Wishing Everyone a happy, safe, over the top fun Labor Day Weekend!

 Remember way back when I shared how I get so overwhelmed in Trader Joes? I kind of shut down, I feel like I don't belong and suggested they give free tours? Well I still feel that way, but I do know exactly where to find these suckers and its worth the trip just for these. If you haven't discovered them by now, YOUR WELCOME.
 Is this not the sweetest ever? Big lug.
 snuggle time with Leon, why does he look so stressed?
 I went in blond, and came out brunette WITH BANGS! still in regret mode..over the bangs, not brunette.

 Rascals started school. Handsome rascals.
 We walked to school, the first day. Got all out jitters out.
 You know you did it as a kid.
Mom and brother came over yesterday and we canned salsa, SO.Fun. 21 jars of garden fresh canned salsa. I should have taken pics. We worked so hard.

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

No bake cookies seem to be quite popular, I suppose it's because of how fast you can whip them up.    Personally I do prefer a baked cookie, but the mister really liked these and said they reminded him of a cookie his mom used to make when he was a wee little one. So nostalgia wins. Enjoy.

Recipe by Brown Eyed Baker

1 stick unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup milk
4 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups quick cooking oats

Add 1st four ingredients to a 4 quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil and let bowl for 1 minute.
Remove from heat, stir in peanut butter and vanilla, stir until smooth, stir in oats.
Drop by heaping tablespoons onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets, flatten slightly with your hand. Let cool completely, until set.

Cinnamon Rolls

For the last several years I have made home made cinnamon rolls for the first day of school. I have always used Pioneer Woman's recipe, they are delicious, but the recipe makes a TON. This year I tried a new recipe and it's the perfect amount and they are also delicious. They are B I G and gooey and sweet. I used Pioneer Woman's Glaze because the mister hates all things cream cheese (how is he my husband?) This glaze is amazing, you WILL lick the bowl clean when your finished.

Recipe for rolls by Picky Palate
Recipe for glaze by The Pioneer Woman

1 1/2 Tbsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 cup warm water (115 degrees F)
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup warmed whole milk or heavy cream (115 degrees F)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for sprinkling on counter
1 tsp kosher salt

Cinnamon/Sugar layer
8 Tbsp unsalted, softened butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp ground cinnamon

4 Tbsp softened unsalted butter (for buttering pan)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar (for sprinkling pan)

4 cups powdered sugar (or more to get it to the right consistency)
2 tsp maple flavoring (I used pure maple syrup and it works great too)
1/2 cup of milk (I always use whole milk in baking)
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup brewed coffee
generous pinch of salt

Sift the powdered sugar into a large bowl, add rest of ingredients and whisk until nice and smooth and a pourable consistency.

For the rolls, place yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, add warm water and gently stir. Let sit until the yeast has doubled, about 10 minutes. In a medium bowl mix melted butter and warm milk, slowly add this to the yeast mixture using the dough hook on low speed. Add sugar and egg until combined. In a large bowl combine the flour and the salt. Add 2 cups of the flour mixture to the yeast mixture, making sure the scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue adding the rest of the flour until the dough starts to clean the sides of the bowl. Knead dough on low speed for 7 minutes. Place dough onto a floured surface in knead until it doesn't stick to your hands. Place dough into a large bowl that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cover with a damp cloth and sit in a warm place until it doubles in size, approx 2 hours.

Remove dough from bowl and place on a floured counter top, using a rolling pin, roll out to approx a 14X19 inch rectangle about 1/4 inch thickness. Spread softened butter over entire surface of dough. In a medium bowl stir together the cinnamon, sugar and brown sugar. Sprinkle evenly over the dough. Starting at the long end, carefully roll into a log. Using dental floss (unflavored) or a sharp knife cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces.

Take 4 tbsp softened butter and spread over a 13X17 inch jelly roll pan lined with a silpat or parchment paper, then sprinkle with brown sugar. Place 4 rolls per row about 1/2 inch apart. place into a barely warm over (turn oven on war for 5 minutes then turn off before placing rolls in to rise) for 45-60 minutes or until the rolls have doubled in size. Remove rolls from oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Bake for 15-17 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

Pour on frosting.

Makes about 18 rolls


This is our last weekend before school starts, I have mixed emotions. I have loved the carefree, laziness the late night snuggles and sleeping in, lounging by the pool, matinees. But the rascals need to be separated, they are sick of each other. I am sick of hearing them fight and call each other butt holes.  So we will make the best of the days we have left. I hope you've had a wonderful week, here's a glimpse into mine.
 Bacon is beautiful.

 Gallimore men
 my girls
 leaving me gifts.
 she watches them intently.
 the empty pool, summer is ending.
 i pinned this necklace many months ago on pinterest, the original is from J.Crew and you can enjoy one for $150.00 OR you can be like me and snag one (or 3) on ebay for 10.00 a piece, FREE shipping. Of course the quality is not the same but for $10 bucks.....1 of them even came with a little J.Crew tag on it. Happy Day!

Marinated Tomatoes

Another staple on my table for the summer months. The longer they sit, the better they taste. Try the leftovers on top of some crusty bread and a shave of parmesan. Because EVERYTHING is better with bread, and cheese..... and wine, and chocolate, I'll stop there.

Recipe by Paula Deen

3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp thyme
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 to 3 green onions chopped
4 to 6 large tomatoes each cut into wedges

Combine all the ingredients except tomatoes in a large measuring cup whisk well. Pour over tomatoes. Marinate at room temperature for up to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

The Best Chocolate Cake. Ever.

I am not kidding, this really is the best chocolate cake. It's moist, decadent and chocolaty, with a slight hint of coffee. I have combined the best cake with my favorite frosting. It is so good! I've been making it for years, it's typically many of our birthday cakes, this week I made it just to celebrate the end of summer. We fought over the last slice, it got dirty.

Recipe for cake is Beatty's Chocolate Cake as seen on Barefoot Contessa
The Chocolate Frosting is from

Butter for greasing pans
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups of sugar
3/4 cup good cocoa powder (I use ghirardelli)
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Chocolate Frosting
2 cups butter softened
9 cups confectioner sugar, sifted (I only use about 5 cups, start with five and add more to taste)
2 1/2 cups cocoa powder, sifted.
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk, room temperature (I use whole milk)

In a large bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy, slowly beat in the confectioners sugar, cocoa and vanilla. Add enough milk until frosting reaches spreading consistency. (It's important that the ingredients are sifted and your milk is room temperature to prevent lumps in your frosting.) Once it's all incorporated I whip mine on high until it turns a bit lighter in color and looks fluffier.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8 inch X 2 inch round cake pans.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry until combined. With the mixer still on low slowly add the coffee, and stir until combined. Using a rubber spatula the scrape the sides and bottom of bowl. Pour the batter into prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 30 minutes then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
While cake is cooling, prepare frosting.

Place one cake layer flat side up on a plate or cake pedestal. Spread with frosting, Place the second layer on top, rounded side up and spread the frosting evenly over top and sides of the cake.


 Football season has officially started. No joke.
 Shark's what we do.
 3 trips out to Ikea this summer and they finally had the rug.
 cousins playing
 celebrating the end of summer with a devils food cake.
 my two oldest boys watching Tangled, because they want to. I kind of love this...
my cloud obsession

Greek Yogurt Cake

My friends and I have discussed many times, that there must be something in Greek yogurt that makes it addicting. Crazy as it sounds, we find ourselves "craving" Greek yogurt. I could eat it So, since it's always in my fridge, when I saw this recipe I had to try it. It's a keeper. Think pound cake, but "lighter".

Recipe by Lucinda Scala Quinn

12 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp course salt
1 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
1/4 cup honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9X3 inch spring form pan.
In the bowl of a stand mixer beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, beat in eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Beat in vanilla.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a separate bowl mix the yogurt and honey. Alternately add the flour and yogurt mixture to the butter, beginning and ending with the flour. Transfer batter to a prepared pan and smooth top. Bake until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. About 35-40 minutes. Let cool in pan 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Zucchini Coconut Bread

I cannot tell you how pleased I am about how this turned out. I was excited to use up the coconut oil I have stored in my pantry. The shredded coconut adds great texture and sweetness. The partial whole wheat flour gives it a nutty taste. I will definitely add this to my repertoire.

Recipe by Two Peas and Their Pod

3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini (squeezed and drained in a paper towel)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9X5 inch loaf pan and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg.
In a separate large bowl, combine shredded zucchini, sugars, coconut oil, yogurt, egg, vanilla extract.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined. Stir in shredded coconut. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, remove from pan and let cool completely.

Monday Musings

1. Confession: I cry every time I watch the Timothy Green trailer.

2. Yes I realize there are way more important things going on in this world but I am so stoked that Jennifer Aniston is engaged. #teamjen

3. Is it weird to love fig newtons but hate figs?


 More then 600 people were waiting to read this book before me at the library. I am not a patient person, so I bought it at Costco today. Have you read it?

5.  2 more weeks of summer for us, 2 more weeks until I commit back to running at least 4 days a week. Not ready for either....

6.  Watched Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close this weekend and LOVED it, in a I cried through the whole movie and woke up with swollen eyes kind of way.

7.  So excited to see football on the television again. Go Panthers!

8.  Wishing everyone a wonderful, joyous, safe week.


 breakfast for dinner
 my favorite word.ever.

God is good.

Corn Muffins with Raspberry Jam

These would be a perfect addition to any cookout, chili cook off or slathered with butter and a cup of coffee. They are H U G E.

Recipe by Flour Bakery

2 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup medium coarse yellow cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 cup milk, room temperature
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup creme fraiche, room temperature
3/4 cup raspberry jam

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Butter a 12 cup muffin tin coat with a nonstick spray.

In a large bowl , stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt until well mixed. In a small bowl whisk together the butter and sugar until it becomes a thick slurry. In a second larger bowl whisk the eggs until well blended. One at a time whisk the milk then the oil then the creme fraiche and finally the butter sugar slurry into the eggs. Pour the wet mixture into the try mixture and fold together until just combined. The mixture will be thick and pasty.

Spoon about 1/4 cup batter into each prepared muffin cup. Spoon 1 Tbsp jam on top of the batter in each cup, then top off with another 1/4 cup of batter. they should be filled to the rim.

Bake for 25-28 minutes or until the edges of muffin are golden brown and the center springs back when touched. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes then remove.

Taste best the day they are baked, if kept longer then a day reheat in a 300 degree oven for 4-5 minutes.

Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie

A great recipe, and a cool dessert to bring to someones house, add some vanilla ice cream. Best served warm.

recipe by Melissa at No.2 Pencil

1 and 1/2 sticks melted cooled butter
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine melted butter, both sugars, salt and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix until combined. Add one egg and one egg yolk and mix until smooth. In a separate bowl whisk the flour and baking soda together and add to the wet ingredients, mix until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips, be careful not to over mix. Spread cookie dough into a 12 inch oven safe cast iron skillet. Bake for 18-20 minutes. (mine took more like 25 minutes)