Friday, December 25, 2015

Cranberry Bread Cream Cake

1 loaf cranberry bread
1 can whole cranberry sauce 
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 large cool whip container
2 small boxes instant cheesecake pudding (with milk to prepare)

Prepare cheesecake pudding according to the package, set aside.
Crumble 1/2 of your cranberry bread into the bottom of your dish. (Cranberry bread from scratch recipe found here.) In a large bowl mix cream cheese and powdered sugar until well blended. Fold in 1/2 of your cool whip. Spread the cream cheese mix over your bread. Cover the cream cheese with your prepared cheesecake pudding. Open your can of cranberry, spreading half of the can ontop of the pudding. Top with remaining cool whip and garnish with extra crumbles of cranberry bread. Place dessert in fridge until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Mint chocolate fudge cream cake

1 pack mint Oreos
1 small pack fudge covered mint cookies
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 large cool whip container
1 large box instant chocolate pudding (with milk to prepare)
1/4 cup butter, melted
Chocolate syrup

Prepare chocolate pudding according to the package, set aside.
Drizzle chocolate syrup on the inside of the dish.
Crumble 1/2 of the Oreos in the package , placing in the bottom of your dish. Drizzle the melted butter over the Oreos and mix in evenly. Slightly press down to for your crust. In a large bowl mix cream cheese and powdered sugar until well blended. Fold in 1/2 of your cool whip. Spread the cream cheese mix over your Oreos. Cover the cream cheese with your prepared chocolate pudding. Ontop of your pudding layer, line your fudge covered cookies around the dish. Top with remaining cool whip and garnish with crumbles Oreos and chocolate syrup. Place dessert in fridge until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Cream cheese filled Egg Nog bread

I have been trying to prepare desserts and sides to bring with us for our many Christmas parties are we going to this holiday. With 6 places, Christmas treats can get a little expensive. I started by making cranberry bread which has recently become a crowd favorite. I only had enough cranberries for 1 loaf, so I started hunting around in the kitchen for other things I could throw into a loaf of bread. I noticed a bottle of egg nog in the refrigerator and decided to try something new! I am so glad that I did! This may be my new favorite holiday recipe yet! The spices in the bread are full of flavor mixing with the creamy texture of egg nog and cream cheese. It is certainly going to be the new holiday "must have".

Egg Nog Bread:
1 cup egg nog +1 tbsp
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon 
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
Cream cheese filling:
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/8 cup powdered sugar
1/8 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons flour 
1/2 tsp vanilla 
1/2 tsp egg nog
Egg nog glaze:
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp egg nog

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease a metal loaf pan, set aside.

In a large bowl mix the egg nog, sugar, vanilla, butter, and eggs until well blended. Fold in the remaining ingredients. Once batter is fully mixed, set aside to prepare cream cheese later.

In a separate bowl beat the cream cheese and sugars until blended. Beat in remaining ingredients.

To layer the bread, pour 2/3 of your egg nog bread batter into your prepared pan. Spread your cream cheese layer over your bread and top it off with the remaining bread batter.

Bake for 50-55 minutes. If the top starts to brown before the loaf is done, cover it with tin foil. I baked mine uncovered for 45 minutes and covered with tin foil for another 7 minutes.

Once the bread is baked, cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. After the bread is completely cooled, prepare your glaze. 

Mix the powdered sugar and egg nog, beating out all the lumps with a whisker. Pour glaze over bread. Enjoy!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas Crunch

Only a few more days until Christmas! I love everything about Christmas. The decorations, the food, giving gifts to others, seeing all my family and friends, and of course celebrating the true meaning of Christmas ! With our final days approaching it seems our shopping list gets larger and our wallets get smaller! I started making homemade gifts last year to save cost but still give great gifts. I made this Christmas crunch for the first time to add to Christmas baskets and to snack on for the holidays. It's cheap, easy, and delicious!

1 1/2 bags of popcorn, homestyle
2 cups pretzels, chopped
1 - 10 oz bag of Christmas M&Ms
1 1/2 cups Christmas cookies, chopped
1 lb of vanilla candy melt
Christmas sprinkles

Start by popping all your popcorn according to the bag. Place the cooked popcorn in a large bowl, removing all uncooked kernels. Add the chopped pieces of Christmas cookies, pretzels, and M&Ms to your popcorn. Melt you chocolate according to the package instructions. Mix the chocolate into the popcorn evenly. Be careful not to crush the popcorn. Add a few shakes of sprinkles and let the chocolate on the pop corn dry. Once the chocolate has cooled, separate into your gifts! 1 batch makes around 6-8 goodie bags worth. Hope you enjoyed it as much as we did! 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

I am all about finding convenient ways to cook. With making over 10 dishes and desserts for friends giving, this slow cooker mashed potatoes were a life saver! Delicious too! Original recipe found at

2 pounds red potatoes, washed, halved.
4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tbsp minced garlic 
1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley (or 2 tbsp dried parsley flakes)
1/2 tsp dried or fresh basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/4 cup milk

Place your potatoes in a large greased crock pot. Leave on high for 2-3 hours or low for 5-6. I put mine on low and left them in there all day while I cooked the rest of the food! Once the potatoes are fork tender, blend with a hand blender or a potato masher. Blend in remaining ingredients. Keep warm until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Ambrosia Salad

This is the perfect side for any holiday meal rather it's Thanksgiving or 4th of July. You can mix it up with adding your favorite fruits and nuts to really make it special too. I found the original recipe on It is super light and fluffy! It went great with our Friendsgiving this year!

8 oz tub of Cool Whip
1/2 cup sour cream
11 oz can mandarin oranges, drained
20 oz can crushed pineapples, drained
10 oz jar maraschino cherries, halved, patted dry
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
2 cups mini marshmallows
3/4 cup chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, cashews) - optional
* we added 1/2 cup chopped up strawberries

Mix sour cream and cool whip together in a bowl. Fold in remaining ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Christmas Decorating on a Budget

It's here! The most wonderful time of the year! It is so hard to believe it has already been a year since Johnny and I got engaged, and wow, what a magical year that was! With all the yummy foods and Christmas shopping, there's holiday decorating! Christmas decorating is the most expensive. From the trees, the mantle, there has to feel like there is Christmas in each room! How do you make a house look as wonderful as you feel this December? Easy! The 4 best bargain places! TJ Maxx, thrift store, Dollar General, and Micheals! 

Let's start with office decorating. For our front table, most of our Devore came from Michaels. 

For the wreath, we took a discounted Kirklands wreath and added flowers and berries from Michaels at 60% off with ribbon that was Buy one get one Free and a 40% off coupon. 

For the tree, we used the artificial tree the company has used for years. We found a reassembled box of gold and silver ornaments and paired them with gold acorn ornaments, gold flowers, and gold berries. 

At home, I have 2 trees. The dinning room is a small artificial tree. We used a purple and green color scheme. All ornaments, flowers, and berries came from Micheals and the Dollar General. 

I paired the tree with a mint table cloth and set up the table arrangements with silvers and golds to match. 

For the Living room, we have a deep red and gold theme. We use a real tree in the front room. This year we got ours from Food Lion for $29.99.

The mantel is decorated with left over Mercury glass from our wedding and 2 jars from the Dollar General filled with pine cones from our front yard. 

Our front table is mainly pieces from the thrift store and items I already had around the house. 

We added a few touches to our bathroom as well by replacing the flowers to a darker color for the season. 

 And don't forget about our drinking buddy we added to our bar!

Top off all the decorations with a homemade wreath and you are savy Christmas ready!!

Merry Christmas!! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Thanksgiving Decor on a Budget

PIt's a new month with new ideas for my Holiday table. Thanksgiving is a harder holiday to decorate for. Before Halloween even begins, it seems Christmas decor is making its way out on to the shelves, skipping our beloved Thanksgiving! One of the tips to decorating for thanksgiving is to find your turkeys early! 

For our our office we did a turkey and fall colors to help fill out the table. All decor items came from TJ Maxx and Michaels.

We reused the red house calander and flowers from our September table. Pumpkins are a good item you can use from your Halloween table too. 

For the house table, 90% of the decorations are from the thrift store and the Dollar store.

The bottom shelf is the same arrangement from the Halloween table. I also made a wreath using leaves and flowers from the Dollar General. 

Happy Turkeyday! 

Halloween decorating on a budget

One of my guilty pleasures when grocery shopping is ready the home and garden magazines. My brain is filled with so many creative ideas, but the wallet is not as filled as my imagination. Over the years I have learned a few tricks of the trade to save shopping. I saved hundreds of dollars decorating each month from shopping at my 3 favorite places: Michaels craft store, the thrift store, and the holy grail: TJ Maxx. 

The decorating obsession started when my boss asked my to decorate the front office desk. With Halloween approaching I decided to go with an October theme. I looked for deals and coupons to get the most with the budget. I found all the Halloween materials at Michaels were 50% off! I gathered a few of my favorite things and strayed decorating. I started the table with a bag of spider webs and fake spiders on the table and finished with arranging the pieces. We had a chalk board sign to mark each day of October. By my desk we put up a witch and a cute little sign. Pair it with some Halloween candy and voila!

For the house decorations, I picked a few of my favorite pieces from Micheals and scored the rest from the thrift store. The candelabra, candles, candle holders, clocks, Mercury glass, and a few other items were all left over wedding decor that we found at different thrift stores. Look for a color scheme you want to master for you holiday table and see if you already have pieces in your home you can use to decorate. Each year you can add a new favorite piece. I always like to shop after a holiday. Michaels lowers their holiday decor to 70% off after the season!

I added a few extra holiday decorations to pull it all together. In the kitchen, I ised the gold glass goblets I already had from TJ Maxx and paired it with a skull from Micheals and place matts and towels I got from Bed Bath and Beyond with my 20% off coupon. 

If you want to get more crafty with the holiday you can always make a Wreath as well. Buy the Halloween materials from Michaels when they are on sale, and use their 40% off coupon for any other items!

Get some pumpkins and mums to out outside and you'll have successfully decorated your house for Halloween all under $100! Don't forget to check out the link on how to make a Halloween Count Down Calander! 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Peanut Butter Banana Mini pies

I was in the mood for a dessert last week but too lazy to run to the store to buy supplies, thus these Peanut Butter Banana Mini Pie bites were born. They are great for any time of  the year and can be made ahead of time and frozen! Now who doesn't like a desert that is tasty AND convenient? Not to mention how yummy they look!

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups flour
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tbsp. vanilla
2 bananas
chocolate syrup
cool whip, optional

Preaheat your oven to 350 F.
Prepare your crust: In a bowl mix your cream cheese and butter until well blended. Mix in your flour. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Once dough is chilled, fill mini muffin pans, pressing the dough into the holes to make mini pie crust.

Bake for 10 minutes or until crust are brown. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing. Transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Once your cups are cooled, prepare peanut butter filling. Blend the cream cheese and peanut butter together until smooth. Mix in remaining ingredients until well blended.

Fill each cup with a small spoon full of peanut butter pie mix.

Slice banana's and lay on top of each mini pie.

They are great here if you want to stop! I always like to go over board with my desserts though. Drizzle some chocolate or whipped cream on top and voila! Pure perfection. If you are not ready to serve these immediately, they hold well In the freezer. Put out an hour before serving. Enjoy!

Fresh Cranberry Bread

Thanksgiving had come and gone. The leaves have fallen and the weather growing colder each day. Fall has always been one of my favorite times of year. The crisp November air is enough to bring a smile to my face. Along with fall weather comes fall foods! For this year's Thanksgiving I gave cranberry bread a try. I have made it a few times with craisins but nothing beats the flavor or fresh cranberries. This bread recipe is so fluffy and moist too! It's perfect for breakfast, dessert, snacks, etc. Anytime of the day you can eat, this bread is appropriate! The original recipe is found on

Ingredients: (Makes 1 loaf)
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temp, cubed
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract, optional
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups (12 oz bag) fresh cranberries

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease your metal loaf pan, set aside.
In a large bowl beat eggs and sugar until smooth and increased in volume. For stand mixers beat 5-7 minutes, and for hand mixers beat 6-8 minutes. You are done mixing when the batter is leaving ribbons on the top from mixing and holds its form.
Beat in the softened butter, vanilla, and almond extract. Beat until butter is well incorporated.
Using a spatula, fold in the remaining ingredients. The batter will be very thick. Spread into prepared pan.

Bake the bread for 60-80 minutes. I start checking mine at 40 minutes to see how the top is browning. If your loaf if browning too much, but isn't fully cooked in the middle, cover the load with tin foil for the remaining baking time. The bread is done when a tooth pick comes out clean. Allow the bread to cool in the pan 20 minutes before slicing. I recommend serving the loaf chilled (if you can wait that long! It's so good you might want to eat it right out of the pan!) I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Classic Lasagna

Surprisingly with all the cooking I like to do, I have never made lasagna from scratch! It took me a few years to appreciate all that goes into a lasagna. I was never really a fan until my husband made me eat it regularly (we used to get the Stoffers) In celebration of our recent marriage, I decided to make it for dinner Sunday. It was really easy to make and so much better than frozen! We have had the left overs all week! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

1 lb ground sweet sausage
1 lb ground beef
1/2 yellow onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 - 28 oz - can crushed tomatoes
2 - 6 oz - cans tomato paste
2 - 6.5 oz - cans tomato sauce (I like to get the seasoned ones)
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 tbsp. dried parsley
Lasagna noodles - oven ready
16 oz ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Prepare a few hours to make the lasagna. I let my sauce cook for about 2-3 hours before baking it. You can prepare the sauce the night before if needed! Chop up your onion and place in the Dutch oven with your meats and garlic. Cook over medium heat until meat is fully browned. Add your un-drained crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Stir until everything is evenly mixed together. Add your sugar, basil, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and parsley. Simmer, covered, for at minimum 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
When you are almost done simmering your sauce, preheat your oven to 375 F. If you are using regular lasagna noodles, begin to prepare them according to their package (I use the oven ready ones. So awesome!)
When you are ready to assemble, start preparing your cheese mix.
In a bowl combined the ricotta cheese, egg, and salt. Set aside.
Spread 1 1/2 cups meat sauce in the bottom of your 9 x 13. Place a single layer of noodles over top. Spread half of the ricotta cheese mix over the noodles. Top with 1/3 of your shredded mozzarella. Repeat with 1 1/2 cups meat sauce, noodles, and remaining ricotta cheese. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Top with meat sauce and remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and cook for an additional 25 minutes. Allow lasagna to cool 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Mexican Pizza

Growing up I always loved Taco Bell, it is just so good! Even if you know it is so bad for you!! Well, we have a solution! Make your favorite taco bell dishes at home with fewer ingredients and better meat!

1 lb ground beef
1 pkg beef seasoning
1 can fat free pinto beans
4 tortilla shells
2 cups shredded cheese
1/2 cup salsa
1 tomato, chopped
1 small can sliced olives
Taco sauce
Sour cream

Turn your broiler on.
Brown your beef and cook according to seasoning package. Make sure you break up the beef into small pieces for it to spread easily. While you are browning your meat, place your beans in a sauce pan to warm. Add 1/4 cup water to beans while cooking. Stir until well incorporated, cooking until warm. We need the beans a little loose to spread better.

Brush your tortilla shells with a little oil and broil for 3-4 minutes until crunch. It is okay if they bubble up a little.

Once your shells and meat are all ready we can assemble!

Place a shell on a baking sheet, top with beef and 3 table spoons of salsa. Sprinkle cheese over top of beef. Take the other taco shell and spread beans on the under side. Place the bean side down on the cheese and meat. Spread more salsa on top of 2nd shell. Sprinkle with cheese. Place back in broiler for a few minutes until cheese is melted. Chop up some tomatoes and olives to place on top! I like taco sauce and sour cream on mine. Great with guacamole too! Enjoy!

Candy corn Trash!

For our 31 days of Halloween we had to make a candy corn treat. I will be honest, I do not love candy corn. I think I have eaten so much as a child that the thought of it can make me cringe. This challenge was a little hard for me but after looking at a few things online I found the PERFECT candy corn recipe!! I have always called this puppy chow but many folks around here refer it to trash. You can change the recipe up and add your favorite things! This is based from the recipe from

9 cups corn or Rice Chex cereal
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups candy corn
1 1/2 cups Reese's pieces
2 cups pretzels

Pour chex mix cereal into a large bowl, set aside. In a medium sized microwavable bowl, melt chocolate chips, butter, and peanut butter. Place the bowl into microwave for 1 minute. Stir the chocolate mixture, then place in the microwave for another 30 seconds or until melted. Once chocolate is melted, stir in vanilla.

Once you have your chocolate sauce, pour over the chex mix. Coat the chex mix carefully with out breaking all the cereal.
Place cereal in a large ziplock bag to coat in powdered sugar (I just stirred it with my hands in the bowl. This was is a little more time consuming but can be done if you don't have bags!)
Once your puppy chow is coated in powered sugar, place on a cookie sheet with tin foil or wax paper to dry it out.

Once the chocolate has dried, place in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Its easy to make and really yummy! Hope you enjoyed it as much as we did here at the office!