregnant lady!

I can't believe that Pat and I have been married for a whole year already! The time really seemed to fly by! We celebrated our one year anniversary over the weekend by going to Captains Cabin for dinner on Saturday night. I got the lobster tail, which I NEVER get but I figured, hey, since I can't celebrate with any wine, I might as well have an awesome meal! And trust me, it was! Pat dined on the prime rib and we both left in a food coma. On Sunday, our actual anniversary, we headed to Fort Wayne to register for Little Baby Knox.

Let me just tell you, Babies R Us does an incredible job of making an overwhelming task seem very manageable. They are very good at what they do and we were really happy that we chose to register there. But 2 hours later we were tired and hungry so we headed to Granite City for brunch. And again, stuffed ourselves silly. Their caramel cinnamon rolls....amazing!

On our way home from Fort Wayne I was thinking in the car about just how much can happen in a year. Here we are, one year later and expecting a wonderful baby girl in three months! Wow. I was also thinking that if someone would have told Pat and I on our wedding day that we would have a different dog a year later, neither of us would have believed it. And yet, our sweet Hershey is no longer with us, but we have a lovable and very funny Roxy now, who we love dearly.

I just feel very blessed that Pat and I found each other. He makes me laugh every day and has taught me so much in the time we have known one another. Sure, we have our differences like any couple, but he truly is the right person for me and I am happy to be his wife.

Late last week Pat sent me an email telling me to listen to a song he had found that would be his new theme song. It was Rodney Atkins 'Cleaning This Gun'. If you haven't heard it, hit it up on YouTube. It's about a dad meeting his daughters date for the night, while cleaning his gun. Pretty cute song. And it just makes me smile because I know he will be the best dad in the world! I wasn't sure how he would do at first after learning we were having a girl, but he has fully embraced the role of her protector, and she isn't even here yet. I so look forward to our future together and as a family.

I look back at pictures taken on our wedding day and smile every time. I think to myself how lucky I am that I was so happy on my wedding day...and still so happy today! Sure, I may be laughing like an idiot in every single picture, but that is what makes me love them even more. I wasn't concerned with looking perfect in every shot because I knew deep down we were getting the perfect shot. Our photographer captured our joy on our wedding day and I feel it every time I look at our pictures.

I have a great husband and feel so happy to have celebrated an entire year together as husband and wife. I look forward to many, many more years together. I love him very much!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Let me just tell you....pregnancy + MBA homework + working + puppy = one tired girl! But things really are going well here! Getting ready to start my 24th week and take a quick trip out of town with Pat. We have been told by just about anyone who has ever had a kid to take a trip now while we can...because once our little girl arrives this will never be the same. So, we come!

I am sorry I don't have a recent belly pic to share either (they are on Pat's camera which I don't have with me at the moment) but rest's getting bigger! We did put the crib together this past week and here is a picture! It's crazy how our home is already getting ready for the baby. She is now kicking and punching up a storm too which I love! What an amazing feeling!

Things with our little puppy Roxy are going great too...although she is more like a toddler now than anything. She has endless energy and must sniff and put everything into her mouth! But she is such a joy and makes us laugh each and every day.

Here is one of her latest antics....she likes to climb into the shower! I snapped this picture real quick before she hopped in with Pat. Yes, she is a true water dog!

And she also insists on sitting on our lap during car rides. Here she is snoozing away. I hate to break it to her....but her time on our lap is getting short as she keeps growing.

And finally....a supper yummy summer meal to share! This came together in a snap and if you like salmon and like strawberries...I promise you will love it! I just tossed some potatoes in the oven too and made baked potatoes to go along with this easy is that???

Salmon with Strawberry Salsa
Adapted from Annie's Eats

2 cups fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled and diced
1 cup fresh tomatoes from the garden (or store), chopped
2 scallions, white and green portions, sliced thin
1 tsp fresh flat leaf parsley, minced
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Drizzle of olive oil
Drizzle of honey
Salt and pepper to taste
4 salmon fillets
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and Pepper to taste


1. To make the salsa, combine the strawberries, tomatoes, scallions, parsley, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, honey and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Mix well to blend, then cover and refrigerate while you prepare the salmon.
2. Preheat the broiler.
3. Line a baking sheet with foil and place the salmon fillets on the foil.
4. Squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice over each fillet and season with salt and pepper.
5. Broil about 6-8 inches away from the heat source and cook fro about 10-12 minutes or until done.
6. Transfer salmon to serving plates and top with strawberry salsa. Serve warm.

Last Bite: Even though there is a ton going on right now (probably in your life too) I promise this really doesn't take long to whip up, and it's perfect on a warm summer night! Enjoy!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Major Yum!

So this past weekend I made Muffins That Taste Like Donuts! They. Were. Awesome! :) Plus I have been craving a donut for about two solid weeks so I thought this was the slightly (but not by much I'm sure) healthier version. At any rate, Baby Girl Knox and I both loved them so much we ate roughly 4500. Ok, slight exaggeration, but still...Pat really only got about 2. You snooze, you lose man!

At any rate, they were super easy to throw together and make for a great breakfast. Or snack. Or dinner. You get my point!

Muffins that Taste Like Donuts
from Tasty Kitchen


1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup oil
3/4 cups white sugar
1 whole egg
3/4 cups milk

For Topping
1/4 cups butter
1/3 cups white sugar
1 Tbs cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in a medium bowl
3. Combine oil, sugar, egg and milk in a large bowl. Add dry ingredients and stir only to combine.
4. Spray muffin tin with vegetable spray and fill 1/2 way full with batter. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, melt butter in a bowl. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in another bowl.
6. Once muffins are baked, shake onto counter while still hot. Dip muffins in butter, then into sugar/cinnamon mix. Let cool

Last Bite: Seriously, these were really good. You could taste the nutmeg in the muffin and then the sweet crunchy topping of sugar and good! And hey, if you don't like them (because something is wrong with you, not the muffins) then bring them to me...the baby and I could use a few hundred more!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Super Summer Meal

Looks like I have been on quite a Giada kick lately...and it doesn't look like it's gong to stop anytime soon! Today's recipe is also from her collection. I just always love everything she comes up with. So last night for dinner Pat and I had her Spicy Chicken Tenders with Honey-Mustard Sauce, sweet corn on the cob and a lovely summer salad. It was a cinch to throw together and the perfect summer meal.

I was a bit worried that the spicy tenders would be too spicy so I cut back pretty drastically on the cayenne and hot sauce. Do NOT make the same mistake. While they were still really good...they had no spice at all. I will follow the recipe exactly the next time I make these.

Also...I am including a picture of the cute baby girl! We had our 18 week ultrasound yesterday and she looks great! She is measuring right on track and weighing in at a whopping 9 ounces. We got a 3D ultrasound and it is amazing how well you can see your baby! I just love looking at that little face and can't wait to meet her and love on her in December!

Ok...recipe time!

Spicy Chicken Tenders with Honey-Mustard Sauce
Giada De Laurentiis

Vegetable cooking spray

1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup whole grain mustard

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbs salt, plus extra for seasoning
3 large eggs at room temp
3 Tbs hot sauce
1 cup cornmeal
2 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders
Olive oil for drizzling


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a heavy baking sheet liberally with cooking spray. Set aside
2. Honey-Mustard: In a small serving bowl, mix together honey and mustard until smooth. Set aside
3. Breading: IN a medium bowl, mix together flower and salt. In a second medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and hot sauce. In a third medium bowl, mix together cornmeal, chili powder and cayenne pepper.
4. Dredge the chicken in the flour and then into the egg mixture. Allow any excess egg mixture to drip off and coat the chicken in the cornmeal mixture.
5. Arrange the breaded chicken in a single layer on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until golden and cooked through, about 15 to 17 minutes.

Last Bite: I will ALWAYS make my own honey-mustard sauce from now on. It was so easy and tasted WONDERFUL!!! Also...I will kick up the spice next time...but still a great meal!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Good News...and a recipe too!

Ok, first with the good news....Pat and I are expecting a BABY GIRL due this December 17th!! We are so excited!! This might possibly explain my lack of blogging recently. Hopefully though, now that I am in my second trimester, I will be getting that burst of energy everyone keeps talking about!

Anyways I thought I would post a few baby bump pictures, including a few taken at the Zac Brown Band concert last night. It was a great time, even though it was 95 degrees about HOT!!!

Ok...on to the recipe. This is a great little sandwich that is easy to put together and great for a quick summer dinner. I did have to adapt the recipe a bit since it called for Brie cheese. Turns out when you are preggo, there is a huge list of foods not to eat, and Brie cheese is one of them. I substituted with Provolone. But, if you are not currently pregnant...I would think the Brie would be delightful!

Parisian Steak and Cheese Croissant Sandwich
adapted by Giada De Laurentiis


4 (4-ounce) beef fillet steaks
Salt and Pepper
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
4 croissants
4 slices of Provolone cheese (or 6 ounces Brie, cut into 1/2 inch slices)
2 cups fresh baby spinach
1 cup (about 4 ounces) farred roasted red bell peppers
Stone ground mustard


1. Season the steaks with salt and pepper. In a medium skillt, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Cook the steaks for about 5 minutes each side for medium-rare. Set aside for 5 minutes before slicing. Slices the steak, across the grain, into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick slices.
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Using a serrated knife, slice the croissants in half, lengthwise. In 2 batches, place the croissant halves, cut side down in the skillet and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until lightly toasted. Lay the cheese slices over the toasted croissant halves.
3. Remove the croissants from the skillet. Place about 1/4 cup of spinach on the bottom halves of the croissants. Add the sliced steak. Arrange the red bell pepper on top of the steak. Top with the remaining spinach. Slather on stone ground mustard to the other half of the croissant and then add it to the top of the sandwich. Serve immediatly.

Last Bite: This is a great sandwich that is full of flavor. Feel free to replace the mustard with a different condiment...I just happen to really like the punch of flavor it adds!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Afternoon Delight

It's hot out! And sticky...and muggy. But I sort of love it! I dream of summer all winter long so I make myself appreciate all of it....even the really, really, REALLY hot days!

This summer, while in search of something filling yet refreshing to snack on, I came across this awesome dish. White bean dip with pita chips....super yum! It comes together in a flash and gives you plenty of time to chat with friends, drink a glass of wine, or catch up on the lastest episode of "The Bachelorette".

But, before I share the recipe with you...I want to share with you the newest addition to our family! Meet Roxy!! She is our new silver lab puppy and we just love her to pieces. The eery thing is that she reminds us an awful lot of our sweet Hershey. We just know she is still looking after us!

Roxy loves to play and loves to nap and is just about the cutest puppy ever! She has brought so much laughter and light back into our lives!

Alright....on to the recipe....that I promise you will love!!

White Bean Dip with Pita Chips
from Giada De Laurentiis

1 15 ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil, plus 4 tablespoons
1/4 cup, loosely packed, fresh flat parsley leaves
Salt and Pepper
6 pitas
1 teaspoon dried oregano

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Place beans, garlic, lemon juice, 1/3 cup olive oil, and parsley into a food processor. Pulse until mixture is coarsely chopped. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Transfer puree to a small serving bowl.
4. Cut each pita into 8 wedges. Arrange wedges on a large baking sheet and pour remaining oil over them. Toss and spread out evenly. Sprinkle with oregano, salt and pepper.
5. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, or until toasted and golden.

Last Bite: The lemon and fresh parsley really make this dip come alive. Take it to a party or just make it as a side for dinner one night. Either way, you won't be disappointed!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Who doesn't want cake that has been frosted AND dipped in chocolate???

Sorry for the real lack of blogging lately. We lost Hersh and then I was finishing up my last class before break for school and there was so much going on that I simply failed to blog. And quite honestly, I failed to even cook for awhile. But, I have 6 weeks off of school which I am very excited about and I'm ready to get back at it!

Last week was our monthly Girls Night held at our friend Julie's house. The very first time I met Julie she was telling me about these Cake Balls she had tried to make once. They sounded so good so I decided to do some investigating and came up with the recipe. Although, there really isn't much to the recipe. I would say it's more method than anything. But I am sure that they are delicious to make and oh so easy. And as one of the girls put it last week, "Who doesn't want cake that has been frosted AND dipped in chocolate???"

They are also fun becuase you can experiment with them. The first time I made them it was chocolate all around, chocolate cake, chocolate frosting and chocolate, well, chocolate. This time however, I made a red velvet cake, used cream cheese frosting and dipped them in chocolate. So be creative and let your taste buds guide you!

Cake Balls
from Bakerella


1 box of your favorite cake mix (plus ingredients the mix calls for)
1 can of frosting
2 boxes of bakers chocolate squares


1. Bake cake according to package instructions and let cool completely. (Most times I am too impatient and only let it cool to the point where it doesn't burn my fingers)
2. Crumble cooled (or slightly warm) cake into a big bowl.
3. Add a can a frosting to the cake and work through with your hands (this is messy!!)
4. Once combined, roll the cake into tiny balls and place on a baking sheet. To prevent the cake from sticking to you, keep a small bowl of water handy and wet your hands slightly before rolling the cake.
5. Let the balls chill in the refridgerator for 4-5 hours or in the freezer for 1-2 hours.
6. Melt chocolate squares in a microwave proof bowl, watching to make sure you don't burn your cholcolate.
7. Dip the chilled balls in the melted chocolate using spoons and then remove once coated and place on wax paper to cool.
8. Let sit overnight or until hardened.
9. Die from happiness once you eat them!

Last Bite: These will be a hit no matter where you go. Make sure you save enough for yourself too! Also, I heard that you can freeze these and bring out just a few at a time...if you have that kind of willpower!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


It’s funny how the things you tend to complain about, are the very same things you cannot bear to let go once you lose something you love so much.

Our sweet dog Hershey had to be put to sleep last weekend and Pat and I are still reeling. She was our best girl, our constant companion and our truest friend. And now, sadly she is gone. We know she is happy and healthy running in Heaven, but we on Earth still miss her very much.

While she was alive, we were in a constant battle of trying to eliminate the dog hair and dog smell from our home and now we find comfort in both. When we come home after work, we breathe in deeply the leftover smell of our Hershey. And there, on my bathroom floor, pieces of her hair that shed everywhere, that I simply can’t bear to clean up yet. Those small pieces we now cling to tightly as if it will somehow bring her back to us.

Hershey had one of the funniest personalities I have ever known in a dog. She was smart and witty. Clever and silly. And while she may not have been the best trained dog as she jumped on anyone who entered our home, she was just so joyous and eager to greet her new guests.

She had a fascination with socks and would literally try to steal them off your feet while you were putting them on. Most times while I would sit on the couch, folding my giant piles of laundry, she would stealthy try to sneak up and delicately snatch a set of folded socks. She would move so quietly and gracefully so as not to alert anyone that there was one less set of socks in my folded pile. Of course I usually did catch her doing such acts, but was often times too amused to do anything about it but laugh as she curled up around her new loot and wagged her tail at me with pride. What a stinker she was.

She also never wanted to be thought of as one of the “girls”. She wanted everyone to know she could hang with the boys, one hundred percent. She helped Pat work in the garage on many projects. She chased the four-wheeler all over Pat’s parent’s property. She loved to help Pat shovel the driveway and sidewalks in the winter and then would egg Pat on until he finally appeased her with a snowball fight. She would growl and bark and chomp at the snow in delight.

As most dogs do, Hershey loved to go for walks. It was asking her if she wanted to go for a walk that was our favorite. We would try to nonchalantly get ready for a walk without saying a word to her but she would be on to us, knowing something was getting ready to happen. Then as causal as possible, one of us would ask her, “Hershey, do you want to go for a walk?” And she would freeze whatever she was doing and whip her head around to look at you and just stare in complete silence as if to say, “You better not be joking about this”. So we would ask her again, “Hersh, wanna go for a walk?” and then she would let loose. She jumped and snorted and twisted her body around in these jumping circles in order to prove her real desire to truly go for a walk.

Death proves to you that life continues to go on. We still get up each morning and shower and go to work. We come home to our very empty house and eat dinner and work on various projects. We shake our heads in amazement that everything can be exactly the same, and yet so entirely and utterly different.

We miss our sweet Hershey and her playfulness, her curiosity, and her heart that was so full of love for us.

We opted to get Hershey cremated as we are not sure we will always be in our current home. What a bizarre thing to look for the perfect urn for your loved one. Even more bizarre since we had never even discussed anything like this before. We just thought we had another five to six years with her. We finally chose, for the time being, a simple wooden box that will contain her remains. We wanted her name engraved on the top. No birth date and certainly no death date. Because to us, Hershey is always alive. She is alive in spirit and she is alive in our hearts. She fills our memories so vibrantly that I can still hear the shake of her ears, her groan as she lay down and her snore as she slept.

Our sweet Hershey will never be forgotten, and will continue to live in our hearts forever. We will love her always.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Yummy Appetizer

Sooo....lots has happened since we last chatted. First of all, out house did NOT sell. Yea...that was pretty surprising news to us. But, we are hopeful that there are reasons it didn't sell right now and if it is supposed to, it will in a timely fashion. That or I will just lose my mind over all the house stuff! So for now we are back to square one....back to house showings and lugging the dog to my dads 2-3 times a week so she doesn't accost our potential house buyers with her fierce butt-wiggle and slobbery kisses. Those are also the reasons we love her so much too!

On Wednesday night we had Girls Night again and threw a surprise shower for our friend Greta who is getting married at the end of June! She was very surprised and everyone had a great night helping her celebrate her upcoming wedding!!

For my appetizer I brought Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos. I learned about this recipe from the Pioneer Women and have since added a few of my own touches. Some out of creativity and some out of necessity. Feel free to adapt as your own needs see fit too!

Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos
adapted from Pioneer Woman


15 medium to small jalapenos, ends cut off, sliced in half and seeds removed
10 serrano peppers, ends cute off, sliced in half and seeds removed (be warned...these suckers are HOT)
2 packages of room temperature cream cheese
1 pound of sliced bacon
Fresh cracked pepper


1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
2. Take sliced jalapeno and serrano peppers and scoop softened cream cheese into them
3. Slice your bacon into thirds and then wrap a section of bacon around the peppers. Secure with a toothpick.
4. Sprinkle fresh cracked pepper over the wrapped peppers
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until bacon is browned.
6. Secretly shove 3-4 in your mouth once finished before anyone catches you!

Getting ready to go in the oven

Yummy finished product!

Last Bite: If you can handle the heat, the serrano peppers offer a nice punch. And depending on how lazy you are scooping out the seeds, the jalapenos can offer some nice heat too! These are super easy to make and super wonderful!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Veggie Parmesan

“Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

This famous quote from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off keeps running through my head on a regular basis. Let me just give you a slight sneak peek into the last few weeks of my life. Two weeks ago we put our house on the market, just to see what would happen, and ended up selling it a week later. As in ONE WEEK LATER!!! Fortunately our buyers still have a house to sell of their own, and are nice, and are letting us stay there for up to six months so we don’t have to move twice.

At any rate, our once leisurely perusing of homes online as turned into a full on mission complete with a strategic plan, realtor and both wanted and unwanted opinions of friends and family.

The funny thing is I had really only very recently even opened up to the notion of selling our home. Our home that I finally (let me both repeat and stress, finally) got looking just the way I wanted! While my cute husband did have pretty great taste before I moved in….there was still lots of areas for improvement. And just within in the last 2-3 months I finally felt like dusting my hands off and proclaiming, “My work here is done”. Ahhh….God has a funny sense of humor huh? So now, we are full speed ahead, searching for the perfect house. Or pretty decent house. Or just, a house. You know, so we don’t have to be homeless.

So, on top of all that, I had a bachelorette party two weekends ago. Last week I had a mid-term due for my wonderful and super fun statistics class (yes, the sarcasm is pretty thick here) and then was in a wedding last weekend. Add that to working full time and house hunting and well….you get a whole lot of crazy and a whole lack of blogging.

At any rate, just for you, I dug around my photo archives and found a meal that I made fairly recently to share with you. And it’s super yummy! Vegetable Parmesan. But honestly, if it were up to me, I’d call it Vegetable Lasagna. No, there aren’t any noodles, but the layering affect of the veggies seems eerily similar to that of lasagna. And now I am rambling.

I did change this up a bit and I separated the fennel to just one side of the dish. I wasn’t sure how we were going to like the fennel and I knew we would like the squash, which I substituted for fennel on the other side of the dish. And after tasting the finished product we were split. I loved the fennel and Pat pretty much cared less for it. So I am happy I divided the dish so we could both have the parts that we liked.

So, would you like the recipe? Here you go, courtesy of the lovely Giada De Laurentiis, who I would really like to be for a day because she just seems that wonderful to me!

Vegetable Parmesan
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis


Olive oil, for drizzling
Non-stick spray
Salt and pepper
1 medium eggplant, cut into ¼ to ½ inch thick slices
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced into ¼ inch thick pieces
2 small yellow squash, sliced into ½ inch thick slices
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thirds
1 orange bell pepper, sliced into thirds
1 (26 ounce) jar marinara sauce
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
I cup plain bread crumbs


1. Heat a grill pan over medium high heat. Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray some non-stick spray in a 13 by 9 inch baking dish.

2. Drizzle the eggplant slices, fennel slices, squash slices and peppers with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Grill veggies for 3 to 4 minutes each side until softened.

3. Spoon ¾ cup of marinara sauce over the bottom of the baking dish. Arrange the eggplant slices on top. Sprinkle with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese. Arrange peppers in single layer on top. Spoon ¾ cup marinara sauce over peppers. Sprinkle with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese. On half of the pan arrange the fennel and the other half arrange the yellow squash. Cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Scatter bread crumbs over the cheese and drizzle liberally with oil. Bake until the top is golden and forms a crust, about 30 to 35 minutes.

4. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Last Bite: Very good veggie dish. Hearty and filling with rich flavors. I will be making this again for sure. Hopefully in a new kitchen…and hopefully soon!

Friday, April 16, 2010

I am leaving to go out of town this weekend for my friend Heidi’s bachelorette party. I have been making lists of all the things I need to pack and get done before we go when suddenly I realized what a total utter and complete slacker I have been on my blog. It’s not that I’m not cooking….but I guess I have been quite a lazy blogger as of late. Hopefully in the next two weeks things will get back to normal a bit.

Anyways while I am very excited to be spending a weekend away with the girls I thought I would leave you with a quick recipe. Now, brace yourself, because while this meal does taste very good…it’s full of pretty potent aromas.

So, now that you have been appropriately warned…here we go! A few weeks back I made a delicious pan fried tilapia with mango salsa and to accompany the tasty fish, we had roasted broccoli. The meal was pretty easy to put together and the results were super yummy.
Pat really likes broccoli, and it’s not that I don’t like it, but it’s just not my favorite. This changed everything however. From now on…this is how we will be eating our broccoli at the Knox house.

Pan Fried Tilapia with Mango Salsa


¼ cup all purpose flour
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
¼ tsp garlic powder
1 egg plus 1 Tbs water
3 tbs olive oil
4-5 tilapia filets


1. Combine flour, pepper and garlic powder in a shallow dish. Whisk egg and water in a separate dish.
2. Dip tilapia in egg mixture then in flour mixture. Shake off excess flour.
3. In a medium skillet heat the oil over medium high heat.
4. Cook tilapia filets for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until nicely browned.
5. Set aside

Mango Salsa


2 Ripe mangos diced¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped2 jalapenos diced with seeds (if you are brave enough!)1 small red onion diced1-2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and let sit for 5 minutes to let the flavors meld.

Roasted Broccoli
Adapted from Ina Garten


4 pounds of broccoli
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
Good Olive Oil
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tbs fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 tbs pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1 tbs dried basil leaves


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets, discarding the rest of the stalks. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart.
3. Place the broccoli florets on a sheets pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 5 tbs olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some florets are browned.
5. Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with 1 ½ tbs olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, Parmesan and basil. Serve hot.

Last Bite: Yes, the red onion combined with the broccoli can be a bit potent, but trust me this dish is not only healthy, but super yummy!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Thirty and Flirty and Thriving

Welp, I’m thirty. As is 3-0. As in not 29 anymore. As in, I’m now in my 30’s.
But you know what….I’m really ok with it. I’m not sure why, because I kind of thought it would be a bigger deal for me. But I think everything comes back down to the simple fact, I love birthdays. And I am pretty sure I always will. You get a cake. You get a present. You get your very own special day. And I highly doubt the novelty will ever wear off.

I thought back to one of my favorite movies "13 Going on 30" quite a bit this past week and remembered Jennifer Garner's charachter as a child dreaming of being 30. I guess I think that is kind of funny, since I never dreamed of being 30. 21? Yes! Maybe even 27 or 29 (yes I have an odd love affair with odd-numbered ages). But never 30. And yet, here I am. And truth be told, I think I'm gonna love 30.

And to top it all off….I had a totally fabulous birthday this year! First up, my aunt KK from California sends me an awesome package in the mail. She has heard of my food adventures and so put together a special package. I haven’t yet used the salts yet, but I simply can’t wait to try them out!! She also included some pretty sweet cookbooks, one from the winery she works for, Peju, and another highlighting some of the best restaurants in the San Francisco area.

So after that fun gift, Pat planned a great surprise party for me the weekend before my birthday. I knew something was up but wasn’t sure what. We headed to Acapulco for dinner and there were all our friends to help celebrate my birthday! After dinner we headed back to our place for a few drinks and some cake. My friends Brittany and Brooke were nice enough to get me a cake from my favorite bakery….yes the Meijer Bakery. I LOVE Meijer cakes. In fact, Pat’s and my wedding cake came straight from Meijer. Get the whipped frosting. You won’t regret it!

My mom had a small celebration for me the next day and she cooked up some delicious steaks along with some of her yummy new vegan food. I made a birthday cake to take to her house. People don’t often understand why I make my own cake year after year, but I love to try new things and they often tend to be a little labor intensive, so I like to do it myself rather than ask someone else to do it. The cake was delightful!

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
adapted from Annie's Eats

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup egg whites (about 3-4)
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
grated zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup heavy cream
1. Preheat oven to 300F.
2. In a bowl, combine all the dry ingredients for the cake. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl combine the egg whites and the milk. Make a well in the center of the flour mix and slowly add in the egg white mixture while stirring with a whisk. Add in the lemon juice, zest, the poppy seeds and the melted butter. Mix with a whisk until smooth.
4. Lightly spray an 8 inch spring form pan with cooking spray and pour in the batter.
5. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes back clean. Let cool. Set aside.
6. Soaking syrup:In a small saucepan set over low heat dissolve 1/4 cup lemon in 1/4 cup of water with a couple of tablespoons of sugar. Let cool to room temperature and brush the cake with the syrup.
7. Raspberries:1 to 2 cups raspberriesQuickly wash the raspberries, pat them dry and line the inside of the spring form pan on the edge with the raspberries.
8. Whip Cream:Whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Spread on top of cake being careful of the raspberries. Chill for several hours.

After all that birthday fun, Pat and I planned a trip to Gatlinburg TN for a long weekend. Wow! It was super amazing! We had the best time ever! Our cabin was beautiful. The hiking was great and the weather, well…it finally cooperated with us. But we made the best of it and had a great time.

Pat and I hiking the first was a little rainy and chilly but still got to see a great waterfall!

The next day was a lot nicer...and we found this beautiful waterfall!
Pat down by a great stream!

There was a lake near our cabin which we were told we could fish in, no licence or anything.....anyone want to come over for a fish fry?!? Gross me out the door!

Standing on our balcony at the cabin with our amazing view behind us.

Last Bite: The cake was really good. But not sure anything can compare to how great the birthday was!