Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Grilled Mac & Cheese Sandwich

Who loves mac & cheese? Who loves grilled cheese? Me, me, me!! Why not put them together?! Well, that's just what I did with this meal. Two comfort foods combine for one extra comfy meal. 

Grilled Mac & Cheese Sandwich
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup flour (you may need a little more depending on consistency)
  • 1 c half and half
  • 1 1/2 c milk
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups Colby & Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 2 cups white cheddar cheese
  • 1 lb of Pasta (I used Rigatoni because I wanted a BIG fat noodle)
  • Bread (I used french bread)
  • Butter
  • Garlic Salt
  • Cheese Slices
Makes about 10 grilled mac and cheese sandwiches


1. Cook and drain noodles. Set aside.

2. In a sauce pan add the butter and olive oil. Cook until the butter is melted. 

3. Using a whisk, add the flour and whisk until there aren't any lumps and the mixture is smooth. While whisking, slowly add in the half and half and milk. Let the mixture simmer for about 4 minutes so that it can begin to thicken. 

4. Add in the nutmeg, salt, and cheese. Stir until all of the cheese is melted. 

3. Add noodles to cheese sauce and mix so that all of the noodles are covered in cheese. 

4. Slice your french bread into thin slices, about 1/2 of an inch. Butter the side of each slice that will touch the frying pan. I also added a little garlic salt on top of the butter for flavor. 

5. Now assembly your sandwich with a heaping amount of mac & cheese and 2 slices of cheese. Put in the frying pan and flip when each slide is golden brown. 

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pirate Party!!

November was my son's birthday! He was born 15 weeks early and has endured so much that I really wanted to throw a big themed party for him to celebrate turning 5. We honestly didn't know if this day would ever come. He has grown so much and is the kindest, sweetest boy I know. I really wanted to celebrate him. And he LOVES Jake and the Neverland Pirates. He's slightly obsessed. So we did a Pirate Party!

I didn't want it to be just Jake and the Neverland Pirates, instead I went with the cute pirate theme because it's so much cheaper not to buy all that name brand stuff. It turned out really cute and the kids had a blast! We also rented a bounce house from a neighbor and that was a big hit! It was a great gathering activity and a fun activity after the party was done so everyone could just leave as they wanted.

When the kids first came in they had to walk through our doorway of streamers. For some of the younger kids, that was their favorite part. We had the bounce house and pirate coloring pages to keep them entertained while everyone was still on their way. Each chair had a balloon tied to it for the kids to keep as well.

The food was my favorite part to plan. I made "Arrr" Bananas, "Dead Man Fingers (aka little smokies), Jello Ship, Fruit Swords, "Polly Crackers" with crab dip and "Seaweed Salad" (Ceasar Salad).

We also had "Treasure Sandwiches" (ham and cheese sandwiches cut out with cookie cutters in the shape of ships and pirate treasure), "Pirate Punch" (Crystal Light), Catch 'O' the Day Soup (Clam Chowder), and "Shark Bait" (pretzel gold fish).

 I made a Pirate Hat Cake, Pina Colada Cupcakes, and "Gold "Dubloon" cookies (aka, sugar cookies with yellow glaze). This was the first birthday cake that I actually cut out and created from scratch. It didn't turn out too bad if I do say so myself.

After dinner we did our Treasure Hunt! It was a lot of fun. I forgot to make a treasure map before hand so I just jotted one down when we got there but it turned out great. I taped a plastic treasure coin at each stop that the kids had to find. Some of the stops we had to do something. I blew up black water balloons and they had to "Swab the Deck" of all the cannonballs (or coconuts, I can't remember what I decided). I taped down a square on the floor and they had to kick all the balloons into the square. Then they had to Walk the Plank. I just got a plank from Home Depot and had then cut four 10 inch planks off of it and wood glued it together. Then I painted the words "Walk the Plank" on it. The treasure was out in the hall behind a small tree. I filled the goody bags with pirate fruit snacks, beaded necklaces, coins, stickers, and more.

I set up a back drop to have all the kids stand on and take a picture all decked out in their pirate gear (we got it all at the dollar store and had them dress up before the treasure hunt). It was fun to see all their pirate imitations. My friend's little girl was the best one.

All in all, everyone had a blast! I'm so glad I have my little man to make my life so much more interesting.

Bounce Hous-ing fun!

*Pina Colada Cupcakes from Buttercream Bakehouse
*Ship Jello Cups from Make and Takes 
*Pirate Hat Cake idea form Disney
 *Pirate dress up from Dollar Tree
*Table supplies and treasure bags from Walmart and Target
*Coloring Pages from Disney Junior

Friday, January 25, 2013

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Today is my BIRTHDAY! Yay! So to celebrate I am posting one of my FAVORITE cakes! It's absolutely wonderful! Rich, dark, and seductive: everything you want in a man...... And cake.

I actually made this cake when my gluten-free sister-in-law came over for New Year's and I decided it was the perfect time to make it. It is rich, chocolatey, dense, and delightful! I love the brownie texture and the whipped cream with a little sour cream made it taste slightly cheesecake-y. This is definitely a cake I will be making over and over and over and over again! It's seriously good. And really simple. Try it, I know you'll love it!

Flourless Chocolate Cake
  • 1  cup unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
  • 1/3  cup  unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for the pan and dusting
  • 1 1/4  cups  heavy cream
  • 8  ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 5  eggs
  • 1  cup  granulated sugar
  • 1/2  cup sour cream
  • 1/3  cup  confectioners sugar


  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and dust with cocoa powder.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the butter with ¼ cup of the heavy cream over medium-low heat until the butter is melted. Add the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth; remove from heat.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, and cocoa powder; whisk in the chocolate mixture.
  4. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake until puffed and set, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 1 hour. Run a knife around the edge of the cake before unmolding.
  5. Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream with the sour creme and confectioners sugar until soft peaks form. Dust the cake with cocoa powder and serve with the whipped cream.
Adapted from Real Simple

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Crepe Co.

Crepe Co.
1364 N. Freedom Blvd
Provo, UT 84604

Crepe Co. was formally known as ME Crepe. Management changed and I'm guessing that's why the name did too. It's funny that I went here and then Jen posted a recipe for perfect Valentine crepes earlier this week. If you aren't feeling up to cooking crepes check out Crepe Co.

What we got...

Turkey Bacon Ranch ($5.49)- The name says it all. Thin slices of turkey with bacon, and ranch. My only compliant is the type of turkey used. I think they used the lunch meat turkey, you know the kind that requires at least 6 slices for it to even count as protein. But I can't complain because it was filling.

The French Kiss ($4.49)- Oo-La-La, get this crepe!!! It was good. We were able get what ever add-ins we wanted at no extra cost. That's one thing I really liked about Crepe Co. We got ours with strawberries, Nutella, Oreos, cookie dough, and their crepe sauce. Oh man, was it good!!! I especially liked that the Oreo pieces were BIG chunks, not just fine crumbs. I will crave this, it was so good.

The girl running the show was extremely friendly. She was a one man band handling the register, making the crepes, and cleaning up. If the owner is reading this, she deserves a raise. She gave us suggestions and made sure we were happy with our food. As people were leaving she made sure to give a friendly shout out for coming in.

Yellow Light. I give it a yellow light because the savory crepe wasn't anything special.  If I had only gotten a dessert crepe, it would be a green light.  When you go be SURE to get a dessert crepe because that was a GREEN light all the way!

When I try Jen's crepe recipe I am going to add chunks of Oreo, just like my crepe at the Crepe Co.

Scale Rating Descriptions
Green Light: I'll be coming through all the time, call me a regular, recommend to everyone and all, I"ll crave this place when I'm pregnant, loved it!

Yellow Light: I'll be slow to go through,  I'd go back if someone suggested it,  nothing special, not something I'm going to crave, it was ok.

Red Light: STOP! Don't go, tried it once and that's enough, warn people not to go, thinking about it brings back bad memories, didn't like it.

I was the 1st vote on Urbanspoon!!
The Crepe Co.  on Urbanspoon

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Strawberry Crepes | A Valentine Breakfast

It's not very often that I make a special occasion breakfast. It's funny though because breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and if I could choose what meal to go out to eat for it would be breakfast, hands down. I love it all! Pancakes, French toast, omelets, hash browns, even Cream of Wheat. But if I'm going for a more elegant breakfast, I go with crepes.
Crepes will always hold a special place in my heart. My hubby made me crepes on the day he proposed (and by made, I mean his sister made them and he brought them to me in bed. We were staying at his sister's house in Florida). It was the perfect start to one of the most magical days of my life. Crepes will always hold a romantic connotation in my head so they are perfect for Valentine's day.
This recipe is so versatile. You can interchange any berry for the strawberries. Raspberries would be fantastic. You can use the cream and do bananas and cream crepes. Or apple pie filling and the cream. It's a lot of fun! You can also make the components all the night before and just put the crepes together in the morning. I would probably still make the crepes fresh in the morning.

Strawberry Crepes

 For the Strawberry Sauce
1 qt strawberries (sliced)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Add all ingredients to a saucepan. Cook over low heat. Use a potato masher to break up the fruit. Cook until the liquid thickens. Add additional water a tablespoon at a time if necessary. 

For the Cream Filling
1 lb (2 packages) cream cheese at room temperature (could use strawberry or regular)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream

In a mixer, whip cream cheese and sugar until soft and there are no lumps. Add vanilla and cream and whip until smooth.
For the Crepes
 2 eggs
1 1/4 cup milk
1 cup flour
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
2 Tbsp melted butter

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. (At this point it's actually best to refrigerate the batter and let it rest for about an hour to get all the bubbles out but I rarely do that and they turn out fine.) To make the crepes heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray. The amount of batter you use for each crepe will depend on the size of the pan so I just pour it in and swirl it around so it gets to all the edges. Cook just until set and then flip and cook for a minute or so more. 

For Each Finished Crepe
1 crepe
Cream filling
Quartered Strawberries
Strawberry sauce
Whipped cream

To assemble each crepe, spoon on some of the cream filling, top with quartered strawberries and sauce. Roll crepes and top with more fresh strawberries and whipped cream.

I serve two crepes per person. Depending on the size and amount of filling in the crepes you will probably have extra creme and sauce. You can always save that for more crepes but I actually whipped some brown sugar into my cream and made a great caramel dip for apples. The extra whipped cream and strawberry sauce are great on pancakes or waffles.   

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Blissful and Domestic
Crumbs and Chaos 
Sweet Boutique


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Friday, January 18, 2013

Light Potato Salad

So it's a couple weeks into the New Year. How's those resolutions going? Trying to get in shape, lose weight, be healthier? Me too. But I hate giving up my starchy food. Fortunately I'm from Idaho and potatoes have their own food group. Seriously, people can actually survive healthily on a diet of potatoes supplemented only with milk and butter, which contain the two vitamins not provided by potatoes (vitamins A and D). (Love my Wikipedia. I kinda knew that before I looked it up.) 

 This potato salad is a great way to make potatoes. It only has minimal mayonnaise (use light if you have it) and extra veggies. Everyone seemed to love it at my family get-together. Plus it makes fantastic leftovers. If you don't have a large group to feed I would actually probably halve the recipe, it makes a lot! I've made this before with those little rainbow potatoes and that was a lot of fun except the purple potatoes look a little muddy. For extra flavor try roasting the potatoes instead of boiling. I don't do that because I don't like adding the extra olive oil to get them roasted. It's great either way! I hope you enjoy!

Light Red Potato Salad

12 cups cubed red potatoes
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup minced red onion
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Cook potatoes, covered in boiling water, 10 minutes, or until tender; drain well and cool.
In a large bowl, combine potatoes, bell pepper and onion.
In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Pour over potato mixture, tossing gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cravings Bistro

Cravings Bistro
63 E. Main St
American Fork, UT 84003

Next date night/girls night/I don't want to cook night, stop in at Cravings Bistro.  It has a total girly girly atmosphere, but guys don't let this scare you. It's definitely worth a try. The menu is displayed on multiple chalk boards through out the restaurant.  I wanted to order everything. I always know it's going to be good when I want to order one of everything on the menu. See the menus below.

See what I mean, it all looks good. I wanted to try everything: fresh squeezed lemonade, grilled strawberry smore, (I'll skip the grilled twinkie), gourmet mac & cheese, TBA, hot cocoa, etc... Since I'm not a hippo or loaded with cash, we used a coupon we got in the mail for two half grilled cheese and soup for $10. The coupon is actually, how I found out about Cravings. They consistently have a coupon in the blue coupon mailer and finally we decided to try it out. 

What We Got...
Tomato Basil Soup-See those croutons on top, wait... they aren't your ordinary croutons, but grilled cheese croutons.  It's all about the little details and mini grilled cheese croutons put this soup over the top.  Watch your tongue though, it was hot, but perfect considering the cold Utah weather we are stuck in.

ABC-Apple, Bacon, Cheedar Sandwich. An interesting twist with the apples, but I'm glad someone thought of it. My only complaint is I wish there had been at least two more apple slices on the sandwich. It looked a little skimpy once I opened it up. 

Cheesy Potato Soup-This soup was just as good as the tomato. I liked that it had chunks of potato, as some potato soups are smooth through and through. It had a great flavor, and if I could get my hands on their recipe, I would so I could make this at home.

K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple Silly)-Your basic grilled cheese. On the menu description it says lots, and lots, of cheddar. This picture doesn't show off the thickness of the cheese in the sandwich, but there was plenty. Another thing I liked about their grilled cheese was the thickness of the bread. They use big, thick, slices of either white or wheat bread on their sandwiches. Overall, there wasn't anything special about this sandwich. I would recommend trying something else, because I feel like you could make this at home. Next time I want to try the gourmet or tomato pesto. 

Chocolate Chip Cookie-If you apt in to be in their text club you get a free cookie. I couldn't resist and got the chocolate chip cookie. They warmed it up for me and it was ok, I like my chocolate chip cookies a little softer, and gooier. 

This is a order/pay type place and they bring out your food when it is ready.  It takes at least 15 minutes to cook the grilled cheese because they have to make sure the cheese is nice and melty, just fyi. The cashier was nice, and gave us samples of the soups because we couldn't make up our mind. Excellent service.

Green Light.  Even though the K.I.S.S wasn't anything special, I feel like that was my fault. I wanted something more original, but my husband wanted a simple grilled cheese, and that's exactly what he got. Putting that aside, when I leave and can't wait to come back to try everything on the menu, this deserves the highest rating.  Now I just need to find an excuse to go back.

Scale Rating Descriptions
Green Light: I'll be coming through all the time, call me a regular, recommend to everyone and all, I"ll crave this place when I'm pregnant, loved it!

Yellow Light: I'll be slow to go through,  I'd go back if someone suggested it,  nothing special, not something I'm going to crave, it was ok.

Red Light: STOP! Don't go, tried it once and that's enough, warn people not to go, thinking about it brings back bad memories, didn't like it.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

French Bread Pizza

Talk about a kid-friendly, easy, weeknight dinner! This is just the ticket! I don't always have French bread on hand but it doesn't matter! This is one of those meals where you can have all the components ready. Then call the hubster on his way home from work and have him pick up a loaf. As soon as he gets home, put it all together, pop it in the oven, and by the time he has kissed the kids and changed into his comfy clothes, dinner is on the table! I love it!

French Bread Pizza

1 loaf French bread
1 cup pizza sauce
  1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1/2 cup green peppers, chopped
3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (freshly shredded works best)
Parmesan garlic herb seasoning (recipe following)

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Brown ground beef, onions, and peppers together. Really you can use whatever pizza topping you like here but ground beef really works great for this. Sometimes I don't even add the peppers and onions. Drain beef. Cut French bread in half hot-dog bun style. Spread with pizza sauce. Sprinkle on ground beef mixture. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Top with seasoning. Bake for 7-10 minutes, until cheese is nice and melty. You could also put it under the broiler for the last 2-3 minutes to get that goldeny cheese. Enjoy! I serve this will a Ceasar salad and mixed fruit.

Parmesan Garlic Herb Seasoning

1/2 c. powdered Parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 tsp marjoram
  1 tsp parsley
Mix together in a jar. Store in fridge. Use on any pizza or garlic bread!
Slightly adapted from Our Best Bites.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Italian Meatballs

This is another one of those awesome freezer meals. And it's so versatile. Meatballs can be used in spaghetti, sweet and sour sauce, soup, or as a side to potatoes. These ones are some of the best I make.

Italian Meatballs

2 lbs ground beef (nothing less lean than 80/20)
5-6 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 eggs
1 Tbsp dried parsely
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grates
1/4 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix thoroughly using hands, but not too much, meat will become tough if overworked. Shape meat into golf ball sized balls and place on a cookie sheet. 

Bake for 30-45 minutes. Typical meatballs are placed into sauce after baking, but that is only if your are making spaghetti sauce to go with it. Otherwise, meatballs are yummy any way you eat them. I put half into a freezer quart bag for another day. Makes about 40 meatballs.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Pat's BBQ

Pat's BBQ
155 W. Commonwealth Ave.
Salt Lake City, UT 84115

There is nothing fancy about Pat’s. Picnic tables fill the restaurant, and there is no need to hire a dishwasher.  Everything is served on paper plates with plastic utensils giving it a true picnic feel.  You would never know they were featured on the Food Network, except for the nice pig sign outside.

One of the main reason I wanted to go to Pat’s was because it was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. The smoked meatloaf was the star on the show and I had to order it.   I’m glad I did because it was the best thing we ordered by far!  At each table there was 3 different types of BBQ sauces to choose from.  I usually ask for a side of BBQ for dipping so I liked having my own bottle at the table.

What we got...

When I go for bbq I go straight for the ribs. I did this time too, along with every other item on the menu.
Ok, not really but between my husband and I, we split 3 meals.

1/4 rack ribs ($9.89)- The ribs are smoked and seasoned in a secret rub. I like the meat to fall off the ribs, but I had to yank the meat off the ribs.  I am picky on the amount of fat that is on my meat and the ribs had too much for my liking.

Side- The side salad was just that, a side salad. The corn bread was cold, and I like it warm/hot out of the oven with melty butter, so I wasn't a fan.

Smoked meatloaf ($11.29)- I  had to try the meatloaf because it was featured on the food network. There's a good reason why.  The meatloaf was a nice change from the everyday smoked meats. It makes me wonder what other foods would be good smoked? Maybe mac n' cheese?!

Sides-The mashed potatoes and gravy were bland as well as the corn.

The 3 meat plate ($15.39). We chose the chicken, brisket, and pulled pork. The meat was very moist. between the 3, my favorite was the pulled pork.

Side-The baked beans weren't anything special. Corn bread, bleh. The sides weren't good.

Was great, couldn't have been better.

I give it a yellow light. All of the sides that we had with our meals weren't very good (red light), which was disappointing.  It's too bad because the meats were great.  If I could, and I can, I give the meatloaf  a green light.  Pat's gets a very colorful rating from me.

Scale Rating Descriptions
Green Light: I'll be coming through all the time, call me a regular, recommend to everyone and all, I"ll crave this place when I'm pregnant, loved it!

Yellow Light: I'll be slow to go through,  I'd go back if someone suggested it,  nothing special, not something I'm going to crave, it was ok.

Red Light: STOP! Don't go, tried it once and that's enough, warn people not to go, thinking about it brings back bad memories, didn't like it.

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