Date Night Bake Off

Hello and Happy Friday! I have been meaning to write this post since the Super Bowl and am excited to finally be getting around to it. The good thing about publishing a recipe post is that food is always relevant 🙂 And that somehow makes me feel like my procrastination in sharing is at least semi-justified.

Any time that Dan and I get together with family and friends, I jump at the opportunity to bring the desserts with us. I get the best of both worlds (please tell me that someone else just started to sing the Hannah Montana theme song. No? Just me? Okay) because I get to bake, which is definitely in my top 5 of things I love to do, and we don’t have dozens of leftover cookies on our counter that I inevitably snack on at all hours of the day.

Something about the competitiveness of the Super Bowl inspired me to draw up a little competition of my own and I challenged Dan to a Bake Off before the game. Being the good wife that I am, I allowed Dan access to my Pinterest account so that he could also choose his recipe. And with that, we made a quick trip to the store to grab all our ingredients.

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Dan decided to make Reese’s Fudge courtesy of Crazy for Crust while I opted to bake Averie Cooks Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars.

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We were both pleased with our finished products.

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After allowing our desserts to cool, we prepped and packed them for the taste test during the Super Bowl.

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The verdict? As much as it pains me to admit, and truly it does, Dan won by one vote. Being the incredibly gracious loser that I am, I will tell you that the Reese’s in the fudge swayed a couple of our voters over. And it’s not like those were homemade, am I right?! Just kidding. Now that I have had some time to cool off since our Bake Off I will say that the fudge was delicious. And even better was how much fun we had with the competition.

Reader Question – All time favorite dessert? The Cheesecake Factory has a Snickers Cheesecake that I love. A lot.

Food, Family, Friends & Football

As mentioned last week, Dan and I decided to host a Super Bowl gathering at our place. If you ask me, food, family, friends, and football is quite the winning combination. 

ImageAside from our run with Nola, the majority of my Sunday was spent planning the Super Bowl menu, grocery shopping, with a few impulse buys of course, and prepping food for the game.
ImageFor our main course, we had build your own paninis, no surprise there. We offered a variety of cheeses- pepper jack, cheddar, mozzarella, and brie. We also had an assortment of deli meats for the meat eaters in the group, aka, everyone except me. Our friends brought pizza rolls, fruit and dip, chips, and pico de gallo. Do you think we had enough food?
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Naturally, no meal is complete without a little dessert. I figured that for the Super Bowl, you better go big or go home, hence the ultimate decision to bake Texas Sheet Cake. Texas Sheet Cake has always been a family favorite. My recipe comes from my mom’s 1973 ‘First Ladies’ cookbook, if  it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. 
 
Ingredients for the Cake:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
*Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a saucepan, place butter, cocoa, and water; bring to a boil. Add dry ingredients, stirring constantly. Then add buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Bake on greased cookie sheet for 16-20 minutes at 350 degrees. Frost while hot.
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Ingredients for the Frosting:
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 box powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons milk
*Mix and spread on hot sheet cake
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The frosting on this cake is hands down my favorite part. It tastes like fudge, ah-mazing.
 
Reader Questions: Did you do anything for the Super Bowl? What was the best food you ate this weekend?

Be You

Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out?-‘What a Girl Wants’

Yes, I just went there. I just quoted the 2003 teen comedy, ‘What a Girl Wants.’ While this movie didn’t go down in history as one of my favorites, aka, it had nothing on ‘The Lizzie McGuire Movie,’ I did fall in love with this line. As a mid 20s ‘not a girl, not yet a woman,’ I have had my fair share of moments where I tried to fit in. As a matter of fact, I still have those moments almost daily.

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Serendipitously, I have also experienced my fair share of moments that I realize that life isn’t about fitting in; it’s about being you. And in these moments, I find that I am genuinely content. On New Year’s Eve, Dan and I hosted our friends at our place. We played charades and popped champagne all night. At midnight, we decided to head out to our rooftop parking garage to watch fireworks downtown. I decided that I would wear my bathrobe and boots to the occasion. Mind you, it was 75 degrees.

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Did my friends make fun of me for this? Absolutely. But, in that same moment, they completely embraced who I am. They laughed with me. Because life is too short to second guess who you are, to always keep up with the trends, to focus on things that don’t truly matter, and to try so hard to fit in. Be you.

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Dan obviously had no reservations being himself after the New York Giants Super Bowl win last year. Pure joy at it’s finest.

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Reader Question: How do you embrace your individuality?

Little Things to Love

Happy almost weekend everyone! I am so looking forward to comfy clothes, better workouts, sleeping in, or in my case, sleeping past 7 a.m., and of course, a little Primetime Sunday football. With the weekend right around the corner, I figured no better time than the present for this week’s edition of ‘Little Things to Love!’

Peanut Butter, Jelly & Brie Panini. I ordered this amazing concoction for lunch this week. It was so good! I even felt somewhat adventurous, going outside my comfort zone of the classic PB & J. Dan was most likely a bit embarrassed as I became ‘that girl’. You know, the one taking pictures of my food at the restaurant. Oh well, you know what they say, YOLO. Image

Pedicures. Lucky for you and the ladies at the nail salon, I resisted the urge to take pictures of my feet when my mom and I headed out to have our toes done. Pedicures are so relaxing, not to mention that I love any opportunity to fit in a little quality time with my mom.

Bubble Baths. Oh hey, happy place. I absolutely love to grab a good magazine and find tranquility in the bathtub. Nola was barking like crazy and my back was really bothering me. My solution, of course, a bubble bath. Image

Super Bowl. You know this had to make the list. I am a total football girl, not to mention, I love to snack. Super Bowl Sunday is a national holiday in my book. If only the Giants could win every year! Regardless, we are having people over on Sunday to watch the game and I am so excited to host.

Reader Question: What are you loving this week?