Saturday, March 22, 2014

Cinnamon Roll French Toast Casserole

I love the weekends when we're all home together as a family. I particularly love this weekend because we have nothing planned today! We can be bums all day and enjoy each other. I love breakfast as a family too. My husband loves french toast; I love cinnamon buns. Normally I will make us one or the other on the weekends but I decided to try this out. It's a French Toast Casserole made with cinnamon buns! The perfect combo. We ate the entire pan. 

My kids gobbled these up. I guess they're really not any healthier than cake (which they kept calling it) but at least there are some pecans sprinkled in there; oh and eggs too. Cake is okay for breakfast sometimes! 

This will not disappoint! Mmmm I think I might go have more...wait; there isn't any left!


2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 can Pillsbury cinnamon rolls (Cinnabon with cream cheese icing)
3 eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream or half-and-half (I used fat-free half-and-half and this still turned out great)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup maple syrup


Heat oven to 375.

Melt butter and pour into the bottom of an ungreased 8x8 pan. Open cinnamon buns and cut each roll into 8 pieces. Place into a single layer on the bottle of the pan. Save icing. 

In medium bowl, beat eggs. Add in heavy cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla and whisk until combined. Pour over the cinnamon buns. Sprinkle with pecans and drizzle with 1/2 cup syrup.

Bake about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Warm icing from cinnamon buns in the microwave for about 10 seconds and drizzle over the French toast bake. Serve warm. 

Recipe by Pillsbury

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Veggie-Shrimp Creamy Pasta

I love shrimp. I really love shrimp. In fact, while my husband was gone with the military I kept two things in my pantry and freezer all the time; shrimp, and Lucky Charms cereal. Yep. I'm so gourmet. One of the reasons I love shrimp is that it's a bit more elegant than chicken or at least it seems that way to me. It also defrosts so quickly and cooks just as quickly. In the time you spend just defrosting chicken you can already have cooked  a meal with shrimp. I also love that you can see when the shrimp is done. It changes color for you! No worrying if you're serving under cooked food to your family and friends.

Well, this meal is a favorite of mine. It seems very fancy but in reality takes about 20 minutes to make. It has so many yummy ingredients in it and tastes delicious. It's a quick and easy weeknight dinner to serve to your family or even a good dinner to serve to guests. It's versatile and oh so good.


1/2 lb.  your favorite pasta, uncooked ( I used farfalle)
1 Tbsp.  olive oil
3 cloves  garlic, minced
1 can  (14.5 oz.) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 bunch asparagus, ends removed and sliced
1 pkg.  (6 oz.) baby spinach leaves
1 lb.  frozen cleaned (with tails left on) medium shrimp, thawed
 ½ cup  whipping cream
½ cup chicken stock
Splash if white wine (optional)
1 cup  KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Italian* Three Cheese Blend
3 Tbsp.  KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees

COOK pasta as directed on package

Roast uncooked shrimp on a single layer on a baking sheet with olive oil, salt, and pepper for about 4 minutes or until they turn orange. Don’t overcook! If roasting asparagus, add them in the oven now to be ready for the next step.
Heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add garlic; cook and stir about 30 seconds or just until fragrant and tender. Add mushrooms and asparagus and cook under tender, about 4 minutes or so. (You can also roast the asparagus in a 400 degree oven with olive oil, salt, and pepper for about 10 minutes) Stir in tomatoes, white wine, and chicken stock; simmer 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add spinach; cook and stir just until wilted. Add shrimp and cream; cook 4 min. or until heated through, stirring occasionally.

Drain the pasta and add to skillet with cheeses. Stir until melted. Serve immediately while still nice and hot. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Magic Bars...Mmmm

I love 7 layer bars, or "Magic Bars." Anyone else out there love a good chocolately-rich-yummy treat? Well, I wanted to make some but didn't have all of the ingredients so I made up this yummy recipe. So good! I was even out of sweetened condensed milk and made my own. Did you know that you can make your own in a matter of minutes? I had everything I needed in my frig and pantry!

These whip up quickly and are amazing. They are great warm from the oven but I like to let all the flavors meld together and the chocolate and butterscotch harden again. Mmmmm

There is no need to toast the pecans or coconut either because they will all toast in the oven. 

Try them out!


1 butter yellow cake mix
1 stick of butter, softened
1 egg
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup (or more to your liking) chopped pecans
1 cup (or as much as you like) sweetened shredded coconut
Sweetened condensed milk (recipe follows) or one can


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix together cake mix, egg, and butter. Press mixture into a 13 x 9 cake pan, or casserole dish lined with parchment paper to form a crust. 

Sprinkle butterscotch chip and chocolate chips on top of the crust. Then add chopped pecans and coconut. Lastly pour the sweetened condensed milk over everything evenly; it doesn't have to cover every inch,

Bake for 28-30 minutes until coconut is toasted.

Sweetened Condensed Milk


3 TBSP boiling water
2 TBSP melted butter
1/4 cup plus 2 TBSP sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered milk


Using an electric mixer, blend together water, butter, sugar, and vanilla

Add powdered milk and blend until thick; keep in frig until ready to use. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ebates: Get Paid to Shop Online!

I want to tell you about Ebates! If you haven't used this yet, you really need to! Just doing my Holiday shopping through them online this year I have already earned about $75. I do a lot of shopping online these days. Getting out of the house with two toddlers is not very easy anymore! I need to plan in advance for days to get ready to leave. Working around nap times, appointments, grocery shopping, oh man! There is a lot going on these days! So that is why most of my shopping is done online! So, you should try Ebates out! Get some sweet cash for sitting on your rear end and surfing the internet while buying lovely goodies for your family and friends.

Click here to go to Ebates and try it out! It's completely free and a lot of times you get a $10 gift card to a great store like Target just for signing up!

                                                  Go to Ebates

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Suburban Foraging for Thanksgiving Decorations

Here is my Thanksgiving table! It was so fun to take a nature walk through our neighborhood and get things out of the woods for the table decorations. I didn't spend a dime on the table! Good food, good friends, and so much to be thankful for. I hope your thanksgiving finds you in a place of thankfulness as well. Happy Thanksgiving and now on to Christmas!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Chocolate, Toffee, Pecan Cookies (Egg Free!)

Wow, I haven't posted in almost 2 months! I need to get better about that! I have lots of pictures of food and recipes but just no time to blog about them lately. We've had a lot going on in the past few months. We had 7 weeks of straight visitors. Wewww! We love visitors but having that many and some coming the day that others were leaving made me realize I need to invest in another pair of sheets for our guest bed. I washed those sheets so many times in the past 2 months! Then we had my husband's 30th birthday, my 30th birthday, my son's 1st birthday, and a family vacation thrown in there too. Okay, so lots of posts to come. There is a lot to catch up on! Thank you for bearing with me!

My 2 year old loves baking with me. Well, I think he really loves to lick the spoon when we're done the best. He calls the beaters of my mixer "pops." He thinks they're his own personal lollipops. Today he wanted to bake during my youngest son's nap time so how could I say no in having quality time with my Buddy? And having cookies and *gulp* cookie dough isn't so bad either!

Got all the ingredients together and started making my cookies. Then GASP! No eggs! So how do you make an amazing cookie with no eggs?? Well, here you go! These are not egg-free though so if you have an egg allergy see the notes at the bottom of this recipe on how to make it egg free!

These cookies are crispy around the edges but still gooey on the inside. I love how the toffee makes the cookies almost caramelize. Trust me, you will not be disappointed!

Chocolate, Toffee, Pecan Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1  cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 TBSP mayo
1 TBSP corn starch plus 3 TBSP water
2 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate baking melts (I used Hershey)
1/2 cup (heaping) toffee bits
1/2 cup chopped and toasted pecans

Preheat oven to 350
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. After light and fluffy, add the mayo, corn starch, water, and vanilla
In another bowl , mix together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda 
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture 
Stir in chocolate baking melts, toffee, and pecans
Spoon TBSP size cookies (shape into balls) or use a small ice cream or cookie scoop onto parchment lined baking sheet or use a silicon baking pad
Bake 10-11 minutes or just until edges are light brown
Let cool for 3 minutes or so before moving or they will start to break apart

* Don't over bake! 
* To make completely egg-free, substitute the mayo for 1 TBSP corn starch and 3 TBSP water
* If you want to make these now and don't have any room temperature butter I find that the best way to soften butter is directly in the wrapper, as long as it's not in a foil wrapper, in the microwave. I use the defrost setting and turn it every 5 seconds to a new side. It normally doesn't take longer than 15-20 seconds to be the perfect consistency. Warning! Don't leave or you will have a buttery mess on your hands!
*I toast the pecan on a piece of foil in my toaster oven on 350 degrees for just a few minutes until you can start to small the nuts. They burn quickly so watch carefully.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Shrimp Scampi Pasta

My husband just built my son a train table since he is obsessed with "choo-choos." He is now obsessed with train tables. We are taking advantage of this new found obsession by having gourmet meals and eating in peace while he plays quietly with his trains and just hearing the occasional "choo-choo!"

Well, it was a Saturday night around 7; our big outing of the day was a trip to the grocery store to buy some food necessities and find something to make for dinner. We kind of just roam around the store to see what looks good and what might be on sale. And getting out of the house = sanity. So, we saw that shrimp was on sale and I loooovveee shrimp. Seriously, I could eat it for breakfast lunch and dinner. I also love pasta so I thought; hmmm...shrimp scampi pasta! This turned out really good and had all of the lovely qualities of a traditional shrimp scampi but with the amazingness of a pasta. Mmmmm

So here it is!


1 lb large shrimp (peeled and deveined, I leave the tales one for looks)
1/4 cup butter
2 TBSP olive oil
6 (yes 6 ) cloves of minced garlic
pinch of red pepper flakes
3 TBSP chopped red onion
3 TBSP chopped, fresh parsley
3 TBSP chopped fresh basil
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup wine wine
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese plus more for topping
1 can of diced Italian tomatoes
3/4 lb fettuccine or linguine (I used whole wheat fettuccine; I also cook the entire pound and save the extra for a side for dinner the next night)
1/2 cup pasta water (reserve 1/2 cup from pasta before straining)


Cook pasta according to box directions until al dente reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water.

In the meantime, peal and devein shrimp.

In a large pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil and butter, when melted add onion and garlic cooking until translucent and fragrant. Add in red pepper flakes and then shrimp in a single layer, cooking until shrimp are pink (about 3-4 minutes) and flipping half way through. Remove shrimp and place onto a plate. Add juice of 1 lemon and white wine cooking for about 1 minute. Then add diced tomatoes and bring to a boil then lower to a simmer. Add Parmesan cheese, pasta water (eye-balling to loosen sauce, you may not need the entire thing) and basil and parsley. Simmer for about 5 minutes, add the shrimp and simmer for an additional minute. Add the pasta ad stir to combine. Toss with additional Parmesan cheese and serve immediately!