Thursday, January 31, 2013

Brownie Bites

*You may feel like you have seen this post before…you have! I am trying to update my old posts to look a little more organized and professional. I have learned a lot on this blogging journey and now I am trying to improve what I have done in the past. So I hope you’ll enjoy or at least bear with me as you will see some improved upon “posts from the past” every now and then as I update them*

This is one of the most requested desserts in my home when I ask Mark what he feels like....and that is saying a lot.

I will never forget when I met Mark. Man of my dreams. He was hunky, very attractive, and had a hilarious playful side that was so fun. But every perfect person has their flaws right? Well I found out pretty early on that my love of my life had 2 pretty serious flaws and one minor flaw. haha I know you are dying to know what they were. Here goes:

Flaw #1 He absolutely DESPISES peanut butter. To the point that I am banished from his presence if I eat it...for the next hour because he swears he can smell it even after it is probably already digested.
Flaw #2 He really doesn't like chocolate much. Like really not at all. He is okay eating it every now and then but mostly he could do without and be fine for his lifetime. (Me on the other hand...I pretty much have chocolate in one form or another at least once maybe twice a day. Not an unhealthy amount I might add. I just have a tiny bit each day and I am happy....imagine my dismay with the fact that I am dairy free right now and almost every form of chocolate has diary in it?? boo)

Minor Flaw My dear husband doesn't really care for dessert in general. I have that to thank for my 10 pounds I gained after we got married. I thought it was so great to have someone to cook bake for!! Turns out I was pretty much baking for myself. He did not really ever eat more than a few cookies or a couple lemon bars but then was over it and left the rest for me to eat. In a day. And gain the previous mentioned 10 pounds. ha.

I'd say I'm pretty lucky because those flaws are manageable haha so I decided I could still marry him. :)
So the fact that these are requested by him on a regular basis is saying something people! If they had peanut butter it would be a true miracle but even though they don't I promise if you make these once people will be requesting them for years to come.

Your Favorite Brownie Recipe or Mix (I LOVE using very "fudgy" brownies)

16oz Cool Whip (cold not frozen)
1 Small Package Vanilla Instant Pudding
Beat together with mixer until blended well

First take 1 brownie mix or your recipe and mix according to directions. I like using THIS recipe. 
Spray MINI muffin tin with Pam. Use small scoop to fill tin approx. 2/3 full. (Make sure you don't overfill the cups. It is harder to get them out if they ooze over the top.)

Bake at 325 for 15 minutes

Press indentation in brownie cups. I used the handle of an ice cream scoop.

Let cool and remove from pan

Now you are ready to fill them with absolute goodness. 
Beat the filling ingredients together with mixer until blended well. Then scoop into a zip lock bag and snip off the corner. Squeeze into each brownie cup and there you have it! (Resist the temptation to squeeze some into your mouth every other brownie)
I took some to a friend today and she texted me and said," Holy cow those are amazing" One minute later I got another text "yep devoured....those didn't last. Thank you" haha Her family ate them in one minute people! That is how good these are. Make them. Love them. Be happy.

Tips from KJ:
Use the cream filling as frosting on cakes for people who don't like frosting. They will love you and their lives will be permanently changed.
Eat the filling out of the bag. With a spoon. In secret. ha.
Add sprinkles or food coloring to the filling for a little bit of holiday flair!
Sliced Strawberries and a little bit of drizzled chocolate on top make these look so fancy :)
Experiment with flavors of pudding. Cheesecake is very good! Chocolate makes delicious double chocolate brownie bites.

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Steak Curry

The first time I made curry Mark and I were on an instant diet. We tried and tried but could not finish the food. It was SO HOT. I put way too much curry paste in it. I had no idea how powerful it would be. I think we each lost like 2 pounds from sweating. (Okay not really but I’m telling you…it was the hottest thing I’ve ever had) Fortunately I figure out a good ratio of curry paste that is the right temperature for us. Just the right amount of spice! As a bonus if you are pregnant we had my chicken curry recipe the same day that I went into labor with Jayden…so if you are trying to get your baby to come this curry might be the way to go! (You also must go on a 1 hour walk…lol that was the other thing I did that day)



3 Tbsp Oil (I use canola)
1 Tbsp Green Curry Paste
1 1/2 C Almond Milk
2 tsp Brown Sugar
1 tsp Basil
1/2 tsp Salt
8 White Mushrooms Sliced
1/2 Head of Cabbage Cut into 4 Wedges and then separated
1 Sweet Potato cut into half circles

Heat your oil and 1 Tbsp Curry paste in a frying pan and make sure the paste is incorporated into the oil.

Add the mushrooms and steak sautéing until the steak is browned.

Add the almond milk, brown sugar, basil, sweet potatoes and salt and mix everything together. Bring to  boil.

Then place the cabbage on the top and cover with a lid. turn heat down to medium and simmer for about 10 minutes or until potatoes are soft.


Serve over white rice.

Tips from Kj:

You can add white potatoes to this. Eggplant is also a great addition!

I have been keeping our curry paste in the freezer and it has last us forever! We have curry probably once a month.

I know that this is not exactly “legitimate” curry. But it is just a variation I made because we never have the ingredients that you need to make legitimate curry. We really love this and I think you will too!

If you have coconut milk you can also use that instead of almond milk. 

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Parmesan Garlic Bread

Do you ever have those days where you get to the end of your day and you wonder “what did I even eat today?” Now that I am a mom I can go without eating and not even realize it. (Which I have never understood before it happened to me. Mark could go all day without eating and I would think he was crazy…now I understand. I am just distracted by a baby not homework. I was never distracted enough by school to not eat lol)
parmesan garlic bread
This is bad for me because for a number of reasons it is crucial for me to eat all meals each day and like 5 snacks. Sometimes I also think about the dinners I have cooked all week. We normally have meat/rice, or meat/pasta. And every now and then we have veggies on the side. Pretty boring right? Normally either the meat, rice, or pasta is jazzed up but never both. I felt sad that while we had a great main portion of our dish I never put very much thought into what we would have with the “main portion”.
I wanted to have guacamole meatballs and spaghetti for dinner but decided we needed an exciting side! So I bought a loaf of French bread, (it really is so cheap I should buy it more!) slathered it with butter, sprinkled it with some parmesan cheese and garlic powder and there you go. The words coming from our taste buds were things like: delicious, yum, mmmmm, yummy, amazing…etc. The parmesan cheese adds such a nice touch!
You need:
1 Loaf French bread sliced in half (to create two long pieces)
1 stick butter
1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp Parsley
Sprinkle of oregano
Melt the butter and mix the garlic powder and parsley into it. Brush over each piece of bread.
Sprinkle oregano over each piece.
Broil on High for about 5 minutes with your rack in the MIDDLE of your oven.
Take out and sprinkle the parmesan cheese all over the top. Broil for about 2 more minutes just until the cheese starts to melt.
Slice and enjoy with your favorite spaghetti or just for a snack the next day, and the day after that. Yum!
Tips from Kj:

We have a gas oven and the directions I gave were what works with our oven. Make sure you watch your bread closely though! Ovens are so different especially when broiling. My mom made this and her oven was on low broil. She put it in for about 4 minutes on Low then took it out and put it in for 1 more minute until the cheese got melty.

This is also so good with mozzarella cheese!

I also love using garlic Mrs. Dash instead of Garlic Powder Pin It

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Pineapple Ginger Chicken (Chinese)

I think I’ve said this before but I LOVE Chinese food. I think it is my top favorite kind of food. I know there is a lot of good Chinese out there just waiting for me to sink my teeth into. One of my favorite things is this coconut shrimp that we’ve only ever been able to find at some Chinese Buffets. I am determined to figure out how to make it though…it is SOOO good. As soon as I can have all my normal foods again I am heading straight to Panda Express to get some orange chicken and an egg roll, thank you. 

For the time being I am still creating soy sauce free Chinese food and having fun doing it. This was so good we have had it 3 times now. Lucky for me Mark likes it too so he doesn’t mind that I keep making it. (Kind of like the meatloaf cupcakes I keep making practically once a week…post coming soon)



2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts Cubed

1 tsp oil (we use canola)
1 Small Onion cut into small strips
3 Cloves Garlic-Minced
1 1/3 cup Apple Juice
1 1/2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
1 tsp Sesame Oil
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Ginger
1 18oz can Crushed Pineapple

Heat oil over medium high heat in a skillet. Add the garlic and onion and sauté for about 3 minutes and then add the chicken and 1/3 cup apple juice and cook until the chicken is browned on the outside (doesn’t need to be cooked through in the middle yet)

Add all of the rest of the ingredients and stir them up. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Tips from Kj:

Add mushrooms, pineapple chunks, mandarin oranges, broccoli, green beans etc. as you are simmering it. They all make great additions!

We served this over white “sticky rice” (just add a little more water than normal to your rice as you are cooking it)

For a thicker sauce mix 1 Tablespoon cornstarch with a little bit of water to make a paste and add to the sauce it should thicken up in just a few minutes.

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Italian Style Tilapia

I love tilapia because it is relatively inexpensive and is a nice change when all we have had for a while is a chicken/hamburger rotation.  I love pasta with marinara type sauce. It is so yummy and a sort of comfort food to me. I thought it would be so good to make some tilapia with mushrooms pasta and a marinara type sauce. Tilapia has such a  unique flavor because it is not very fishy so you can try it with so many different flavors and spices and it is almost always delicious.
My husband went crazy for this dinner he loved it and normally does not like marinara sauce at all on pasta. But I think he ate every single bite on his plate :) We had it again the next night and probably will have it with the rest of our tilapia in the freezer. I think this recipe could be a good one if you invite the neighbors over…make them think you are a gourmet chef! (I like to pretend that I am…ha.)

Don’t let this intimidate you. This was so quick and easy! If you feel a little stressed make some of my homemade chocolate milk to drink while you are cooking it..problem solved!
2 Tilapia Fillets
2 Tablespoons Oil
6 Medium sized mushrooms sliced
1 clove garlic minced
1/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 can diced tomatoes
Your favorite kind of pasta cooked-we used fettuccini
First start your pasta and pre-heat your broiler on high
Shake some salt and pepper over the tilapia and broil on high for about 8 minutes.
While the tilapia is broiling heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and mushrooms  to the oil and brown over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes watching the garlic to make sure it does not burn.  Then add all other ingredients: tomatoes, milk, oregano, basil, sugar, and salt. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
Put your pasta on a plate, then the tilapia and finally the sauce. Top with parmesan cheese and voila! You are a gourmet chef! Your meal is being requested by the queen of England and you are being flown over on an all expenses paid vacation to prepare it for her. Lucky for you she is vacationing in the Caribbean when she wants the meal so that is where you get to go! Sounds great right? Crazier things have happened! Right? Okay maybe not…but you can imagine you are in the Caribbean while you eat your delicious fish!
Tips from Kj:
If you are not much of a fish eater you can also make this with chicken!

Or if you are a seafood eater and you want to make a nice Valentines day impression make this with SHRIMP!! Big juicy expensive shrimp :) Yum!
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

I'm also linking at

Tater Tots and Jello
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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Teaser Post: Homemade Chocolate Milk

This recipe is not profound nor is it my official “weekday post” (Which will come tomorrow and is insanely delicious so keep you eyes peeled!)

Although it is nothing too spectacular it just made my whole afternoon. As you figured out by now I can’t have dairy/soy/eggs making my dessert/sweets life a little less than exciting. One thing I really miss is chocolate milk! One day Mark got me a chocolate almond milk juice box at the store and I couldn’t get over it for like a week! Yum. This afternoon I was really craving chocolate milk and decided I’d experiment and make some because I have cocoa powder and what else could you need right? After one epic fail I succeeded! I promise you this: it was delicious! And would make any chocolate milk lover happy…at least in my opinion it would.

Here is what you need:

2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder
1 Tablespoon Milk
1/4 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 1/2 cups Milk

I used Vanilla Almond Milk

First mix together your sugar, cocoa powder, 1 Tbsp Milk, and Vanilla. Make this into a nice paste and make sure that all of the cocoa powder is really mixed in with no dry bubbles. (This was my first mistake. I decided to just pour a glass of milk and mix cocoa powder and sugar into it….I had dry cocoa bubbles galore that would explode every so often on the surface and nothing was mixing together very well)
Once you have your paste add half of your  milk and mix your little heart out for like 30 seconds with a spoon. Then add the second half of your milk and mix again for like 30 seconds. Everything should be pretty well combined at this point and you are ready to drink!

Tips from Kj:

If you don’t want to add vanilla you don’t have to and it will still be good. I just love vanilla!!!


I am also trying to perfect a ooey gooey chocolate mug brownie but can’t get the timing quite right (or the ingredient ratio) so far they have been delicious and I have eaten every experiment but have yet to get a “bloggable” one to come out of the bunch. Hopefully I’ll be able to post that soon.

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Tres Leches Cake

When I first met Mark I hadn’t really had a few of my now favorite things in life as far as food goes like: Guacamole, tres leches cake, Chiles Rellenos, avocados….and the list goes on. He has introduced me to some very delicious things! Tres Leches is pretty high up there on the list though. I think I could eat the entire cake myself. I made it for him this year for his birthday (and last year…and I think the year before) It has been less than a week and it is almost completely gone! Trust me this is SOOOO good. It is a very moist and sweet cake so that is great because you don’t need a glass of milk while you eat it. It’s in the cake! Not to mention the fact that it is so quick and easy to make. It has one ingredient that is a little different than some you see online and I think it makes it so much better…Media crema! (It is found in the Hispanic food section of the grocery store) I got this recipe from Marks mom who is from El Salvador. So this is legit people!
tres leches
All you need is:
1 Can Evaporated  Milk (12oz)
1/2 Can Media Crema (7.6 oz)
1/2 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk (14 oz)
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 box yellow cake mix
Bake your cake mix as directed and when it is done either flip it upside down onto a different pan or slice the very top off of the cake (you only want to take off the tiniest bit just to expose the porus part of the cake)
Mix the 3 milks and vanilla together and dump over the entire cake. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving.
Tips from Kj:
In some recipes you will see online you can top this with whipped topping, but my husband didn’t grow up having it that way so we always just have it without. It is good with it though!
It is also really delicious with strawberries! Like strawberry shortcake but better!

  Making your home sing Mondays Pin It

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Apple Topped (and Stuffed!) Chicken

I think there is a reason why pigs always have an apple in their mouths when they are being presented at feasts. Pork and apples go SO WELL together! At least that is what I grew up thinking. I learned recently as I requested applesauce with ham at our family Christmas party that I might be a little “different” than the others. Some people were like,”Kjersti is weird…period.” haha and I got teased a bunch! But let me tell you I had my applesauce and it was divine! I also love having apples with pork chops. Yum! So you might think I’m weird or you  might be wondering why I am even talking about pork when really this post is about chicken?? The reason is because here in my house this is called “pork chop chicken” but I didn’t think may people would read this post if I titled it that. So really just know that if you make this you are eating pork chop chicken. Okay? Now on to the good stuff to take your  mind off of my weird eating habits:


The chicken was so moist it practically melted in our mouths! So Good!

You need:
1 Apple-Peeled, Cored, and Sliced
1/2 C Water and 1 Apple Blended together (kind of like applesauce)
1/2 C Chicken Broth
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts sliced into 2 thin pieces (So you have 4 pieces)
1 Tsp Thyme
Salt to taste

Mix the chicken broth and water/applesauce mixture together. Dump into an 8x8 baking dish.
Place 2 Chicken breast pieces in the bottom of the pan (covered with the liquid mixture)
Then lay the apples on top of the chicken and place the other part of the chicken breast on top of the apples.


Sprinkle the Thyme over the top of the 2 chicken breasts. Sprinkle salt over them as well. Just a few shakes.IMG_4038

Then top each one with MORE apple slices!


Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.


Tips from Kj:

This would also be really good with pears!

Or even better make this with PORK CHOPS! We just didn’t have any at the time and loved it so much with chicken that I still make it that way. But one day I will make it with pork chips.

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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Salsa Chicken

I have come to the sad realization that now that we have a baby in the house we have entered a sickness cycle. When it was just Mark and I we could “avoid” each other and avoid getting the other persons sickness in the winter. Now that we have our little Jay it is pretty much impossible to not pass the sickness on to someone else in the home. Because of this we have had a nasty cold circling around since Thanksgiving. I decided that we needed some help clearing out our sinuses so I decided to make salsa chicken. My husband laughs at me because my sinuses were CLEARED but his…not so much. To me the meal was like a 3 chili pepper meal (like you see on menus sometimes) to him it was like 1/2 of a chili pepper. His mom is from El Salvador though…so he has an advantage.
It was super yummy though and I am about to have it again for lunch!
You need:
1 Can Corn
2 Chicken Breasts (pounded so they are thin)
3/4 cup salsa
1/2 Tsp Chili Powder
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Pepper
2 Tbsp Taco Seasoning

Cheese/Sour Cream
Pre-heat oven to 350
First Dump your corn into the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish and mix the salt, pepper, and chili powder in to the corn. IMG_4993
Next rub your chicken down with the taco seasoning on both sides and place on top of the corn.
Dump the salsa over the top of the chicken and bake at 350 for 40 minutes.
I added cheese to the top of Marks chicken and he had sour cream with it as well. Serve it with the corn on the side and rice of course!
Tips from Kj:
Try this with pork chops too! Yum!

I think this would be great with peach salsa.
If you do not want to bake layer everything in a skillet and simmer on medium/low until the chicken is cooked through. Pin It

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Death By Chocolate Brownies

I love Christmas and I love making Christmas goodies. This year is an unusual year for me because all of the goodies I love making I could not eat. I was excited though to make them for others. I decided that I would make our neighbors some brownies…then realized I had some Oreos and some chocolate chips that were off limits for me and that Mark was never going to eat. So I thought it would be a good idea to add those to the brownies. I was drooling just looking at them and got asked for the recipe by every single person I gave them to. So grab a glass of milk and get ready to have all of your chocolate dreams come true. IMG_4737

Ingredients for Brownies:

10 Tablespoons room temperature butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons Vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour

Mix all ingredients together and set aside.

You will also need about 1/2 of a bag of chocolate chips and 1 entire package of double stuffed Oreos.

Grease an 8x8 baking dish. Cover the entire bottom with oreos. Then cover with 1/2 of your brownie batter.


Take half of your chocolate chips and dump over the brownie mix pressing them in. Crush 1/2 of the remaining Oreos and sprinkle over the chocolate chips.


Layer the rest of the brownie mixture and then repeat with remaining oreo and chocolate chips.

Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes (because it is so thick it will take a little longer than normal) Do check them at around 30 minutes to make sure they are not burning though because your oven might be different than mine! Take out of oven and let it rest in the pan for a few hours before cutting just so everything can settle.


Slice into 2 inch ish squares and enjoy! I did hear from one neighbor that they are very good warmed up…so give that a try.


Tips from Kj:

The biggest tip I can give is just to keep an eye on these in the oven. They took a lot longer to bake than I thought they would and I don’t want yours to burn if you leave them in too long. It is better to undercook a little because it gives them ooey gooey goodness than to cook them too long and have dry brownies.

I also think you could go many places with these. Like with Reese's peanut butter cups, or Rollo's, or Hershey's cookies and crème bars?? Anyone with me??

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