Apple Spice Cookie Bars

September 29, 2008 at 12:52 am | Posted in Apple, Cakes, Cookies, kids | 5 Comments

As you can tell, I go through spurts with cooking and baking.  I am on a spurt right now where I have so many different recipes printed out in my binder, I have no idea when I will find time to make them all.  I think fall puts me in the mood to bake more than any other season.  The smells of cinnamon and apples and pumpkin in the oven…Mmmm…nothing like it!  We are finally starting to get some fall weather so today I pulled out one of the recipes that I have been dying to make.  This one is from Katie at Good Things Catered.  Yes, another Katie recipe.  I worship her blog.  In fact, I think when I grow up, I want to BE Katie.  Katie – seriously.  What is your secret to being so fab?!? 

Sheridan and I made these today.  She was in heaven licking the beaters on this recipe and I snuck some licks out of the bowl as well.  DELISH!  My entire house smelled SO good while these were baking.  Exactly what I was going for!  These came out so moist and so full of flavor.  A little more cakey than I expected, but still a really great fall recipe.  I have a feeling I will be making these again and again!

(A little better picture than normal!  Baking during the day helps – holding a plate of food up by my one window in my kitchen…well, my family obviously already knows I’m insane!  : )

Recipe from Katie at Good Things Catered; Picture from my kitchen

2 c. plus 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
small pinch ground cloves
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 apples, cored and diced (a little less than 2 c.)
cinnamon sugar for sprinkling

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 9×13 pan with foil and baking spray.
-In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves.
-Whisk to combine well and set aside.
-In bowl of stand mixer, combine sugars and butter and beat on medium high until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
-Add eggs, one at a time, beating well to combine.
-Add vanilla extract and beat to combine.
-Turn mixer on slow and fold in flour mixture a little at a time until just combined.
-Fold in apples.
-Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan and sprinkle top generously with cinnamon sugar.
-Place in oven and bake until cooked through, when top slightly bounces back to the touch, about 30 minutes.
-Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing from pan, cutting and serving. (bars will be very soft)

Pig Rating:  The Pig isn’t a huge sweets fan but he said these were pretty good.  He is trying to be on a diet right now though so he didn’t even eat a whole one (::sticks tongue out at the Pig::)

Mrs. Pig Rating:  I adored these!  So moist.  These would be fantastic with a big scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.  SO GOOD.  I am taking these to work tomorrow for my co-workers.  I have a feeling they will love them!

Little Miss PIggy Rating:  Little Miss PIggy had a really great time making these with me and licking the bowl.  I am teaching her this year how to read the ingredients and figure out measurements and whatnot so we are having a good time  : )  She liked these, but didn’t love the apple chunks in them.  I think she would have preferred them with no apples. 

Little Mr. Piggy:  Doesn’t know what he is missing.  Opted for a 100 Calorie Pack of Chips Ahoy instead.  Has a lot to learn.  LOL


Penne and Chicken Tenderloins with Spiced Tomato Sauce

September 24, 2008 at 2:07 pm | Posted in Chicken, pasta | 1 Comment

My lovely friend Cheyenne reminded me that it’s been awhile since I updated my blog so I figured that I had better oblige her a bit here.  : )  I made this a couple of weeks ago but am just now getting around to posting it.  But never fear…fall baking season is upon us and I have tons of recipes printed out to start baking this weekend.  I love fall baking – pumpkin, apples…mmm….I can’t wait!  I will also be hosting a very small dinner party (think 3 people) in about two weeks so lots of yummy recipes will come out of that as well. 

This is a Cooking Light recipe – I’ve been really trying to utilize their website lately for dinner recipes since we are always trying to find yummy, healthy things.  Pasta and chicken are nearly always winners in my book! 

From:  Cooking Light, April 2006

Picture from my kitchen (did the lack of natural light give it away?!  LOL)

Ingredients (I halved everything as it was just Tommy and I)

  • 1  teaspoon  ground fennel seed
  • 1  teaspoon  dried basil
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground coriander
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  pound  chicken breast tenders, cut into (1-inch) pieces (I used grilled chicken breast instead of breast tenders)
  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 4  garlic cloves, minced
  • 4  cups  canned diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1  cup  white wine
  • 8  ounces  uncooked penne (I used wheat pasta)
  • 1/4  cup  (1 ounce) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4  cup  chopped fresh basil



Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl; rub over chicken.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 4 minutes, turning once. Remove from heat; set aside.

Reduce heat to medium. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds or until garlic is soft. Add tomatoes and wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Add chicken, and simmer 5 minutes.

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Toss pasta with sauce in a large bowl. Sprinkle with cheese and basil.

Pig Rating:  The pig liked this one.  He said it wasn’t as good as something like baked ziti, but still pretty good for a somewhat healthy pasta recipe.  He ate it the next day too so it must have not been too bad.  : )

Mrs. Pig Rating:  This was pretty yummy!  I will definitely make this again.  Pretty easy and lots of flavor.  Great weeknight dinner recipe!

A hurricane and cupcakes

September 16, 2008 at 11:11 pm | Posted in Cupcakes, Fun, kids | 3 Comments

Sunday, the kids were with us and apparently, the hurricane Ike decided to pay southern Indiana a little visit.  I never in my life would have thought that I would see what a hurricane could do while living here!  We have everything else here – tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, why not a hurricane right?!  The weather Sunday was bizarre – it was EXTREMELY windy but not really rainy or stormy.  We had gusts up to 70mph and there was damage everywhere.  There were about 80,000 people without power.  Luckily, we were not in that group.  Our power flashed off and on all day but was only out for about 5 minutes at it’s longest point.  The kids kept wanting to go outside and play but no way in hell was I going to let them out when I kept seeing trees fall, limbs fly by, and trash cans rolling down the street.  Sheridan decided to go through all of the many sprinkles that I have in the cabinet.  She asked if we could bake something since she was bored so I thought about what I had here and decided cupcakes were a possibility.  I went to my good friend Clara’s cuppycake blog for inspiration and I KNEW I would find something easy that we could whip up.  Sheridan just basically wanted to be able to put icing on them and use all the sprinkes in the cabinet so I went with a basic vanilla.  She managed to make every cupcake different I think! I used the following recipe from Clara’s blog: (disregard the lighting in this picture.  It was even worse than normal that day due to the storm outside)


For vanilla cupcakes |
Makes ~18 cupcakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups sugar (can use 1-1/4 cup for a less sweeter taste)
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening (very soft but not melted, Crisco is best)
3/4 cup half-and-half cream (or milk)
1 tablespoon vanilla (or use 1-1/2 teaspoons almond extract)
2 large egg

For vanilla buttercream |
Frosts ~12 cupcakes
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoons vanilla extract


To make cupcakes—
Set oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour with sugar, baking powder and salt until combined.

Add in the shortening cream or milk, vanilla and eggs; beat on medium speed of an electric mixer scraping the bowl constantly until just blended (the batter will be thick, if desired you may add in a few more tablespoons cream or milk).

Pour into paper-lined regular size muffin tins filling under just three-quarters full. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the cupcakes test done (do not overbake as they will be dry).

Cool completely before frosting.

To make vanilla buttercream—
Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes.

Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Mrs. Pig Rating:   Yummy easy vanilla recipe!  I will definitely save this one and use again.

Little Pig Rating:  Both little pigs really liked these!  My littlest pig is in the stage where he only eats the icing off of cakes though, but he licked it dry so it must have been good.  HA!

Malted Milk Ball Cake

September 16, 2008 at 10:58 pm | Posted in Cakes, chocolate, Fun | Leave a comment

My mom’s birthday was last week and Friday night we had a family dinner/birthday party for her at our house.  I cooked Mexican food, we had margaritas and I baked this cake.  I knew I wanted to make her a cake but I didn’t know what kind.  I also didn’t know when I would have time to do it.  I barely had time to breathe last week.  One of her favorite candies is malted milk balls aka Whoppers.  I started looking for cakes using Whoppers and I found this awesome, easy recipe!  Beware:  If you are a cake mix nazi, turn the other way.  I couldn’t help it last week people.  Apparently this is the official recipe of All Star Cafe, but I’m not even sure what that is so we’ll just go with it.  : )

Recipe from:


1 (18.25 ounce) box white cake mix
1/2 cup chocolate malt powder or Ovaltine
1 cup chopped malted milk balls

2 cups fudge icing
1/4 cup chocolate malt powder

Malted milk balls


Make cake according to directions on the box, adding the malt powder at the same time as the dry mix. When the batter has been placed into the greased cake pans, sprinkle the chopped malted milk balls evenly over the batter. Bake according to directions on the box. (I used two round cake pans so that I could make a double layer cake)

When the cake is cool, mix malt powder with fudge icing and frost.

Serve with ice cream and malted milk balls

This was the end result after we all dove into it:

Pig Rating:  The Pig is on a healthy kick right now so he only had a bite of my slice but he said it was really good.

Mrs. Pig Rating:  This cake is so freaking good.  It’s the right amount of chocolate, it was moist, and all around a super yummy cake. 

Mrs. Pig’s Momma’s rating:  My mom loved this cake!  She said it was her second best birthday cake ever.  I can’t compare to her first bakery cake as a child, but hey, I’ll take it!!  : )

Co-Workers rating:  I had so much leftover that I took it to work.  The first co-worker who took a bite loudly professed to everyone in the office that it tasted like poison so that they would stay away from it – more for her!  They loved it!

Parsley Chicken

September 15, 2008 at 2:07 am | Posted in Chicken | Leave a comment

I made this with the garlic sweet potatoes for dinner Thursday night.  I am always on the lookout for new chicken recipes, especially healthy ones and this one seemed to be a winner!  I found this on Good Things Catered website, as I do a lot of my recipes!  She is fab!

3 pounds trimmed boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 c. fresh flat leaf parsley, minced
1 large lemon, washed thoroughly
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tsp za’atar (I omitted…couldn’t find at my store  : ( )
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper

-Pound chicken breasts down to uniform thickness throughout (about 1-inch thickness)and place in large bowl.
-Halve lemon and juice well.
-Add lemon juice to bowl and toss in rind.
-Add remaining ingredients and use tongs to coat pieces evenly.
-Cover with plastic wrap and place into fridge for 30 mins – 1 hour.
-Preheat grill on high.
-Remove chicken from fridge and let rest until grill is up to temp.
-With tongs, move breasts around to coat evenly.
-Turn grill down to medium low heat.
-Place chicken breast-side-down onto grill.
-Do not move meat as much as possible until finished cooking on one side, about 10 minutes depending on size of chicken.
-Flip breasts over and continue cooking until almost cooked through, about 5-10 more minutes.
-Remove from grill.
-Let meat rest, covered, on cutting board for 3-5 mins before slicing and serving.

Pig Rating:  He thought this one was okay.  Not as much flavor as he is used to.

Mrs. Pig Rating:  This was a quick, easy recipe.  If you like parsley, you will love this.  It wasn’t my favorite, but it’s a good healthy recipe for a quick dinner.

Sweet Potato Garlic Fries

September 15, 2008 at 1:34 am | Posted in potatoes, Yummy Veggies | 3 Comments

You have probably wondered what I have been feeding my family since I haven’t blogged in so long.  Don’t worry – they haven’t been out scouring for berries in the woods, nor have they been eating fast food every night.  I have just been so busy that I’ve been cooking the same things over and over.  Until now.  Last weekend Tommy and I went to New York to visit my good friends Kat and Andrea and Kat happens to be a personal trainer and nutritionist.  We sat down with her and found many new awesome ideas for things to eat and routines to start trying as far as food and exercise.  This really made me want to get back into cooking new things every week, especially healthy things!  I found this great recipe on one of my go-to blogs, Good Things Catered.  Kat had mentioned that sweet potatoes would be something good to throw in every now and again so here we go.  Neither Tommy or I are HUGE sweet potato fans but I wanted to try them just for something different.

Yes, my camera sucks.  We are on the lookout for a new one currently.  Ugh.  Ignore the ugly pic.  I figure an ugly pic is better than NO pic.  : )

This recipe is from Good Things Catered:

5 large red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams)
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp kosher salt
5 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/8 c. flat leaf parsley, minced

-Preheat oven to 500 degrees and line 2 baking sheets.
-Wash and dry sweet potatoes (leaving skin on) and slice into 1/8 inch thick wedges.
-Place into large bowl and combine with olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper.
-Lay out sweet potato wedges on baking sheets, dividing evenly between them, and place in oven.
-Bake for 30 minutes, turning occasionally, or until edges begin to brown and wedges are tender.
-Remove from oven, sprinkle evenly with salt, garlic, parsley, and serve immediately.

Pig Rating:  The pig was not a huge fan of these.  He didn’t like the sweet/salty combo. 

Mrs. Pig Rating:  These were just okay for me.  I think it’s because I am not a huge sweet potato fan.  If you are, then these are good though!

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