Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I made a mess

But it was for a good cause.


I made not one but two frostings last night.  One was my yummy vanilla buttercream that Vickie requested for her birthday cupcakes, the flavor of which is still a surprise, and the other was, well, it was something I’ve never made before.  I’ll update you guys sometime soon, but my lips are sealed as to what that frosting and the bars it went on were. 

Well, they’re sealed until our girls’ dinner at Pei Wei, a.k.a. the poor (wo)man’s PF Chang’s, tonight when my mouth will open wide to let some treats in.


Halfway through the week!  And can you believe it’s the last day before August?  August is when school starts, which signals the official end of summer, which means the days’ll be shorter, which means winter’s right around the corner, which means there’re less than 150 shopping days left until Christmas!

Okay, maybe I’m speeding the clock up a little, but seriously, where has 2013 gone?  Anyone else wondering the same thing?

Monday, July 29, 2013

The weekend

I had a normal weekend.  Dinner out with the McHusband Friday after work before spending the rest of the night in the kitchen making Cosmopolitan Cocktail Bars and a strawberry version of that Chocolate Éclair Cake.

Saturday morning, I loaded up those Cosmo Bars and the McHusband and I went to Rebecca’s first birthday party.



And since kids were invited, we brought one of ours.


Several of the kids really liked Monte.



That’s Zachary, Terry and Vickie’s little boy, getting right down on Monte’s level.


After the party and some errands, I headed home to make more chocolate gelato and some Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats.  We went to Heather and Bruce’s Saturday night for snacks and a game night.

For the record, Shawn loved the gelato as expected, and even requested it for his next birthday, and Heather was a big fan as well.

Sunday was normal for me with laundry, chores, some baking, a 90-minute spin class, and a homemade meal.  I made banana bread using a new recipe and I really liked it – the bread was more pound cake-y than quick bread-y.  I for one thought the texture was great and the flavor hit the spot as well.  I just may’ve found my new go-to banana bread.

And just to round out this post with one last thing I made but didn’t take a picture of, we had Baked Cumin-Cayenne Tilapia for dinner along with some steamed cauliflower and edamame.  Had to redeem ourselves after all the treats the night before.  I doubled the spice mixture for the tilapia and was glad I did – the fish had some kick but in a good way.  We’ll be using this recipe again.

I’ve got more baking to do this week.  Two birthday treats, something for a breakfast meeting, then more treats for the weekend.  And of course all that baking means plenty of time in the gym as well.  Except for Wednesday when we girls are getting together for dinner to celebrate Vickie’s and Sara’s birthdays.

Hope you guys had good weekends!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sittin’ in the rain

Have you guys seen this picture?

A tree frog uses leaf as an umbrella (© Penkdix Palme/Newsteam/

Any animal that uses an umbrella is okay by me!

Man, did Friday take its sweet time getting here or what?  I’m hoping next week, which is only four days for me, will go by much more quickly.

Not much to report this week.  I didn’t combine any sugar, butter, and flour; I didn’t download the photos Shannon sent me from our beach trip; I didn’t see any of the animals doing anything worth noting.  Like I said, it was a slow week in real life and, apparently, in the land of McMania.

However, there’s definitely more going on this weekend.  Lots of sugar and butter and flour coming together, some birthday celebrating, and I bet I’ll catch Morgan and Monte being cute.

TGIF and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A little visitor

Some of you may’ve seen the little hummingbird photo I posted to Instagram.  This little guy flew into the garage a few Saturdays ago and couldn’t find his way out.  See, we have a really tall garage so with the garage door open, the poor little guy didn’t know to fly below the garage door to get out.

He flew and flew against the ceiling and the walls until he knocked himself silly and fluttered down to a shelf, luckily landing on one of the McHusband’s rags.

The McHusband and Kevin were out in the garage working on Kevin’s car so they’d been tracking the hummingbird all afternoon and saw when he fell.



We set the hummingbird on the trunk of my car, tucking him under the spoiler so he wasn’t in the sun.  I even made him some sugar water and put it in a Talenti top right next to him, thinking that he was probably in need of some nourishment.


Unfortunately, this story doesn’t have a happy ending.  Our little feathered friend didn’t make.  But if there was a silver lining, it’s that we got to see a hummingbird up close, which was pretty neat.  After all, these tiny flyers don’t stay still for long, not even when they’re slurping from my hummingbird feeder.

PS  Happy Birthday, Vickie!  Hope you’re enjoying your day off!

Monday, July 22, 2013

{Recipe Recap} Dark Chocolate Gelato

Not only do I need to get the last of this stuff out of my house, but I need to get this post written so I can get the delicious taste of this ice cream out of my head.


This homemade ice cream looked too good to be true.  No eggs to turn into a custard?  Only 6 simple ingredients?  No straining?  I simply HAD to make it.


I’d bought some Dutch-processed cocoa a few months ago when I was in Penzey’s SpicesDutch-processed cocoa isn’t easy to find, but I have several recipes, like one for brownies that’s gotten rave reviews, that use it.


This ice cream was super smooth and the flavor was so rich, I actually felt satisfied after just a normal amount – a little less than a cup – of it as opposed to eating the majority of it in one sitting.


This isn’t necessarily the ice cream for just anyone who thinks they really like chocolate.  You have to like a stronger, dark chocolate flavor.  It’s still plenty sweet, but it’s no Breyer’s (and that’s a good thing).


I’m sending the last of this stuff into the office with the McHusband.  I portioned it out into three little containers so his coworkers can grab them out of the freezer and have a treat.  The McHusband works with the biggest bunch of chocoholics, which is good for me because I always have a willing group of guinea pigs at my disposal.


Shawn would really like this gelato so I will have to make it again when I know I’ll see him.  I’m not sure if Heather’d like it; she’s a confirmed chocoholic, but sometimes she doesn’t go for the darker stuff.  But I’m thinking she’d appreciate the chance to decide for herself. Smile


Hope you all had a good weekend.  I was batching it as the McHusband was off to the beach for his annual Guys’ Weekend/Mustang Week.  I pretty much had a normal weekend: the Y, my own honey-do list, some baking (you should DEFINITELY make this zucchini bread), and a homemade dinner (again, something I’d recommend) for my wonderful husband.

I’ll try not to let this be a one-post week like last week, but we’ll see how things go.

Have a wonderful Monday!

{Recipe here}

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Sorry for the lack of posts.  I did pretty good last week even with being away at the beach but then I lost my steam and don’t think I’ll be getting it back until next week.  I had my boot camp class and some baking last night; tonight’s an HOA meeting; then tomorrow night’s the Y and throwing together some snacks and sweets for the McHusband to take to the beach for his annual Mustang Week trip.

So anyway, I’m not sure how much time and energy there’ll be for blogging.  In the meantime, I have a recommendation for you.

Or maybe I shouldn’t tell you about them because if you decide to get some and you eat the whole box in only slightly longer than one sitting (As in, you eat half the box and put it away, only to get up and finish the box 10 minutes later.  Hypothetically speaking, of course.), you’re gonna be mad at me.

I’m not the only one who likes them.  The Impulsive Buy likes them, too.

One more thing: Did you guys see how Nike messed up this Panthers t-shirt?  Pretty bad, huh?  Is it terrible that I kinda want one? Rolling on the floor laughing

Happy Hump Day!

P.S. Happy birthday to Leigh!

Thursday, July 11, 2013


I promise, Monte’s right in the head.  Well, as right as any six-month-old puppy can be.  But he sure looks a little off below, doesn’t he?


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

{Recipe Recap} Peanut Butter Marshmallow Pillowtop Bars

Kevin and Jenny got me this cookbook at my request for my birthday.  It didn’t get published until after my birthday so it was about mid-May or so before I got it, but I still can’t believe it’s taken me this long to make one of Averie’s recipes. 

The McHusband and I went to dinner with Shawn, Vanessa, Heather, and Bruce on Saturday and you know I love an opportunity to use my friends as guinea pigs.  It was sort of a last-minute decision, but luckily I had everything I needed to make these bars.


I put chocolate chips on only half the bars so the McHusband wouldn’t say I ruined these with chocolate.


The bottom layer is made from old-fashioned oats, sweetened condensed milk, butter, and white chocolate chips.  It seemed like the general consensus was that the oats were unexpected and people needed to warm up to them.


I didn’t mind the oats and thought the bars were generally pretty good.  VERY peanut butter-y.


These had a little bit of everything going on in the texture department.  A little harder and chewier on the bottom, then pretty soft in the middle, and then the topmost layer had just a touch of crackle to it.


I liked that these were super easy to make, but they weren’t my favorite bars ever.  That’s okay though; there are plenty more recipes in the book that I’m looking forward to making to see if they’re my favorite.

It’s a tough job but someone’s gotta do it.

{Recipe here}

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Maxie & Lyla’s Party: Guestbook photos

Okay, last party post.  Every year, Bri has set up an area where people are expected to have their Polaroid picture taken so that the photo can go in a guestbook that people sign.

First up, the birthday girls and their ‘rents.




The McHusband and I were next.



Then came Mom, Shannon and the kids minus Lyla who’d had enough posin’ and picture-takin’ by that point.


There’s Maxie’s sweet smile.


Olivia was most interested in the prop for the Wanted poster.



It is going to be so much fun down the road to pull these photo guestbooks out and look through the pictures and read what everyone wrote.  Obviously people will look different, but so will the families.  Singles will get married, and already couples have become threesomes and, in some cases, foursomes.

So that wraps up Birthdaystravaganza 2013.  Time to start working on next year’s party!

Monday, July 8, 2013

{Recipe Recap} Banana Butter Pecan Bundt

It’s Monday.  Sigh.  Imagine I’m saying “It’s Monday” in an Eeyore voice.  Sorry, Monday, but you’re just not my favorite day of the week.  Lucky for me, I just have to get through today and tomorrow and then I’m heading to Myrtle Beach to meet up with my mom, sisters, and the kids for a little vacation.  I haven’t been to Myrtle in…wow, I don’t even know how long.  I’m not much of a beach person in general in that it’s not the first place I’d choose for a vacation, but once I get there I enjoy what it has to offer.

Except for the sand in my bathing suit.  That never works for me.

Know what makes Mondays better?  Sugar.  Brown, white, powdered, I like ‘em all.


I had ripe bananas and wanted something simple and different to make with them.  I stumbled across this recipe on Allrecipes and it started with a cake mix.  Check off easy!  Butter Pecan cake mix?  Check off different!


Since the recipe called for an 18.25-oz box of cake mix, which really isn’t made anymore, I added 3 oz of cake flour to the mix.  I used the Pam baking spray, the one that has the flour in it, to grease my Bundt pan.  That stuff works like a dream.

This cake baked up beautifully.  Done on the outside without being toasted and moist and crumb-y – not to be confused with crummy – on the inside.  After it cooled, I made the frosting, which is my favorite part of the cake.  I will be using this frosting again.


The cake itself wasn’t my favorite.  I think the butter pecan threw me off.  I wouldn’t mind trying this again with a caramel or yellow cake mix.


The McHusband said he liked the frosting but he felt like it didn’t “go” with the cake.  I didn’t have a problem with the combo, and no one I shared the cake with at my office did either.


{Recipe here}

Friday, July 5, 2013

Friday the 5th

So how many of you are back at it, grinding away at work like me today?  It was kinda weird to have yesterday off but not today.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about the random vacation day.  Our office voted to work today and instead have Christmas Eve, which is a Tuesday, as a company holiday.

So anyway, how’d I spend my Fourth?  I slept in, baked a Bundt cake (What’s more American than a Bundt cake?), and made some light-ish homemade vanilla ice cream.  Okay, I guess that might be more American than a Bundt cake.

The McHusband and I walked the dogs and when we got back, Monte found the first a/c vent and plopped down with his tongue hanging out.  Silly puppy.

The McHusband ended up joining our friends out at the lake but I opted to stay home as planned and just have a chill day.  And by “chill day,” I mean spend the afternoon sweating outside laying out trying to get a base tan before I head to the beach next week.  Monte must’ve been suffering from short-term amnesia because he wanted to come out on the deck with me.


He didn’t last very long.

My plan for a base tan worked great on my front, and a little too well on my back.  I’ll spare you the topless picture I shared with Shannon and Heather, but just imagine someone who hadn’t been out in the sun at all spending two hours in the hot afternoon sun, most of that time on the stomach apparently.  As Heather so succinctly put it: “Ouch!”

I tried a new recipe for baked beans and made our tried-and-true turkey burgers, but I used chopped jalapenos instead of their milder cousins the green chilies.  Delicious as always.


The McHusband finished off the ice cream while we watched some TV last night. 


I have to say, it was really good and definitely didn’t taste light.  It was easy to make, too.  I put the ice cream maker back in the freezer so I can use it again sooner than later.

As usual, Morgan was under our feet once the neighbors started setting off fireworks.  Luckily, Monte seemed unaffected by all the patriotic racket.  Hope the trend continues through the weekend since I know there’ll be more fireworks.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Maxie & Lyla’s Party: Brotherly Love

Thanks to a beer or two – or six – and several energizing rounds of Corn Hole, the McHusband and Nate were feeling pretty good when it came time to get some photos taken by the barn doors.





Isn’t it nice to see brothers-in-law getting along so well?

And I lied about their photos being the last party post.  I’m gonna hold out on you and do a few more on Friday.

Happy Hump Day!