Strawberry Cake – Best Ever!

January 27, 2009 at 4:23 pm | Posted in Cakes, Dessert, kids | 3 Comments

Sheridan celebrated her 9th birthday on January 11th.  I can’t believe she is 9 already!!  Holy cow they grow up so fast!  We had a party at our house this year for the family then she had a seperate party for her friends – much more grown up you know.  HA!  I was going to buy a cake from somewhere but Tommy said it would be more special for me to bake a cake.  Sheridan said she wanted strawberry cake with pastel sprinkles.  I knew just the cake!  Tommy’s aunt has a recipe for the most amazing strawberry cake EVER.  It is really easy to make and it tastes AMAZING.  So moist and so full of flavor.  I will never use another strawberry cake recipe for anything ever again. 



1 box white cake mix (I know, shamey on me for box mix, but trust me)

1 c. vegetable oil

4 eggs

1 c. frozen sliced strawberries thawed

1 small box strawberry jello


Sift cake mix.  Add ingredients and mix.  Pour into 2 round greased and floured cake pans (I used 9 inch).  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.  Cool on racks before icing.



1/2 c. frozen sliced strawberries thawed

1 stick of butter softened

1 lb. powdered sugar (you can use more if you want the icing thicker – I like the more liquid consistency on this one because it soaks into the cake and makes it taste even better!)


Mix together and ice cooled cake.  Store cake in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Pig Rating:  The Pig loved this cake!  I don’t think I’ve seen him rave this much about a cake I have made ever. 

Mrs. Pig Rating:  If you love strawberry cake, then you have to make this.  It is absolutely awesome.  I plan on making cupcakes with it soon.  Defiintely a keeper for future!

Little Pig Rating:  Little Miss Piggy loved this birthday cake and I was happy!  It was exactly what she wanted and she was so excited.  🙂  Little Mister Pig even liked this one and well, as you know, he normally just sucks icing off of things.  HA!


NFR: Happy Birthday Will!

October 30, 2008 at 3:19 pm | Posted in Fun, kids, Randomness | 7 Comments

Today is Will’s 5th birthday – that is a big one to a little boy!!!  Being able to say he is 5 is huge!  🙂  I just talked to him on the phone and he thought he didn’t turn 5 until his actual party which is on Sunday so he was quite excited to learn that he can actually say he is 5 today.  HA! 

Happy Birthday Will!!!

A Weekend of Halloween Fun!

October 29, 2008 at 1:25 am | Posted in Cookies, Fun, kids, Pumpkin | 7 Comments

This past weekend was a blur for us we had so many things going on.  I won’t bore you (or make you tired) by listing out all of the details.  Let’s just say that we crammed about a month’s worth of activities into one weekend.  I guess that is what happens as kids get older and get invited to parties and have all sorts of activities at school  : )

Our fun activity Friday night was going to the pumpkin patch to pick out our pumpkins.  We always each pick one to carve and one to paint.  We paint smaller ones to sit around the house – Sheridan loves doing this!  I get out all of my acrylic paints and let the kids just get creative and do whatever they want.  We have a blast doing this!  Hard at work:

Saturday night (after the Fall Festival at the kids school…after our nephew’s soccer game an hour away…after the Halloween party the kids went to at the country club…etc. etc…) Sheridan and I baked sugar cookies.  This is her favorite cookie to make – she loves making the icing different colors, using our cookie cutters, and using all of the sprinkles.  We do this every holiday and I just let her make a mess and don’t really care about it for one night.  Anyone who knows me knows that is a hard thing for me to do.  LOL  I let Sheridan decorate all of the cookies so here are her masterpieces…

Sunday morning the four of us along with my great friend Lindsay carved jack-o-lanterns at our house.  It was a little chilly so we did them in the garage this year instead of outside.  This normally turns out Tommy and I doing most of the carving.  This year was no different.  : )  Lindsay brought a book of Disney Princess patterns and Sheridan wanted to do a rose and Lindsay did Arial The Little Mermaid.  Tommy, Will, and I chose more traditional patterns.  : )  Our handywork:

Lots more stuff going on this coming weekend – Friday I have my work Halloween party followed by seeing the kids trick or treat followed by a Halloween party that night and another Halloween party on Saturday night.  Whew!  Holidays are nuts!  But I secretly love it.  : ) I’ll post costumes next week! 

Happy Halloween all!

Kids Night: Healthy(ish) chicken strips and fries

October 23, 2008 at 12:51 am | Posted in Chicken, kids, potatoes, Yummy Veggies | 1 Comment

I admit it.  When I was a kid, I was super picky when it came to food.  If you ask my mom, she will tell you that I ate nothing but Chef Boyardee pizzas (does anyone make those anymore?!), spaghettios, and maybe the occasional hot dog.  So I really shouldn’t be surprised that our kids are picky either- they are (almost)5 and 8 after all. 

I really try hard to make sure that the kids have healthy eating habits while at our house.  We eat healthy most of the time so I want to pass that on to them.  When they want snacks, the things available are apple slices, bananas, nuts, healthy granola bars, and for a real treat, a 100 calorie pack or something like Chips Ahoy.  Brutal?  Nah.  They are so used to it that they like the healthy snacks.  I just don’t keep other things in the house.  When it comes to dinners, it’s more of a challenge.  Most of the things that Tommy and I eat, the kids wouldn’t really like.  I have managed to find some favorites that we use in our rotation though that everyone likes and I’ve even managed to make them as healthy as possible.  Our favorites include Baked Ziti (I use whole wheat pasta & ground turkey), tacos (I use ground turkey, my homemade seasoning, and lots of veggies), breakfast for dinner (put lots of egg whites in the scrambled eggs, low sodium bacon, and whole grain bread), and homemade chicken strips and fries, which is the recipe I am about to post. Kids love chicken strips and fries, plain and simple.  And you know what?  So do I!  I tried to find a way to make them healthier than just buying them frozen.  I rarely buy anything frozen so I definitely didnt’ want to start with these.  I finally found a recipe that made them much healthier than other options and everyone loves them!

Recipe from


1/4 cup seasoned fine bread crumbs
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts, sliced in half lengthwise
1 cup egg substitute
Non-stick cooking spray


Preheat oven 450 degrees F.
Combine 1/4 cup of seasoned fine bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon of paprika, and 1 tablespoon of garlic powder into a shallow dish.
Dip each chicken strip in 1 cup of egg substitute and then roll the chicken strip in the bread crumb mixture.
Arrange the chicken strips on a sheet pan coated with non-stick cooking spray.
Bake the chicken strips for 35 to 45 minutes, or until cooked through. Serve and enjoy.

I cook these up and serve them with a side of fries (I cut up potatoes into strips, put a little olive oil and a dash of salt on them and bake them to make them healthier), and fruit (usually apple slices).

Mrs. Pig Rating:  This is a yummy quick workweek meal for when the kids are here.  I like those kind!  And I like that I can find ways to make foods healthier for my family. 

Pig Rating:  The pig really likes this meal as well!  He loves potatoes so his favorite part is the fries even though they aren’t fried, he still loves them.

Little Pigs Rating:  The little pigs like this one a lot!  Well, sometimes Will decides he doesn’t like it and wants a bowl of salad instead (yes, he would pretty much rather have salad than anything right now).  Sheridan really likes this though!

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

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!

Happy Birthday to Me!

July 30, 2008 at 12:55 am | Posted in Cakes, chocolate, Cupcakes, Fun, kids | 8 Comments

Happy birthday to me…happy birthday to me…happy birthday dear April…happy birthday to me!  : )   This past weekend was my ::gasp:: 27th birthday.  I am not quite sure what I think about that yet mentally speaking.  However, my family and friends made sure that I enjoyed my birthday no matter what age I was.  : )

On Friday night, Tommy, the kids, some friends of ours and their kids went to our favorite Mexican restaurant for great food and margaritas.  I even wore a cute dress – it’s my birthday – I’ll do what I want!!  LOL  Saturday morning was the big surprise though.  As you know if you have been reading my blog for any amount of time, breakfast is huge in our house.  Saturday morning I woke up around 8am and though, “Crap.  I need to get up.  Everyone will be wanting breakfast.”  I stumbled into the kitchen only to be told by Tommy and the kids to go back to bed and relax, it was my birthday.  Um, okay.  I cannot argue with that!  I went back to bed and read for a bit until the kids came and got me.  They walked me into the kitchen to….my surprise birthday breakfast!!!  They had blown up lots of balloons, put up a birthday banner, had birthday plates and napkins and had cooked breakfast for me!!!  Hash browns, scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, and OJ!  My favorite!  I cannot tell you how excited this made me for several reasons.  1) My husband is fantastic  : )  2) I bet not all stepmom’s get this kind of birthday and feel this loved and 3) I didn’t have to cook OR clean up breakfast!!!!  I cannot believe that I didn’t take pictures, but trust me, it was awesome.  : )

Sunday we went to my mom’s house where we had lunch and cupcakes.  The cupcakes were chocolate and were SUPER messy but so good!  Will and I had good messy fun eating them – doesn’t he look SO scary?! 

And I had chocolate all over my teeth and my hands so the kids thought it was hilarious because I do NOT like to be dirty.  LOL

Monday was my actual birthday and I was kind of bummed because I had to work on my birthday.  But when I arrived at work to see this on my desk:

I was so excited!  My friend Lindsay baked me these.  She does NOT cook or bake.  Period.  So the fact that she spent time making cupcakes and working with fondant meant the world to me.  I saw these awhile ago on my awesome friend Clara’s blog and I loved them and Lindsay remembered that.  And they were yummy too!!!

Overall I had a fantastic birthday!  I couldn’t ask for anything more.

PS – these pictures were taken with my new fab 3G Iphone that Tommy bought me for my birthday. Jealous aren’t you?!  : )

Cinco de Mayo! (Okay, so I’m a little late…)

May 12, 2008 at 6:49 pm | Posted in Cupcakes, kids | 4 Comments

Cinco de Mayo – May 5th – is a holiday in Mexico that commemorates an inital victory of Mexican forces led by General Zaragoza over French forces in the battle of Puebla on May 5th, 1862.  What Cinco de Mayo is NOT is Mexico’s Independence Day.  Their Independence Day is actually in September and a lot of people get Cindo de Mayo confused with that.  The history of Cinco de Mayo is great to celebrate, however, I know to me in college all it meant was, “Sweet!  Time to go out to Mexican restaurants and drink margaritas!”.  Okay, who am I kidding.  I’m 26 and I still think that way.  : ) 

I wanted to make a special treat this year for Cinco de Mayo because as you may have noticed, I tend to go overboard on holidays.  I just like any reason to celebrate.  I think the kids think I’m nuts.  LOL  I have been wanting to make cupcakes and I kept seeing recipes flying around for margarita cupcakes and I saw the CUTEST ones on Wilton’s website, so I decided to give it a shot.  This is the recipe that I used:



  • 1 package (18.25 oz. white cake mix (no pudding in the mix)
  • 1 can (10 oz.) frozen Margarita mix, thawed (undiluted)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
  • Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line standard muffin pan with baking cups.
    2. In large bowl, combine cake mix, Margarita mix, egg whites and vegetable oil using electric mixer.
    3. Stir in lime zest; mix completely.
    4. Fill prepared pans 2/3 full.
    5. Bake 22-24 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean.
    6. Cool in pan on cooling rack 5-8 minutes.
    7. Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely.
    8. Frost cooled cupcakes with icing and garnish, if desired, with a strawberry and/or lime twist,



  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons key lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon key lime zest or lemon zest
  • 4-5 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • Directions

    1. In large bowl, cream butter, cream cheese, juice and zest with electric mixer until light and fluffy.
    2. Add 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time; continue beating until light and fluffy.
    3. If icing is too thin add additional confectioners’ sugar 1 tablespoon at a time.

    Pig Rating:  The pig is not a fan of lime so he didn’t try them.

    Mrs. Pig Rating:  These were kind of odd for me.  They were really good, just not what I’m used to a cupcake tasting like I think.  Not used to such a limey taste.  They were definitely different and fun though!  I chose not to use the recipe with alcohol because I hate Tequila.  Sick.

    Co-Worker Rating:  My coworkers really liked these – those that weren’t too scared to try them.  HA!

    Yes, I just happen to have sombreros randomly around the house.  Reminents of those Mexican restaurant margarita nights….  : )  The kids loved them – they wore them for dinner that night.  HA!

    Dying Easter Eggs

    March 18, 2008 at 1:37 am | Posted in Fun, kids | 5 Comments

    It’s that time of year again…time to dye Easter eggs!!!  I love dying eggs.  My mom and I did it every year and I intend on doing it every year with our kids as well.  It’s such a fun time!  It’s magic as a kid to watch pure white eggs turn colors in a matter of a few minutes  🙂 

     Saturday night we had the egg dying night at our house.  A week before Easter, but again, have to do it when we have the kids.  It was so much fun!  Sheridan loves to write on the eggs with the waxy crayon before she colors hers and Will loves to get to pick out which colors “his” eggs will be.

    Pictures to follow….

    Colors coming to life!

    Does anyone ever actually play that matching game that comes with Paas egg dye?!  We did.  You have to entertain a 4 year old somehow while eggs are “cooking”…LOL

    Will waiting “patiently” for the eggs to dry so he could put football stickers on his…LOL

    Even Daddy joined in on the fun when putting the stickers on!  : )

    And finally….the finished product!  Happy Easter! 

    Happy Early Valentine’s Day!

    February 14, 2008 at 1:22 am | Posted in Cookies, Dessert, Fun, kids | 15 Comments

    I love holidays and Valentine’s Day is one of my very favorites.  Yes, I’m the cheesy girl who loves roses, baloons, red & pink everything, chocolates, heart shaped anything, etc.  : )  Holidays are made even more fun by having kids involved and I love to really “do it up” for them every chance I get. 

    Last year I started the tradition of a “Valentine’s Day” party of sorts.  We ordered heart shaped pizza, had goodies, etc.  This year, we do not actually have the kids ON Valentine’s Day but that didn’t stop me from getting festive and having fun with them the day BEFORE Valentine’s Day.  : )  I decorated the kitchen, made sugar cookies for the kids, a heart shaped chess square for Tommy, and we had heart shaped pizzas for dinner.  Along with Valentine plates, napkins, place cards (LOL), and goody bags for the kids.  Yes, I go all out.  But I love it!

    Yummy cookies and chess squares!  : )


    Do you love my cheesy decorations?  : ) 

    And our heart shaped pizzas for dinner – cheese for the kids, potato & chicken garlic for Tommy and I!

    And the kids favorite part – the Valentine’s Day goody bags!  Valentine’s Day candy, gum, cards, a monster truck for Will and a Valentine’s Day Webkinz for Sheridan.  : )

    So there you have it – the day before Valentine’s Day Valentine’s Day party!  I hope to continue this tradition until the kids just think I’ve lost my mind.  LOL 


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