Friday, May 4, 2012

Saltine Cracker Toffee

Does anyone out there LOVE Pinterest as much as I do? I love finding food recipes (the nice photography helps the food look soooooo frikin' good!) and trying them out. I cant guarantee that my final result looks even similar to what the picture looks like, but at least I can say I tried. I am still working on the cooking skills, as I feel they are extremely important to have. I know the basics (maybe) and I want to venture out of my comfort zone (chicken, salmon, salad). Today I tried this Saltine Cracker Toffee recipe that I have had pinned on my food board, and OMG, it was a hit! Sooooooo super delicious. This is what your gonna need:

 40 salted saltine crackers or enough to line your pan
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups milk chocolate or semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Line saltine crackers in a single layer on the cookie sheet. 

In a small pot combine sugar and butter and bring to a boil. Once mixture is at a boil, continue boiling for 3 minutes. Mixture should be a deep caramel color. Immediately pour over saltines and spread to cover crackers completely.  Make sure you pour it slowly and cover the whole pan. You can not use a knife to spread this out because it wont spread.

Bake at 400 degrees for 5 to 6 minutes. It will get all bubbly. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the top and let sit a couple of minutes to melt. Sometimes I melt the chocolate chips in the microwave for about 1 minute then spread it on** I melted it before hand for 30sec. but it was completely unnecessary The chips melt instantly when they are sprinkled over the crackers**. Spread melted chocolate and top with chopped nuts if desired. Cool completely and break into pieces.**I let people eat this about a  couple hours after it had sat. It honestly took a whole night to have the whole thing set and taste AMAZING**

  SPOLER ALERT- This will make for AWESOME holiday gifts to give to co-workers, neighbors, teachers, etc. It gets so expensive during the holidays with everyone to think about. This recipe is not only easy but delicious. You cant go wrong!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Chicken Salad Remix

Took this recipe and mixed it up a little. It ended up being super duper tasty and made enough for a few lunches. Yum! If you haven't read her blog, you should! She makes cooking seem so effortless. I love the twists she makes on comfort food. I have made her enchiladas before and they also turned out real yummy.
What you need::
  • 3 boneless/skinless Chicken thighs
  • 2 stalks Celery, Chopped
  • 3 whole Green Onions, Chopped
  • 2 cups Grapes, Halved
  • 1/4 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Plain Yogurt Or Sour Cream (I used sour cream)
  • 1/2 cup Half-and-half (optional...depending on how thin you want the dressing to be)
  • A Small Handful Of Fresh Dill, Minced ( didnt use fresh, but the tin seasoning)
  • 1/2 cup Slivered Almonds (optional...i forgot to get this at the grocery store)
  • 1 Tablespoon (to 2 Tablespoons) Brown Sugar
  • Juice Of One Lemon
  • Kosher Salt To Taste
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper To Taste

If you are comparing my altered recipe to hers, I did not use a fryer chicken. I dont know about anyone else but chicken is super gross to carve and skin. I feel that just buying the boneless/skinless just cuts out the middle step. 
1. Get large pot and boil water
2. Dump chicken in the boiling water and boil until chicken in cooked throughout
3. Once chicken is cooked throughout, cut chicken in bite size chunks.
4. Mix together mayo, sour cream, brown sugar and lemon juice. I added a 1/4c lemon juice just because. It is up to you how much lemon taste you want in your dressing.
5. Add 1tsp of dill. Please add more if that is what you like. As you may have noticed, this recipe is made for your taste buds. 
6. ***This step is optional***  I added a little bit of the half and half. Not as much as the recipe calls for because I didnt want the dressing to be really thin but I also did not want it to be totally thick. Pour it in a little at a time, because the tiniest bit makes a difference in thickness.

 7. Throw in the celery, grapes, onions, . Like Pioneer Woman, I am not a huge celery fan. I cut my stalks length wise into 3 long sections. Then chopped from there.
 8. Coat the salad in the dressing. Mix really well so that the dressing does not just sit on the bottom.
 9. Enjoy :) Even Dan, my husband thought it was delish and that means A LOT!!!!

When I was first making it, I thought that the 3 chicken breasts would not make a whole lot. In the end, I feel we have a really good amount left over for lunches. Let me know if you tried something different and if it did.didn't work out.  I would love to know if there is something else I should try!
Thanks for dropping by!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Picture frame --> Chalkboard

Ever since I laid eyes on this blog I have ALWAYS wanted to make a chalkboard! I think it would be fun to have countdowns, notes to people, grocery lists, signs, etc. So I checked out Goodwill (more times than I would like to admit) and started my journey :)
What you will need::
Wooden frame
Wood backing
Spray paint (I used a cream color)
Chalkboard paint (I used black, but they now make them in MANY different colors)
Paint brush

I bought this frame at Goodwill but it did not come with a wood backing. The LOVELY gentleman at Home Depot measured out a thin wood board to fit the frame. They even threw away the glass and OOGLY picture (it looked like it was drawn by someone's foot) and put the board in the frame so it wouldnt fall out on the way home. Thanks Home Depot man!
 Cover your area well before painting with the spray paint. PLEASE dont copy me as I am a messy painter and dont care to take the time to cover the area thoroughly :)
 Spray away! Cover the frame completely. I did a couple coats because there were a few chips that needed to be covered.
 Paint the board with primer first. The Home Depot man said that the wood tends to soak up the chalkboard paint, especially because it is so thin. I did one coat of primer,

 Behold...the chalkboard paint! It is really cool that this stuff comes in so many different colors. I went classic black. Its because im classy :)
 You will need to do a few coats of this. Make sure you are painting evenly, as you dont want a bumpy board and you dont want streaks.
 The directions say that you need to let the board alone for 3 days. After that, get chalk and hold it vertically to the board. Wipe it across the board so it makes the chalky streaks. After the board it covered in chalk rubbing, rub the chalk in by making small circular motions with a paper towel, to rub the chalk into the board. Its the "breaking in" process.
Voila! You have a beautiful chalkboard!!! I am SUPER excited to use it :) I also got a plastic bucket of chalk for $1 at Target (YAY dollar section).
Let me know how yours turns out! Have a good week :)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Crumpets anyone?

Dan (my husband) and I went to Seattle for our honeymoon last year. I know Seattle might not be typical honeymoon location, but it was by far PERFECT for us :) If you have not been to Seattle yet...get plane tickets now! Its amazing there. Luckily, when we went last June, we hit amazing weather. The worst weather we had was maybe a few minutes of light drizzling. It was funny because we see people bust out their umbrella for the littlest rain...and us being from Arizona...well we just laughed and enjoyed the time we spent. Besides the most AMAZING scenery, we also enjoyed the most wonderful, delicious, tasty, awesome food that Seattle had to offer. One of our most FAVORITEST places to eat was this little crumpet shop where Pikes Place Market is located. This place had the most creative ways to serve crumpets. It was super delicious. I know it has been a year but I have been craving these off and on since. Today, I finally decided to give it a go :)
You can find the  recipe here::


  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (105 degrees to 115 degrees)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup warm milk (110 to 115 degrees F)
  • 4 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the milk, 1 tablespoon butter and egg; mix well. Add flour and salt; beat until smooth. 

Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes. 

Brush griddle and 3-in. metal rings or open-topped metal cookie cutters with remaining butter. Place rings on griddle; heat over low heat. Pour 3 tablespoons of batter into each ring. Cook for 7 minutes or until bubbles begin to pop and the top appears dry.

 Remove rings. Turn crumpets; cook 1-2 minutes longer or until the second side is golden brown. 

Serve warm or let cool on a wire rack and toast before serving.
**When grocery shopping at Defalco's, we saw the brand of Ricotta cheese that the Seattle crumpet shop used. We also bought the preserves that the crumpet shop used when we were in Seattle. This is what is used  in the picture below**

SOOOOOO delish! Enjoy :)

Monday, March 19, 2012

St. Patty's Day cupcakes!

So I was in charge of making dessert for our annual "Jewish" St. Patty's Day dinner. My mom says that any holiday that has corn beef in it,. is a Jewish one :) I was asked to make cake with beer in it, since it has been ALL OVER Pinterest. I looked at the recipe by Miss Make who posted a Blue Moon Cupcake recipe. This is how I did it::

3/4 c unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 c sugar
2 1/2 c flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 drops red food coloring
10 drops yellow food coloring
1/2 tsp orange zest
1 c Blue Moon beer
1/4 c milk
Frothy White Frosting [recipe follows]
small orange slices, for garnish

1. Line 24 cupcake trays with liners. [Use white liners if you can, they become translucent during baking and really sell the mini Blue Moon image]. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking power and salt.

 2. In a large bowl beat butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar a little bit at a time, beating well. Once it's all added beat for 2 more minutes.
3. Add eggs, beating after each.
4. Add vanilla, food coloring and orange zest and beat.
5. Mix beer and milk in a measuring cup. Alternatively add beer / milk mixture and flour mixture to butter mixture in the large bowl, beating after each. End on the flour mixture.

 6. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake for 18 minutes at 375 degrees F until cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

 7. Once cool, frost each cupcake with a generous amount of frosting. Just before serving, garnish each with a small orange slice.

Frothy White Frosting
2 egg whites, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp orange juice
1 c sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/3 c water

1. In a saucepan, mix sugar, water and cream of tartar. Cook on medium heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture is bubbly.
2. In a large bowl, beat egg whites, vanilla and orange juice until soft peaks form. Slowly add hot sugar mixture, beating continuously. Beat for 7 minutes until stiff peaks form.

I accidentally bought blood  oranges instead of the regular kind. Oopsie! The cupcakes do not taste like beer but have a nice citrus taste to them. You can definitely add more orange zest to it depending on how citrus-y you want them to be. These are super tasty! I also keep forgetting how cool egg whites can be :) I hope you enjoy! Let me know how yours comes out!!!
Here is the actual link to Miss Make::

<3 Shawna

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Nailed it!

It seems as though Shawna and I took turns being sick the past two weeks, and now that we are both feeling better it is time you show you what has been going on in these recent weeks.

In the recent months I have become addicted to I find myself staying up way to late endlessly scrolling through a world of creation and inspiration. One on my favorite things to look at on these boards are nail art, and I have been very inspired to recreate, duplicate and put my own twist on what I see. I have two manicures to post that were inspired by fellow "pinners."

The first was inspired by one of my new favorite blogs After I saw this Valentines mani I wanted to create something similar for myself, but am not a huge fan of pink. I went with black, gold, and purple for my colors; here is how it turned out.
I used the purple glitter as a base coat and let dry. I then used paper reinforcing stickers (those little doughnut looking stickers), and stuck two of them together so they created a "v" in the middle. I positioned the stickers on all fingers of one hand and painted the gold to the tip of the nail. After completing the other hand and letting the polish dry completely I reused the same stickers and applied them towards the top of my nail bed and painted on the black. After it was all dry I applied the top coat.

I loved the way it looked, but for some reason this lasted only a few hours before the black and gold started rubbing off. Since that isn't a cute look, I changed it up a couple of days later to something that I was really happy with.

I have admired the look of gradient nails, and loved the look more when I saw it done with glitter. After doing a little research and checking a few blogs I decided that the easiest way to create this look was with glitter polish. 
 The picture doesn't do this look justice, and it was so easy to create. After applying a base color and letting it dry I started painting on very thin layers of glitter polish starting half way up my nail. After that layer dried I added a second layer to the top third of my nails, and repeated this step of the top fourth. When it dried it created this fun gradient look.

 Hope you enjoy, and give on of these a try!


Friday, February 3, 2012

Adventures in Cooking

Monday nights is dinner night with Bailey and Mike. One week, we will cook dinner (by we, I mean Dan) and Mike and Bailey bring dessert (Bailey) and the following week we switch. Its a fun way to get together and show off our culinary skills for the week. Nothing big. This week was our week to make dessert. I came across a Baklava recipe from my FAVORITE food blogger, "The Pioneer Woman". She is truly a food genius. She makes pure comfort food and its actually recipes that are do-able. I have made her enchilada's before and they were simply fantastic if I do say so myself. If you ever get a chance to go through her blog...its AMAZING and drool worthy.

You will need:
  • 1 package Phyllo Dough
  • 4 cups Chopped Walnuts Or Pecans
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 stick Butter, Melted
  • 2 cups Honey
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 3 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
Directions (straight from the pioneer herself). The bold part is me talking
Remove phyllo dough package from freezer and place in the fridge for 24 hours to thaw. Remove from fridge 1 hour before using.
When working with the phyllo dough, only remove the sheets you immediately need, keeping the other sheets covered in plastic wrap, then a damp cloth. All I did was rip a piece of saran wrap and cover the top of the sheets with it and then put a wet paper towel on top.
Toss together the chopped walnuts and cinnamon. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly butter a rectangular baking pan. Make sure the sheets of phyllo will generally fit the pan (if they're a little bigger, that's okay.) If they're much bigger, just trim them with a sharp knife.
Butter the top sheet of phyllo with melted butter, then grab it and the unbuttered sheet below it. Set the two sheets in the pan, buttered sheet face down. Press lightly into the pan. Repeat this twice more, so that you have six sheets of phyllo in the pan, three of the sheets buttered. Butter pan, lay phyllo sheet down, butter the top of that sheet and then lay another one down. Do this a total of x4.
Sprinkle on enough walnuts to make a single layer. Butter two sheets of phyllo and place them on top of the walnuts. Add more walnuts, then two more buttered phyllo sheets. Repeat this a couple more times, or until you're out of walnuts. Top with 4 more buttered phyllo sheets, ending with a buttered top. Cut a diagonal diamond pattern in the baklava using a very sharp knife.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until the baklava is very golden brown.
While the baklava is baking, (I would not start this step until the Baklava is about half way done. Otherwise the liquid will just sit there longer than the 15min) combine 1 stick of the butter, honey, water, sugar, and vanilla in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.
When you remove the baklava from the oven, drizzle half the saucepan evenly all over the top. Allow it to sit and absorb for a minute, then drizzle on a little more until you think it's thoroughly moistened. You'll likely have some of the honey mixture leftover, which you can drink with a straw. Just kidding.
Allow the baklava to cool, uncovered, for several hours (turns out the several hours isnt a suggestion. Its what needs to happen, otherwise the baklava will be very honey tasting because the liquid hasnt set yet). Once cool and sticky and divine, carefully remove them from the pan and serve with coffee (or give as gifts!)

**I am sorry that I do not have a picture for this post. I honestly did not know how much I would screw up the process. It did turn out delish though. Its super perfect for that little something sweet you crave when you get home. Its actually a very simple recipe. If I can do doubt that you can too!

Here is her website. Enjoy!