Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Decisions, differences.

I absolutely adore my husband.  He's practical, loyal, rational, funny, dedicated and adventurous.  We rarely get into arguments because of the rational part of him.  He's not one to raise his voice.  Even if we don't see eye to eye on something, a back and forth discussion is usually all it takes to come to a consensus.

Decision:  We needed seating for the loft area.  Zoe's Tinkerbell chair just wasn't cutting it.

Problem:  Limited budget, different tastes.  We went to Ikea and I liked one type of chair, he liked another. Stalemate, right?  Nope.

Solution:  Somehow, as he expressed his idea and I expressed mine, the back and forth sharing led to us walking out of Ikea with two chairs AND a table that we both liked!  Within budget, even!  He compromised from his original idea and so did I and we're both just delighted with the results.

This is just one of the million ways that reaffirm I definitely married the right guy.  I <3 you, Christopher.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

A new excuse to let bananas go brown!

Five words.  Crumb.  Topped.  Banana.  Muffin.  Cake.

O. M. G.

I'll be alternating my bananas use to include both the bread AND this cake!

Here's the source:  Oak Cottage Recipes:  Crumb Topped Banana Muffin Cake

Easy to make and delish?  I'm all about it.

The link takes you to the printable recipe.

This is my new favorite cake.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Chicken Parmesan

Mmmmm.  Fixed this for dinner tonight.  I rock this dish, if I do say so myself.

Chris made this for me one of our very first dates almost (eek!) 11 years ago.  It cost him a small fortune since being a single guy, he had NONE of the ingredients.  Loved it and love him!

Chicken Parmesan

1 stick butter
1/2 t. garlic powder
1 c. bread crumbs (I use the Italian breadcrumbs)
2 T. parsley flakes
1 lb. chicken breasts (I use the thin sliced ones)
1/4 c. grated romano cheese (I use the parm/romano mix)
1 t. salt
1/2 t. thyme
1/2 t. pepper

Melt butter with garlic.  Mix dry ingredients.  Dip chicken in butter and roll in dry ingredients.  Place in shallow baking dish (my Pampered Chef stoneware Deep Dish Baker is great for this!).  Bake at 400* F for 1 hour (only takes about 30-40 minutes for the thin sliced breasts).

During the last 5 or so minutes, I cover the chicken with marinara and mozz cheese.  So yummo!  We serve with pasta.

Parky's Ark!

We are fortunate enough to live close enough to Cincinnati that we can enjoy the Hamilton County Parks with just a short trip south on 75.  A couple of weeks ago, my friend D and I took our little girls to Parky's Farm and they had so much fun!  Outdoor playground, play barn, pony rides and wagon rides - what's not to love?

Today, D and I took the kiddos to Parky's Ark, a wet playground part of Winton Woods.  We've got my step-son for the next two weeks and he had a blast too!  For a $5 parking pass, you can't beat these family friendly parks for outside fun!  And, no, I didn't get a free pass to say that!

Here's a few pictures from both of our adventures -

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

One of my favorite blogs - My Baking Addiction - has some amazing recipes!  She's got classics, new stuff, and everything I've tried is YUMMO!

I tried the PB&J bars and she's right - they do taste just like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!  Definitely need to be served with a tall glass of milk!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

1/2 lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 t. pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 c. (9 oz.) chunky peanut butter
1 c. (9 oz.) creamy peanut butter
3 c. all purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. kosher salt
1 1/2 c. (18 oz.) blackberry jam (I used raspberry and pretty much used an entire jar)
1/2 c. salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350* F.  Line a 9 X 13 X 2 inch pan with parchment paper and then grease and flour the pan.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light yellow, about 2 minutes.  With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla eggs and peanut butter and mix until all ingredients are combined.  In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the four mixture to the peanut butter mixture.  Mix just until combined.
Spread 2/3 of the dough into the prepared cake pan and spread over the bottom with a knife or offset spatula.  Spread the jam evenly over the dough.  Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam.  Don't worry if all the jam isn't covered; it will spread in the oven.  Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown.  Cool and cut into squares.  Serve up with a big glass of ice cold milk!

Thanks for all the yummies Jamie!  I may have to try these Guinness Cupcakes next!