Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I'll Leave You With This!

Everytime I make these Hawaiin rolls their name, their smell, and their taste bring me to some tropical place. Well that could be because I am feeling sorry for myself as I am stuck inside when the weather outside is unrealistically cold, or because they fill my house with a succulent pineapple aroma and leave a sweet taste on my tongue! When I came across this recipe in a cookbook, I was a little skeptical that a dinner roll with a pineapple taste would go good with an actual meal. I was wrong; it's the perfect complement, and the pineapple flavor is not too overpowering like some kind of pineapple dessert. So as I leave on my journey for California tomorrow(I will be gone a week, probably with no time for the computer), I will leave you will this recipe in hopes that you will try it! Even if no one else is home for dinner, these will not go to waste! =)

Hawaiin Dinner Rolls (Serves 18)
1 1/4 C pineapple juice, from a can of pineapples
2 pkgs. active dry yeast
1/3 C sugar
1 stick butter, cut up
4 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ginger
5 1/2-6 C all-purpose flour

1] In microwave, heat 1/4 cup pineapple juice (105-115 F) and sprinkle yeast over juice until bubbling.(5 min)
2] In a large w/ electric mixer, beat together sugar and butter. Beat in yeast mixture and remaining juice. Beat in 3 of the eggs, vanilla, salt, and ginger until combined. Add 3 cups flour and beat smooth. Stir in enough flour(about 2 1/2 C) till dough is easy to handle. Turn dough and knead until smooth and elastic.(5 mins) Use 1/2 C more flour if needed.
3] Place in greased bowl and cover about 1 1/2-2 hours. Punch dough down and divide in 1/2. Then divide each half into 9 equal pieces. Form each piece in a ball. Place in 2 greased 9" cake pans. Cover rolls for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 F and in a bowl lightly beat the remaining egg. Brush over rolls, and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake 30-40 minutes until golden.
*This recipe can also be made into two loaves*

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Nuts Over Nuts Nibbles =)

To me, peanut butter is an ultimate comfort food. It's creamy, dreamy, and not to mention loaded with protein to keep you full for a long time! So when I had a coupon for Betty Crocker PB Cookie Mix, I knew I didn't want the boring old criss-cross peanut butter cookies that they show on the package--my goal was to make something gourmet looking and even better tasting! First I decided instead of rolling in a ball, I would roll it into a log shape. Then armed with a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips and a cup of crushed unsalted peanuts, I went to work. I love when creations turn into masterpieces! These cookies definitely shined on my cookie platters.
Nuts Over Nuts Nibbles
1 package of Betty Crocker peanut butter cookie mix + ingredients stated on package
1/3 C unsalted peanuts, crushed
1/3 C semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
1]Preheat oven to 375 F. Mix cookie mix with ingredients stated on package. Take 1 Tbsp of dough and roll into a log shape, placing about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
2]Place in the oven for 11-13 minutes. Take out and let cool completely. While waiting to cool, crush the peanuts until they a ground up pretty fine.
3]Once cool, melt the chocolate chips in 30 second intervals in microwave safe bowl. Dip a log into the chocolate and then into the cup of crushed peanuts. Lay on wax paper for about 2 hours, or until chocolate has completely hardened.

Monday, December 29, 2008

To Die For Pie!

Sadly this year I didn't make it home for Thanksgiving due to weather, and just college in general. The first thing my mom told me when I called to see how the day was going, was that my grandma didn't buy a pumpkin pie, just apple! Now in our family we have some serious pumpkin pie addicts. So right away I knew I was going to have to make a homemade pumpkin pie for Christmas. I browsed all my cookbooks, but ended up resorting to the internet for a recipe as usual. That still left me with about 3 that I couldn't decide on. I knew I wanted an out-of-this-world pie that wouldn't be forgotten. I had my mind set on a double layered pie, and when I came across the 'Paradise Pumpkin Pie' on the Taste of Home website, that sealed the deal! I couldn't believe how easy this pie was to make. And it was out-of-this-world delicious, because it's already requested to have a scheduled appearance at our Christmas feast(and probably Thanksgiving also) in 2009! The only thing I did differently on the recipe, was to use a Keebler pre-baked graham cracker crust because they were on sale for $1 at the grocery store! You could use any kind your heart desires!

Click Here For The Recipe

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Restaurant Reviews & Meals



Cold Stone Creamery

Dairy Queen

Goody Goody Gum Drops Candy Kitchen (Wisconsin Dells, WI)





Buffalo Wild Wings

Blue Ox Bar and Grill (Bemidji)

Crabby Bill’s (Locations in Florida)

Caribou Coffee

Chula Vista Market Fresh Buffet (Wisconsin Dells, WI)

Country Kitchen


Green Mill

Golden Corral Buffett



Keith’s Pizza (Bemidji, MN)

Long John Silver’s

Mariachi Authentic Mexican Restaurant (Bemidji, MN)

Old Country Buffet

Olive Garden

Outback Steakhouse

Pizza Hut

  • Natural’s Pizza

    Pita Pit

    Pizza Ranch


  • Border Grilled Chicken Omelet and Breakfast Potatoes

    Ponderosa Steakhouse

    Pub 99

    Red Lobster

    Sven and Ole’s Pizza (Grand Marais, MN)

  • The Haviian Zah pizza


    The Ground Round

    Texas Roadhouse

  • Fresh-baked buns with Cinnamon Butter

  • Grilled Pork Chops

    The Steak and Potato

  • Saturday, December 27, 2008

    After Christmas Cookie

    I'm sad to say that the Christmas Cookie Countdown is done for the year, but all good things come to an end, right? Not to say that the cookie posts will stop, because I've still got plenty to post, and lots more cookies I want to bake throughout the year =) Today is a cookie that takes a little work but ends up looking almost as good(if not better) as a store bought cookie, and probably tastes a whole lot better too! Just make sure you follow the directions carefully, so you're hard work will pay off! They are supposed to resemble a Poinsettia flower, which is usually associated with Christmas--but I think you should make these little gems all year long! And the cool thing is, the flavor comes from gelatin mix, so you can use raspberry, cranberry, or strawberry.(I used strawberry) You can also get creative for what you want to use as the inside of the flower; I used gumdrops, but you could do a couple yellow sprinkles or whatever else you have lying around. Good luck with these!

    Strawberry Poinsettia Blooms

    Makes: 3 dozen cookies

    Prep time: 25 min -- Start to Finish: 1 hr 50 min


    3/4 c butter or margarine

    1/2 c sugar

    1 tsp vanilla

    1 box(4 serving size)strawberry gelatin

    1 egg

    2 c all-purpose flour

    1 box of gumdrops


    In large bowl, beat butter, sugar, vanilla, gelatin, and egg with electric mixer on medium speed, or with a spoon. On low speed, beat in flour.

    Shape dough into 1 1/2-inch balls. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.

    Heat oven the 375 F. On ungreased cookie sheets, place balls about 2 inches apart. With sharp knife, make 6 cuts in top of each ball about three-fourths of the way through to make 6 wedges. Spread wedges apart slightly to form flower petals (cookies will seperate and flatten as they cook).

    Bake 9-11 minutes or until set and edges begin to brown. Cool 2-3 minutes, then press a gumdrop into the center of each cookie. Cool completely--about 15 minutes.

    Friday, December 26, 2008

    My Christmas Time

    Hello everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas celebration over the last couple of days. Mine was beyond great! Even if I wouldn't have gotten any presents, for me it's just being with the ones I love and sharing in the laughter and fun times together. I thought I would share what we did on Christmas Eve with pictures, because I think pictures are a great way to capture the great moments forever!

    This is my grandpa slicing our Christmas ham(it was soo yummy!)

    Can't forget his famous secret spaghetti sauce!(Good things there's enough for left overs)

    My grandpa and grandma's gorgeous Christmas tree.

    My Hawaiin rolls I make every year. (Recipe will be posted eventually!)

    And save the best for last; the paradise pumpkin pie I made. (After going through about 5 different pie recipes, I chose this one, and boy am I glad I did! Recipe will be posted also.)

    Tuesday, December 23, 2008

    Christmas Cookie Countdown [Day 7]

    I cannot believe it is the "eve" of Christmas Eve already! Every year December seems to go by even faster. It's sad because I love the holiday season, but also good to get through another winter month, which means summer is closer! Now the days will start getting longer again, minute by minute, but it's better than losing a minute. For the past 7 days, it seems as if each day has been the same. A blur of baking, playing our new Wii(which is SO fun), and then finishing the night off by working on a 750 piece puzzle. I got our whole family to pitch in because I am hoping to glue it and frame it for my grandma's xmas present. It's of a moose and she absolutely loves them. But, I think we might have to give her a "rain check" because it is coming together slower than expected due to the maze of colors that is making it extremely difficult!
    But now to the recipe, which is what you came for I am sure! It's the first bar recipe I have featured on my blog, which actually surprised me because I have many great bar recipes that I want to share. The reason for all the cookies was of course because they freeze well. But this bar recipe is one that does freeze well, if they even make it to the freezer because they're so delicious! It's a bar made from a cookie mix, but they are called cake bars. Kind of strange. The recipe came out of a Betty Crocker Holiday cookbook I got. If you don't like cherries, than this recipe is probably not for you, but you maybe could add a different fruit to your liking. =)
    Festive Cake Bars
    Adapted from Betty Crocker
    1 bag of Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
    1 10 oz jar of maraschino cherries(stems removed,drained,and finely chopped)
    1/4 C butter, melted
    1/4 C milk
    2 eggs
    1/2 Tsp almond extract
    1 tub(12oz)whipped white fluffy frosting
    2 Tbsp red decorating sugar

    1)Heat oven to 350 F. Spray 13x9 inch pan with baking spray with flour. In medium bowl, beat cookie mix, butter, milk, and eggs with electric mixer on medium until well mixed. Stir in chopped cherries and almond extract. Spread in pan.
    2)Bake 20-25 minutes or until top is golden brown and toothpick inserted in to center comes out clean. Cool completely on cooling rack, about 45 minutes. Frost with frosting. Cut in 6 rows by 4 rows.
    3)Measure red sugar into bowl. Press 2-inch cookie cutter lightly into frosting of bar to make an imprint of design, then remove the cutter. Dip cutter into the sugar; place imprint in frosting to make design.

    Monday, December 22, 2008

    Christmas Cookie Countdown [Day 6]

    Happy Monday everyone! I know this week is not going to lack on excitement and bustling all around. There's Christmas Eve and Christmas, plus I want to get out and look at lights still and of course cook for our Christmas dinner. We actually get together with our small family on Christmas Eve, then usually hang out around our house on Christmas. So for this year, my grandpa is making his famous spaghetti sauce, which I actually don't think he has a recipe for; everytime he adds more or less of something, but each time it comes out equally good. I am making the dessert, the bread, and one appetizer. I have to make my famous Hawaiin rolls, which everyone requests. They are quite a job, but well worth it. They fill the kitchen with such a sweet smell! Keep your eye out for that recipe coming soon! For the dessert, I got a recipe from Taste of Home for a Paradise Pumpkin pie, which looks stunning. Hopefully the taste will be as equally stunning! And then for the appetizer, I am still deciding, but I am leaning towards stuffed mushrooms. Needless to say, it will be a busy day, but well worth the work!

    For today's cookie, I decided to make a fun one! Not only does it scream Christmas, but they took me about 20 minutes all together to make. I'm just going to call these Christmas Chocolate Cheer cookies, because they make me happy to look at them!

    Christmas Chocolate Cheers
    1 box Pillsbury Butter Recipe Chocolate
    1/3 C oil
    2 eggs
    1 tub of chocolate frosting
    1 bag of Hershey's Christmas Kissables

    1)Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, combine cake mix, oil and eggs; stir with spoon until thoroughly moistened. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
    2) Bake at 375°F. for 6 to 8 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 1 minute, then press your thumb into the center of each cookie. After that remove from cookie sheets.
    3)Spoon some frosting into a pastry bag or a zip loc and snip the end. Pipe frosting into the indent of the cookie and top with 3 Kissables!! Gourmet in a snap! =)

    Sunday, December 21, 2008

    Christmas Cookie Countdown [Day 5]

    I searched many different websites to try and find a perfect molasses cookie to make an appearance on my Christmas platters. After filing through about 25 different ones, I ended up picking two and then narrowed it down to the one on The Pioneer Woman blog website. Hers had a dash of cardamom in them which I couldn't pass up. Also I am one to judge by pictures, and I wanted a fluffy cookie that had a irresistible crackle on top. Her's looked just like the one I was searching for! So I did everything like the recipe instructed, taking extra special care to watch them crack in the oven so I could take them out after a minute, and I ended up with flat cookies. The only thing I can think of that would have affected this is that my baking soda possibly could have been a bit old. (Next time I am opening a new box) Needless to say, these cookies were not a failure, my dad claimed they were the best molasses cookie he ever had tasted. So I will work on getting them to look nice and puffy, but in the meantime these cookies did make their way into my recipe book. Thanks Pioneer Woman!!
    Get her recipe here ---> Pioneer Woman's Recipe

    My cookies may have turned out flat, but they're not flat on taste!

    Crispy on the outside, and chewy in the inside.

    Just like a real molasses cookie should be!

    Saturday, December 20, 2008

    Christmas Cookie Countdown [Day 4]

    Since I was feeling a bit ambitious today, and because I made a "baking" trip to Wal-Mart yesterday, I decided to share with you two festive cookies today. I also picked up mini holiday cookie cutters and they are so adorable! They are Wilton brand and were $2.76 for 6 of them. I think I have the perfect idea for what I am going to use them for. I also got about 5 different bags of chocolate chips, some assorted nuts, marshmallow creme, candied cherries, and some other goodies I need for the rest of my Christmas Cookie Countdown! We decided that we probably aren't going to be delivering our trays till next Friday(so after Christmas), just because things are kind of hectic around here with me coming home, my great grandma is going to be moving in with my grandma and grandpa, and just the general holiday bustle. So we decided on delivering after, that way people can have treats around the house for their New Year's celebrations, which I thought was clever. Either way, people never can not take a giant plate of cookies, right?! Now I am searching the internet high and low for a really good biscotti recipe to make. If you have one, please share!
    So now to the best part--the cookies! These were based upon my need to use up things that I have before I went out and bought more. The first was an experiment. I had a 1/2 bag of perppermint chips and a bag of Betty Crocker oatmeal cookie mix, so as a result, the Peppermint Oatmeal Crunchies were born! (A little bit of a warning; the smell of these cookies is so great, people will automatically gravitate towards the kitchen!)
    Peppermint Oatmeal Crunchies
    Makes 3 dozen 2-inch cookies. Prep Time: 7 minutes. Bake Time: 9 minutes
    1 bag Betty Crocker oatmeal cookie mix+ingredients listed on mix
    3/4 cup Andes Peppermint Crunch chips
    1)Preheat oven to 375 F
    2)Mix together cookie mix and ingredients listed on package. Once well mixed, add in the 3/4 cup of peppermint chips.
    3)Drop cookie dough by rounded Tbsp onto a ungreased cookie sheet or a cookie sheet covered in tinfoil/parchment paper.
    4)Bake each batch for 9 to 11 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.

    Hint of Mint Munchies

    Makes 3 dozen 2-inch cookies

    **The ingredients above are all you need to make these gourmet tasting cookies**

    1 bag Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie Mix

    3/4 C Andes Creme de Menthe chips

    1)Preheat oven to 375 F
    2)Mix together cookie mix and ingredients listed on package. Once well mixed, add in the 3/4 cup of creme de menthe.
    3)Drop cookie dough by rounded Tbsp onto a ungreased cookie sheet or a cookie sheet covered in tinfoil/parchment paper.
    4)Bake each batch for 9 to 11 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.

    Friday, December 19, 2008

    Christmas Cookie Countdown [Day 3]

    Today I was rummaging through my baking boxes(which I organized a few days ago finally!)and I found a gift I got quite awhile ago. It was a package of sugar cookie mix with a small snowflake cookie cutter inside a cooking mit. It was from Better Home and Gardens, and it really is a cute gift idea. I have no clue where the person who gave this to me got it, but I wish I knew so I could get some for gifts. But then it got me thinking I could make my own! Pick up a neat little Christmas oven mitt and fill it with a bag of cookie mix and attach a little cookie cutter with a ribbon! What a cheap, but nice homemade gift. If you went to the Dollar Store, you could whip up one of these for under $4! I have a feeling I may be making a few for last minute gifts. Anyway, when I found this mix, I figured I better use it, but I didn't want to make another plain ol' sugar cookie for our Christmas platters. So I decided I was going to create my own cookie with one of my favorite spices in the world! I opened my spice rack and pulled out my beloved cardamom spice!! Something about the holiday season brings to mind the delicious loaves of cardamom bread I would recieve each year from a family friend. The golden loaves would be topped with a dusting of red or green sugar and I would eat a slice each morning for breakfast, savoring each bite. Then to my delight, I got the "secret" recipe one year from her, and realized how much work goes into making a masterpiece like that. I am going to make the bread sometime, but for now I wanted to clone the taste of this scrumptious bread, and make it into a cookie! My creation was a yummy one for sure because everytime I would turn around, a little snowflake cookie would be missing! "Dad did you take one of those cookies?" I would yell into the living room. "Yeah, wow these are really good." And this went on about 5 times over the course of the day. Even my dog got out of his comfy bed and came to see what the tantalizing smell was. I ended up giving him a broken piece and that was a mistake, because he kept drooling for more. Needless to say, I am so happy I could clone this bread into a bite size cookie!
    Cassie's Cardamom Snowflake Crisps

    1 bag of sugar cookie mix(the standard size)+ingredients listed on bag
    1 tsp. cardamom spice
    1/4 C flour for dusting surface
    1/2 C powdered sugar+1 tsp cinnamon for dusting
    Cookie cutter (I used a small snowflake)
    1)Mix all ingredients together as stated on sugar cookie pouch and add in the cardamom.
    2)Let chill for 1/2 hour, just so it is easier to handle. Meanwhile, preheat oven to the temperature stated on mix. Then roll out to 1/4" thick on floured surface and cut with cookie cutter. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet(or one with tinfoil/parchment paper) and pop in the oven for the amount of time stated on the mix.
    3)Mix powered sugar and cinnamon together in a cup. Once out of the oven, use a sifter to dust the powdered sugar mixture over the warm cookies. Enjoy with a glass of hot chocolate! =)

    Thursday, December 18, 2008

    Christmas Cookie Countdown [Day 2]

    Well, today looks like another full day of baking for me! Not only is it -12 below out, I just found out some bad news on the weather channel last night. More snow is on the way, and supposedly this storm is supposed to be worst then the last. (The last we got about a foot of snow) My California trip at the beginning of January is looking better every day, even though it won't be hot there, it'll be about 70 degrees warmer than here! I will take that any day. But there is something about winter; the hot cocoa, the pretty trees laced with glistening snow, the feeling of being with your family crammed in the house sitting by the warm fireplace--it all makes the season. So even though the cold weather can put a damper on things, I just don't know if my year would feel complete without these things. But that does not mean that moving to a southern state is not in the cards after college. I'm sure after a few more winters of scraping my car, letting it run for a half hour to warm up, and how my skin gets extremely dry in the winter, I will be headed to a place where I will be decorating palm trees for Christmas. =]

    So todays cookie is a fun holiday pinwheel cookie that starts with a tube of store bought sugar cookie dough. I actually picked this up about a month ago when they had a really good sale, and figured I could make something out of it eventually. When I came across this recipe, I knew I could put it to use!
    Christmas Pinwheel Cookies
    1 (32 oz/the family size) tube of sugar cookie dough (I used Pillsbury)
    1/2 C all purpose flour
    6 Tbsp granulated sugar, divided
    Red and green food coloring
    1)Take your granulated sugar and divide it in half.(3 Tbsp and 3 Tbsp) Place a few drops of red food coloring in one pile of sugar, and green in the other. Like this:
    2)Divide cookie dough out into four pieces and sprinkle flour onto work space. Roll out one piece at a time into a 12x7 rectangle. On two of the rectangles, you will be spreading the green sugar on, on the remaining two you'll do red. Make sure you get all the way to the edges, and don't be afraid to put a lot, otherwise it might not show up good once they bake!
    3)Starting with the shortest side, you are going to roll up the rectangles like a jelly-roll. (You will be a pro if you make homemade cinnamon rolls often) Then roll them in wax paper and refrigerate for about 1 hour to make it easier to handle. This is what you should have so far:
    4)Next preheat your oven to 350 F. Then take the logs out and unwrap them. Cut each roll into about fourteen slices and place on a ungreased cookie sheet.(or if you're like me, use tinfoil on your pan for easier cleanup) If it gets a little hard to slice the cookies, spray your knife with cooking spray, or pop em' back in the refrigerator to harden up a bit. Here's what they look like before you put them in the oven:

    5)Bake 7-9 minutes, or until edges are slightly brown. Cool 1 minute, and remove from pan to cooling rack. This recipe makes about 50 cookies, give or take a few depending. They are soo pretty once they're done; a perfect addition to my cookie platters!

    Wednesday, December 17, 2008

    Kickoff To My Christmas Cookie Countdown[Day 1]

    I was so glad to be home from college and start my Christmas cookies! I got right to work this morning and baked for about 5 hours. It was really exciting.(Yes even the cleanup afterward wasn't too bad.) So I headed into the basement to check out all the goodies I had, and I noticed my brand new pizzelle press in the box on the shelf that I got for my last birthday. Perfect! I decided I would make pizzelles for my first Christmas cookie. I remember getting them in a coffee can piled high from an older lady that lives in town. There are many variations of the pizzelle, but the most common is vanilla, anise, or lemon zest, although I do have a recipe for chocolate also. You do need a pizzelle press to make these(which somewhat resembles a waffle iron) and you can get them pretty cheap at places such as Target, Wal-Mart, or if you prefer to buy online, Amazon carries a good selection.(Check out Ebay too!)

    A little history on the pizzelle cookie--is a traditional Italian waffle cookie that can either be hard and crisp or soft and chewy depending on your preference. Pizzelles came from the Abruzzo region of south-central Italy. The name comes from the Italian word for "round" and "flat" (pizze)which is also the meaning of the word pizza. They're most common during Easter and Christmas, also at some Italian wedding. Other than eating them just as a cookie, they can be used to sandwich a filling such as cannoli cream or hazlenut spread.(Peanut butter & jelly might be good to try too!)
    Here's the recipe I used today. I plan on making some chocolate ones in the near future also.

    Anise Pizzelles
    *3 eggs
    *3/4 C white sugar
    *1/2 C butter,melted
    *1 Tbsp. anise extract
    * 1 3/4 all purpose flour
    *2 tsp. baking powder

    1)In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until thick. Stir in the melted butter and vanilla. Sift together the flour and baking powder, and blend into the batter until smooth.
    2)Heat the pizzelle iron, and brush with oil. Drop about one tablespoon of batter onto each circle on the iron. You may need to experiment with the amount of batter and baking time depending on the iron. (Newer models like mine have a automatic timer and a light that turns from green to red) Bake for 20 to 45 seconds, or until steam is no longer coming out of the iron. Carefully remove cookies from the iron with a spatula. Cool completely in single layers before storing in an airtight container. If you want to freeze them, put in layers with tinfoil in between and place in a ziploc storage bag.

    Here's what it looks like when placing batter into the pizzelle press.
    Here's what emerges after about 45 seconds!

    And here's how many cookies you get from one batch.

    (Amounts may vary)

    Tuesday, December 16, 2008

    A Blizzard=Gingerbread Houses

    On Sunday we got pounded with a foot of snow, -32F temperatures, and incredible winds making the temperature with windchill easily -40F below! Sometimes I wonder why we stay here for winter when all everyone does is complain! But this time I actually didn't complain because luckily I had bought a gingerbread house kit a couple days ago at Wal-Mart and figured I could decorate it sometime when I had an hour or so to spare. Well turns out I had 2 whole days being stuck inside the college to spare, so needless to say, I tried my best at making a "professional" looking gingerbread house. Besides adding a little more holiday flare to my dorm, it also made it smell sweet like gingerbread!

    Then I decided I was more than ready to come home yesterday for winter break. Unfortunately I don't drive long distances in the snow. (Home is 2 hours away) So good old grandma and grandpa came to pick me up and we didn't arrive home till late yesterday night. But the saying "There's no place like home for the holidays," is soo true. I am overjoyed to be home with my family, and excited to finally start baking!! Thought I'd share some pictures of my gingerbread house with you guys. Enjoy!!

    Saturday, December 13, 2008

    10 Fun Gifts Under $10

    We all love to give during the holiday season, but it's even better when we can give without going broke and still deliver a gift to be remembered all year long! I thought these 10 products under $10 could do just that!
    For your friend who loses track of time:

    Why not get her a lovely ladybug timer? Cute,chic,and cheap!

    $10.00 at

    For the BBQ master of the fam:
    A&W Rich n' Hearty BBQ sauce; now you can have the rich and creamy flavor of A&W on your grilled masterpieces!

    $2.29 at

    For your childish friend:

    Comic appetizer plates sure to steal the show.

    3 different styles/$2.95 each at

    For the unorganized kitchen friend:

    Is your friend always losing her utensils in her bottomless drawers? Well she won't be losing her measuring spoons any longer after you get her these cool magnetic ones! For the price, you could even get yourself a set. =)

    $7.95 a set at

    For the chocoholic on your list:

    Maybe she would rather like real chocolate bar, but I don't know anyone who would pass up this one-of-a-kind goodie! Check out the Hershey Bar calculator; almost too good to be true.

    $6.95 at

    For the kids:

    Doodles at dinner is a life saver if your kids have trouble waiting for dinner to arrive at a restaurant. Just pop these placemats that include instructions on how to doodle almost everything, and your set for a stress-free night!

    $10.00 at

    For your baking challenged friends/family member:

    Does your cousin have trouble whipping up cookies from scratch or does your aunt try to impress with her less than the best decorated cake? No worries here, just head on over to Pier1 and get these festive Christmas cookie mixes that come in cute bags along with instructions and a cookie cutter to top it off!

    $6 bucks at

    For the fuzzy family member:
    Don't forget your pooch this holiday season! Let him join in on all the yummy snacks with a snack made just for him. Get him some super nibble holiday dog treats.
    $6.50 at

    For the vegetarian:
    A special golden carrot that can represent her love for all things veggie-like.

    The breakfast lover:

    They love to make breakfast for everyone, now give em' the chance to shine a little more with these cute egg molders. You use them right in your frying pan, so it makes cooking a blast!

    Friday, December 12, 2008

    Short But Sweet!

    Unfortunately todays post needs to be short because I am leaving for my finals soon--wish me luck! Yesterday my brain was literally on the verge of exploding due to the 3+hours I did of studying. Gotta love college haha. Anyway, today's post is based upon the new vending machines popping up around the country. When you think of vending machines, you tend to think of candy bars or mini bags of chips. No longer are they just for snacks people! Check these out!

    The Twirl Pasta Machine

    This may just be the best invention for pasta lovers since who knows what. Now instead of waiting at a restaurant for a long time, you can have a bowl of steaming hot pasta in record timing; 90 seconds!. You press a button to fill the carousel with noodles, then push another button to start cooking, and watch as it covers your noodles in sauce. I say "Bon appetit!"

    The Moobella Machine

    What about for the sweet tooth, ice cream lovers like me?! Well head on over to a MooBella vending machine for a treat! Their company prides themselves for having fresh ice cream, on the spot, made to order. Smooth texture, fresh flavors, great mix-ins. The whole creation is made up and ready to be devoured in 45 seconds!!!!!

    Check out the websites to find these awesome new creations at a vending area nearest to you!