Thursday, November 25, 2010

Doggie Treats!

So in case you guys didn't know I have the world's most adorable dogs. You may be sitting there feeling like my opinion is biased, but they are seriously the most adorable. Anyways, I was planning up all the recipes for our delicious Thanksgiving and I realized the poor angels are used to being spoiled on a daily basis, and I wasn't factoring them in to my recipes. I decided it would be as good a time as any to build a recipe just for them. Since they each have their own favorite foods, I made two recipes. Lei Lei looooves Peanut Butter so I made her a Peanut Butter dog biscuit. Savannah looooves cheese. Let me just explain how much this dog loves cheese and how spoiled she is. We have to add grated parmesan cheese to their dog food every night just to get Savannah to eat the dog food. So, I made Savannah a cheesy dog biscuit.

I have a collection of really cute cookie cutters. I have a snowman, some flowers, and butterflies (my favorite). I also handmade a couple hearts for them (awwww). Anyways, they literally almost knocked Jon over to get a second cookie so I'd say the recipe was successful.

The ingredients are all edible. Judgement free zone here if you wanted to make them for yourself ;).

Lei Lei's PB Treat

1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup Wheat Germ
1 egg
1/2 cup Peanut Butter (all natural-creamy)
1 tbsp honey
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup all purpose flour (for rolling out the cookies)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients with mixer. Tip dough out onto floured surface. Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to make unique shapes. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Savannah's Cheesy Carrot Cookie

1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup Wheat Germ
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup corn meal
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 carrot, peeled and hand grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients with mixer. Tip dough out onto floured surface. Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to make unique shapes. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!

Giving Thanks

"Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." Melody Beattie
I'm really excited for this post because I love giving credit where credit is due. I feel its so important to tell those you love how much you love them day in and day out. Sometimes in this crazy life, its really easy to leave people out. I really hope I don't leave anyone out with this post. I have some amazing friends. Even if you are just my friend on twitter or facebook and we just like a status or throw an "lol" at each other, I thank you for being in my life. That being said, I want to take some time to thank those who have really paved the way to bring me where I am today.

First and foremost, I want to thank God. I'm not a particularly religious person. At least I wasn't before I moved to Hawaii. I spent 4 years at a Catholic high school that felt more like cult training. Now, being in Hawaii, I feel more spiritual and able to honor God in my own way. I am so blessed to be where I am today. I know all the struggles and shortcomings have had their purpose. I feel the strongest I have ever felt and I am sooo thankful.

To my amazing parents, Mama and Papa. You two are seriously the most amazing parents a kid could ever ask for. You are so inspiring. I see you guys making the best of every day and being true partners to one another. You make me strive to be half the people you both are, and I wish all parents acted like that. It is truly amazing how much strength you both have. Even when you're at rock bottom, you're constantly looking for ways to help others. I love you both so much.

Jonathan, you are seriously the best friend I could ever ask for. We have been through six years of ups and downs, and I'm thankful for every minute with you. You are so wonderful for putting up with my uber-sensitive and over-emotional self, haha. I know we have many years ahead of us, so get comfortable. Thank you for saving me from myself six years ago and helping me become the person I am today. I love you bubs!

Lei Lei & Savannah- well, you two can't read but I don't care. Jonny can read it to you. Thank you girls for being the cutest darn dogs ever. Thanks for the cuddles when I had a bad day and forcing me to walk you both miles and miles to tone my legs, haha. On a more serious note, I am so thankful you both found your way home after getting out of the house. Savannah, you were only gone a week but I was terrified every second. When you finally came home, I was so excited. Lei Lei, you left us for NINE months. I truly had begun to lose hope you'd ever come home to us. I'm so thankful that nice man found you and called us. Love you both <3

Krissy- my darling younger sister. We have probably the most insane relationship any sisters have. We want to kill each other one minute, and then are planning what movie to go see the next. I am thankful I had you growing up so we can pick on Mom and Dad's quirky cute ways together. I love you lots.

Shannon- my big sis! We have had some really rough times (to say the least). I'm glad we've been able to put the past behind us and stay in touch even with thousand of miles in between us. I love you very much!

My three nieces- Ava, Tiffany & Devan, you are the best and most beautiful nieces an Auntie could ask for. I love seeing pictures of you guys. I just wish I could be closer to watch you all grow up. Love you all <3

Grandma L- I love you so much! I know you won't be reading this, but I wanted to include you because you mean a lot to me. I wish you were out here in paradise with us for this holiday. Love you so much <3

Grandma & Grandpa H- I hope you both are watching down on me and I hope I'm making you proud. RIP <3

Grandpa L- I only knew you for a very short time but the memories of you that are shared with me make you live on. I'm so thankful you helped make my Mom who she is today because she is the most amazing mother ever. Love you, RIP. <3

My aunts/uncles/cousins- there are so many of you spread across the globe but I love every single one of you. You are all kind, funny and awesome to be around. I cherish all our memories.

Jon's family (my future in-laws)- you are all an amazing group of people. I'm so thankful to you for helping Jon be who he is today. He's an amazing guy and we both have you all to thank for that. Love you all <3

The Perry Family- I love all you guys. You have been like a second family to me. You've been there when I needed to laugh, dance, party or vent about my day. You are such an amazing support system for me, even with the thousand of miles between us.

My Best Buy family- I had an amazing 3 year run wearing a blue shirt. I met so many wonderful people at 1461, 1140 and 852. I also met lots of people from a bunch of stores between trainings, conferences and job fairs. I made friends that I know I'll have for the rest of my life. Thank you all for making me laugh and become a better leader throughout the years.

My Things Remembered family- I've worked with so many great people at the kajillion TR stores I've worked at. You guys are so awesome. Thank you for being there for me and putting up with my craziness :)

Danielle, Me, Case, Tricia & ChristianaMy Stang Bangas- especially you, Casey :) we all grew apart after highschool which is typical but thanks to facebook, twitter and blogger we've been able to reconnect. Its awesome being able to keep updated on all your lives. I love knowing I can still turn to you all for everything. <3

My teams- Patriots & Celtics, thanks for being so epic and making it easy on me to talk shit.

Just a few people I want to say a special thanks to... Rebecca, Solange, Steph, Kristin, Nalani and Reyne, thanks for letting me vent, making me laugh and keeping me sane. You girls are amazing and I love you forever. KTom and Nalani- an extra thanks for keeping me in the gym. I strive to be as sexy as the two of you someday ;).

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

Hey there,

So since Thanksgiving is approaching us rather quickly, I wanted to get as many recipes up for you guys as fast as possible. Most of the time, I research and taste test recipes online and then adapt it to make it my own. This next recipe is perfect just as it is. Soooo delicious. Apparently Gooey Butter Cakes come from St. Louis, but I was introduced to them by a sweet little lady from Georgia. You guys may have heard of her before.. Paula Deen? It was one of the very first dessert recipes I tried of hers and it is to die for. It is like birthday cake meets cheesecake in Heaven. So good! Anyways, here's the link to the recipe on Food Network's website.

Love ya!


Ho Ho Ho Christmas 5x7 folded card
Shop for elegant Christmas photo cards.
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Here's a preview of my Christmas cards! Hope these 3-7 business cards go by quickly!!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Glazed Carrots

This is Jon's favorite recipe of my dad's. You all know by now that Jon hates veggies so for this to be his favorite it saying something. It could be the butter and brown sugar, but hey, they're still veggies right?

7-8 carrots - do not peel, just slice into 1/4 inch slices
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of water

Place water and butter in saucepan and cook over medium heat. Add carrots. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and add brown sugar. Cook for 40 minutes stirring occasionally.

Caramelized Onions

Another super easy recipe courtesy of my mom and dad! Only 3 ingredients, don't you guys love them? They do Thanksgiving the smart AND delicious way!

2-3 sweet onions - chopped and sliced
1 stick of butter
1 cup of brown sugar

Place one stick of butter and sliced onions on burner over medium heat. Cook until butter is melted and bubbling. Reduce to simmer and add brown sugar. simmer for at least 30 minutes stirring occasionally

Scalloped Potatoes

This recipe is one I've been having since I can ever remember, and it is hands down my favorite. My mom is literally notorious for these scalloped potatoes. We live at the Estates at Turtle Bay and have a lot of really great neighbors. We have also become so close with the people who work on the property, at the restaurants and bars. As soon as people find out she's making these potatoes, she will be harassed for days to get some! I always end up missing out because by the time I make it there to get some, she's already given it out to all her other "kids" at the hotel! Haha. Anyways, we love this recipe in the family and I think it's going to make an awesome addition to your recipe collection.

10-12 red potatoes, peeled and slice thinly
2 16 oz packages of American Cheese
1/4 stick of butter, plus 2 tbsp for baking dish
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt

Prepare baking dish by greasing with butter. In a medium sauce pan melt butter, then add flour and stir with a whisk until blended. Add milk and heat slowly-then add American Cheese, let melt. Stir with whisk and let stand for a few minutes. Put potatoes in a the baking dish and pour the cheese sauce over the potatoes. Cook in a 350 degree oven for an hour and fifteen minutes.

Tips from Mom's Kitchen:
Don't let the sliced potatoes sit very long without the cheese sauce, the potatoes will turn grey...
You could cook this a few days ahead of your Thanksgiving feast and warmed in the stove the day of, they even will taste better and less work on Thanksgiving, more time to enjoy your family...

Lipton Onion Dip

We always use this recipe in my family. I first had it at my Grandma's house and now everytime I make it for a party, it reminds me of her. So simple and deicious!

1 envelope Lipton® Recipe Secrets® Onion Soup Mix1 container (16 oz.) sour cream

Mix together and serve with veggies, crackers and chips. I especially love it with Ruffles!

Shrimp Dip

Super simple to make, only 2 ingredients!

1 4oz can of Sau Sea Shrimp Cocktail Sauce
1 8oz package of cream cheese, room temperature

Blend two ingredients until smooth consistency. Serve with crackers, veggies and olives!

Olive Tapenade

I can't even begin to express my love for this Olive Tapenade. My parents came up with this recipe from having this spread at a restaurant up in Bar Harbor, ME. They tested out some recipes and finally came up with this combination of flavors. Such a great, easy dip to have next to some crackers and veggies.

1 can of pitted black olives
1/2 can of green olives with pimentos
1/2 cup of walnuts
3 tbsp of parmesan cheese
3 tbsp of olive oil

Blend ingredients in food processor to desired consistency.

And that's all she wrote!

Grilled Salmon with Dill Sauce

1/2 lb Atlantic Salmon
Olive Oil, enough to coat Salmon

Dill Sauce
3 tbsp dill
1 cup sour cream
3 tbsp horseradish

Brush Salmon all over with Olive Oil. Place Salmon skin side down on grill. Cook five minutes on each side TWICE. (10 minutes per side all together).

While Salmon is cooking, prepare dill sauce. Mix together dill, sour cream and horseradish. Serve and enjoy! How easy was that?

Mashed Potatoes

Cheesy, creamy and delicious. Perfect for your Shepherd's Pie or served with gravy.

3 pounds potatoes

½ cup parmesan
½ cup Romano
½ cream cheese              
½ cup milk
1  stick butter    
3 cloves of garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cube potatoes and get them in a pot and cover them with cold water. Bring to a boil and season water with salt. *see tip at bottom* Cook for 20-25 minutes until fork tender.

Drain potatoes. Using an electric mixer, beat potatoes with Parmesan, Romano, cream cheese, milk, butter and garlic until smooth or to desired "with lumps" consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Tip from the cook: Anytime I make potatoes, pasta or rice, I always season my boiling water with salt AND chicken bouillon. I think its much more inexpensive than cooking in Chicken Stock in a box and gets you the same flavor. It also adds a really nice gourmet color to it. That little jar of bouillon lasts quite a while too, even with the amount of cooking I do!

Friday, November 19, 2010


So, I'm super pumped for Christmas this year! Growing up, our house was always filled with loads of Christmas cards tacked to the walls. I would love to have that again this year. So, I've been harassing my friends and family to send me some with promises to send our own this year. I wasn't going to give updates like people usually do in Christmas cards but I decided it may be a good idea since we got engaged this year and everything, haha.

Anyways, one of my BFFLs from highschool, Casey, posted on her blog a deal Shutterfly was having for bloggers to get 50 free card prints! I was planning on doing a photo card this year and Shutterfly has never let me down. I do photo calendars all the time for birthday gifts. I'm of course going to include pictures of the cutest dogs alive, Lei Lei and Savannah. Check out these links to get your gifts and holiday cards done for this season!

·         Christmas photo cards to
·         birthday invitations to
·         calendars to  
·         personalized mugs to
·         Choose your favorite product from our Cards & Stationery page

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gobble Gobble!

Hey Kids!

Okay so my mom called me last week to alert me of the deals Foodland (our grocery store) was having in preparation for Turkey Day. They were selling turkeys up to 16 lbs for $3.97! And not $3.97 per pound either, that's for the whole friggin bird! I was PSYCHED to say the least, I ended up with three birds around 15 pounds.

The first time I ever made my own Thanksgiving turkey was back when my skills in the kitchen were limited to Hamburger Helper and reheating take-out. Surprisingly, it turned out great. There are four things I care about on Thanksgiving, cranberry sauce (IN THE CAN), egg nog, mashed potatoes and gravy. If I didn't have turkey, I seriously would be okay. So the spread that year was Turkey (even if I could live without it, Jon couldn't), cranberry sauce, egg nog, mashed potatoes, gravy and dinner rolls. It was just Jon, me and the dogs. It was kind of nice not doing the hustle and bustle with family and everything.

This good experience of making my own turkey was a few years back and those who know me know my memory isn't always the best. (There Jon, I admitted it! I have a bad memory :P). So, I turned to my favorite- for some turkey recipes. The first one that jumped at me was "The Perfect Turkey". The second was "Rosemary Roasted Turkey". I decided to somewhat follow the both of them, and then add in my own spin.

Gobble Gobble Turkey!

1 15 lb turkey
1 cup salt
1 stick butter, melted
Herb mix:
     1 tbsp salt
     1/2 tbsp rosemary
     1/2 tbsp poultry seasoning
     1/2 tbsp oregano
     1/2 tbsp sage
     1/2 tbsp thyme
     1/2 tbsp black pepper
     1/2 tbsp granulated garlic
1 large onion, chopped into large chunks
5-6 carrots, chopped into large chunks
2 stalks of celery, chopped into large chunks
1 lemon, cut into slices
7-8 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine

Before I get into the instructions, a couple things I feel is important to know. First off, a "stalk" of celery refers to the whole bunch of celery (comprised of individual ribs). I had to google that a few months back, so I figured I'd share. Also, for easier peeling of garlic, smash it with the side of your knife so it cracks the outside layer of the garlic. I learned that from Rachael Ray. The Perfect Turkey recipe on instructs you to brine the turkey for 12 hours the day before. Not going to lie, I didn't do that. I get too excited to actually make these recipes. It may be something you want to do, but I thought the turkey was delicious without! That is all, continue on...

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove giblets. Wash and dry the turkey inside and out. Using your fingers, loosen the skin from the meat of the turkey. Just slide your fingers in between the skin and meat. Take the cup of salt and rub it all over the turkey, including inside the cavity, between the meat and skin and outside of skin. Brush melted butter over all of turkey. Sprinkle both sides of turkey with Herb Mix. Place in roasting pan, breast side down.

Stuff turkey with half the amount of onion, carrots, celery, lemon, garlic and 1 bay leaf. Scatter remaining along bottom of roasting pan. Pour chicken stock and white wine over turkey.

Before turning it breast side up...
Cook in oven, uncovered, for 2 hours. After 2 hours, take out turkey and turn it over, breast side up. Cook for 1 1/2 more hours, until internal temperature reaches 180 degrees. Transfer to serving dish and allow it to stand for 20-30 minutes before serving.

Important note: Make sure you "baste" the turkey every 1/2 hour to hour to promote even browning.

If you guys have any questions, email me at

Almost forgot! Save those veggies from the roasting pan to make some turkey stock once you've ripped that bird apart!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Taylor Swift- Speak Now

So, I have absolutely no qualifications to be doing an album review. Then again, I don't have qualifications to have a cooking blog, hah! I am so in love with this album, I really wanted to share some of my favorite songs with you all. <3 Overall Favorite Song:

Runner-Up for Favorite:

Makes me LOL:

Favorite Melody:

Favorite Lyrics:

Baked Mac N Cheese Vs. Creamy Mac N Cheese

Let me start by saying that I am a serious fan of Macaroni and Cheese in any form. I will take the Costco brand boxed version, Velveeta, Kraft, homemade, KFC, you get the picture- I LOVE MAC N CHEESE! Jon and I were playing 20 questions the other day. The question was what three foods would you choose to have for the rest of your life and nothing else? The answer was macaroni and cheese, popcorn and tiramisu. The second two I really had to think about... The first one was a no brainer.

So, for this blog I decided to do some experimenting in the kitchen and take on Baked Mac N Cheese vs. Creamy Mac N Cheese. Hands down the winner, as far as I'm concerned, was the Creamy Mac N Cheese. I decided to make the creamy version  tangy with some gorgonzola cheese and plain yogurt. For the baked mac, I combined a few recipes and tips I found online and then added some of my own flair for the crunch topping. I felt the Baked Mac N Cheese was wayyyy too boring! I'd love to hear what you all think-

Baked Mac N Cheese
Adapted from this recipe
1 lb elbow macaroni
1 stick butter
3 tbsp flour
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups milk
8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
8 oz shredded mild cheddar cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste
10 oz sausage, casing removed & diced (I used Portuguese sausage)

Crunchy Cheesy Topping:
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup romano cheese
1/4 cup Cheeze-its
1/4 cup Ritz cracker

Cook macaroni as directed on package. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 11x15 baking dish. Brown sausage for 5-6 minutes in large skillet. In large pot, heat stick of butter until melted. Whisk in flour. Add cream and milk and stir until combined. Heat on medium for 2 to 3 minutes. Add in cheese and whisk until melted and combined with milk.Add salt and pepper to taste.

Toss macaroni and sausage in cheese sauce and spread into baking sheet. Using a food processor, pulse parmesan cheese, romano cheese, Cheeze-its and Ritz crackers until they are a crumb texture. Sprinkle crumbs over top of macaroni and sausage. Bake for 15-20 until it is golden brown and bubbly.

Tangy Creamy Mac N Cheese

1 lb elbow macaroni
1 stick butter
3 tbsp flour
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 12 oz can of evaporated milk
1 6 oz container of plain yogurt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup romano cheese
2 tbsp gorgonzola cheese
1 8 oz package of shredded mild cheddar cheese
1/2 tbsp yellow mustard

Cook macaroni as directed on package. In large pot, heat stick of butter until melted. Whisk in flour. Add chicken broth, evaporated milk, yogurt, heavy cream and cream cheese and stir until combined. Heat on medium for 2 to 3 minutes. Add in parmesan, romano, gorgonzola and cheddar cheeses and whisk until melted and combined. Whisk in mustard and salt and pepper to taste.

Toss macaroni with cheese sauce and serve.

Friday, November 12, 2010


I am so upset right now! A customer told me about these and I was super excited to google them. They are a great deal at $7.99. Shipping however to Hawaii is $19.99! Ahhhh! They're mentally filed for the future when I have no impulse control and feel like wasting $20 on shipping. Sigh.

Throwback! Bacon Wrapped Blue Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

So I recently got a friend request for my blog on Truth be told, I totally forgot I ever had a blog on that website! When I went on to check out my friend request, I read through the limited posts I had. I started the blog right after I saw Julie and Julia in the movies and decided to cook my way through Rachael Ray's Big Orange Book (BOB). I have cooked a good majority of those recipes but I never blogged most of the recipe wins and fails. I did however blog about this one recipe that I think about all the time. It was so incredibly delicious. I'm going to share the post with you all because its just funny. I love my August 2009 self for not knowing what scallions were, so adorable. I also chuckled at myself reading it so I figured it was worth sharing. And look guys, Jon was only my boyfriend then! Haha.


I had some leftover chicken breasts from a casserole I made a few nights ago and decided I'd find a recipe that had chicken so I could use it before it got freezer burn. Luckily for me, Rachael's Big Orange Book had lots to choose from. I flipped to the index and this dish jumped out at me. Chicken- Bacon-Wrapped with bleu cheese and pecans. Hmmmm. I flipped to the ingredients and was happy to see I had everything I needed besides scallions, bleu cheese, pecans and mustard. I had to go out anyways, so I was excited to go to the store to get the components for my first dish.

On the way to the store, my boyfriend asked me what I needed to get. I told him and he immediately said "No, no scallions!" Anytime we've gone anywhere that had scallions we always ask for it without. I don't think either of us has ever stopped to try the scallions, so I figured this was as good a time as any. I told him "Yes scallions" and reminded him in a firm tone that he promised his support. He shut right up and we kept driving.

I got to the store, quickly found the bleu cheese crumbles and pecans. I then realized I needed toothpicks to hold the chicken together. I searched for a few minutes until I saw an employee and asked for help. He ran off to look. In the meantime, I found the toothpicks. He came back to me with skewers in his hand, letting me know they were 99 cents. I had found toothpicks that were $5. He said I should take the skewers. I explained they were going in the oven, and it wouldn't work. I thanked him and moved on to the scallions.

I searched near the onions, celery and the herbs and couldn't find it anywhere. I asked another employee who was stocking the vegetables and he said he'd never heard of scallions. I've only ever seen scallions cut up so I frankly didn't know what they looked like whole either. I searched some more, but due to a time constraint, I had to leave without my scallions, much to Jon's merriment.

Once we got home, I quickly realized that in between the drama of the toothpicks and scallions, I forgot the mustard. The mustard was for the gravy, so I just decided to make the gravy sans mustard. C'est la vie!

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the dish itself was super easy to make. It called for an ovenproof skillet so you could brown it on the stove then move it into the oven. I was nervous that my expensive, non stick skillet was not ovenproof. So I just moved the chicken into my one glass baking pan. That left me open to make the gravy in the pan that had some yummy chicken and bacon remains on the bottom. The gravy was delicious. The chicken came out super tender and the bleu cheese didn't shout at you, it was a subtle compliment. I also don't love nuts, but in this dish they were just some tasty crunches here and there from the chopped toasted pecans.

What did Jon think? He ate a bowl of cereal before the dinner was made and said he forgot I was cooking tonight, convenient. He did end up eating half of the chicken and was pleasantly surprised that his hatred for bleu cheese and pecans didn't matter here. He especially loved the gravy.

The verdict is that Rachael Ray is awesome.


Here's the recipe guys!

Day 30- A Dream For The Future

I kind of covered this in Day 29. My dream is to turn my passion of cooking and baking into a career. I'd love to own my own bakery truck. :)

This was the last day of the challenge! Hope you guys had fun! I'm probably going to look around for some other blog challenges because I love that it got me blogging more.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

This recipe was kind of an accident. I mean, I purposely decided to make a Pumpkin Whoopie Pie but I messed up the recipe a tiny little bit. Usually when I do recipes I label the filling ingredients. Well the recipe I decided to base my first pumpkin whoopie attempt at didn't do that. So I started adding in the filling ingredients right into the pie portion! Yikes! It wasn't until I got to the part where they have a second vanilla extract addition that I put two and two together. I should have read the instructions, but I was way too excited for these bad Larrys!

Anyways, it ended up working out! All of the times before when I made whoopie pies, they always seemed to come out dry. This time they were super moist and delicious. I decided to do a Ginger Cinnamon Cream Cheese filling. Um, yum!

Sorry the picture is cell phone quality. I hereby solemnly swear I will buy a DSLR sometime in the I-hope-not-so-distant-future.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Pie: adapted from this recipe
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp heavy cream
1 tbsp honey
1 15 oz can Libby's pumpkin
2 eggs + 1 egg white
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tbsp ground ginger

3/4 cup cream cheese
1 cup shortening
2 tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking sheet(s) with cooking spray.

Using electric mixer, combine sugar, oil, cream, honey, pumpkin, eggs, vanilla and almond extract. In a separate bowl sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Slowly incorporate dry mixture into wet mixture until fully combine. Use an ice cream scoop to divide batter into cookie sizes on baking sheet(s). Allow to cook for about 11-12 minutes, until fork inserted comes out clean.

Meanwhile, use electric mixer to beat cream cheese and shortening together until well combined and fluffy. Add in remaining ingredients until fully combined. If needed, add another 1/2 tbsp of heavy cream to reach desired consistency of filling.

Makes about 16 whoopie pies!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day 29 - hopes, dreams and plans for the next 365 days

Oh boy, this is a good one!

I truly am hoping and dreaming that Jon and I can just continue where we're at. We both have really great jobs, we love our condo and have great dogs, friends and family supporting everything we do. All I can ask for is health and happiness in my family.

I would love to continue with my cooking adventures. I am going to in the next year start decorating more cakes and try to take some culinary classes to turn my passion into a career.

I hope to make the trip back to MA for a visit. Somedays I get incredibly homesick because there are so many amazing aspects to Massachusetts. I'd love to see my friends and family from there again.

I am truly such a lucky girl. I had some rough times in my past, but I'd go through them all over again knowing that eventually I'd be where I am. Moving to Hawaii was the best decision I've ever made in my life. Jon and I have grown so much stronger as a couple since living here. I know we have some great things ahead of us in the next year and I can't wait to see what they are!

Day 28 - what's in my handbag/purse

The question should probably what's NOT in my purse...

My purse is a hot mess on any given day. The frequent mile members of my purse are as follows:

-Deodorant... I really don't like to smell.
-Mints... I also don't like bad breath
-Wallet, which contains
      - No cash, ever! I get points on my Debit Card
      - My Driver's License
      -Social Security Card
      -2 or 3 credit cards. I'm not too big into those things
      -Stamps, old school status right there.
      -Rewards Cards
      -Random receipts
-Travel iPod Speakers, perfect for the beach or work when I'm sick of the radio
-Planner, I would die without this
-iPod Touch, I don't have an iPhone, so this is the closest I'm getting to amazing.
-Lipstick, which never gets used
-Kleenex, Jon sneezes... ALL THE TIME!
-Mini spiral notebook, I write random recipe ideas down all the time
-Approximately 8,657,123 pens

Day 27 - my worst habit


end of story. :D

Day 26 - your week, in great detail

This is going to be hard because sometimes my memory doesn't quite like me. So I'm going to attempt to recap last week.

Sunday 10/31
Happy Halloween! Definitely one of my most favoritest holidays! I was born early October so I love everything and anything fall. As beautiful as New England falls are, I hate the winters that follow. So, living in Hawaii, I just light some apple scented candles and call it fall. I've only ever heard the stories of what Halloween is like in Waikiki and this year I decided to get in on the action. First, I had to work 8:30-4:30. Then, I ran home, got changed, and had my mom cut and sew my costume to a shorter length. Good thing she lives within walking distance.
My friends and I decided to go with a group theme of Disney Princesses. We took lots of pictures with other random Disney characters and other crazy people we found. Funny story is that the picture of the double Jasmin and Aladdins is apparantely a friend of my younger sister's. I didn't know that until I posted the picture on my facebook and my sister commented. Small world. Enjoy the pictures :)

Monday 11/1
So this was the day after Halloween and I was scheduled to work at 5:30am. Level 8 fail. I stayed in Waikiki until around 12:30 am, so we didn't get home until around 2am. Luckily my manager texted to say she wanted us all to come in at 7am instead. It was still early just not "it's still dark out" early. We had a floor set to do and ended up not getting out until 5:30pm. Due to sleep deprivation, I was semi crazy and full on obnoxious. I kept yelling out "aww yeah the cab's are heaaaa". I got home around 7pm and Jon cooked me dinner and let me catch up on my DVR. Love him!

Tuesday 11/2
View in Manoa :)
Election Day! My mom hooked me up with a job working on the Colleen Hanabusa campaign from 10-6 on Election Day. I headed into town and had to walk door-to-door in Manoa and Kalihi. Kalihi was small kine scary, they had some big doggies at those houses! I did get Starbucks in the morning because I was still exhausted from my 10 hour shift the day before. We got Boston's Pizza for lunch, which was the first decent pizza I've had since living in Hawaii. Hanabusa ended up winning. I got a $20 gas card and a $90 paycheck, so win for me too!

Wednesday 11/3
Back to work at Things Remembered from 11 to 7. Nothing exciting there. I drove home, picked up Jon and we headed back up to town to go to Dave and Busters with some people from my old job at Best Buy.

Thursday 11/4
Work again. I went to Walmart to buy groceries because they are sooo much cheaper there than at Foodland. I also bought SATC2. YESSSS!!!

Friday 11/5
A day off! This day I decided to cook up a new recipe of Chili with Oven Baked Garlic Parmesan Fries. I did this while watching Grey's Anatomy and Master Chef on Fancast. I also made my Apple Crumbler because I was going to a friend's house for dinner the next night and I was bringing beer and dessert.

Saturday 11/6

Their cool crooked glasses!

Work 10-6. Afterwards, Jon picked me up and we went to Target to get beer for the dinner. We somehow managed to spend $81. I swear I do that everytime I go into Target. After that, we went to my new friend Angelina and her husband Jeremy's house. She made some delicious enchiladas. Soooo delicious. Maybe I can get her to give me the recipe to share with you guys? They have a really adorable tea cup Chihuahua named Lola and a cute black and white cat named Riley. They are so cute! She also decorated her condo exactly how I wish I could decorate mine. I am sooo going to Pier 1 and Ross to buy some stuff. It still looks like Jon and I just moved in.

Anyways, that was my average week. I am so thankful for the friends I have made living here in Hawaii. Hope you guys enjoyed reading! Only a few days left of this blog challenge. Then, it'll be back to mostly recipes. Not sure if that's a good or bad thing? xoxo

Monday, November 8, 2010

Day 25 - your day, in great detail

Okay, so it's only 11:10am and I'm trying really hard to catch up on this blog challenge. Nothing exciting is happening today, I'm going to the gym then going to work. So I'm going to reference you guys back to my random day blog because that was a lot of great detail. :)

Day 24 - Where I Live

Outside our condo :)

The beach about 2 miles away where Lei Lei swims

Savannah doesn't like water so she waits with Jonny

The front side of our condo..

Our view in the back.. On a golf course :)

Where the true magic happens... Haha

Day 23- A YouTube Video

This is my friend Roger who I worked with at Best Buy. He only recently started listening to all of us who told him to share his music online. I got him to put this one on YouTube so I could share it with you guys. He is so talented!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Day 22 - A Website

This one was pretty easy. Besides Facebook, the website I probably use most is They have a feature where you can build a recipe box. I usually like to start on this website to get ideas on how other people combine flavors, and then I take and make it my own. :)

Day 21- A Recipe

I have been such a major fail with posting on my blog. I cannot even begin to tell you how crazy busy this past week/month has been. I am so thankful I am not one of those people who struggle to make friends. However, I'm also the type of person who can never say no to anyone. I wear myself thin sometimes, and this past month, I've truly pushed myself to the limit with my social life, work and the few times I've been able to actually make it to the gym.

I was soooo excited for this post out of the whole blog challenge because its the reason I started blogging. This blog has made my life so much easier because anytime I need to reference or share one of my recipes, I can just hop on the computer and grab it. Amazing.

One of the main reasons I had started cooking a few years ago was because of Jon, my fiance. I felt like a failure as a girlfriend for not being able to produce something above and beyond hamburger helper. I started recording the Food Network, particularly 30 Minute Meals, on my DVR and watching them at night to get a feel for techniques and flavor combinations. I am still years away from where I'd like to be as a cook, but I've improved a whole bunch from where I started.

Since Jon was my original inspiration to cook, I decided to make one of his favorites. As I've mentioned before, Jon is a very picky eater. He enjoys meat and potatoes and nothing else. Its been a struggle to get him to try any food outside of the main meals he has had his whole life. I've finally been able to incorporate vegetables and herbs in the dishes, but he still loves a meat and potato dish. So, today I've made a Barbecue Chili with Oven Baked Garlic Parmesan Fries. I've made it with a few Portuguese touches in there because I do have some Portuguese blood in me. Instead of an Italian Sausage, I used Portuguese Sausage. I also used garbanzo beans as opposed to the usual kidney or pinto beans. I always use garbanzo beans in my Portuguese Kale Soup and I just love the flavor.

Barbecue Chili

2 lbs ground beef
1 10 oz Portuguese sausage, without casing
8 slices bacon, diced into small pieces
16 ounces chicken broth
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 green pepper, chopped
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 poblano pepper, seeded, chopped
1/2 cup beer
1 cup barbecue sauce
2 tomatoes, diced
1 15oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 15oz can diced tomatoes
2 15 oz cans beans (I used garbanzo)
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
3 tbsp chili powder
2 bay leaves
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp hot sauce
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
Salt & Pepper to taste

Heat large pot over medium-high heat. Place sausage in pot and break up using a wooden spoon or potato masher. Add ground beef. Cook until browned. Drain and set aside. Add bacon to same pot and cook until brown and crisp. Add beef and sausage back into pot. Add chicken broth to beef mixture. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, sautee onions and peppers for two to three minutes. Add onions and peppers to beef mixture. Add in remaining ingredients.

Cover and simmer over low heat for 2 1/2- 3 hours. Taste and add additional seasoning to taste. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream with my next recipe.

Oven Baked Garlic Parmesan Fries

4-5 potatoes, peeled and sliced into wedges
5 large cloves of garlic, finely minced or grated
2 tbsp olive oil, plus coating for fries
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare baking sheet with a light coat of cooking spray. In a small sauce pan, sautee garlic in oil and butter for 3-4 minutes. Set aside in large mixing bowl. Spread potato wedges evenly on baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and lightly coat with olive oil. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.

Immediately upon removing from the oven, toss fries in garlic mixture. Toss in parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve along side the chili or with a cheesy dipping sauce. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day 20- A Hobby of Mine

So, unfortunately I never have time for my favorite hobby- scrapbooking. The last time I had time to scrapbook was in the end of 2007. I made a cute scrapbook for our trip to Disney World. Its still not finished! I am going to commit right now that I will find time to start scrapbooking again because it makes me so happy!

Day 19- A Talent of Mine

This is a really tough one. I had a lot of talents when I was younger. I was a dancer from the age of 4, tap, jazz, ballet, toe ballet, hip hop and lyrical were among the classes I took. I also took voice lessons for some time in between middle and high school and got told I have a nice voice. I took piano for a while and did some cheerleading.

Nowadays, I stick to cooking and baking. I love to come up with new recipes or challenge myself with an old school recipe that takes a lot of effort. Eventually, I'd love to turn this talent into a career. I really love being in retail (no, seriously, I do). However, I want to have a more flexible schedule so I have more time to spend with my family. Its not easy working 11-7 shifts and working almost every weekend when your fiance works M-F until 4pm.

Having said that, I still dance around my house and sing with the radio in the car. Every once in a while I sit and think that maybe if I worked a little harder at these talents, I could be rich and famous. Then I realize that I would never actually enjoy it. I love being home with my family. It would be nice to have lots of money but I do appreciate money more having to work so hard for it.

Day 18- My Future Wedding

OK! So I've had an incredibly busy week so I haven't had much time to blog. Here's a couple previews of my upcoming wedding.

Jon and I have decided on October of 2012 for the wedding. This will give our family and friends from the east coast an opportunity to save up some money to fly out and spend some time with us in paradise. We are also pretty set on having our wedding at Waimea Valley. If any of you ever make a trip out to Hawaii, Waimea Valley should definitely be on your list of places to see. Here's some pictures of Waimea.

I have two ideas in terms of color scheme for the wedding. One idea is to do silver and sea green. However since the wedding is in the fall I was also thinking it might me nice to do a fall color scheme, like reds, oranges, etc. Then where they have the wedding ceremony, instead of doing flowers on the ground I could do some fall colored leaves on the ground. I don't know, still working that out.

One thing I need to convince my wonderful fiance is that I should make our wedding cake. I really would like to make it because the average cost of a wedding cake is $543. That's ridiculous. I could make my own for like $50. I'd rather be able to put more money into an open bar, or extra food for my guests at the reception. We'll see if I win the argument. :)

We know we want to have a traditional Hawaiian musician or band during the cocktail hour but then a DJ for the reception.

We still have a couple years before the wedding, so I'll try to keep you guys updated as pieces start falling together. For now, this is what we've started discussing and settling on. Jon and I are both incredibly indecisive so who knows what's going to happen! :)


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