Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Weekend Getaway

A couple weekends ago I went to visit some old friends... ok, they're not "old" just some people I have been friends with a long time :)

First stop was to see Marci.  I met Marci when I moved to Pennsylvania in 1991 and entered the 6th grade.  We've been friends for 21 years.  (If you're quick and did the math, you'll see that doesn't add up.  Yes... we were not friends in the 6th grade... in fact we disliked each other enough that Marci told me I would die on my 19th birthday.  I obviously survived... palm-reading was not her specialty.)  

Marci now lives in western PA with her hubby Justin and their cutie pie son Caleb.  Family member #4 is on the way! :)  We went to the Children's Museum in Pittsburgh to have some fun...
We did some painting... and managed to keep (most of) the paint on the paper!!
Played in the sand!
But the best part was Clifford!
We had so much fun :)
That evening after dinner we went to a nearby farm to look at the cows.  They were so cute!!!

We dressed alike on purpose.

Then we went to see the baby cow...

And then test out the tractor.

Of course after seeing the cows, we had to get some ice cream... with sprinkles!!  YUM!

After my visit with Marci, I drove about 1/2 hour to my friend Tracy's house.  Tracy was my randomly selected college roommate at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) in 1998.  We were so lucky to have found each other... we became friends immediately and were joined at the hip for the next 4 1/2 years and have remained friends for 15 years.  (This is making me sound old...)  

Tracy lives with her hubby Mark and their two beautiful daughters Lexi and Aubrey.  I had such a good time at their home!!  Unfortunately I dropped my camera at the farm and broke it, so I could only take pictures with my phone.  But I still got some great ones! :)

We did a little sightseeing in Pittsburgh...
First we had lunch at Redbeard's where I enjoyed my favorite beverage of the season...
a Summer Shandy... YUM!
Then we walked over to the Mt. Washington Observation deck to take some pictures.
Lexi & Aubrey being cute as always!
On our way to Point State Park Fountain!
It was a little stormy looking when we got there... but we were hoping it would blow over or we would get out of there before it started raining too hard!
I snapped this quick family photo.  <3
And then the rain came and we ran!!
It rained for awhile...
We were soaked!!

I had a fantastic weekend visiting my BFFs!  I am so blessed that I still have their friendship!

I just wished they lived closer... :)

Texas Hot Cocoa Cake

Last March I went to Texas for a family wedding.  While I was there, my Aunt Donna made Texas Hot Cocoa Cake that was amazing!!  Luckily she shared this awesome recipe with me.

I was waiting for a special occasion to make this cake and thought Mother's Day was just the day!

For Mother's Day dinner I made a yummy Cream of Crab soup, which can be found here.

But onto the good stuff!!

  • 2 ½ sticks margarine
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Melt margarine with coca & water in pan. Bring to boil & stir.
Looks yummy already!
Sift flour and sugar in large bowl.  Pour hot liquid mixture over flour mixture and beat until smooth.

Add milk, eggs, soda & vanilla and stir well. Bake in large oblong pan 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Icing Ingredients:
  • ¼ lb margarine*
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 ½ tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 lb powdered sugar
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
*So for some reason I read this as 1 lb margarine... 
there should be one stick of margarine... not 4.  HAHA!

Melt margarine, milk & cocoa in pan. Do not boil!!
Remember.... 1/4 lb margarine... :)
My audience as we patiently waited for the POUND of margarine to melt...
Stir in powdered sugar, vanilla, and nuts.

While icing is hot, pour over baked cake.
Hmm... that looks like a little too much icing...
Somehow I made it to my parent's house without spilling icing all over my car.  When we cut it, it was such a mess and was not like that when I had it the first time?!  It wasn't until days later that I double-checked the recipe and realized my mistake.
I felt like Homer Simpson...

But it still was (surprisingly) delicious!  I definitely recommend this cake... just make sure to read the ingredients correctly!  :)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Baked Pierogi Casserole

My BFF (a.k.a. Meg) stayed at my house for a month while working on her dissertation. I had pinned a recipe for Baked Pierogi Casserole a while ago and knew Meg would be the one to try it out on! :)

If you do not know what a pierogi is, it is awesomeness.  Or as Wikipedia would say...
Pierogies are dumplings of unleavened dough – first boiled, then they are baked or fried usually in butter with onions – traditionally stuffed with potato filling, sauerkraut, ground meat, cheese, or fruit.
I did not have pierogies until I went to college in western PA (IUP!) where they are an essential food group.  I was hooked, so I had to try this recipe!

16oz frozen pierogis (Mrs. T's of course!)
2-3 slices cooked bacon,crumbled (I ate the bacon, it didn't make it to casserole night)
1/3 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4-1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
chopped green onions, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Lightly spray 13x9 baking dish with non stick cooking spray. 
Arrange frozen pierogies in the dish.
In a saucepan, mix cream cheese and chicken broth. I love onions with my pierogies, so I sauteed some onions in the saucepan first:

Stir frequently until cheese is melted and smooth. Pour melted cream cheese mixture evenly over pierogies:

Sprinkle evenly with cheddar cheese.  (I added a little extra!)
The dish looked too big, so I transferred to a smaller dish:

Bake 20-25 minutes until cheese is bubbly and pierogis are warmed through.
Garnish cooked dish with crumbled bacon & chopped green onions.

Dishing it out was a little bit messy... but that just made it taste better!

And of course, this is how it should look (LOL):

It was yummy!!!

 Make sure to visit Meg's Blog here: http://pagirlmeg.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sweet & Salty Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars

This past weekend my friend Meg & I had an Origami Owl party.  If you have never heard of Origami Owl, check out my friend Wendi's website here... super cute personalized jewelry! :)

For a snacky dessert, I made Sweet & Salty Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars... and they were a-maz-ing!


  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter, divided
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, divided
  • 4 cups (roughly 1/2-inch pieces), broken small pretzel twists, divided
  • 2 cups (12 oz package) semi-sweet chocolate morsels, divided

1. Line 13 x 9 inch baking pan with foil leaving an overhang on two sides.  Lightly spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Beat 1 1/4 cups peanut butter and butter in large mixer bowl until creamy.  Gradually beat in 1 cup powdered sugar.  Stir in remaining 1 cup powdered sugar.

If you do not have one of these, go get one!  It makes measuring peanut butter so much easier!

3. Stir in 3 cups pretzel pieces and 1/2 cup morsels.  Press evenly into prepared baking pan.  Smooth top with spatula.

4. Microwave remaining 1 1/2 cups morsels and 3/4 cup peanut butter in medium, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on medium-high (70%) power for 45 seconds.  Stir.  If necessary, microwave at additional 10 to 15 minute second intervals, stirring just until morsels are melted.

5.  Spread chocolate layer evenly over powered sugar mixture.  

6. Sprinkle with the remaining pretzel pieces, pressing down lightly.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until firm.

7. Lift from pan; peel off foil.  Cut into pieces and store in covered container in refrigerator.

Find original recipe here.

Cream of Crab Soup

For Mother's Day this year, my mom wanted steamed crabs.  Since I have the best mother in the world (yea, that's right) I also made her some Cream of Crab soup... and it was gooooood!!

  • medium onion
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 (1.25 ounce) envelope hollandaise sauce mix
  • 4 cups half-and-half, divided
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon cooking sherry
  • 1 pound fresh crabmeat

1. Melt butter in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Add chopped onions and saute.

2. In a medium bowl, blend flour and hollandaise sauce mix with 2 cups half-and-half.

3. Slowly add hollandaise mixture to onions, stirring constantly until thickened.

4. Add remaining half-and-half, Old Bay, dry mustard, celery seed, and whipping cream.

5. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low.  Add crab meat and sherry, stirring gently until warmed through.

Make sure to pick through your crab meat to get out the extra little shells!

Serve immediately!  Goes great with sourdough bread from Panera :)

I got the recipe from a Marylander on allrecipes.com.  You can find it by clicking here.