November 20, 2012

A Bittersweet Goodbye

Hello Family, Friends, Readers, and Fellow Bloggers,

I have a pretty big announcement to make!! I have decided to stop blogging!! I have always said that I would blog until it was no longer fun and unfortunately I have reached that point.

I have been blogging since March of 2009 and have enjoyed every minute of it until recently.

Honestly, it started to take up too much of my time. I realized I wasn't scrapbooking as much as I want to, I wasn't reading as much as I want to, and I had started to get frustrated with how much time it took when making a new recipe! A lot of people don't realize how much time blogging takes and kudos to all you bloggers out there that have been doing it way longer and post all the time!!

It actually took me a couple weeks to make this decision and I kept thinking that I'd change my mind, but unfortunately the thought of giving up my blogging makes me feel more relief than anything else! I get to start cooking and baking new recipes just for fun! I can trade in the time I'd be editing photos and writing posts for reading and scrapbooking!

I want to thank everyone for all their support and interest in my little ol' blog! It really has been a fun experience and even though I won't be writing any longer I will still be an avid reader of blogs!! If I follow you don't you worry I'm not dropping off from the blogger world completely!! I will still be checking in often and reading all my favorites!!

I feel the need to recommend a couple recipes and one book to you before I sign off -

The Violets of March by Sarah Jio - Go out and get this book immediatly! It's one of the best books I've read in such a long time! It's an amazing story that keeps you guessing and keeps you completely involved from the beginning!! I highly recommend this book and give it an A++++!!

And here's a couple recipes that I've tried recently that are a must make :)

Breakfast Sandwiches - making the eggs in the oven was genius!

Pumpkin Mac N' Cheese - this recipe was pretty involved but so delish! It was a little rich so you won't each much and I highly recommend a salad on the side, but if you love Pumpkin (as you all know I do) then you must try this recipe!! Did I mention you include bacon?

Well folks I have enjoyed sharing wonderful books and delicious recipes with you all but it's time to wrap this post up!! I've been putting off writing it for a few days cause once it's done it's done!

I hope you all have an amazing Thanksgiving, where you eat lots of yummy food and spend time with family!!

Enjoy the Christmas season, you all know we definitely will!!

And a Happy New Year to You Too!! 2013 is going to be a year of relaxation and free time for the Chuckles and I!! I hope it's an amazing year for everyone!!


November 7, 2012

Insurgent - Book 2

I just finished up Insurgent by Veronica Roth. This is the follow up book to Divergent which I loved!! 

This book picks up right where Divergent left off, but it's action from the start! In Divergent it seems to start out relatively slow and then all the action happens the last half of the book. Insurgent is action-packed from start to finish!!
The book follows Tris (and all the usual characters) as she tries to figure out why the Erudite have chosen to attack the factions. It's such an interesting storyline and the whole time they speak of this sacred information that only a select few are aware of. Obviously that makes it almost impossible to put this book down because curiosity kicks in and you must know what the secret is. 
I was into this book from the start, it had my full attention the whole time! Some moments might drag a little but not much and if you forge ahead a few pages you are dropped into more action. 
I don't want to say too much more about the storyline because I'm hoping some of you will pick up Divergent and Insurgent to read. They really are quite interesting and very easy reads! 
Overall grade - A+! 

November 2, 2012

Pumpkin French Toast

Despite the temperatures still being in the high 70s, low 80s outside we have been acting like it's fall inside!! I just cannot seem to get enough Pumpkin flavored food!!

I absolutely love getting into the kitchen on weekend mornings and cooking up a flavorful breakfast! All week long it's overnight oats or Cheerios so when I have the time to whip up something else I am excited!! Most recently I whipped up some Pumpkin French Toast!

This recipe is super easy and you probably will have everything you need on hand!

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 10 slices light wheat bread
For obvious reasons I cut the recipe down. I knew I'd be the only one eating as Chuck's not a huge breakfast person. 

Combine your egg(s), pumpkin, milk, and pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl (or whatever you normally use when making french toast.)

After mixing up your "batter" get to dipping those bread slices...

Toss onto a warmed up pan. I sprayed it with a little olive oil spray before putting the slice of french toast on there.

Cook thoroughly!

And devour!

I really enjoyed this recipe. I sprinkled mine with pumpkin pie spice and dipped into syrup! It is another perfect fall breakfast...especially paired with a hot cup of coffee!! Make sure to check out the Pumpkin Pancakes if you are a fan of these!!

Of course the recipe was found on Pinterest! You may view the original recipe here!


October 31, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Croissants!

I think it's safe to say now that unless I tell you otherwise all new recipes come from the magical Pinterest! I am thoroughly hooked, which is why I held out so long before joining. I'm not even joking, both my Mom and Sister were on it long before me and I just fought it and fought it...for this reason exactly...I have become consumed with the recipes and craft projects!'s amazing and I love it!

My colleague and I at work are in charge of a wonderful Halloween Dessert Potluck and we thought a great way to get people to sign up was to lure them in with baked goods! Of course I volunteered, in fact remember I made Cinnamon Cupcakes with Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting...well this time I made Pumpkin Pie Croissants!

  • 2 tubes of crescent rolls
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice +1 tbsp separate
  • 3 tbsp sugar + 4 tbsp separate

And believe it or not but I actually did not cut this recipe in half so if you think you'll need more than go ahead and double up. I found that I had a lot of leftover filling so you might just want to grab an extra can of crescent rolls.

The first thing you want to do is combine the cream cheese (softened), pumpkin, 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice, and 3 tbsp sugar.

Mix it all together really well. Make sure your cream cheese is softened, mine didn't get as smooth as I would like, but I'm also super impatient and didn't want to wait any longer!

In a small bowl combine the remaining sugar and pumpkin spice. You will use this to "roll" the crescent rolls in. I was a little skeptical about this step but trust me if you have the same concerns I did, being that the filling would come plopping out when I rolled it, it won't happen!!

 Next up lay out your crescent rolls. Cut each roll into two rolls. Plop some of your filling on there and then roll up just like you would normally.

Next up, roll that in your above mixture. I just did two quick rolls, enough to thoroughly cover the roll....seriously what other word could I use beside roll!!!

Then get to placing those little rolls onto a baking sheet. I always put down aluminum foil and lightly spray with an olive oil baking spray.

Already looking delish and they aren't even baked yet!!

Once you have made and rolled all your crescent rolls pop those babies in the oven at 375 for 15 - 18 minutes. These actually don't have as strong of baking scent that I thought they would, but they will make your home smell slightly like pumpkin pie! I was definitely hovering around the oven dying to try one!

Baked to perfection!!

I'd recommend letting them cool down before popping one in your mouth because the filling gets hot hot hot!! These are delish! They literally taste like a bite sized pumpkin pie!! I was in love!! It took everything I had to not eat all of them...but I knew they needed to go to work the next day!!

I quickly transferred them to two little bowls we had and covered with wrap! They survived the day and were enjoyed by everyone at work! When I went into a meeting at 10 there were at least 6 in the bowl, at 11:30 all but one was gone!! 

If you'd like to check out the original recipe for these delish Pumpkin Pie Croissants you may do so here.


October 30, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Waffles

Run to your local grocery store!! Run as fast as you can, get yourself a can of refrigerated Cinnamon Rolls and get your butt back home to your waffle maker!!

I present you with the best, fastest, and easiest way to make those cinnamon rolls!!

  • 1 can refrigerated cinnamon rolls (or 2 depending on how many you are feeding)
  • Baking Spray
  • Waffle Maker

Open the waffle maker, spray with baking spray, and place four cinnamon rolls inside.

Shut your waffle maker, set a time for 2 1/2 minutes. 

Remove cinnamon rolls from waffle maker, drizzle with frosting and prepare to stuff your face!!

We will never got back to the traditional way of making these!! Not only were these perfect because they don't fall apart at all! They cook up like a waffle but taste exactly like a cinnamon roll!! But they also only took 2 1/2 minutes to make four of them!! 

Our life has been changed for the good by this amazing trick!! Thank you to the blogger over at Hen's Nest for sharing this amazing secret!!

Seriously try will make you want these every weekend!!


October 28, 2012

Avocado Chicken Salad

I have been doing a lot of baking and dinner entrees but I have not come up with something new for lunch in a long time!! While browsing Pinterest (of course) I came across a recipe for an Avocado Chicken Salad!! I am always on board with Chicken Salad and adding avocado = Sign me up!

This is a very simple twist on chicken salad but it is so tasty!! It will definitely be a regular in my lunch routine.

  • Shredded chicken, cooked
  • 1 avocado
  • Tiny bit of light mayo
  • Cilantro
  • Green Onions
  • Lime Juice
  • Salt & Pepper

Combine all your ingredients in a bowl! I ended up using 2 cans of chicken.

I added a little more lime juice after the initial mix. And then added in the salt and pepper because I didn't want to lose the taste of the cilantro and green onions! Amazing combo I must say!

I am so excited that I tried this recipe. It is so flavorful and extremely filling! While I had it on a sandwich roll today I will definitely put this on a salad next time because that would be a pretty healthy lunch option!! This whole mix together is 4 servings and it's only 5 points!! That's pretty darn good for how great this is!!

A definite keeper for lunches!! I plan on having the rest of it this week!!

The original recipe came from Becoming Betty! Thanks for sharing such an awesome new chicken salad recipe!! I love it!


October 27, 2012

The Paris Wife!

For October our book club read The Paris Wife by Paula McLain! The novel focuses on Ernest Hemingway's first wife Hadley and their relationship.

When our book club met to pick our next 12 books this book happened to be one that 4 out 5 had put on the recommended list. It also had a lot of hype surrounding it the months before we selected books, got rave reviews...thus why I had suggested we read it!! I was super excited for this book and thrilled with all the feedback I had read...


Well folks the book just wasn't that thrilling. I had imagined a book that kept you wrapped up in the story, one that made it hard to put the book....this was just not.

It is not a horrible book, it is not a great book. I didn't dislike it, nor did I really enjoy it. Going into it with absolutely no knowledge about Hemingway's personal life, I'll be honest I've never even read one of this books, I was excited to learn about someone new.

The book just didn't keep me that interested. It wasn't very detailed, it was hard to picture anything that was going on aside from the sections about the running of the bulls and yes I could've gone without those details. Aside from missing vivid details I also found it lacking in any sort of character building. I never found myself liking any of the characters...and other than Ernest Hemingway, I didn't dislike them either. 

I found I had to constantly remind myself of the era it took place and how women acted back then towards was difficult because the main character, Hadley, was pathetic in my mind. It was sad to me how much she sacrificed for a man who would always be selfish. Yes she loved him and yes I realize it took place back in the 20s but it was hard for me to understand. 

Overall the book was pretty boring, the author wrote in a very monotone voice, or at least that's how I read it, and until the very end I was never engrossed in the book. By the time you get to the end and you are intrigued she drags it out forever and I found myself getting annoyed.

Grade - C. It's average!

Happy Reading! 

October 26, 2012

Cinnamon Cupcakes with Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting!

I have been on a cooking kick lately and I LOVE IT!! I am enjoying every Sunday even more than I usually do because while Chuckles watches football I spend my morning baking up a storm!! And it's perfect because we can still chat while being in separate parts of our home!!

A couple Sunday's ago I wanted to bake up some yummy treats for work so I made the Moistest Cake Ever (Holy throw back post!! Can you believe that was from 2009!!!) and a new Pinterest recipe for Cinnamon Cupcakes with Pumpkin Pie Frosting (a.k.a Pumpkin Butter Cream Frosting).

  • 1 box french vanilla cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 16 oz container butter cream frosting
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
    1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

 Combine all your cake mix ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Grease a muffin tin, or if you want you can use liners but I always prefer no liners.

Bake in your oven for 18 - 20 minutes at 325 degrees. Let cool in the muffin tin for about 10 minutes, then remove and cool on a wire rack.

Don't those look heavenly?!? They smelled delightful too!!

And if you end up with just a little bit extra you can fill up two cute flower shaped ramekins for your own personal little cakes...oh yes we went there :-)

You will then let these get completely cool! And then it's on to the frosting!

 Combine all your frosting ingredients. Whip that up really good!!

Then take this delicious frosting....

And generously apply to cupcake!! Top off with a little nutmeg and you are good to go!!

These cupcakes were pretty good!! They taste just like you would expect fall to taste and the nutmeg on top just adds a little taste of heaven!!

I will say I had higher hopes because I just love everything fall-ish to explode in my mouth....but that being said I put a couple in the fridge and had one cold that night and it was pretty fantastic!! 

Everyone at work who had one really liked it so I'll say it's a keeper of a recipe!! 

For the original recipe check out The Kurtz Corner!!


October 24, 2012

Easiest Dinner EVER!

This dinner had to be one of the easiest dinners I've ever made in my life! You dirty 4 dishes!! That's it just 4 for a meal with an entree, side of veggies, and a starch!! 4 dishes people!! To say I'm excited about this recipe is an understatement! As of now it's the 2nd best thing I've learned from Pinterest. The first being how to clean our coach of stains I thought I'd never remove!!

Check out the amazing-ness of green beans, chicken, and potatoes! Simple but oh so delicious!!

You only need a few ingredients:
  • Green Beans
  • Chicken Breasts
  • Red Potatoes
  • 1 Packet Italian Seasoning
  • 1 Stick of Butter

I know the red potatoes are missing but I swear you need them!!
You will want to cut up your green beans (or pop open your can) and your potatoes. Layer a 13 x 9 pan (spray with baking spray if you prefer) with your chopped green beans, cubed potatoes, and chicken breasts.

Sprinkle your Italian seasoning mix over the entire dish.

Melt your stick of butter and drizzle over the entire dish.

Then cover with foil and bake in your oven for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Wash up your knife, cutting board, and bowl you used to melt the butter (3 dishes people!! 4th dish is your baking pan!)

After an hour remove from oven, lift that foil and get ready to plate!!

This dish is easy and so tasty!! I loved the Italian seasoning and that you get a whole meal in one pan!!! I know I sound like I'm on repeat but how cool is that??

After sending a quick prayer to the food gods that this amazingly easy meal is going to be a keeper I took my first bite!

It truly is a very flavorful meal! The green beans were cooked perfectly, the potatoes just soft enough, and the chicken - not too moist, not too dry!! This is such a great meal and one that can definitely be prepped the night before!! Just layer away and right before you pop it in the oven add the seasoning and butter!!

For all you out there with busy lives or trying to feed your family more with spending less than this is the meal for you! It is a keeper in our house for sure!! In fact I'm making it for the next book club meeting held at my house!!


October 22, 2012

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder

Hold onto your hats folks because this recipe is about the blow your mind!! I stumbled upon this recipe via the lovely Pinterest and knew immediately I had to make it!!

I'm not even gonna keep babbling on here I'm going to get straight to the recipe, it is that good!!!

  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • Onion Powder
  • 1 Chopped Carrot
  • 2 Celery Sticks Chopped
  • Garlic Powder
  • 2 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 Large Potato
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Flour (more if needed)
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • 1/3 Cup Milk
  • 1 Cup Cauliflower
  • 1 Heaping Cup Cheddar Cheese

And because I totally forgot this in the above picture...yes you really are supposed to have flour...

Next up prep work!! This time around I did not enlist the help of my in house chef (A.K.A Chuckles) but spent the extra 20 minutes chopping up my carrot, celery, cauliflower, and potato myself. I should put a disclaimer out there now, this recipe takes some time so start early. Or do all your prep work the night before!

Once everything is chopped and set aside get ready to be stuck in your kitchen. The next steps seemed to move along pretty quickly so I chose to wash dishes in between lulls. You won't really have enough time to do much else.

Start out by melting your butter in a large stock pot. The toss in your onion powder, carrots, and celery into the stock pot and saute until softened.

Then toss in your garlic powder and cook for an additional minute.

Throw in your chopped potato and chicken broth. Bring to a boil.

While you are waiting for that to come to a boil use this time to mix together your flour and water in a small separate bowl.

Add that mixture into your stock pot and stir well. Also toss in your cauliflower.

Let that simmer until the sauce thickens. I ended up adding in another 1/2 tablespoon bringing it to a full tablespoon of flour.

Once your sauce has thickened toss in that heaping cup of cheddar cheese.

Stir cheese until it is fully melted and you now have a thicker cheesy sauce.

Pour yourself a large bowlful, grab a sourdough roll and dig in!

This chowder was absolutely amazing!! It's full of veggies and has a creamy cheese sauce!! It's so delicious and it most definitely will be a regular in our house this winter!

Chuckles feels that it could use some meat, he's such a carnivore, so you could definitely add in some chicken or maybe even some Italian sausage (spicy or not). I think it's wonderful without meat!!

And a huge bonus - this recipe is awesome as leftovers! I had it two days in a row for lunch at work and it was just as good, kind of like how spaghetti is so amazing the next day...yup this chowder is in that rank too!!

I plan on making a big batch of this chowder and freezing servings of it for an easy grab for lunch. I cut the recipe in half and I did alter it slightly! Thanks to Lulu the Baker for sharing her family recipe with the wonderful world of Pinterest!


P.S. For 1 Cup of this Chowder (made my way) it's 7 WW Points.


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