Welcome to my little space in the virtual world that consists of all things that make me happy.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Winter Festivities

The temperatures have finally dropped and winter is finally here! Christmas is next week and the year is coming to an end....so is deer season. Ben and I both got lucky this week. Now we have a freezer full!

This week I also got to see my best friend Miranda graduate from Appalachian State University...something she never believed she could do (but I did!) It just proves you can do anything you put your mind to. I went to Boone this past weekend for the commencement and I froze my tail off but I couldn't have been more proud. I am so glad I could be there on her special day. She will go so far!

This time of year is so busy, sometimes it's hard to find the time to stop and think about all the wonderful things we have in life. I've really counted my blessings hard this week, life is good!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mini Sweet Potato Pies with Brown Sugar Pecan Topping

Tis the season for holiday parties! I was asked to make some mini sweet potato pies for our annual training conference dinner at work. Mini pies??? Just like regular pies....only cuter. I got the mini pie shells in the frozen foods section at Harris Teeter, the only place I know of that has them. Our department head comes from a sweet potato family farm, so home grown Johnston County sweet potatoes made these sweet treats. The pecans are optional, but make it so much better!

Sweet Potato Pies with Brown Sugar Pecan Topping
Ingredients for pie:
1 frozen pie crust or about 12 mini pie crusts
1 big or 2 medium sized sweet potatoes
2 eggs
1/3 c brown sugar
3 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
3/4 c heavy cream
For pecan topping:
1 to 1 1/2 c chopped pecans
1/2 c brown sugar
3 tbsp butter

Boil sweet potatoes until tender then peel and cream with a mixer. Add remaining ingredients for pie and pour into crusts. For the mini pies bake on 375 degrees about 20 minutes, for regular pie crusts bake about 45 to 50 minutes. Once the pies are baked, let cool for at least one hour or put in the fridge.
For the topping, melt butter over stove then add brown sugar. Cook about 3 minutes or until caramelized. Mix in pecans and let sit for 1 minute, then spread over the top of the cooled pies.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Apple Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Filling and Praline Drizzle

Well I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I definately did. I ate WAY too much, but at my Nannie's house, thats a given. I took this cake on Thanksgiving to add to her multiple desserts (the best part!) I got the recipe from the Southern Living September 2011 issue. This cake was on the cover! I used gala apples which made it wonderful, although I think I put too much because it turned out a lot denser than I had hoped. The praline drizzle was by far the best and can't wait to use it on other cakes.

Happy Holidays :D

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Homemade Wreaths

All this warm weather we've been having is making me have a hard time getting into the holiday spirit.....until today! My mom, my aunt Deborah and my cousin Stephanie and I went to a wreath making class this morning at Tom's Creek Nursery in Farmer. This is a beautiful place, if you ever have a chance to go I recommend it! We spent three hours of our morning in the plant-filled greenhouse with hot chocolate, cookies, Christmas music, and lots and LOTS of laughter. You really can't buy a wreath for the price of making one of your own. We had such a great time making wreaths from fresh greenery and berries all grown at the nursery, and they smell so good!

 Stephanie's wreath


Our moms' wreaths.....my mom can barely see through hers!

My mom's wreath on the porch at home.

My wreath! I'm so proud! :)

Thankfulness....and Turkeys!

Mini Oreo Peanut Butter Pies
It's that time of year again. The holidays are about giving and being thankful of what we have to give. This year I volunteered to make some goodies for the Relay For Life bake sale at my mom's school. These treats raised over $60 alone! :)  I started out with some mini pies filled with Oreos and layers of peanut butter I saw from The Picky Palate. They turned out pretty good and were an easy way to use up some leftover pie crust dough. Just roll out pie dough and cut into a 3.5 to 4 inch circle and fill in a greased cupcake pan. Layer two oreos, each topped with a good layer of peanut butter, then cut out thin strips to make a lattice on top. Brush each pie with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar on top. Bake on 350 for about 20-25 minutes.


Turkey Cake Pops
With Thanksgiving being days away, I had to try out some turkey cake pops. I LOVE THEM!

I made the cake pops the same way I did the other cake pops I've done, and used yellow cake mix and canned cream cheese icing. Then I dipped in melted chocolate and used both candy corn and Indian corn as the fan. The head is a Whopper and sprinkles make up the eyes and nose, using chocolate icing as glue to attach them. The wattle is an upside down heart candy sprinkle I had leftover from Valentine's Day. I made the faces on the heads first before attaching them to the turkey bodies. Make sure you stick everything to the body while the chocolate is still melted! It makes things a whole lot easier. Gobble Gobble!

Gobble Gobble! Happy Thanksgiving ya'll!

Spooky Graveyard Treats

For halloween this year my girlfriends came over and had a cupcake decorating party. It was not as corny as it sounds and actually was a lot of fun! My favorite thing we made were graveyard brownies.

Graveyard Brownies
These were so easy to make and so cute! I made these with some friends and took some to my little cousins' punkin carving party and they were a hit. Just get a box of brownie mix and bake accordingly. I used Pepperidge Farm Milano Cookies for the graves and pipe on chocolate icing for the tombstone writing. Crunched up Oreos in front make a creepy freshly-buried look. I added candy corn and pumpkins along side the grave.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Boss's Day.....and Chocolate Creme filled Snickers Cupcakes

 October 17th is boss's day, for those of you who actually enjoy your boss. I myself have been blessed with good ones so decided to thank them with a little something from the kitchen. Some others in the office got together and got some personalized coffee mugs so I filled them with some cute and festive acorns made of doughnut holes. 

Acorn Doughnuts
Dip the doughnut hole in nutella, then dip in chocolate sprinkles. break off part of a pretzel stick and use that as the acorn stem. These are super quick and easy! You can use peanut butter or chocolate icing instead of the nutella too if you prefer.


Along with these gifts, I made cupcakes for the whole office (including me!) to enjoy. They were probably the best cupcakes I've ever made and should be eaten with a big glass of milk. Yummm.
 Chocolate Creme filled Snickers Cupcakes
For the Cupcakes:
1 Devils Food Cake Mix
1 sm box of chocolate instant pudding
4 eggs
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 c milk
1 c sour cream
For the Chocolate Creme Filling:
2 c heavy whipping cream
2 c melted chocolate chips
For the Chocolate Buttercream Icing:
1 stick butter
2 1/2 c powdered sugar
1/4 c cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla 

Combine ingredients for cupcake batter and pour into 24 lined cupcake tins. Bake on 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. While cupcakes are cooling, make the chocolate creme. Whip the heavy cream with a mixer until is becomes very fluffy. This sometimes takes awhile. Fold in melted chocolate chips until a completely mixed. Put creme in a plastic baggie and cut the corner out so it can be piped into the cupcake centers. After cupcakes have completely cooled, fill each cupcake with a good squeeze of chocolate creme.
Mix ingredients with a mixer to make chocolate icing until well combined and pipe onto each cupcake. Top icing with chopped up snickers bars. Get a big glass of milk and enjoy yourself.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Apple Bacon Pork Chops

Fall is by far my favorite season, especially since now the temperatures have dropped from those 90 degree days so it actually feels like fall! This is a great recipe that is super easy and will definately impress. Not to mention it uses the BEST BBQ sauce in the world, my favorite, Carolina Treet.

4 boneless skinless pork chops
Apple pie filling (store bought or homemade)
Carolina Treet BBQ sauce
Bread Crumbs
4 slices bacon, fried
Shredded cheese (your favorite kind)

Marinate pork chops in Carolina Treat for a few hours or overnight. In a greased square pyrex dish spread out apple pie filling evenly. Dip marinated chops in bread crumbs to completely coat, then place on top of the apple layer. Cover with foil and bake on 375 for about 20 minutes. Cut into chops and make sure they are almost cooked through. Meanwhile, fry your bacon. Uncover pork chops and crumble bacon on top then cover with a layer of cheese. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the meat is fully cooked and the cheese is good and melted. Serve with some good sides and you've got yourself a great fall supper!

I made it with creamed potatoes, wild rice and green beans. I topped off the evening with my apple pie filling I canned a couple months ago to make a quick and easy apple pie. Happy eating :)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Spoiled Beagle

So it has officially been one year since I found my beloved beagle Barney walking down the road in good ole' Randolph County. What a wonderful year it has been! A late September Saturday morning, sitting on the porch drinking coffee with my mama, and he just came stumbling down the road, skin and bones but with a sweet welcoming smile on his face. My mama told me Jesus sent him to me, so after that of course I had to make him mine. Since I have no idea when he was really born, I will call this his birthday. To celebrate my little booger's special day, I made homemade Peanut Butter dog biscuits for him and his friends.

Baked Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

1 c flour
1/2 c milk
1/4 c dry oats
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp applesauce
2/3 c creamy peanut butter

Mix all ingredients and form a dough to roll out about 1/2 inch think. Using a cookie cutter, cut out biscuits and place on a cookie sheet. Bake on 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Let them cool and store in an airtight container. Your little friend will love you. :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Chicken Pillows

This recipe is quick and easy and great for fall. I had them with corn and creamed potatoes, which I also topped with the gravy.

Chicken Pillows


About 3 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tbsp italian spices (I have a mixture of thyme, basil and oregano, but you can use whichever you have available)
1 tbsp minced onion

For Pillows:
1 can crescent rolls
1/4 cup melted butter
Italian bread crumbs (around 2 cups)

For Gravy:
1 can Cream of Chicken or Cream of Mushroom soup
1 packet chicken gravy mix


Boil chicken breasts until fully cooked, cool and shred with your hands. Mix cream cheese and sour cream until blended. Add chicken, salt, pepper, onion, and spices. To make the pillows, unroll crescent rolls and keep triangular rolls in sets of two to make 4 squares of dough, pushing the middle to seal the perforations so filling will not come out. Put 1/4 of chicken filling in each pillow and wrap around to completely cover the mixure. Dip pillow in melted butter, then dip in bread crumbs to completely cover. Bake on ac foil-lined cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the can of soup, gravy packet and 3/4 can of water in a small pot on the stove. Cook on low until warm and top each pillow before serving. This gravy is also great on creamed potatoes!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Chicken Cake Pops!

My little brother is a senior at NC State in Poultry Science and somehow became the president of the Poultry Science Club. Each meeting they have a meal provided, so this week I decided to make something sweet to go along with their Dominos Pizza. The author of Bakerella came up with the cake pops I've talked about before, but here's a new addition to the cake pop collection.

The inside consists of Funfetti cake and cream cheese icing, covered in melted white chocolate and various candys for the face. The eyes are gel black icing, which I do NOT recommend if you want to individually wrap these bad boys. Of course I had to wrap each chicken with red ribbon, representing The Wolfpack! I started out with 50 pops and when I finally got them finished I only had 34....you can bet I had an upset stomach that night. Sure hope he doesn't mind the girly tray.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Ready for fall....and apple pie!

Crisp mornings, football games, hoodies, carving punkins, the state fair, so many wonderful things about my favorite season. I love fall and everything it brings, especially seasonal food. Pumpkins, apples, and sweet potatoes are probably my three favorite things God brings us in the fall. Especially homemade APPLE PIE! My daddy has a couple apple trees in the backyard, unfortunately one tree filled with apples was brought to the ground after the hurricane winds a couple weeks ago. My mama and I gathered what we could and she made some oh so yummy apple cobbler and breakfast apple oatmeal. I decided to stock up on my apple pies for the season.

Canned Apple Pie Filling
about 12 lbs apples (I'm honestly not sure how many we had)
14 cups water
5 cups sugar
2 cups brown sugar
4 cups apple juice
2 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
4 tsp salt
6 tbsp lemon juice
2 cups cornstarch

Peel, core and slice apples. Soak in a bowl of salt water to keep from browning. When ready, pack into glass quart canning jars about 1 inch from the top. Combine apple juice, 10 cups water, sugar, salt and spices in a VERY large pot and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, mix cornstarch, lemon juice and 4 cups water in a bowl until blended. Once combined, add it heated mixture in pot and stir until the corn starch has dissolved and sauce becomes think. Pour sauce over packed apples until about 3/4 inch from the top. Seal jars with clean heated lids and rings in boiling water as I have discussed before.

**You may have to alter your amount of sugar based on what type of apple you use, as some as sweeter than others. I used red delicious and yellow delicious. Using sweeter apples like Cameo, Jonathan, Fuji, or Gala might not need as much sugar. I don't recommend Granny Smiths for this recipe, you will need a lot of sugar!**

When you are ready to make a pie, just pop open a jar and put in a pastry shell and bake! Bring it on fall, I am ready :)