Monday Musings

1. Today, right at this moment is the first time in 11 days I have been alone in my house. Emerson has returned to school not very willingly. I went for a run. I had a cup of coffee I am breathing in the silence.

2.  I have made this  Brown Sugar and Balsamic Glazed Pork twice in two is so delicious.

3. Somebody please give her a double cheeseburger...with bacon.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
 I DO NOT GET IT......

4. Currently drooling over this home... The Lettered Cottage I love everything about it.

5. Am I the only one that gets overwhelmed in Trader Joes? Seriously. I can get through Costco with everything I need in under 20 minutes...blindfolded. But I walk into a Trader Joes and my palms start to sweat, my heart beats faster, my eyes cannot focus. Do they offer Trader Joes tours? They should.

Tres Leche Cake

There are no words to describe how much I love this cake. We all have now claimed it as our "birthday cake." We do this every time we come across a dessert that just blows our minds and we claim it as what we want for our birthday. THIS IS birthday cake worthy. This is everyday I want this cake and last meal worthy cake. Dear Lord.

Recipe by Pioneer Woman

1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
5 whole eggs, divided
1 cup sugar, divided
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup heavy cream

For the icing
1 pint heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar (sifted)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9X13 inch pan liberally until coated.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Separate eggs.

Beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar on high speed until yolks are pale yellow. Stir in milk and vanilla. Pour egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture and stir very gently until combined.

Beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer on, pour in remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until egg whites are stiff but not dry.

Fold egg white mixture into the batter very gently until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and spread to even out the surface.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn cake out onto a rimmed platter and allow to cool.

Combine condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream in a small pitcher. When cake is cool, pierce the surface with a fork several times. Slowly drizzle all but about 1 cup of the milk mixture trying to get as much around the edges of the cake as you can.

Allow the cake to absorb the milk mixture for 30 minutes. To ice the cake, whip 1 pint heavy cream with 1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar, until thick and spreadable. Spread over the surface of the cake. Decorate cake with whole maraschino cherries. Cut into squares and serve.


 Dog sitted for my brother... Mattie is ancient but sweet. Stinky but sweet. Leon was freaked out a bit.
 Shared a bottle of red with the Mr. over a new show...Boardwalk Empire. It's Sopranos's but in the twenties.
 I ate grapefruit everyday this week. Just because.
 A gift....from my brother. I'm obsessed.
 Words I repeated to myself many times this week.
 We had so much rain this week, I had to capture the beautiful sun when she finally showed herself.
 i LOVE Leon.
 Panera makes everything better.
My new lamp. I've mentioned I have a thing for baskets? Well I have a thing for lamps...and birds.

Minestrone Verde

I am a soup gal. I could eat soup almost everyday. Throw in a piece of crusty bread, (because I love bread, more then I love chocolate) and I am good to go. This soup is so, so good. Please make it.

Recipe by Cat Cora

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 large celery stalks, chopped
7 c. chicken stock (I used 10)
2 cups diced zucchini
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted, because they are awesome)
1 15 ounce can navy or northern beans
kale (I used about 2 large handfuls) chopped
salt/pepper to taste
1/2 c uncooked corkscrew or genelli pasta
3/4 cup pesto

In a large pot heat oil over med-low heat. Add onions, carrots, celery cook until veggies are soft but not brown, about 10 minutes. Pour in stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cook 9 minutes. Add zucchini, tomatoes, beans, and kale. Cook 5 minutes more. Bring to a boil stir in pasta, cook until al dente (7 minutes) Ladle soup into bowls, add a spoonful of pesto into each bowl on top of soup.

Baked Vanilla Doughnuts

Baked doughnuts have become very popular among the food bloggers. I decided to get in on the action. I asked for a doughnut pan for Christmas and made some last week. They were super easy and it made just enough for us each to have one doughnut. They are no Krispy Kremes, but better for you and still delicious. They have a cake-like doughnut texture but not so heavy. Now I need to find a chocolate recipe. (says the Mr.)

Recipe from Fake Ginger

For the doughnuts
1 cup of all purpose flour
6 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp melted butter

For the Glaze
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1-2 tsp heavy cream (I ended up using almost 5 to get the right consistency)
sprinkles (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a doughnut pan.
In a large bowl mix flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in milk, eggs, vanilla, butter. Beat together until well blended. 
Using a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip (or a large Ziploc bag with the tip cut off) pipe the batter into a 6 doughnut pan. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in a preheated oven, until doughnuts spring back when touched. Allow to cool in pan slightly before removing.
To make the glaze, blend confectioners sugar, vanilla, and cream adding 1 tsp at a time until desired consistency. Dip doughnuts into glaze, add sprinkles. Enjoy.

Monday Musings

1. Sleep? What's that? Every three hours Emerson must be given pain meds from his surgery, yesterday I tried stretching it to 4, did not go over well...back to 3.It's like having a newborn again.

2.Watched 2 great family movies this weekend. Dolphin Tale. and Courageous. Both made me cry. Either because they were really moving or I am so exhausted I just cry all the them. Oh and The Debt was good too, not a family movie though.

3. Seal and Heidi Klum are separated. Why am I surprised my this? like it's affecting me, they have 3 kids. (I won't cry.)

4. Etta James passed away this weekend.

5.I am starting to get a bug to paint, something. My house feels dark and I want it to be light. I credit this bug to Pinterest.

Pinned Image

chunky white trim, light gray walls, black accents.


6. Happy Monday everyone.


This week has been exhausting. The anticipation of Emerson's surgery to now being so thankful it went well and it is behind us. Now time for the healing, he has been vomiting a lot from the anesthesia, they had to call him in a prescription. Since hydration is very key for helping the throat the heal. Here is a glimpse into my week. I hope yours was much more exciting.

 Basketball season is upon us. This is what our Saturday's look like.
 Abby girl enjoyed a day at the doggie spa. We enjoy a clean smelling Abby AKA "Sweetest Girl in the World."
 Oh yes, I busted this Christmas present out, made some donuts. Recipe coming soon.
 My lil man. What is it about those gowns, that just make you feel so vulnerable. I wanted to fold him up and hide him in my pocket with his little gown on. Thank you God for keeping him safe.
 We came home and built a cozy fire for him to rest in front of. I love that canvas....
 Sweet little man.
This is Leon's  "I know something is wrong but I don't know what to do about it" face....DORK.

Banana Cake

I actually think of this as banana bread, but the original recipe is called banana cake so there you have it. It is my second most favorite banana bread, my first favorite I have already shared with you all. I end up freezing bananas a lot because I always buy too many. I freeze some already peeled that I use for smoothies, then I freeze some in the peel that I have used for this recipe in a pinch, it works beautifully. Just let the bananas thaw on  a plate on the counter then peel and use, it will look like a wet mushy mess but trust me, it works!

Recipe by Lucinda Scala Quin

For the Cake
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 ripe bananas mashed

For the topping
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Blend in the melted butter mixing together until moist. Add 1/4 cup buttermilk, combine.
In a separate bowl combine the other 1/4 buttermilk with the eggs and blend into the flour mixture, add vanilla and mashed bananas, beat for 1 minute. Place the batter in a greased 9X13 inch pan.
To make the topping, squeeze the flour, butter and brown sugar together with your hands. Crumble the topping evenly over the cake. Bake for 35-40 minutes or when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Cupcakes

These are so yummy. They need to chill for about 4 hours before eating so keep that in mind if making them for a gathering. I could inhale a sleeve of oreo's in minutes. They are seriously dangerous.

Recipe by Martha Stewart Cupcakes

42 oreos (30 left whole, 12 coarsely chopped)
2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 large eggs, room temperature, slightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners and place 1 whole cookie at the bottom of each paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat the cream cheese until smooth on med-high speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Gradually add sugar, mix until combined, then add vanilla. Drizzle in eggs and beat until all combined scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in sour cream and salt until combined. Stir in the chopped cookies by hand. Divide batter evenly among the cups filling almost to the tops. Bake, rotating pan halfway through until the filling is set, about 22 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove from tins just before serving.

Lightened Loaded Potato Soup

I whipped this up after church Sunday, when I say whipped I mean it took no time at all. Simple and delicious. Oh and it has bacon, need I say more?

Recipe from Cooking Light Magazine

4 (6 ounce) red potatoes
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth (I always try to buy low sodium broth)
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 cups 1% low fat milk, divided
1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup fresh ground pepper
3 bacon slices, halved
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 tsp thinly sliced green onions

Pierce potatoes with a fork and microwave on HIGH for 13 minutes or until tender, cut in half and let cool. While the potatoes are cooking heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion and saute for 3 minutes. Add broth. Combine flour and 1/2 cup of milk in a measuring cup, add to pan, then add remaining 1 1/2 cup of milk. (I used a whisk during this process) Bring to a boil, stir often, being careful to not let the milk boil over. Cook for 1 minute, add sour cream, (again I used a whisk to incorporate it in and get it nice and smooth) salt and pepper.

Arrange bacon on paper towel on a microwave safe plate, cover with a paper towel. Microwave on HIGH 4 minutes. Crumble bacon.

Scoop potato into soup and discard the skins, use a masher to mash potatoes slightly. Ladle soup into 4 bowls and top with cheese, bacon and green onions.

Monday Musing

1. Watched Contagion this weekend, I'm never leaving the house...again.

2. My favorites from the Golden Globes last night


Leonardo DiCaprio - Golden Globes 2012 Red Carpet

3. Eme had his first basketball game this weekend. Adorable.

Tracy is one of the coaches. He is so patient with them, I love watching him.

4. Life's most persistent and urgent question is "What are you doing for others?" ~ MLK

Soft Pretzel Bites

I was so happy with myself when these turned out, I used to be terrified of anything with yeast. But you just have  sit back, relax and let the magic happen. This was a beautiful dough, the thing I am most shocked about is that they actually tasted like a soft pretzel! I MADE a soft pretzel! A ton of bite sized soft pretzels actually. Now you try. It makes a large portion. Perfect for a super bowl party.

Recipe by Bobby Flay...whom I love.

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
1 package active dry yeast
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups of flour
vegetable oil
3 quarts of water
3/4 cup of baking soda
1 whole egg beaten with the tbsp cold water
Coarse Sea salt

Combine water, sugar, yeast and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix until combined. Let sit 5 minutes.

Add the salt and flour and mix on low until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading the dough until it is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. About 3 or 4 minutes. If the dough appears to wet add additional flour, 1 Tbsp at a time. Remove the dough from bowl and place on a flat surface and knead into a ball, using your hands. Oil a bowl with vegetable oil and add the dough to the bowl tossing around to coat in the oil. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot. Let dough sit until it doubles in size. About an hour.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Bring the water to a boil in a small roasting pan over high heat, add baking soda. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide the dough into 8 pieces about 4 1/2 ounces each. Roll each piece into a long rope measuring 22 inches. Cut the dough (I used a pizza cutter) into 1 inch pieces. Boil the pretzel bites in the water solution in batches for about 30 seconds. Remove with a large slotted spoon. Place pretzel bites on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Make sure they are not touching, brush the tops of the bites with the egg wash and season liberally with the salt. Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown. Let rest 5 minutes before eating. Best eaten right away.


Our lives are so busy, time slips through our fingers, in the blink of an eye.....poof, days, months, years they become a blur. I'm able to remember the big events like, childbirth, milestone birthdays, vacations, but those everyday activities, the tiny moments, special in and of themselves....they become forgotten. Buried. The older I get the more forgetful I become. I don't always have my lovely dslr camera with me but my cell phone is usually by my side. Instagram makes capturing those times easier and more fun. I take a lot of photos with my phone, I've decided to make Fridays, Instafridays to share my candid, everyday moments.

 Started back my regular running schedule. hasn't been easy.
 My newest obsession, like a cherry cheesecake. No joke
 little Eme reading to us, so special. I love listening to his little voice sound out the words.
 Had some family photos turned into canvases, they turned out wonderful, I love them.

 Cleaned my floors, it lasted about an hour before the rascals got home. I have this to refer back to...
 I love you Costco.
 A treat for myself.
 A storm caused a tree to fall in our backyard, a mess to keep us busy this weekend.
 I will read this before seeing the movie. Wait for me Daniel Craig.