Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Good as new

I thought I’d show you a few more pictures of that tree that fell onto the fence and driveway.



I guess we’re lucky the tree fell where it did.  The right side of the double gate was demolished, but that was the extent of the destruction.


Look how close the garage and the truck, a.k.a. White Lightning, came to being involved.



This was after the McHusband’s initial clean-up.  At least we were still able to contain the animals.



The McHusband spent the majority of Saturday out in the awful heat and humidity putting the gate back together and rehanging it.


If it weren’t for the un-weathered wood, you’d never know it wasn’t the original gate.


Since this was a McHusband project, it’s probably better now than it was to begin with.


Great job, McHusband!  I appreciate all your hard work on a sunny, steamy, sticky summer day.

Monday, July 30, 2012

{Recipe Recap} Mustang Week Snacks

It’s Monday.  Again.  Is it too early to be counting down to the long Labor Day weekend?

Let’s see, what did I do this weekend?  I baked (no surprise there), celebrated two birthdays (fun!), did a little cleaning (it’s just a fact of life), and finished a 14-mile training run (“finished” because there was some walking so I didn’t run the whole thing).  The McHusband kept himself very busy, and extremely sweaty, with lots of yard work: reassembling the fence gate, cleaning up yard debris from the storm, mowing, and spreading mulch.

But enough about THIS weekend.  Let’s go back to last weekend when the McHusband went to Myrtle Beach for his annual boys’ trip.  I couldn’t send him away without something, or three somethings, to snack on while he was gone.


The spicy pretzels are a staple now, I think.  The thing about those is, not only are they quite tasty, but they go well with beer.

I thought the Pretzel Bottom Snickers Blondies would be a good middle-of-the-road sweet treat for the guys.  Not overly chocolatey and with some crunch from the pretzels, plus you have the pairing of the sweet and salty, which is always a good combination in my book.

(That’s them on the far left stacked underneath the star attraction, the Goody Goody Bars.)


Okay, so the Goody Goody Bars.  They weren’t just good, they were addicting, delicious, and memorable.  That may’ve had something to do with me topping them with that fabulous fudge frosting that I’m putting on everything these days.

The base of these bars is Frosted Flakes and peanuts covered in a brown sugar-corn syrup-peanut butter mixture, which sounded pretty tasty by itself.  But I knew I could take it to a higher level.


Rick was at our house the night before he and the McHusband left for the beach.  I was cutting up the treats and let the boys have some samples.  They had the blondies first and then the Goody Goody Bars.  Rick summed it up best, saying something like, “The blondies aren’t bad, they just can’t compare to the other bars.”

If you’re looking for something easy to make that will have people oohing and ahhing over every bite, whip up some Goody Goody Bars.

One snack and two desserts for your Monday.  I think this could be some foreshadowing of the week ahead because I have a number of treats to share.  Good thing reading about food and looking at pictures of it is calorie free.

(The McHusband would like me to wrap up this post with a quick directive, which I’ve edited to get a PG rating, regarding the Goody Goody Bars: “These bars are effin’ good.  Make ‘em.”)

{Spicy Pretzels}

{Pretzel Bottom Snickers Blondies}

{Goody Goody Bars}

{Fudge Frosting}

Friday, July 27, 2012

Finally Friday

Sorry I don’t have a real post for you today.  I’m slackin’ two days in a row this week.  But I have another good excuse.  I was busy making these cookies.


They are made with browned butter, which has been touted as being pretty amazing and I didn’t really buy it until now.  It really does take these cookies to a whole ‘nother level.  I only had one small bite of a cookie, but that was enough for me to know that I’m really looking forward to savoring a whole cookie (or three!) tomorrow.

I’ll post a Recipe Recap on them next week.

Another weekend is upon us.  The McHusband’s playing poker tonight (that’s what the cookies were for) and I think I’m going to bake up some treats to take to Sara’s tomorrow.  Before celebrating hers and Henry’s birthdays, though, I have to get in my 14-mile training run so it’ll be an early morning and hopefully there’ll be time for a nap before the party.

TGIF and have a good weekend!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Some light reading

I don’t have a real post for you today.  Wednesdays are my late days because I go to spinning, which is from 6:30 to 7:30, and I don’t get home until 8:00.  Then there’s dinner, walking the dogs, showering, getting ready for the next day, and don’t forget the popcorn, that’s the most important part of my Wednesday-night schedule.

In addition to not having as much free time, I got my Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook yesterday so I think I’m going to wrap this post up and look through all the yummy recipes and drool-worthy photos.  Yep, I think we’re all going to be quite happy with this cookbook.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Look what the McHusband came home to yesterday.


I was out to dinner with the girls celebrating Vickie’s birthday when I got essentially the same picture as you see above via text.

The tree crashed right through the gate.  The McHusband said he thinks he can rebuild the gate, and I have utmost confidence in his carpentry skills.


The tree fell thanks to its trunk being weakened by termites and then yesterday afternoon we had a crazy storm with some really strong and sustained wind gusts.  I guess we should be thankful neither the shed nor the house was damaged.

Happy Hump Day!  Hopefully there aren’t any surprises waiting for the McHusband tonight…

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

{Recipe Recap} Toffee Caramel Chocolate Chip Cake Bars

I made these for the Wing Ding.  I figured they had a little bit of everything in them so they should have mass appeal.  I wasn’t wrong.


Chocolate chips.  Toffee pieces.  White chocolate chips.


And did you notice the caramel?



Since these were made with cake mix, they aren’t traditional blondies flavor wise, but the texture was similar.  You can taste the cake mix, which I liked.  But if you’re a purist who doesn’t like the taste of boxed cake mix, these may not be for you.


For the other 98.7% of you, I don’t doubt that you’ll fully enjoy these treats.


{Recipe here}

Monday, July 23, 2012


The McHusband was gone to Myrtle Beach for his annual Mustang Week boys’ weekend this past weekend.

But I wasn’t without overnight male company. Winking smile

At least a couple months ago, Sara asked Kim if she’d keep Henry overnight this past Saturday while Sara and Cliff attended an out-of-town engagement party for Cliff’s brother.  Seeing as how this is the week before Kim’s due date, I volunteered to be the back-up babysitter.  Well, after Kim’s doctor put her on modified bedrest, I was quickly promoted to Nanny Numero Uno.

Henry and I played with some of the cool toys we tend to keep on hand here at the McCasa: cups and limes.



Then we had some of the best chicken nuggets EVER for dinner.


We checked out the kitties…


…and played with some more fun toys.


Before we knew it, it was time for the Wing Ding, a little get-together in our cul-de-sac for our neighborhood. 


The theme of the gathering was chicken wings so most people brought some to share and then there were sides and desserts as well.  My best contribution were these Chocolate Chip Caramel Cake Bars.  Recipe soon.


It was getting close to Henry’s bedtime and there was enough going on that he was content to sit in his stroller and just take it all in.  (I promise, he only looks sad in this picture.  He had a blast at his first Wing Ding.)


Henry went down for the night without any problems and he slept through the night until around 6:30 or so, which is when Sara warned told me he’d most likely be up.

Henry ate a good breakfast then we played with some different McToys.



Finally, it was time for us both to get dressed and we went for a walk, covering every street in the neighborhood.  Henry helped me make some banana bread before his morning nap, then Sara and Cliff showed up literally as I was coming downstairs with him an hour later.  Talk about perfect timing!

Henry was a perfect guest and I truly mean it when I say I’d be happy to keep him any time.  I’m also really glad I got to have some quality time with my friend’s child, seeing as how I’m pretty sure I’ll be watching him grow up.

Now it’s about 10:15 and I’m exhausted from two early mornings both days this weekend.  (I was up at 6:30 on Saturday as well to run a 5k.)  So I think I’m going to call it a night.

Happy Monday!

Happy Birthday, Vickie!  I’m looking forward to celebrating tomorrow night.

Friday, July 20, 2012

{Recipe Recap} Brownie Bottom Caramel Cheesecake Bars

You know we couldn’t have guests without me using them as culinary guinea pigs baking up something yummy for them.  I decided to go with these bars, which seemed like a good compromise between something fancy and fit for visitors and something not-so-impressive but very tasty.


Cheesecake isn’t my favorite dessert.  I mean, I’ll eat it, but there are other things I’d rather have, like a slab of chocolate cake named after a certain Chinese landmark.  However, cheesecake + caramel + brownies?  Now that’s a dessert I’d order.


I used Salted Caramel Sauce from Trader Joe’s.  Ooh, that reminds me, I still have some in the fridge.  Not enough to go into a recipe, but enough for a bowl of ice cream.  Note to self: Buy some ice cream.


These were quite good and I can see myself making them again.  They were easy to make and I like that the recipe made a 9 x 13 pan of dessert.  When I’m looking to make a treat to share, I don’t like for the recipe to call for an 8 x 8 pan.  That’s not enough!


I found a new good place to take food pictures: my dining room floor.


TGIF!  I really enjoyed my day off yesterday although I stayed pretty busy.  I went for a run right after getting up, then mixed up some cookie dough that needed refrigerated prior to baking before we took the dogs to the vet.  Did you guys see their pictures over on the right?

After the vet and lunch, I baked cookies and bars and assembled some no-bake bars for the McHusband to take to the beach.  I also made him some Spicy Pretzels so I don’t think I need to worry about the boys going hungry this weekend.  My time in the kitchen was broken up by laying out and a few chores so all in all, it was a pretty nice day.

Hope everyone has a good weekend!

{Recipe here}

Thursday, July 19, 2012

No-photo Thursday

I’m playing hooky with the McHusband today.  Well, not really.  I mean, I’m taking a random day off, but I scheduled it on Monday.

“Hi, I’m Stephanie and I like to follow the rules.”

See, the McHusband was supposed to head to Myrtle Beach today for his annual Mustang Week weekend with the boys, but some things changed and now he’s not leaving until tomorrow.  So we’re taking advantage of his amended travel schedule to take the dogs to the vet for their annual check-ups and shots.  I hope to squeeze in some laying out and a couple chores then the rest of the day will be spent in the kitchen so I can send the McHusband to the beach with some snacks, both spicy and sweet, to remind him what’s waiting for him at home.

Did you guys notice the change over there on the right? ------------->  I’ve been enjoying Instagram since I got my smartphone in April, and I’ve been wanting to see about adding my photos to the blog so I finally took a few minutes to do that research today and voila!  If you click on the individual pictures, you’ll be redirected to a page where you can see them bigger and also read my captions.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a tasty treat that involves brownies, cheesecake, and caramel.  Sounds like a great way to kick off the weekend to me!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Celebrating Fourth of July

In honor of not celebrating the Fourth of July properly by doing so on time, I’m only now getting around to posting about the treats I made and the fireworks we saw.  If Katie, who gets paid to blog, can post about her holiday on July 16th, then I can do it on the 18th.

Heather and Bruce had gotten some fireworks from SC so they invited people over for snacks and loud noises in the sky.  No surprise, I volunteered to make some sweets.

I started with Red Velvet Whoopie Pies with Marshmallow Buttercream Filling.



I found the little flags majorly on sale at Michael’s and they completed my patriotic color scheme.


I had made those chocolate cookies that ended up flatter than pancakes so I baked them into some brownies and used my new favorite frosting on top. 


This treat was a chocoholic’s dream.  THIS chocoholic’s dream anyway.


I like my frosted brownies like I prefer my cupcakes: with a high frosting-to-baked-good ratio.


Before the third treat came out, we let Bruce give in to his inner pyro.


Some of the peeps:




I liked this night.  We bookended the entertainment with treats.  Once the fireworks were done, we headed inside for some Not Yo Mama’s Banana Pudding.


I saved some of the cream cheese-condensed milk mixture and added a little Cool Whip to it and spread that on top of the pudding layer.


If you’re a fan of banana pudding, you’ve GOT to give this a try.

So there you go, July Fourth 2012.  On July 18th.  But at least I recapped it in the same month that it happened.  I can’t always say that.