I don’t think it’s a secret that I love peanut butter. I love it stirred in oatmeal, by the spoonful, in a muffin, on toast, in granola, or, in this case, in a cookie. I know that claiming something is the “World’s Best” is pretty bold, but these are just that good. Plus, did I mention that you only use three ingredients? Delicious, quick, easy, and the best cookie I’ve ever eaten?? Sign me up! [Read more…]
This Cream Cheese Pound Cake…I have no words. It is so simple, so delicious, and so perfect! It is versatile. Perfect for sharing. A dream to freeze. Top it with strawberries or fresh peaches or just eat it plain. Really. This pound cake is perfection.
For those that know me on a personal level, you will know that I’m pretty focused, driven, and disciplined. You will not find me relaxing or deviating from the plan very often. I function well like this (until I get so tired I can’t take another step…but whatever.) Each day I have to be intentional about having eyes for things around me and helping where God leads me. It’s a real struggle. A real struggle. I like for the laundry to be done. I like for the dishwasher to be unloaded as soon as the cycle is over. I like to have clean floors. I like for everything to have a place and for everything to be put in said place. I’m positively giddy when I cross off my last item from my to-do list before I go to bed each night. Giddy. It’s just who I am. Please note that I’m not really about perfection. I just like to get things done. Well, all of that came to a screeching halt on Thursday afternoon. I came home from working with a couple of hours to spare before picking up the boys. I looked over my to-do list and decided I just wanted to deviate from the plan. I decided to make a Chocolate Cake with coffee. You see, the day before, my friends and I dined at a restaurant and they were serving samples of dark chocolate cake. It was divine. I asked the waitress what made it so good. She got down and whispered, “Coffee, but don’t tell anyone I told you.” My wheels started turning. I started thinking about how I could make chocolate cake with coffee and this is what I came up with:
Chocolate Cake with Coffee
1 1/2 c. plain flour
3 T. cocoa (Use dark chocolate cocoa)
1 c. sugar
1 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 t. vinegar
1 t. vanilla
5 T. coconut oil, melted
1 c. brewed coffee
Mix dry ingredients and then incorporate wet ingredients. Mix well without over mixing. Bake at 350 for 15-30 minutes. (Baking time depends on the size pan you put it in. I put this in a 9×13, but it was pretty thin. You can put it in an 8×8 or 9×9, but the baking times would need to be adjusted. Don’t let it overbake. It will be dry.)
Allow the cake to cook and then add this icing:
1 c. semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 c. almond milk (or really any kind of milk)
2 T. butter
1/2 t. vanilla
1 c. powdered sugar
Bring the first three ingredients to a boil, remove from heat, and add powdered sugar and vanilla. (For a thicker icing add more powdered sugar.) Pour over slightly cooled cake.
While your cake is baking and you have completely ditched your to-do list, I would suggest you paint a wall in your house as a chalkboard wall. That’s the next logical thing to do, right?!?
Once that dries, cut yourself a piece of cake, pour a glass of milk, call your boys in (2 out of 3 isn’t too bad), and have them draw away. The middle schooler might even say something like, “Mom, since I can’t afford to buy you flowers I’m going to draw one for you right here on this wall.” It’s moments like this, with a mouthful of chocolate cake, that almost make me believe functioning without a to-do list is worth it. Almost.
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I grew up cooking. I was always right beside my mother, covered in flour. When I was younger, she told me a story about some of their friends that were newlyweds. The man really liked Chess Pie, but his new wife did not know how to make it. She went to her local grocery store looking for chess and a pie shell. After looking up and down the aisles she came up empty. She then asked a sales clerk to help her in her search for chess and they both came up empty. She returned home to check with his mother in law and found out that chess does not come in a jar or a can, but it is a delicious mixture of butter, eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla. True story.
The pie I’m telling you about today can be made with one ingredient (plus a graham cracker crust and some whipped topping) that is found on your local grocery shelf. Want to know what it is? Sweetened Condensed Milk.
If you take that can, open it up, pour it in a glass container, and put it in a water bath in your crockpot, amazing things will happen. (You can also boil the actual can. I would not recommend this method. The can can explode. I repeat. I do not recommend the method of boiling the can.) Here’s what my crockpot looked like. (This was 3 cans because I made 2 pies.)
You just place your glass container in your crockpot and then carefully pour water around the container. Leave this on high for 8-9 hours (you could do this overnight), making sure to maintain your water levels. When you return it should be dark brown in color and very thick. If not, leave it alone for another hour or so. It will look like this.
Once it is ready, just pour it into a graham cracker crust and top with whipped topping. If you want to get fancy you can use real whipped cream and mini chocolate chips, but this is not necessary. Let the pie sit in the fridge overnight. Slice, serve, and enjoy! When the recipients of the pie ask you for the recipe just tell them you found it in a can in the grocery store. True story.
- 3 cans of condensed milk
- 2 graham cracker crusts
- Fresh Whipped Cream
- Chocolate Chips
- Open can of condensed milk and place in a glass container.
- Place in a crockpot in a water bath.
- Maintain water levels.
- Cook on high for 8-9 hours.
- Pour caramel into pie shells.
- Place in the fridge overnight.
- Top with whipped cream, chocolate chips, slice, and enjoy!
I love a party, but I am not crafty. I don’t have a flare for decorating or presentation or fanciness. I can do it, but it takes a lot out of me. With three boys they could care less about presentation. They just want food…and lots of it. Themed parties with coordinating invitations, snacks, labels, decorations? I think my head might explode. If you come to my house for a party expect to eat pizza…out of a box…soda…out of a non-descript red cup…and it will all be lovingly placed on my kitchen island.
In fact, one memory that sticks out in my mind about Clayton’s first birthday party involves the cake plates. I went to the store and bought plain white, Styrofoam plates. They were cheap and adequate. I picked up the Superman plates, but they were $2.99 for eight. I was going to need five packages. You can do the math here. It adds up quickly. (Perhaps my problem with themed parties is the money spent. I do not like to spend money, especially on something that will be thrown away. I think that’s a post for another day, though.) Anyway…I came home with the above mentioned plates and Fred just stared at me. He wasn’t mad. He wasn’t really anything. Then he looked at me and said, “Did you not have fun at your birthday parties when you were growing up?” It was as if he didn’t even know me.
Enter my friends…
Now, these girls can throw a party! Their best friend’s son got married last weekend and they helped with the rehearsal dinner dessert. On a side note, the groom’s parents can throw quite the spread, too. When I get to heaven, they will be on the food committee and I will be in their banquet hall. Yes, I will.
My friends, Larisa and Stephanie, decided to do ice cream sundaes, but unlike me, they did it all fancy. I’d have people eating out of the container with a few random sprinkles on the tables, but not these girls. Look at this spread…
Those wooden spoons. How cute are those? Larisa ordered them, and the cups, from Etsy.
The banner, the table cloth and runner? Too cute for words, right?? The bowls contain various items: chocolate, caramel, cherries, strawberries, M and M’s, crushed Oreos, brownie bites, Heath bar chips, Andes mint chips, and pecans. You could even include cones.
They hand painted these bowls. How cute are they? Do I need to tell you if I was the host everyone would be eating out of non-descript Styrofoam bowls with white plastic spoons?!? All and all Larisa and Stephanie reported to me that this was a pretty simple, economical, and crowd pleasing project. So, there you have it. How to host an Ice Cream Sundae Bar…like.a.boss.
And by the way, I did have fun at my childhood birthday parties! I don’t remember what the plates looked like, but I do remember I had fun. Did anyone else my age (I’m 22.) go skating for your birthday party? The hip place to skate was called Magic Wheels. I got a shirt. I wore it proudly. They are still open today in Jackson, Tennessee. If you call to reserve a party tell my friend Jennifer (Not me…another one born in the 1970’s. There are only 2.3 billion girls named Jennifer.) I said hello. She does the best parties. AND…she might throw in pretty cool plates!!
Need some more ideas? Try this:
For the past several years my Aunt Janice has hosted Swim Weekend for my mother’s side of the family. (Click here to read about Swim Weekend.) It’s a really fun weekend where we all get together and swim, eat, visit, relax and repeat. My mother always contributes some food. One of the things she makes is Popcorn Cake. She’s been making this since I was little, but when I was little I did not like it. I’m not really sure why I didn’t like it. After all, it contains all things good…Popcorn-good, M and M’s-good, honey roasted peanuts-good, marshmellows-good. She used to make it in a tube pan, but now she just puts it in any type of container. And since M and M’s started making “festive” candies for all holidays she can cater it to whatever we are celebrating. Perhaps I should write the nice folks at Mars Candy and express my thanks?!? This is what it looks like:
Does that not look wonderful?!? Think Rice Krispie treat, but with popcorn, M and M’s and honey roasted peanuts. Run, don’t walk, to the store for the ingredients for this deliciousness. You can thank me later. Even if you had something like this as a child, try it again. In the sage words of my mother, “Try it. Your taste buds may have changed!” This advice has proven true on popcorn cake and many other things. Unfortunately, for my grown up self she is still not correct when it comes to boiled okra. Never will be…
Here’s the recipe for Popcorn Cake:
Pop 3 packages of popcorn, remove all kernels , and let cool.
In a saucepan melt:
1 bag of marshmellows
1 stick of butter
Then add 1/2 c. oil (corrected from original post and comments)
In a large bowl mix your popcorn, bag of M and M’s and can of honey roasted peanuts. Then pour the marshmellow mixture over this. Mix quickly. Once everything is coated with the marshmellow mixture pour it into a greased pan. (My mom uses some kind of tray, but you can use a 9×13 pan…just whatever.) At this point I grease my hands with butter and press it in the pan. Cover it and let it sit in the fridge for an hour or so. Then slice and enjoy!
Please note…my parents enjoy this out of the fridge. I prefer this room temperature. I still do not like boiled okra.
This recipe, and others like it, can be found at Meal Plan Monday.