Thursday, October 27, 2011

Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

Last week Brian's grandparents game to visit. I am not going to lie. The goal in making these Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars was to impress his grandma. The running joke in the family is that she is such a good cook that she even makes a bologna sandwich taste special. Ha! It's totally true. Everything she cooks is the best thing I have ever ate.

With that in mind, I knew I couldn't touch her Chocolate Pecan Pie. She makes it every Thanksgiving, and no one can eat enough of it. However,  this recipe was easy, delicious, and it let me have my "hey, hey, look what I can do." moment.

Store this in the fridge, but serve it warm topped with ice cream. So good!
Oh, and she told me she loved it. Mission Accomplished.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Cream Cheese

After Brian's birthday weekend (aka a weekend of non-stop eating and drinking), I decided that I was tired of my jeans being too tight. Seriously, it should not take 15 minutes to squeeze into a pair of pants. A few of my friends have had a lot of success on Weight Watchers so I decided to give it a try. So far it seems to be working. Now it is only taking 10 minutes to put on my jeans :). The reason I am telling you all of this is because as I started looking for "point-friendly" recipes, I found this great website. Everything on this site already has the points calculated for you! Score!

Yesterday morning, I made this recipe for Pumpkin Cream Cheese, and I have officially become an addict. This bagel paired with a giant cup of coffee is breakfast perfection in my book.

One 'Bagel Thin' and 1.5 tablespoons of the spread is 5 points.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall Decorations

A couple of weeks ago Hobby Lobby had their Fall/Harvest decorations on sale for 40%-50% off. (I'm sure at this point they are practically giving the stuff away. I love me some Hobby Lobby.) Anyway, I thought I would share some of my old and new fall decorations. Oh and naturally, most of these ideas came from Pinterest. What was my life like before that wonderful website?

My attempt at being festive.

My mom gave me these pretty apothecary jars as a house warming present. This pin gave me the idea to fill them with candy. The downside of decorating with candy is that starring at Reece's pieces, candy corn, and jelly beans sets my already crazy sweet tooth into overdrive. It is an inexpensive way to use what I already have so it is totally worth practicing self-control!

Candy doubles as decoration.

I found this $40 lantern on sale for $20, and it reminded me of this pin. Not that $20 is cheap, but I should be able to theme it up for most holidays, and use it as an indoor/outdoor candle holder year round. I found the pumpkins and gourds (which were all half off) in the wreath section. I just pulled out the wreath wire and loaded up the lantern.

Candle holder lantern

Bath and Body Works' 'Pumpkin Patch' is my favorite scent during the fall. I don't know how scent evokes emotion, but it really does. Not only does it smell wonderful, it makes the whole house feel warm and cozy. If pumpkin isn't your thing, I bought my mom the Autumn candle for her birthday, and she loved it!

Bath and Body Works Candle Brand is Slatkin & Co.
Happy Fall, y'all!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tailgating Leftovers: Cheese Dip Chicken Spaghetti

A few weeks ago, we watched the Arkansas vs. Troy game at the house. I believe it is IMPOSSIBLE to watch football without cold beer and snacks, so I made a few things for us to munch on during the game. No matter what or who I am cooking for, I always make too much. It is a good thing Brian and I aren't scared of leftovers! In an attempt to not be wasteful, I decided to try to incorporate the leftover cheese dip into a weeknight meal.

The classic Velvetta Cheese Dip recipe is to cube one block (1lb.) of Velvetta, throw in 2 cans of Rotel (drained), and melt it the microwave - stirring every two minutes until melted. There were only four of us watching the game so I used 1/2 of the Velveeta and 1 can of Hot Rotel.

The next day I was trying to find something to fix for dinner, and I decided to get creative. I combined the leftover cheese dip with the other 1/2 lb. of Velveeta, threw in another can of Rotel, and added a can of cream of chicken soup. While this mixture was melting in the microwave, I boiled 1lb. of pasta. When the cheese mixture was melted, I stirred in a large can of drained canned chicken. Next, I drained the pasta and added it to the cheese sauce. Just like that - Cheese Dip Chicken Spaghetti was born.

Note: If canned chicken grosses you out, you could use rotisserie, boiled, or baked chicken.

Not the healthiest meal in the world - but it's tasty, quick, and resourceful!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Arkansas vs. Auburn: Woo Pig Sooie!

As I mentioned, last Friday was Brian's birthday. To celebrate, we decided to head to northwest Arkansas to watch the Arkansas vs. Auburn game. It's only a 9.5-10 hour trip - no biggie. The drive was long, but totally worth it considering we got to spend the weekend with great friends AND watch the Razorbacks beat Auburn 38-14.

We started the weekend off by everyone eating at least 17 pounds of food a piece at Shogun's. Here is a group shot we took after dinner. If I look puffier than usual, please remember I had 17 pounds of chicken and rice an hour before this :).

Side note: Look at Ashton's festive mantel. So pretty!

Brian got TWO birthday cakes this year. Dang, he must think he is special.
We spent Saturday tailgating with Stephen's family. Good food, good company, great day!

Stephen and the birthday boy

I love this pic.  Erin, Ashton, Laura, me, and Heidi (Stephen's adorable niece).

I really like this boy. I think I'll keep him :).
This is the first time we have ever been to a game in Fayetteville and not sat in upper-upper deck! Ashton's parents were beyond generous and let me and Brian have their tickets to the game. I know. Amy and JP are my favorite people. This view is MUCH better than the nose bleed section!

Woo Pig Sooie!
Besties. (I don't think boys call themselves that, but that's what they are.)
Our friends are so fun. I love our little mini-reunions. I can't wait to see everyone again at the Mississippi State game in November.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Strawberry Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Last week was Brian's 26th birthday. He is so lucky to have such a young wife, like myself. What? He's five whole months older than me - that totally counts. Anyway, I made this Strawberry Cake for his birthday last year, and he decided that he wanted it to be designated as "Brian's Birthday Cake." It was my Grandma Diebold's recipe that I have tweaked a bit. (See her Peach Delight recipe here) The original recipe called for a whole cup of oil or something ridiculous like that. No wonder I remember it tasting so good. I promise you won't miss the extra fat. Believe me, there is still PLENTY of that in there. Something in this recipe makes this cake so incredibly moist. Maybe the package of jello or the crushed strawberries? Whatever it is, it's magical.

This old school pan belonged to my grandma. Maybe that's the secret to a perfect cake?!

I want this now.

Strawberry Cake with Cream Cheese Icing (Brian's Birthday Cake)

1 pkg. white cake mix
3T AP Flour
3 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1 cup water
1/2 cup frozen or fresh strawberries (crushed)
1 3oz. pkg strawberry gelatin

Cream Cheese Icing
1/4 cup butter at room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup crushed strawberries

Cake - Combine and blend all cake ingredients. Bake in greased 9x13 pan for 35-40 minutes. Poke holes in the cake as it cools. This allows the icing to drip down into the cake. (Yum.)

Icing - Whip together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Slowly add sugar until blended. Stir in strawberries and spread over cake.

Allow the cake to cool before spreading the icing. The consistency is on the thin side, which is how my grandma always made it. If you want to thicken it up, add more powdered sugar.