Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Big Announcement!

Well, as some of you may have already guessed from the title of this post, YES, we are expecting our first baby!!!

Baby K is due to arrive October 1st and we are BEYOND EXCITED!!!

God has truly blessed us with a miracle and we are so humbled by His faithfulness.  We are so excited to be at the start of our journey to parenthood! 

*Baby Fun Fact:  This coming week, our baby will be the size of an apple seed.  :) 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Promotion and a Cappuccino Cake

I am so proud of my husband!  He "put on Senior Airman", translation: he got promoted to Senior Airman.  I was SO proud of him, in fact, that I made him this Cappuccino Cake.

To be honest, he wasn't too thrilled that (right after he woke up from a nap) I made him stand outside and hold his cake, lol.  *I hope none of the neighbors are looking!, he says* 

This extra stripe, however, he is proud of.  And so am I...

I got this recipe from, where Christy Jordan compared its flavor to that of a cake served at Darryl's, a restaurant I remember going to plenty of times growing up.  I never tried this cake there, though - my family always got the giant turtle sundae to share. 

This cake is dark chocolate fudge and the frosting is a cappuccino buttercream.  I wish I could tell you more, but the truth is, I have had a cold/congestion for a week now and I can't hardly taste anything.  :(  I did taste the frosting by itself, and from what I could tell, it was really good if you love coffee.  My hubby liked it too.  So, if you've ever had this cake at Darryl's and want to recreate it, or if you just love the thought of a dark chocolate cappuccino cake, here ya go.

Cappuccino Cake
Recipe Source: Southern Plate

2 heaping Tablespoons dark cocoa powder
1 Box any flavor of chocolate cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge)
1 Cup sour cream
1/2 Cup milk
1/4 Cup oil
3 eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Cappuccino Icing
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 cups confectioner's sugar
Enough instant coffee granules to make three 6 oz cups of coffee (Read instructions on instant coffee to see how much they say to add for each cup. This will seem like a lot but it isn't)
1/2 cup milk
2 sticks butter, softened on the counter at room temperature (not in microwave)

Preheat oven to 350 and grease pans/baking dish.
Place all cake ingredients into mixing bowl.
Mix about two minutes with an electric mixer, or until well blended, scraping down sides as needed.
Divide evenly among prepared pans and let cook until done, about 25 minutes. (Since I was planning on sending the cake with my hubby to work, I made a single 9x13 cake instead of layers, just to make it easier on the guys.  You can do it either way, but my single cake cooked longer.  Just follow cake mix time directions for 9x13 & do a toothpick test to see if it comes out clean.)
Let sit in pans for ten minutes before turning out to cool completely.

For icing:
Stir instant coffee granules into milk until dissolved.
Place well softened butter in mixing bowl and beat until fluffy.
Add all other ingredients and mix until smooth. Scrape down sides.
Beat with mixer 5-7 minutes or until fluffy.
Ice cake and refrigerate. Best if served cold with chocolate ice cream and drizzled with chocolate syrup (such as Hershey's).

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Who loves Panera Bread?  (I can almost hear a chorus of "Meeeee!'s" through the computer.)  :)

When I was in college, Panera was a place that you always knew one of your friends would be up for going to eat dinner with you.  And I have to admit that 99.999% of the time, I got their broccoli cheddar soup.  

That's why I jumped for joy when I saw this recipe.  Could it be true?  Real "Panera" taste??  And it's my favorite??  AND it's 13 degrees outside?!!  JACKPOT! 

This soup was everything I hoped it would be.  It's cheesy, creamy goodness with tender broccoli & carrots and all the right flavors.  If you're looking for a new soup to make this winter season, let it be this one! 

Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Recipe Source:  My Life as a Mrs. via Sugarcrafter via. Mangio da Sola

4 tablespoons butter
1/2 sweet onion, chopped (about 1 cup chopped)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup flour
3 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups fat free milk
1 1/2 cups fat free half and half
1 cup shredded and chopped carrots
18 ounces broccoli florets  (I used frozen and it was fine)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
8 ounces Velveeta cheese, cubed into 1/2" squares
dash cayenne
dash nutmeg
Salt & Pepper to taste

Heat butter in a large heavy bottomed stockpot over medium high heat. Saute onions for 4-5 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and saute for another minute or two. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir until combined well. Heat mixture for another 1-2 minutes (stirring constantly).
Add the chicken broth, half and half, and milk; bring mixture to a simmer. Add the broccoli and carrots and simmer for 15-20 minutes (until broccoli is tender). Add both cheeses and stir until combined well. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes. 
Season with a dash of cayenne, a dash of nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with warm crusty bread and additional cheddar cheese if desired.

*I used an immersion blender to blend my soup a bit after it had all cooked.  I saved a handful of small whole broccoli florets to throw in the pot after the blending.  This was just personal preference, as I wanted my soup a little more creamy instead of eating lots of whole florets.  You can leave the broccoli as it is, no problem, but the blending is why my soup has lots of tiny broccoli bits instead of larger pieces.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Apple Dumplings

Yesterday, my hubby hung out with a friend of his for most of the day.  They started by shooting hoops at the gym, then came back to our house to play video games, ping pong, and finally to watch the game (TEBOW TIME!!).  :)

So sad about the Broncos...what happened, guys?!

I was hanging out with some girlfriends for a lot of this time, but I came home in time to beat both my husband AND his friend at ping pong...not joking , and get in on the pizza action.  After the pizza, I decided I should make a dessert, and I really needed to post a new blog today, so it worked out great! 

After tasting these apple dumplings, I was totally in love.  And the guys?  Well, their exact comment, I believe, was : "Tebow would've done a lot better tonight if he'd had some of these apple dumplings!  These are a little too good!"  Needless to say, we all thought they were fantastic and delicious. 

This is what they look like when they come out of the oven.  The top of each dumpling gets nice and crispy, but not too hard, and the bottom is so soft and dumplingy.  And the sauce?  Ohhh, the sauce...  Heaven.  These are so easy to make, so please...don't deprive yourself any longer.  You need these apple dumplings in your life.  :)

Apple Dumplings
Recipe Source:  The Pioneer Woman

*As usual, I only made 1/2 the recipe.  This recipe is very easy to half and will make an 8x8 instead of a 9x13 pan.

2 whole Granny Smith apples
2 cans (8 oz. cans) Pillsbury crescent rolls (original)
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Cinnamon, to taste
1 can (12 oz.) Mountain Dew soda

Peel and core apples. Cut each apple into 8 slices. Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll. Place in a 9 x 13 buttered pan. (8x8 if you're halving it like I did.)

Melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir.  (You want to incorporate the sugar, but it still needs to be somewhat lumpy and grainy...don't let the sugar melt).  Add vanilla, stir barely again, and pour entire mixture over apples. Pour Mountain Dew around the edges of the pan (I also poured some down the middle of the pan, between the 2 rows of dumplings). Sprinkle with cinnamon all over and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve with ice cream, and spoon some of the sweet sauces from the pan over the top.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cookies & Cream Popcorn

Remember that snack I mentioned on my Facebook page the other night?  The awesome, awesome snack?  Yeahhhhh...

When I came across this recipe online, it took me approximately 3 nights before I made it.  And it only took that long because our commissary no longer carries chocolate candy coating ("it's a seasonal item"  blehhh!!) and I had to go get it at WalMart (thanks WalMart, for understanding that my candy coating needs span throughout the year, not just in December). 

This is a wonderful snack and HIGHLY addictive.  I ate quite a bit of it before it even cooled and dried.  ooops...   But trust me, so will you! 

Take a look at this goodness:

Happy snacking!  : )

Cookies & Cream Popcorn
Recipe found at Sweet Treats and More via Sing for Your Supper

1 bag popcorn, popped (I used Tender White kind)
6 oz. white chocolate candy coating (popular brand names are CandiQuik and Almond Bark)
10-15 Oreos, crushed or roughly chopped (I used 15...duh!  lol)

Place the popped popcorn and Oreos in a large bowl. Heat the white chocolate candy coating in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between until melted and smooth.
Drizzle the white chocolate bark over the popcorn/Oreo mixture and stir to coat. Dump out on a large sheet of wax paper and spread into a single layer. Let cool and harden. Break into small pieces and serve.

*Note: My husband and I ate some of this the night I made it, after it had cooled on the counter, and it was delicious!  I put the rest of it in a large Ziplock bag to eat the next day, but unfortunately, I won't be eating any more of it because now it just tastes like 'plastic bag' to me.  I don't know if this is just me, but I wanted to warn you so that you will know to put any leftovers in a different kind of container that may work better.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Taco Pasta

Today was the first day back to school since Christmas break...sigh...

Not that it was a bad day, or that I dislike going, it's just the thought that break is over - it kinda gets a gal down.  I really enjoyed getting to sleep in, play with Katie all day, hang out with my parents when they visited, and curl up with my hubby, my blanket, and a cup of apple cider on the couch watching Grey's Anatomy and the Food Network.  Christmas break, come baaaack, waaaahhhh!

Well, the whining will never bring it back, so how about some good news?  Yes, I have a weeknight meal to share with you that's yummy and quick!  A fast meal on a weeknight is always a good thing!  : )

Taco Pasta
Source: The Girl Who Ate Everything

1 lb. ground beef
8-12 oz. medium pasta shells or other small pasta shapes (I used whole wheat pasta, but regular is fine)
1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies, drained*
1 packet taco seasoning*
3 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
Salt & Pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet or sauté pan, cook the ground meat over medium-high heat until no longer pink. A few minutes before the meat is cooked through, add the chopped onion to the skillet. Once the meat is cooked through, mix in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the diced tomatoes and taco seasoning and let simmer over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes.

Stir in the cooked pasta, cream cheese, sour cream and reserved pasta water, and continue stirring until the cream cheese is melted and the sauce is well blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over medium-low heat 3-5 minutes to reduce the sauce a bit if it is still too thin.

*If you are not a fan of spicy foods, I'd suggest buying the mild Rotel tomatoes with green chilis, and the mild taco seasoning packet.  I used the "regular" version of both, and this pasta is not too spicy, but it does have a kick to it.

Monday, January 2, 2012

An Accomplishment

I sewed my first button on today.  I now feel like I could do anything!

My husband has been asking me for a looong time to sew this button on, and I've been eyeing these ABU pants for weeks, folded in the corner of the room, wishing that the button fairy would come in the night and sew it on for me. 

I'm sure right about now, my mom and Granny's heads are shaking in disappointment.  They are probably thinking "I tried to teach you this years ago!" and "You should've learned how to do that a long time ago!".  The truth is, yes, they did try to teach me.  I never wanted to learn.  Sewing was the least important thing on my agenda, and I couldn't have cared less to practice.  (Funnily enough, I love to cross stitch...hmmmm...)

Well, I didn't have any help, and no, I didn't follow a button-sewing tutorial video on YouTube.  I did this all by myself!  In the process, I did break the head off a needle and sustain an injury (so thaaaaat's what thimbles are for...) but the important thing is that this button is officially sewn on!  I'm a real wife now!  lol

*Thought:  If the button that came off my hubby's pants is the one that buttons at the waist, does this mean I've finally put a little weight on him??