Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ladies Night Dessert

I am going to a "Ladies Night" tonight with my close friends and I just can't bring myself to show up 'empty handed.' I saw this recipe and knew I had to try it! And I also had to try one, to get a picture of it for my blog, of course! I must say, the tiramisu brownies are delicious, but the coffee taste is rather strong. I may consider using only 2 tbsp. overall of the instant coffee, especially if I use the Nescafe, as that coffee tends to be on the stronger side anyway! I also like that the recipe called for sour cream as opposed to the original Tiramisu trademark of mascarpone. The sour cream mellows out the sweetness of the Cool Whip topping while taking away a bit of the bitterness of the coffee. The brownie is nice and sweet, so combining the bitter and the sweet bides well for the palate. Also, I was unable to locate some Lady Finger Cookies to use, so I used some shortbread cookies. The cookies did not maintain their integrity once the hot coffee was poured on them, so I had cookie mush to work with. Next time I will find those Lady Fingers, they really soak up liquids better while maintaining their shape. Hopefully the ladies enjoy them tonight - since they aren't too sweet or too bitter!


- 1 box brownie mix
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 4 tbsp. instant coffee, divided
- 16 oz. container Cool Whip
- 2 1/2 cups crushed Lady Finger cookies
- 8 oz. cream cheese
- 1 package jello pudding cheesecake
- cocoa powder, for garnish

1. Make brownies according to the package in a 13" x 9" pan.
2. In a bowl, add 2 tbsp. instant coffee to the milk and then add the pudding (3.4 oz), set aside.
3. Beat cream cheese in your mixer, add sour cream, and then pudding mixture. Once combined, add half of the Cool Whip.
4. In another bowl, add the remaining 2 tbsp. of coffee to the hot water. Pour on top of your crushed cookies to soak.
5. Once brownies have cooled, spread 1/4 of the pudding/Cool Whip mixture on top. Place the cookies on top of that and top with the remaining pudding/Cool Whip mixture. Spread remaining Cool Whip on top and sprinkle with cocoa powder.
6. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator.


 Pudding/Coffee Mixture
Top: cream cheese/sour cream and then coffee/pudding and Cool Whip added
Bottom: Crushed cookies and cookies with hot water/coffee on top (mushy)

Top: Brownies with 1/4 pudding/Cool Whip mixture
Middle: Mushy Cookies
Bottom: Remaining pudding/Cool Whip and Cool Whip topped with cocoa powder

 Tiramisu Brownie


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

DIY Cardboard Box Fire Truck

So my son is OBSESSED with fire trucks. He plays with his toy fire trucks, we read books about fire trucks, he screams in the car every time he sees a fire truck. My son LOVES fire trucks. So, naturally I was thinking of throwing him a "Fire Truck" themed Birthday Party. Now here in Colorado you can do tours of fire stations, but you can not host a birthday party there. Also, fire fighters will not drive their truck to your house for a party either. I've been brainstorming like crazy trying to figure out what to do that incorporates fire trucks. I came across this birthday party, and I fell in love with their idea. Now I'm not sure how to plan for a fire truck 'race' in mid-November here in Colorado... so I will have a twist!

Below is the first (probably of a dozen) DIY Cardboard Box Fire Truck I made! I'm probably going to be the coolest mommy tomorrow when my son sees this bad boy!


- cardboard box, size large (my son has long legs)
- can of Red spray paint
- packaging tape
- construction paper
- craft glue
- scissors
- tupperware lids

 Large box assembled with only the bottom taped, top left open with sides folded in so child can sit in and "ride" the fire truck

 Spray painted box

 I used tupperware lids to cut "lights" and "wheels" for the fire truck

I even added a "window" and a "ladder" on each side - completed "Fire Truck!"


Friday, August 16, 2013

DIY Preschool Craft and Breakfast Play Date

I have been busy planning a "Preschool Play Date" for my 2 1/2 year old and his little friends who will be joining him at Preschool next month. I decided to have them come ready for breakfast and do a craft!

For the craft, I decided on a "Look What I Made" frame that they would each paint. I attached binder clips on a string and strung it across the frame so they can display their artwork from school.

 "Look What I Made" Frame Completed (before painted)

Frames from JoAnn's Fabrics on sale for $6 each, 4 x acrylic paint from Hobby Lobby $2.99 each, Scrapbook paper background from Hobby Lobby $0.59 each, binder clips from Target $2.99, Packaging string from Hobby Lobby $3 each
*I asked each mommy to let me know what their Preschooler's favorite color was for their background chevron paper

 Table Scape: Paper bag/chevron wrapping paper as a table cloth and balloons!

Breakfast: Blueberry Muffins, Rainbow fruit salad, Alphabet Cookies, Yogurt/Granola/Fruit, 

 Alphabet Cookies, Rainbow Fruit Salad, Muffins

 Painting their frames!

Kinley Painting

Completed "Look What I Made" Frames

Kinley's friend, Carter, handed each of his friends a book

Unwrapping "The Night Before Preschool" - Thank you Carter!

The littlest siblings behaved during the Toddler Craziness!

The kids had a ball and ate lots of baked donuts and fruit! They even destroyed some snacks and made a complete mess of all our toys - the Play Date was a complete success! 

5 tired toddlers...


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Baked Donuts

When I am stressed I like to workout... when I'm super stressed I like to bake... and then give away what I baked so I don't eat everything I made! Well I have had this "Baked Donut" recipe on my mind lately and the blogger who posted it, even included a nifty link that prints the recipe out for you! I made the dough after dinner this evening and let it rise in my oven while I gave the boys a bath and put them to bed. I just finished making them and demolished 2 donuts and a donut hole! What a delicious dessert! I really think you should try out this recipe, it is definitely a keeper and I look forward to making them again... very soon!

Baked Donuts

*Makes about 15 donuts and donut holes

Dough Ingredients

- 3/4 cups warm milk
- 1 packet Active Dry Yeast
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (plus 2 1/2 tbsp. flour at high altitudes like Colorado)
- pinch of nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. salt

Glaze Ingredients

- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
*sprinkles optional

Baked Donuts:

1. Place 1/4 cups warm milk in the bowl of your Kitchenaide mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk and let sit for 5 minutes.
2. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup milk, butter and sugar. Add it to the yeast mixture and stir to combine.
3. Add the egg and stir.
4. Add flour, nutmeg, and salt. Stir until the dough begins to form.
5. Change the beater to the dough hook and knead the dough until smooth. Add more flour to dough if it is too sticky.
6. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Place in a large lightly greased bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in a warm place for an hour, or until dough has doubled in size.
7. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface until 1/2 inch thick. Cut out the donuts using a donut cutter, or 2 biscuit cutters.
8. Place donuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place a clean towel over them and let sit for 45 min.
9. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake donuts for about 6-8 min. I baked mine for 6 minutes and they turned out perfect!
10. Top with glaze!


1. In a small saucepan, warm the vanilla and milk. Slowly whisk in the confectioners sugar.
2. Remove from heat and dip your donuts halfway into the glaze.
3. Place on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet.
4. Top with sprinkles if desired. Let stand for 10 min.

 Dough on parchment paper before being baked

 Baked Donuts


 Glazed Baked Donuts


Donut Holes



Monday, August 5, 2013

Some Recipes... Good and Not So Good

Sorry for the delay in posts! I have been busy coming back from vacation and adjusting to being back on a routine with my boys. I have made a few recipes I'd like to share with you all. The first is a super easy Caprese Chicken - I also made Caprese Pizza which was amazing, but forgot to take pictures of it! So I will include that in another post down the line. I love quinoa so when I saw a recipe for a Mexican Quinoa Bowl, I was thrilled! Plus is called for guacamole and that has to be one of my favorite things of all time to eat!

My son loves chips. Can devour a small lunch sized bag of chips. Can be quiet for 20 minutes eating said bag of chips. So I thought, why not try making my own 'healthy' chips?! Salt and Vinegar Sweet Potato Chips... not so good. But I will include it below in case you get adventurous!

Caprese Chicken


- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
- 10 basil leaves, finely chopped
- 8 oz. mozzarella cheese, sliced in 1/2 inch thick slices
- balsamic vinegar, to taste

1. Season both sides of chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
2. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a pan at medium heat. Add chicken breasts and cover pan for about 10 min. Flip the chicken and allow to continue to cook through.
3. In a medium saute pan, heat other tbsp. of olive oil and add garlic and tomatoes. Cover pan and let cook for 5 min. Remove from heat and add basil leaves.
4. Once chicken is done place two slices of mozzarella on each chicken and pour tomato mixture on top, cover for 2 min., or until cheese has melted.
5. Drizzle chicken with balsamic vinegar before serving.


Tomato Mixture

Chicken with Mozzarella Slices

Caprese Chicken

Mexican Quinoa Bowl


- 1 cup quinoa, not cooked
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (I used Organic Chicken Broth)
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup corn
- 1/2 tsp.  kosher salt
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, optional
- 1/4 of a lime, juiced
**Optional Toppings: salsa, sour cream, shredded cheese, guacamole, crushed tortilla chips

1. In a large pan set to medium heat, add garlic. Cook for about 1 min. Add quinoa, broth, diced tomatoes, corn, black beans, and salt.
2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 25 min. 
3. Remove from heat and add cilantro and lime. 
4. Serve with your toppings of choice!

Mexican Quinoa Bowl

Salt and Vinegar Sweet Potato Chips


- 2 small sweet potatoes
- 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 tsp. sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray.
2. Slice sweet potatoes as thin as possible.
3. Mix sweet potatoes in a bowl with rice vinegar and sea salt. 
4. Place sweet potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheet.
5. Bake for 20 min. or until chips are crunchy. 


 Slice the Sweet Potatoes Thin

Mix with Sea Salt and Vinegar

 Single Layer

Sweet Potato Chips