Recipe Review: Cookies and Cream Fudge

I’m not much of a sweets person myself unless it’s ice cream but I love to make them. Every so often I’ll try out a new recipe and bring it into the office and let them have at it. Such was the case with this Cookies and Cream Fudge recipe from Lil Luna.

Please pin from original source by clicking on photo.

Please pin from original source by clicking on photo.

Cookies and Cream Fudge

Serves:  not listed but this easily could make 36 bars

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (I used light)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1 can marshmallow fluff (7 ounces)
  • 20 Oreos crushed

DIRECTIONS

  1. Click here.

THOUGHTS

  • Super easy to make and smells amazing – this smells EXACTLY like Blue Bell Cookies & Cream ice cream. I wish I could turn it into a candle!
  • This was a huge hit at the office.
  • Even though this only fills a 9×9 pan it’s so rich and decadent that you need to cut it into small squares which ultimately means that it feeds quite a lot of people.
  • This is a great dessert recipe for all the non-bakers out there!

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

 

Recipe Review: Roasted Jalapeno Soup

I made this soup over the weekend to go with this Broccoli-Cheese Cornbread (which is undeniably one of my husbands favorites).

Roasted Jalapeno Soup


Roasted Jalapeno Soup

Serves: Makes 2 cups – in my family this only serves 2 people if you’re serving something else with it. If this were the entire meal, then there’s only enough for one person.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 green jalapeno peppers
  • ½ cup carrots, peeled and chopped (roughly 2 carrots)
  • ½ cup onion, peeled and chopped (roughly 1 small onion)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp butter, softened
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2-½ cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream or milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ cup tomatoes, chopped and peeled
  • ¼ cup mushrooms, sliced

DIRECTIONS

  1. Click here

THOUGHTS

  • My husband and I were a tad disappointed with this soup because we really didn’t get much flavor out of it. We could taste the cream and we could taste the butter but there was little to no flavor of vegetables coming through. I did not include the chopped tomatoes or mushrooms because my tomatoes had gone bad and my husband avoids mushrooms like the plague. I think this soup has a lot of potential so I plan to try again and tweak the recipe a bit. Here’s how:
    • Double the jalapenos
    • I used matchstick carrots and I don’t think they cooked enough… I didn’t get this wonderful golden color that Chocolate Moosey got. Next time, I think I’ll use pre-steamed carrots. Also, ½ cup carrots is no where near equivalent to 2 carrots where I come from – I used a ½ cup, next time I’ll try 2 whole (same goes for the onion btw).
    • Switch the whipping cream (I used light, not heavy) out for milk

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Recipe Review: Mac Chicken Cacciatore

So now that I’m in the gym every day at lunch it’s changed my work schedule and I’m not getting home until after 7:00pm most nights. This means that by the time I cook dinner we’re eating at about 8:30pm which is NOT good. So, I’ve been trying to cook a few simpler dinners during the week to save time (like this one). Unfortunately, they’re not the healthiest options. It’s a catch 22 it seems.

Mac Chicken Cacciatore


Mac Chicken Cacciatore

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pkg. (7-1/4 oz.) KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese Dinner (I used the Deluxe dinner which I think is larger than 7-1/4oz)
  • 1 pkg. (6 oz.) OSCAR MAYER Deli Fresh Oven Roasted Chicken Breast (or 1 chicken breast, precooked and cubed)
  • 1 can (14-1/2 oz.) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
  • ½ cup chopped green peppers (I used frozen – just toss in with the boiling noodles during the last few minutes of cooking)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Prepare macaroni in large saucepan as directed on package.
  2. Stirin remaining ingredients; cook on low heat 5 min. or until heated through, stirring occasionally.

THOUGHTS

  • I haaaaaate those refrigerated precooked packaged chicken strips that this recipe calls for so my plan was to precook and cube a chicken breast. However, our grocery store was literally out of chicken breasts that weekend!  So, I ended up cooking it with the dreaded refrigerated precooked packaged chicken strips. I will say that I ate it. I will say that it was decent. I will also say that I still hate those chicken strips and that the next time I cook this it will be with a precooked and cubed chicken breast.
  • I drained my tomatoes because I felt it would make the recipe too watery otherwise – I added in an extra ¼ teaspoon garlic powder and ½ teaspoon freeze-dried (you could also use fresh) basil.
  • After Step 2, I placed everything in a 9×9 Pyrex dish. I then combined 1/3 cup panko with 2 Tablespoons shredded sharp cheddar, 2 Tablespoons shredded mozzarella and 2 Tablespoons shredded parmesan and sprinkled it on top of the casserole.  I baked it in the oven on 350 until hot and bubbly (about 15-20 minutes).
  • All in all, this wasn’t bad for a quick (if you already have a chicken breast cooked and cubed) weeknight dinner but like I said before, it’s not the healthiest option. This is a good option to get some good protein and veggies into a picky child though – it IS mac and cheese after all!

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Recipe Review: Apple Pie Paleo Granola

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m trying (but somewhat failing) to maintain my soy-free, grain-free vegan diet I followed in January when I was detoxing. As a result, I pinned a zillion recipes and this bad boy was one of them. I made it this weekend but have honestly only eaten it once since then. I should mention right off the bat that I’m not really a sweets person so I might be a bit biased from the start.

Apple Pie Paleo Granola


Apple Pie Paleo Granola

Serves: not listed on the recipe source but I found it made 5 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup almonds
  • ½ cup pecans
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds (peptias)
  • 7 medjool dates, chopped
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add nuts, dates, and unsweetened shredded coconut to a bowl of a food processor and pulse to slightly chop nuts. Add spices and salt and pulse again to evenly distribute.
  3. In a bowl whisk together apple sauce, oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Place wet ingredient into the bowl of food processor with nut mixture and pulse to combine.
  4. Evenly distribute granola (using fingers) on prepared baking sheet.
  5. Place in oven for 30 to 40 minutes until golden.
  6. The granola will harden up once cooled completely.

THOUGHTS

  • So I’m not going to lie, I didn’t love this recipe. For starters, there’s the texture… mine ended up much more ground up than it shows in the photo. I think if I made this again, I’d buy whole nuts and skip #2 OR I’d buy pre-chopped nuts and not put anything into the food processor at all. As it was, I purchased slivered almonds, pecan pieces, and walnut pieces and ended up with a finely ground up consistency that I didn’t particularly care for.
  • As for the cooking times, this might have to do with the weird consistency of mine but I baked it once for 40 minutes, let it cool, then broke it up and cooked it again for about 20 minutes.       It still never really fully hardened. I ended up putting my leftovers in the freezer for longer storage because I wasn’t sure how long it would last at room temp while still semi-moist.
  • This has a great spice mix but tastes heavily of the spices and not the apple.
  • Would I make this again? Yes – but only to try out my different consistency theory. If I still wasn’t thrilled with it, I’d stick with this Paleo Granola recipe I’ve tried previously.

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Window Shopping Wednesday – AsymmetreeDesign

Okay so I totally thought I’d already done a virtual shopping trip for you guys through AsymmetreeDesign because Anja’s laser cut creations are just amazing but I haven’t! You will not believe some of these creations! The things people come up with!!! Just incredible!

Are you ready???

Please pin from original source by clicking on photo.

Please pin from original source by clicking on photo.

Let’s start with this Honeycomb Wall Clock why don’t we. I love clocks and I think they’re a great opportunity to add a little something to an otherwise plain room. You can have some fun with it! I think this piece is just fabulous.

Please pin from original source by click on photo.

Please pin from original source by click on photo.

Then, for something really uniue and different, there’s this Deer Wedding Invitation. I mean really? How great would this be if you were doing an outdoor wedding?? I just love it! And it’s soooo beautifully done! (and FYI, if you’re not into deer, there are several other wedding invitation options to choose from)

Please pin from original source by clicking on photo.

Please pin from original source by clicking on photo.

How about wearing an incredible statement piece like this Bark Necklace?  I’d be happy to add that to my wardrobe any day. You can even choose from a variety of chain colors.

Please pin from orignal source by clicking on photo.

Please pin from orignal source by clicking on photo.

I also love this Golden Bark Clock which is made of birch wood and gold plexiglass. Don’t like gold? No problem, AsymmetreeDesign can make it in bronze or silver too!

Thanks for shopping with me today!

Fab Feature – Lacquer & Linen

A few months ago I featured this fabulous boys nursery room from Orchard Girls. Well, I have an equally fabulous girls nursery room for you today from Lacquer & Linen. I actually found this by accident when I was looking for ideas to make over an Ikea dresser I have. Upon following the link I stumbled onto the beautiful room that Sarah created for her baby girl and fell in love.

Want to know why?

It’s because Sarah and I share a dislike for the color pink.

Even though I don’t want kids, back in the day I thought I did want them and I actually stressed over what I would do for nursery colors if I had a girl. I hate pink! I love how Sarah combined the white and grey neutrals (my faves) with coral to give it a girly vibe without looking like pink cotton candy exploded everywhere. It’s just fabulous! Plus, she DIYed a lot of projects which gets her major points in my book.

Please pin this awesomeness from the original source by clicking on the photo.

Please pin this awesomeness from the original source by clicking on the photo.

Okay can I just say how much I absolutely adore that light??? Omg!

And that wingback rocking chair??? We love wingbacks in our house and I love to rock or swing. I’d want this in my house even without a kiddo to rock in it (I can rock the cats right??).

Please pin this awesomeness from the original source by clicking on the photo.

Please pin this awesomeness from the original source by clicking on the photo.

Oh and here’s the Ikea Hemnes dresser makeover that originally brought me to Sarah’s blog. Isn’t it fabulous? I can’t wait to do something similar with some Ikea dressers we have in our master bedroom.

Want to see more photos of this fabulous space or some of Sarah’s other great projects?  Go check out Lacquer & Linen today!

Fitness Update – A Recap of April 2014

So as I mentioned the other day I have started working out on my lunch break everyday with my friend Jane from work. I started this journey on April 7th. My goal when I started was to work out 5 days a week, Monday through Friday. Out of 18 days, I worked out 16 – the two days I didn’t work out consisted of a holiday (Good Friday) and a day when I spent the morning at the doctor’s office and didn’t take a lunch break. All in all, I’d say I met my goal… and I’m quite proud of myself!

So, how’d I do you ask?

April Total


April Miles

Here’s how it broke out:

April Breakdown


I have a graph I’ll get to show you next month (when there’s a month to compare it to) that will hopefully show the total time spent working out increasing (or at least staying the same) but my average mph decreasing in each activity. We shall see!!! On Tuesday I got on the elliptical for the first time in almost 6 years. Honestly, I wasn’t even sure I could finish 30 minutes. I tried to set a pace of 100 strides per minute but every time I looked down, I was going faster than that. So, I decided to stop trying to force it and just let it happen organically. Turns out, I averaged about 120 strides per minute when I just let it come naturally – and I went much farther in less time than I do on the treadmill. I was also more sore the next day – not painfully so, just noticeably so. To me, there’s no question that the elliptical works you harder than the treadmill, even if you maintain the same pace. How am I feeling overall you ask? Awesome! A tad tired, but awesome. Mostly, I’m tired because I’m getting less sleep than I normally would (~7 hours as opposed to 8-9 hours per night). However, I fall asleep faster and I sleep sounder than I did before. I’m also more energized and motivated to work out. For now, I’m loving this new lifestyle!

take pride in how far you have come
Found via Pinterest from this original source.

I’ve been thinking about what my goal should be in May and I think it’s going to be this: I want to bike for 30 minutes each weekend in addition to spending my 5 days (M-F) in the gym. So… there are 5 Saturdays in May which means I should add an additional 2.5 hours of exercise time this month. I’ll let you know how it goes!!

Fitness Update

(6) Facebook (2)


So I told you the story of my current status of ‘morbidly obese’ and how I went from a 16-year competitive swimmer to the life I have now. If you didn’t read that, you can read it here.  I’ve also written several other articles about my weight here, here, and here.

If you can’t tell – my weight loss (or lack thereof) is a bit of a constant in my life and has been for several years. The first post I wrote was back in 2011!! Yep – I’ve been struggling with this for many, many years, at least the last 3 of those while writing this blog. The “good” news is that I’m still wearing the same size clothes I was three years ago – at least I haven’t gained anything.

Anywho, I have this friend at work named Jane who started working out regularly at the beginning of the year (she’s one of those rare people who started a New Year’s resolution and has stuck with it!). She’s been walking/jogging a few days/nights per week and is seeing great results. She was not nearly as heavy as I am to begin with and she’s lost 25lbs in 3 months. Super impressive! I finally decided I wanted to join her and, nice woman that she is, she said yes. So, Monday-Friday we head off to 24 Hour Fitness on our lunch break to get sweaty. As I’m writing this, I’ve done 11 workouts so far… I’d be at 12 but had to miss one because I had a doctors appointment. I realize 11 workouts probably isn’t all that impressive but for me, it’s huge. Since I’m A) morbidly obese and B) have a really bad knee and back I’m taking things slow. Right now, my workout looks like this:

  • Monday: walk on treadmill 30 mins
  • Tuesday: walk on treadmill 30 mins
  • Wednesday: upper body workout with free-weights
  • Thursday: walk on treadmill 30 mins
  • Friday: alternate between long swim workout and 1 hour session with personal trainer

Now, I know walking might not seem like much of a workout, but I’m sweating my arse off I promise you. I may be walking at a slow-ish pace (between 3.0 & 3.3) but I’m walking at an incline as well. Today though, I hopped on the treadmill and I felt like I was going slow. I’m definitely feeling it in my legs and the time flew by! So, I decided to crank up my workout just a tad. Here’s what I did:

minute to minute


To date, I’ve lost 4lbs. Not a great loss but since I’m aiming for 1lb/week I think I’m doing great. I did gain a pound the first week but I was retaining water like crazy – my feet were swollen up like blowfish and everything! I talked to my personal trainer and she thinks that was my “weight gain.”

weight loss graph

How about you? What are your current fitness goals??

Recipe Review: Zucchini Fritters

So I found this recipe via Martha Stewart and tried it out last weekend for our Easter Sunday family meal. My mom loved it, I liked the flavor but not the texture, and my husband hated it. Have I told you how much my family likes playing guinea pig for me??

The dish has a light flavor but you can definitely taste the lemon. If you’re not a fan of lemon, I’d cut the quantity of lemon zest in half or perhaps substitute it entirely for something else (such as scallions). I think this dish paired well with the Parmesan Crusted Flounder and Roasted Broccoli with Smashed Garlic I served (I’ll share those recipes soon) and due to its light flavor would likely pair well with just about anything.

Zucchini Fritters


Zucchini Fritters

Serves: not listed on the recipe itself but when I made it, it produced 9-12 fritters

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound zucchini
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (1 lemon) plus
  • 1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges (optional)
  • 10 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley, stems removed and leaves finely chopped, plus more sprigs for garnish (optional) (I used a half Tablespoon of freeze dried, refrigerated parsley)
  • 1 medium clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Click here.

THOUGHTS

  • Part of the texture that I didn’t like is that these got nice and crunchy outside but were kind of mushy on the inside. To combat this, next time I will grate the zucchini into a colander, sprinkle with salt and let drain for at least 1 hour.
  • While the recipe calls for 2-4 Tablespoons of olive oil I found that I had to use quite a lot more than that.
  • Sidenote: A cup of chopped zucchini contains 22 milligrams of vitamin C, which is 24 percent of the recommended daily intake for men and 29 percent for women, set by the Institute of Medicine (according to this article).

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Window Shopping Wednesday – Paper Source (2014)

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a Window Shopping Wednesday but my latest Paper Source catalog came in the mail and I just couldn’t resist. There are a few items I’d really like to have and I considered purchasing them myself but maybe I’ll get lucky and someone (ahem, mom? husband? Are you paying attention??) will get them for me for my birthday or Christmas. A girl can hope!

I love these Kate Spade Bow Paper Clips. Aren’t they just so snazzy???

Kate Spade Bow Paper Clips

This Woodland Cheese Board just makes me smile. I would love to have this around for entertaining.

Woodland Cheese Board


Adorable Fox Tea Towels? Yes please!

Fox Tea Towels

What about these fabulous Ceramic Bowls (1, 2, 3)? Wouldn’t they be just the greatest addition to a spring tablescape?? I think #2 (the Orange Floral Ceramic Bowl) is my favorite but I love that you can mix and match them all together.  You’d need at least 2 of each though.

Yellow Ikat Ceramic Bowl

Yellow Ikat Ceramic Bowl

Orange Floral Ceramic Bowl

Orange Floral Ceramic Bowl

Blue Dot Ceramic Bowl

Blue Dot Ceramic Bowl

You can read all about my last virtual shopping trip through Paper Source by clicking here.

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