Friday, March 4, 2016

Coconut Caramel Cookie Bars

This week has been a crazy week for me. I'm not sure how anyone who works in the medical field manages to have a life. I'm working 12 hour overnight shifts and one 16 hour day. I'm over tired and a tad cranky.

I feel like every moment of free time I have is spent sleeping or laying on the couch. I'm really struggling trying to find balance in my life. I want to exercise, cook, and spend time with my family, but instead I find myself on the couch eating easy meals.

I did however manage to get my butt in the kitchen and make these coconut bars. I was craving cookies so bad the other day, but wanted something a little different. I am a huge fan of everything and anything coconut. These bars hits the spot.

I wish I could have enjoyed more of these bars, but a hog monster, also known as my husband, ate them all with the help of my father. I was glad to see them enjoy them so much and I hope you do too!



1 cup of salted butter
1/2 cup of sugar
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 tbs of milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Coconut Caramel Sauce

1/2 cup salted butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups toasted sweetened coconut

4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In your electric mixer with paddle attachment cream butter and sugar together until smooth.

In a separate bowl combined flour and baking powder together.

Add milk and vanilla to creamed butter and then add in half the flour mixture. Mix until well combined and then add the other half of the flour mixture.

Once your dough is completely combined, push the dough into a greased 8" baking pan. Push the dough evenly to each corner, bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until slightly browned on top.

Remove from oven and let cool.

In a heavy bottom sauce pan on medium heat add butter, brown sugar, and heavy cream. Let the butter melt and sugar dissolve. Bring to a rolling boil and then cook sauce until it thickens. It took me about 7 minutes.

Once your caramel sauce has thickened remove it from heat and mix in vanilla extract. Set aside.

Turn your oven down to 300 degrees and toast 3 cups of sweetened coconut. Watch the coconut closely it will burn fast!

Once the coconut is a light golden brown remove from oven. Mix two cups of toasted coconut into caramel sauce and set the other cup aside.

Spread coconut caramel sauce over crust evenly and then sprinkle remaining coconut over top. Melt semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave if you're lazy like me or in your double boiler. Put melted chocolate in a zip lock bag with one the ends cut. Squirt chocolate as desired all over bars.

Let the bars cool for an hour in the fridge before cutting them so the caramel isn't a sticky mess!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cake

A couple months back I made this cake for my husband's birthday. My husband is the pickiest eater I know. I always tell him he eats like a seven year old.

Every day my husband eats two PB&J sandwiches. I don't know how he does it. I'd be totally sick of them if I ate them every day. Because he loves PB&J so much I decided to make him this PB&J cake.

This cake is a lot different from most cakes I've made. The cake itself has a more bread-like texture that really helps replicate a classic PB&J sandwich. I used my mother's homemade strawberry rhubarb jam. It went so perfectly with the peanut butter buttercream frosting.

So if you're a die-hard PB&J fan this recipe is a must try!!


For the cake:
Inspired by The Cake Blog

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup salted butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla
8 oz Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

Peanut Butter Buttercream:

1/2 softened butter
1 cup peanut butter
2-2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tbs heavy cream


For the cake:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 3 6" cake pans.
2. Combine flour and baking powder.
3. Cream together peanut butter and butter in electric mixer on medium high with paddle attachment.  Add sugar and mix until smooth.
4. Mix in eggs one at a time and vanilla extract. Scrape down sides as needed.
5. With the mixer on low add in half of the flour mixture.  Pour in milk a little at a time and then add in other half of flour mixture.
6. Divide batter evenly between 3 pans. Bake for approximately 28 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean.
7. Cool for 15 minutes then run a knife around the edges of the cake. Remove the cakes from pans and let completely cool.

For the frosting:

1. Cream butter and peanut butter together in electric mixer with paddle attachment.
2. Add in powdered sugar. Mix until well combined. Add in heavy cream.


1. Once cakes are completely cool level all the layers. Put frosting in a pastry bag.
2. On the first layer of the cake pipe a ring of frosting around the cake to make a dam for the jam. Add in 1/3 of jam.
3. Repeat step two for the second layer and then put second layer on top of first.
4. Add the last layer and start frosting the sides. Add a generous amount of frosting. Then  use a bench scrapper to smooth sides.
5. Lightly frost the top of the cake making sure it's very smooth. Pipe swirls around the edge of the cake making a dam for the jam again. Add rest of jam to top of cake.
7. Garnish the sides of the cake with peanuts.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Cheddar Bacon Quiche

My favorite thing about my job is meeting new people and learning about them. Being in the home health care field gives me a chance to really get to know someone. They say we're not suppose to get emotionally involved, but I haven't met a caregiver yet who hasn't.

Recently, one of my favorite clients passed away. I got to know her and her husband very well and I got to know all their likes and dislikes, hobbies, and interests. I was with this client when she passed away. It was the first time I ever experienced death in my job and it was one of the most challenging experiences of my life.

I think of this client often as I start a new job with new clients. I learned so much about home health care working with her and she'll always have a special place in my heart.

I made this quiche for her husband who would frequently request that I cook him eggs for all his meals. I've never met a guy who eats as many eggs as him.


1 homemade pie crust or store bought crust
5 medium sized eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 yellow onion
5 strips bacon
Salt and Pepper (I didn't add salt because of bacon)


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Roll your pie crust out slightly bigger than your pie plate. Put pie crust into plate folding the over hang under the crust. Crimp crust as desired.
3. Fry your bacon and let grease drain on paper towels.
4. Dice your onions and saute them in bacon grease.
5. Pat the onions dry of grease.
6. Combine eggs and heavy cream together. Beating the eggs into heavy cream.
7. Add your cheddar cheese, sauteed onions, and crumbled bacon into eggs and heavy cream. Add salt and pepper as desired.
8. Pour into pie crust and bake for 30 minutes or until quiche is almost set all the way and barely jiggles in the middle.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Maple Bacon Cannoli Bites

This week I started my new job and, of course, I've been anxious all week. I could barely sleep the night before. I'm pretty sure I only got maybe 2 hours. I made it though! As soon as I stepped foot into orientation all my anxiety went away and I felt comfortable.

The roles have reversed for me and my husband. I am now the main supporter of our small family. Just over a year ago my husband fell through a skylight while doing a roofing job and broke his back. He had spinal surgery and his recovery has been a long road.

I've recently found sometimes our strength and confidence really grows when forced into challenging situations. Suffering from GAD and Panic Disorder made stepping up to the plate not only hard, but pretty damn scary for me. I was always the one who needed support and help and now it was my turn to play that role.

I've learned so much about myself in the last year. The most important thing being that I'm a strong person. I know now that I can get through anything and I can be the person my husband needs me to be. His battle with his recovery has been a rocky road. Every day I am thankful to wake up with him and be the person he can count on.

It was actually my husband who inspired me to do the work that I do now. About 5 years ago I got my nursing assistant license, but never did anything with it. Taking care of him and seeing the aids and nurses in the hospital care for him made me remember how rewarding and important caregivers are. I've been a caregiver now for a year and a half and I love my job.

This entire experience, though challenging, has definitely proven to me that good things can come from tragic situations and that the lessons you learn can be very rewarding.


Double batch of your favorite pie crust

Maple Cannoli Filling
8 oz ricotta cheese
4 oz mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tbs maple syrup


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease mini muffin tin.
2. Roll your pie crust out and cut 24 circles with a 2 1/2 - 3 inch cutter. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.
3. Place circles into mini muffin tin. push them down and mold them around the cups.
4. Poke a couple small holes in each pie crust cups with a tooth pick to help prevent air bubbles.
5. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
6. While pie crust is baking make the cannoli filling. Add ricotta, mascarpone, powdered sugar and maple syrup to stand mixer.
7. With paddle attachment mix on low until everything comes together. Put in piping bag and set aside.
8. Once pie crusts cups are done baking let them cool for 5 minutes then take them out of the muffin tin. Place on pan to finish cooling.
9. Start frying your bacon. Fry it nice and crispy. Set on paper towels when done to absorb the grease.
10. Pipe cannoli filling into pie crust cups and top with cooled bacon.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Brownie Mint Chocolate Chip Cake

So this will probably be the most personal post I've ever published. I feel like it needs to be said and I need to vent.

When I first started this blog it was to help me find some confidence in something I really loved doing. I needed a hobby to help distract me and I needed something positive to do that made me feel good.

I've been struggling for as long as I can remember with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder. As I've gotten older, it has only gotten worse and the depression that comes along with these illnesses has only isolated me more.

I spent years struggling to hold a job, going to school, having friends and relationships. My life was a train wreck. I was consumed by my anxiety and depression. It was my life. It defined me. I was embarrassed and ashamed of myself. I felt like everyone around me gave up on me and I was a loser.

It wasn't until I met my husband that my life started to improve. He understood me and helped me get the help I needed. It's been a rollercoaster the last few years, but I'm finally at a place in my life where I can manage a job.

Still, even though my life has improved and I'm feeling more confident, I find myself awake at 2am rethinking and obsessing over every social interaction I have with people. Being on the Internet with social media is really hard for me. I'm constantly worried someone's going to call me a d-bag and rip on everything I put out there.

Sometimes I feel like my skin is so thin it's transparent. Every blog post I write, every recipe, every picture I take means a lot to me. It's so hard putting your work out there for anyone to criticize. One person or a 100 might think I'm a joke and that's okay because this blog is for me, not them.

So! When these thoughts start bothering me or if someone says something that hurts my feelings I remember these things:

1. Not everyone is going to like my recipes, what I write, or the pictures I take and that's okay!
2. I Don't give a f***

Like I said, this blog is for me. This is my little space on the internet and I'm gonna own it. I'm going to hit that publish button every time without worrying what people will think. I'm sure I'll have hiccups along the way, but I'm going to keep blogging, cooking, learning, and, of course, eating.

What you need:
Adapted from Life Love And Sugar

1/2 cups of vegetable oil
3 cups of sugar
3 tsp of vanilla extract
7 medium sized eggs
1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup of cocoa powder
3/4 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Mint Cream Cheese Frosting:
1.5 cup salted butter, room temperature
12  ounces cream cheese
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 - 3 tsp on mint extract
8 cups of powdered sugar
4-6 drops green food coloring
Chocolate Chips for decorating


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease three 6" cake pans and dust with cocoa.
2. Mix oil and sugar until smooth. Add eggs in one at a time until incorporated.
3. Mix all dry ingredients together then add into wet ingredients. Mix until combined.
4. Fill cake pans. There will be extra. I used it to make regular brownies.
5. Bake 20-25 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean.
6. Let cool in pans for 15 minutes then run a fork around the edges of the cake. Remove cakes from pans and let cool on wire rack.
7. While cake is cooling make the frosting. Cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth.
8. Add vanilla and mint extract.
9. Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth
10. Add food coloring in while mixing until the colored desired is achieved.


1. Add thick layer of frosting to first layer of cake. Sprinkle chocolate chips over it. Add second layer and repeat.
2. Crumb coat the cake then put in fridge for an hour.
3. Apply generous amounts of frosting to the top of the cake. Working it to the edges with an offset spatula.
4. Spread frosting down the sides.
5. Once cake is covered in frosting use bench scraper to smooth all the way around cake.
6. Once cake is desired smoothness apply chocolate chips to the bottom half of the cake.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Jamie's Bitchin' 20 Minute Pizza Sauce

This is my favorite  pizza sauce! I use it for all my pizzas and sometimes with pasta! It's  great for dipping garlic bread sticks in too! Enjoy!!


12oz tomato paste
1 medium tomato
2 cups water
4 tsp dried onion
3 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried basil
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp red pepper flakes


1.The first thing you wanna do is add 12 ounces of tomato paste into a medium sauce pan with one fresh diced tomato 
2. Add 2 cups of water and spices. Mix it all together. 
3. Over medium heat let the sauce come to a boil. Once it comes to a bowl turn it down to low and let it cook for 10-15 minutes.
4. Store in refrigerator up to a week

Monday, February 8, 2016

Easy Sesame Burger Buns

I'm a sucker for homemade bread. I'd eat a whole loaf in one sitting if my ass wouldn't jiggle for a week. It's a love hate kind of relationship. 

Since New Years I've been trying to lose weight. I've designated Sunday as a cheat day. I'm not going to lie by Wednesday I'm irritable and unhappy. I've been struggling learning how to eat healthy and control my portions. I day dream about binging on whole pizzas all the time.

By the time Sunday came around I NEEDED a burger and of course bread, sweet, buttery bread! 

My favorite thing about these buns are that they go great with any type of sandwich or burger. I'm lazy as heck so easy meals during the week are a huge deal for me.

Lately I find my lunches and dinners consist of roasted vegetables and 4 ounces of chicken. Don't get me wrong I love vegetables. I'd rather eat them between a bun and greasy 1/4 pound of meat though!  

My mom has always told me it's all about moderation. So this week I'll be a good girl and eat my vegetables,  but on Sundays I'll say "screw it!" and divulge in another greasy mess of food.


1. 2 1/4 tsp yeast + pinch of sugar

2. 1/4 cup warm water
3. 1 cup milk
4. 1/4 cup unsalted butter
5. 1/4 cup sugar
6. 2 tsp salt
7. 3.5-5 cups all purpose flour
8. Sesame Seeds
9. 1 egg for egg wash


1. Proof your yeast with a pinch of sugar and 1/4 cup of warm water.

2. Heat milk, butter, salt and sugar until butter is melted. Let cool to room temperature.
3. Add proofed yeast and milk mixture slowly to flour, mixing until a dough ball forms.
5. Knead by hand, adding more flour if needed, for 10 minutes or until smooth.
6. Let rise for 90 minutes, then form 6 burger buns. Let them rise again for another 30 minutes.
7. Brush with egg wash for a shiny appearance and sprinkle sesame seeds on top of buns.
8. Preheat oven to 350 and bake buns for 20 minutes or until golden brown.