Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cheesey Pasta = perfect comfort food

Yesterday was the kind of day when you need a bowl of comfort. Yes, it was a hot and humid but we have been eating so many salads and fresh vegetables over the last few weeks. We needed a change. I found this recipe on Pioneer Woman's blog and did a little tweaking. Mark ate the entire bowl of gnocchi with cheese, pesto and cherry tomatoes. I served with a side of farmer markets marinated fresh tomatoes. It was so good!
Gnocchi with Pesto, Cheese and Cherry Tomatoes
I used a package of Gnocchi and cooked according to directions. Save 1/2 cup cooking liquid.
1 (8 oz) cream cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil
2 TBS fresh pesto
1/2 cup cooking water
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste
Transfer hot gnocchi to large bowl and add cream cheese, water, cherry tomatoes, garlic, pesto and basil. Mix well so cheese melts. Season with salt, pepper and add Parmesan. Enjoy.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Our last Runner Girls lunch before Holly left.

Last day of school!

My sweet neighbor Karen
This past month has been full of changes for me. I have had to say goodbye to several dear friends and neighbors. I also had my running partner move to another state. The kids are out of school and home all day. It really is nice having lots of freedom in the summer but I miss my routines. We joined a swim team this month and have gotten to participate in several swim meets. A big first for the kids! My son is no longer in Elementary School. He celebrated his birthday and is now 11. I feel a little lost right now. Not sure what direction I should be heading, I start to feel like this once we get close to moving. I am trying to stay connected and remember we still have a year before our next move but it is hard. I miss my friends and the  routine that I had last year. I loved going to the gym in the morning and running with the same ladies. We shared so many miles together. I am trusting God through all the changes and trying to see where he is leading me next. My verse is:
 Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

When brownies fail, make trifle

My Taste Testers

Brownie Trifle
For the Brownies—

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
2 T. cocoa powder
1 T. instant coffee granules
Stir in:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
1/4 t. table salt
3 eggs
Fold in:
1 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350° and coat an 8" square baking pan with nonstick spray.
Melt chocolate, butter, cocoa powder, and coffee for brownies in a bowl in a microwave on full power, stirring every 30 seconds (or in a heavy saucepan over low heat). Remove when chocolate is nearly melted and stir until totally smooth.
Stir in sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition.
Fold in flour. Spread batter in prepared pan.
Bake 350 for 30-40 minutes
Salty Caramel Topping
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
couple drops of lemon juice
cook in heavy duty pan until color of tea. Swirl to dissolve sugar but do not stir with spoon. Off heat add 6 TBS butter and 1TBS rum. Add 1 cup salted peanuts and pour over warm brownies. Sprinkle with sea salt.
Cool brownies in pan; cover and chill overnight. To cut, coat a knife with nonstick spray and slice into small squares.
If recipe fails cut into chunks and layer with whipped cream, chocolate pudding and toffee bits.

I have made this recipe from Cuisine at Home many times. I love the magazine and have given so many subscriptions over the years to friends. I don't know what happened the other day. Was it the high humidity or was I not paying enough attention to the directions? The brownies failed me. The salty caramel topping was yuck! It turned out hard and way too chewy. I had the best of intentions for these treats. I was making them for a swim meet BBQ to share with friends. I decided it would be best to turn them into a trifle instead. It worked so much better! The bad news is that due to a freak thunder storm, our BBQ was cancelled and rescheduled for days later. I now have a huge bowl of trifle in the fridge calling my name every time I open the door. Glad that I got a long run in so I can enjoy this without too much guilt.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Birthday Boy

We had a good time celebrating Jonathan's birthday. Can't believe how big our first born is! I took some pictures when our good friends came to visit last month. I was comparing the two buddies from when they were little till now. They have grown-up so much. What hasn't changed is the fun they have together! They have been best buddies since birth.  I think it might have something to do with Jen and I having so many play dates together when our kids were little.
  I made a really yummy cake for Jonathan's birthday. The frosting is the BEST part.
Peanut Butter Frosting
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 stick butter
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk 
 2 tsp vanilla
Beat Peanut Butter and butter in bowl until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).  Add powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, mixing until smooth and creamy. Enjoy!
We ate this on the cake with raspberries and then used the leftovers for dipping graham crackers in.
Happy Birthday Jonathan!

Always goofy!
The boys at age 10

When the boys were 4.

Trying New Things

This past year has been a year of change. We moved from a huge running community to an area that does not have the biking and running trails...