December 22, 2014

Grilled salmon fillets with sun-dried tomatoes

I saw this recipe on the Today Show recently and even though I'm not a huge Salmon fan, Kathie Lee raved about it so much that I couldn't resist making it.  
And it was as delicious as she promised.

I'm definitely going to make this again and absolutely going to experiment more with baking sundried tomatoes like this.  It was almost like crispy little sun dried tomato bacon bits!

4 salmon fillets with skin on (6 ounce portions)
3/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash original blend seasoning
Pam cooking spray for high temp cooking
Aluminum foil

Remove salmon fillets from refrigerator and allow them to reach room temperature.
Make topping: In a small bowl, combine sun dried tomatoes and butter. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
Preheat grill or cast iron griddle to medium heat. Brush fillets with grapeseed oil and season with Mrs. Dash seasoning.(I used a bruschetta seasoning I had on hand).

Generously spray cooking surface with cooking spray. Place fillets on the grill, skin side up. Grill side without skin for approximately 2-3 minutes, watching carefully not to burn.
Flip to skin down side and grill for 3-4 minutes. Cover with foil until skin is crispy.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place generous portion of sun dried tomato topping on top of fillets. Heat for another 6-7 minutes, until sun dried tomatoes begin to crisp.
Serve immediately.

December 18, 2014

Easy Chocolate Peppermint Loaf Cake Recipe

If you like minty things, and especially minty chocolate things, make this!

It tastes like a fudgy Thin Mint and is totally easy.

I made some for my neighbors today.  Instead of making two large loaves I made 5 mini loaves.  That why I got to keep one for myself.  :)

One of them deflated in the middle for some reason, so I gave that one to my very understanding neighbor.  

Merry Christmastime.  'Tis the season for peppermint everything!

Easy Chocolate Peppermint Loaf Cake


  • For Cake:
  • 1 box (16.5 ounces) devil's food cake mix
  • 1 box (3.5 ounces) chocolate instant pudding mix
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (9 ounces) mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • For Topping:
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons water
  • 12 to 16 peppermint candies, chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (325 degrees F for dark or nonstick pans and 2-3 minute longer baking times). Grease and lightly flour mini loaf pans.
For Cake:
In a large bowl, blend together mixes, sour cream, oil, eggs, water, milk and extract at low speed for 30 seconds. Continue mixing at medium speed for 1-2 minutes. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into pans and bake for 30-35 minutes for mini loaves (40-50 minutes for full-sized loaf) or until top springs back to touch and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely before removing from pan.
For Topping:
In a small bowl, stir together sugar and 1 teaspoon water. Add a few drops of water at a time to reach desired consistency. Drizzle over cooled cakes and top with candy pieces.
Tip: Mini chocolate chips will distribute throughout the cake and create a more uniform chocolaty texture. If using regular chocolate chips, toss them with a teaspoon of flour before incorporating to help keep them from sinking to the bottom of the pan.

Get Cooking:

December 15, 2014

S.O.S. at 6am

Waking up at 6am every morning is for the birds.   Actually, it's probably before the birds get up.  

What is a person supposed to do at that hour?  

I had made a meatloaf by 8am this morning.  That is not even normal.

Usually by 10:45 am each morning, when I've been awake for 5 hours, I'm already thinking about how nice it will be to get in bed.  But instead I try to think of something to do to entertain Jack for the next 7 hours.

Alright, I've played with all my toys.  What's next, mom?
Do any fellow stay at home moms have any recommendations for activities for babies who are too old to be entertained my shiny objects but too young to do crafts, etc.?  I need something to supplement our toys at home, our beloved box fort, and the pastime of spilling over a dog bowl again and again and again.

December 11, 2014

Game Changers

This past week has been incredible.  Thanks to a few new things I have discovered that have truly changed my life.

1) This cheese:

It melts like a damn dream and has some spice in it.  It transformed some really good enchiladas into some epic enchiladas Sunday night and I couldn't be more excited for the homemade Mexican future.  I found it next to the normal cheese in the refrigerated section.

2) This:

I don't want to go as far as say I'm an "inventor", but I'm pretty sure I just found a revolutionary new way to eat fries while driving.

Dump the fries into the bag.  Sprinkle with Ketchup.  Then rip the entire top off of the bag.  It's like an in-car tray sent from the McDonalds gods to help ease your drive and fatten your ass on long car rides.

3) This mirror for babies in the car from Baby Einstein.  I've mentioned many times how Jack hates his car seat.  And I don't know if it's a sudden change in personality or a combination of maturing ;) and getting a convertible car seat and this miracle mirror device.  But I do know that I can actually go places now and not feel like a total prisoner in my own home.  Jack hasn't cried in the car in over a week and we go multiple places per day.  I'm a real girl again!

4) Jarred baby food.  I tried making my own for 3 months and Jack would barely eat anything.  Between the inability to go anywhere without Jack screaming and his absolute refusal to eat anything, I was honestly developing a stress induced breathing problem.  No joke.  Now that I gave up and switched to jarred, he is eating 3 solid meals a day plus lots of finger foods (blueberries, black beans, etc.) and I actually look forward to meal time instead of dreading it with all my might like before.

I feel like doing an Irish jig!  Now I can actually envision having another child.  Before these major breakthroughs it was really too daunting to consider.


But mostly, that cheese.

December 05, 2014

Boys and Bathrooms

Yesterday I ate my lunch while sitting on top of a toilet (with the lid closed!) while Jack played in a bathtub (with no water in it).  Score: F for lunchtime setting.  A+ for containment of child while eating.

Like his forefathers before him, Jack is obsessed with being in the bathroom.  Every time I let him lead the way he makes a straight shot for one of our bathrooms.

What is it with guys and bathrooms!?  If he isn't peering into the empty bathtub, he's either trying to sort the trash, eat the toilet seat, or make toilet paper confetti.

Also, should I be alarmed that my child will gladly eat toilet paper and dog food but has no interest in the organic, nutritious, wholesome fruits and veggies that I make him?  

If I could describe Jack in a nutshell it would be:

Lover of life, Rosie, and the pursuit of bathrooms.

Passionate hater of anything involving straps and food.

December 04, 2014

Neither Here Nor There

Have you ever heard celebrities say they lost all their baby weight by breastfeeding and then "chasing around a toddler"?  And automatically thought they were an asshole?

I have.

But I think I might have been wrong.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not losing any weight at all.  But I do now spent 12 straight hours a day chasing around Jack while he crawls everywhere in our house.  Whether he is trying to eat my shoes, snack on dog food, bath in Rosie's water bowl, or stand up with his hands gripping the toilet seat (new trick), I basically never sit down.

Ready, Set, PLAY

These days it takes me about 6 hours to watch one episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, 2-5 hours to finish unloading the dishwasher, and clearly like a week to write a blog post.  

I guess I can't blame the little guy for wanting to explore everything.  I mean, why would he ever want to play with plastic donuts and teddy bears when he could get his little paws on cords, dust bunnies, and toilets?  

He's a busy man.

I on the other hand am in some sort of weird mom limbo in which my child is young enough that he still has to base his life around naps, but too young to be able to do any actual activities.  So until that changes we will be spending A LOT of time together, inside, trying to avoid life threatening objects.

December 02, 2014

Pumpkin Caramel Tart with Gingersnap Crust

If you're like me you're pretending to be really healthy this week after feasting way too much over the Thanksgiving holiday and eating lots of desserts like the one below.

But if you are not, then make this.  It has a variety of textures which keeps it interesting and all the warm flavors of Fall in it.  Plus it's a cinch to make and pretty unique so it's an all around winner.


  1. 2 cups firmly packed gingersnap crumbs
  2. 1⁄4 cup butter, melted
  3. 3 tablespoons sugar
  4. 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  1. 1 (12-ounce) jar hot caramel topping*
  2. 3 large eggs, divided
  3. 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
  4. 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  5. 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. Garnish: whipped cream, pumpkin pie spice, caramel topping
  1. To prepare crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine gingersnap crumbs, melted butter, sugar, and egg white, stirring to combine well. Press crumb mixture into the bottom and up sides of an 11-inch tart pan with re- movable bottom. Bake for 10 minutes; set aside to cool.
  2. To prepare filling: In a small bowl, whisk together hot caramel topping and 1 egg, whisking until smooth. Pour caramel mixture into prepared crust. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, combine pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, remaining 2 eggs, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla, whisking until smooth. Pour pumpkin mixture over caramel layer. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until set. Let cool completely in pan. Store refrigerated. To serve, garnish with whipped cream, pumpkin pie spice, and additional caramel topping, if desired.