Friday, June 29, 2012

Not Yo Mama's Banana Pudding

This past weekend, I also saw my boyfriend, Lee, for the first time in a month! We had a great time doing some of our favorite Charlotte activities (i.e. walking on the greenway, eating at yummy restaurants, etc.) I couldn't leave him without some dessert though, and being the banana pudding fanatic he is, I chose to make him one of his favorites!

Naturally, for this Southern staple, I trusted Miss Paula Deen and her famous recipe. I don't care what people say about her having diabetes and eating sticks of butter (did you see she lost 30 pounds?!), that woman can cook. Her recipes are simply divine and that's that.

I think what makes this banana pudding recipe different than "yo mama's" traditional recipe is that it calls for cream cheese and . It just makes the pudding even fluffier and more delicious. Don't fret about the extra ingredient though my friends, I used reduced fat cream cheese and everything turned out perfectly. Can you say #winning?

Lee loved this recipe and trust me, he has eaten many variations of banana pudding. Therefore, I promise this recipe will not disappoint. It takes about 30 minutes to throw together and is the perfect, cool treat on these hot summer days (and by hot I mean the next 4 days have forecasted highs of 100+). Nom away!

Not Yo Mama's Banana Pudding
Recipe from Paula Deen

  • 2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessmen Cookies OR 2 bags Vanilla Wafers
  • 6 to 8 bananas, sliced
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 (5 oz.) box French Vanilla pudding
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 oz.) container frozen whipped topping thawed, or equal amount sweetened whipped cream
  1. Line the bottom of a 13x9 inch inch dish with 1 bag of cookies and layer bananas on top.
  2. In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer.
  3. Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth.
  4. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture.
  5. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended.
  6. Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover with the remaining cookies.
  7. Refrigerate until ready to serve!

I want to lay on this pudding pillow.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Funfetti Cheesecake Bars

I know I said this once, but I am a funfetti freak. Give me a dessert made using Funfetti cake mix and I will devour it immediately (like those cake batter bars). I can't help myself. And I refuse to stop.

So this weekend, my middle sister, Megan, and her best friend, Jordan, came into town for the Brothers of the Sun (Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw) concert. My oldest sister, Kelley, and I went as well.

Allow me to be the first to inform you that the concert was seriously da bomb. Tim and Kenny are both lively performers who sounded (and looked) amazing. If the tour is coming anywhere near you, please go. Just do it. Trust me when I say that seeing Tim McGraw in his tight white pants will not disappoint. I don't make this stuff up people.

Exhibit A: Lord Have Mercy.
Anywhoooooo, in order to properly celebrate this reunion of sorts, I quickly threw together these Funfetti Cheesecake Bars, knowing full well we had Funfetti mix on hand.

While not your typical cheesecake, these bars are still divine. Using both Funfetti cake mix and Funfetti frosting makes this dessert rich and creamy but, have no fear, the cheesecake flavor doesn't overpower the Funfetti taste, it merely complements it. And y'all, let me tell you, the crust on bottom is so delicious I want to bake a pan of the it all by itself and just dig in. I will let you know if (when) I do this.

These Funfetti Cheesecake Bars are colorful, delicious, and dangerous. Prepare to want to consume the entire 13 x 9 pan.

Funfetti Cheesecake Bars
Recipe from Sweet Treats More

  • 1 box Pillsbury Funfetti Cake Mix (or 1 box Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip Cake Mix)
  • 1 container Pillsbury Funfetti Frosting (or 1 container Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip Frosting)
  • 2 (8 oz.) sticks of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 3 eggs

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Beat the cake mix and butter together until it forms a crumbly dough and press into a greased 13x9 inch pan.
  3. In another bowl, beat cream cheese, frosting, and eggs together until creamy. Pour cream cheese mixture over the cake batter crust.
  4. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until the edges start to pull away from the pan.
  5. Cut into squares and serve (with a dollop of whipped cream on top if you so desire!)
The decadent crust.
The yummy cheesecake.
The finished product.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Chewy Chocolate Chip Snickers Cookies

I have a love for chocolate chip cookies, if you haven't noticed. So, whenever I am suffering a severe sweet craving (which is typically every single day) I look for a quick cookie recipe I can consume right out of the oven.

This week, I went for these chewy chocolate chip snickers cookies...YUM. Snickers and chocolate chip cookies work very well together, let me tell you. These cookies use brown butter, which gives them a bit of a toffee flavor which is simply divine. The snickers stuffed in the middle is a nice, hidden surprise in the center of all that chewy cookie goodness.

I'm starting to think you can't go wrong with these cookie mashups.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Snickers Cookies (makes 24-30 cookies)
Recipe from Bakers Royale

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup sliced Snickers, (approximately 4 king size candy bars or one bag of mini size snickers)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place flour and baking soda together in a bowl and whisk to combine; set aside.
  3. Place 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about two minutes. Continue cooking and using the handle of pan to swirl the butter around in the skillet. Swirl butter constantly until it becomes a dark golden brown in color and gives off a nutty aroma, around 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and transfer browned butter to a large heatproof bowl. Stir in remaining 6 tablespoons of butter into hot butter until completely melted.
  4. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to brown butter mixture and whisk until fully incorporated. Add eggs and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Rest the mixture for 3 minutes, then whisk for another 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. Using sturdy rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.
  5. Using a cookie scoop, small ice cream scoop, or small spoon, scoop out approximately two heaping tablespoons of dough and flatten it into a round disc and place a Snickers slice on top. Fold edges over Snickers to seal it in. (*Optional: For added richness press in chopped Snickers on top...I didn't end up doing this!). Place cookies 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets.
  6. Bake cookies 1 sheet at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, about 10 to 14 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack to cool cookies.

Yes, there's a Snickers wrapped up in all that deliciousness.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Blueberry-Buttermilk Breakfast Cake


It's healthy because it's stuffed full of blueberries, am I right??!

I have no doubt that my dad is the greatest (and cutest) man to have ever walked the planet. As a married man AND the father of 3 daughters, he is truly a saint. He gives so much of himself for us, works hard to provide our family a wonderful life, and helps around the house A LOT! I will eternally be indebted to him for all he has done for me and I am so lucky to have him as a father. Love you, Dad!!!

In order to properly honor my dad on Father's Day, I decided to make him breakfast :). Nothing says love like waking up to an amazing meal!

My dad loves cobblers and fruity desserts, so when I came across this Buttermilk-Blueberry Breakfast Cake recipe, I knew he'd absolutely love it! And lucky for me, we had about 2 tons of blueberries sitting in our fridge (LOVE summer berries!).

What's best about this dessert? It's clearly a health food. It's packed with blueberries which are packed with antioxidants which in turn means that eating half of the pan by yourself in one sitting is actually a good idea. Really. You're doing yourself a favor.

The cake was the perfect breakfast sweet (healthy sweet, y'all...remember?). It was light, fluffy, and slightly flaky. It had a buttery taste as any good (healthy) breakfast cake should, while the lemon zest was a refreshing complement to the blueberries. We ate our cake the day after I made it, so we heated it up in the microwave before consuming and it was so tasty when served warm. Pair it with a cup of coffee and your morning will promise to be a little slice of summery heaven.

Blueberry-Buttermilk Breakfast Cake
Recipe from Alexandra's Kitchen

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest or more - zest from one large lemon
  • 7/8 cup* + 1 tablespoon sugar**
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
*7/8 cup = 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
**This 1 tablespoon is for sprinkling on top of the cake.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream butter with lemon zest and the 7/8 cup of sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Meanwhile, toss the blueberries with 1/4 cup of flour in a small bowl, then whisk together the remaining flour (1 3/4 cup), baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl.
  3. Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the blueberries.
  4. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan (or something similar, like I used) with butter or non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan. Sprinkle batter with the remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 35 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness. If necessary, return pan to oven for a couple more minutes. (Note: Baking for as long as 10 more minutes might me necessary. I had to leave mine in for 12 more minutes.) Let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Had to proudly show off this beauty. 
Fresh blueberries. Yum, yum, yum!
Batter...covered in sugar, delish!
And it's pretty!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Miniature Peanut Butter Cheesecakes

Look at that Reese's poking through! Yum!

Although Father's Day just passed, I'd like to share with you all some of the treats I made for the occasion!

The boys I babysit decided they wanted to do something special for their dad. Aside from making cards and pencil holders, we decided to bake their father a special treat! The boys mentioned their dad loves cheesecake and he loves peanut butter. My first thought: find a recipe to combine the two!

We found this recipe for Miniature Peanut Butter Cheesecakes and knew it would be the perfect combo (although we knew we wanted to double it). All three of us put in effort to make these delicious bite-sized cheesecakes. It couldn't have been easier, and it's a fun recipe for kids! 

These were magnificent. For me, though, cheesecake and a Reese's could never yield a negative result, but I think you will all agree that these are delicious as well as a fun and different take on dessert! The Reese's in the middle is a nice "surprise" and I love how cute and adorable these mini treats are.

Naturally, I forgot to bring my camera to take pictures of these delicious goodies. Sorry if the iPhone photos just don't do this dessert justice.

Miniature Peanut Butter Cheesecakes
Recipe form Taste of Home

  • 1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 5 teaspoons butter, melted
     Cheesecake Filling:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons beaten egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 miniature peanut butter cups
  1. In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter. Press onto the bottom of six paper-lined muffin cups; set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and flour until smooth. Add egg and vanilla; beat on low speed until just combined. 
  3. Place a peanut butter cup in the center of each muffin cup. Then, fill the muffin cups with the cream cheese mixture.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-18 minutes or until center is set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Yields 6 servings.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Neiman Marcus Cake

Birthday Fun!
Cake Mix makes this recipe SUPER easy!

I may not be able to afford anything at Neiman Marcus, but I will certainly eat as decadently as one of their shoppers! (Lolz. Trying to be funny. Is it working???)

During my family's trip to California, we were able to celebrate my wonderful Aunt and Godmother's birthday. Living so far from our extended family, this rarely happens so we were excited to be able to share in the fun! I decided to bake a cake for my Aunt Cathy's birthday just as a token of my love! I needed an easy recipe, though, because I wanted to fully enjoy my vacation time (and not completely destroy my grandmother's kitchen!).

Before my trip, I had looked up recipes that use cake mix because I found about 5 boxes in my family's pantry. I came across this Neiman Marcus Cake recipe and knew that I had to make it at some point. Despite it's simplicity (it was so easy to make), it was completely delicious. Made with some of life's most decadent ingredients, it was an absolute treat. It was gooey, buttery, and rich, and when topped with cool whip and fresh berries it was the perfect dessert for a summer party! Enjoy!

Neiman Marcus Cake
Recipe from All Recipes
  • 1 (18.25 oz.) package yellow cake mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 8 oz. cream cheese (I used 1/3 the fat)
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease one 13x9 inch baking pan.
  2. Combine the yellow cake mix, 2 of the eggs, and the butter or margarine and mix well. The batter should be stiff. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Combine the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, and the remaining 2 eggs. Mix well and pour over the top of the cake batter.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes.
Look at my Nana's old school mixer!

Cake Batter
Cream Cheese Mixture

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"Use What You Have" Mini Quiches

WHOA. Sorry about that major hiatus from the blogging world. I was merely soaking up the sun in beautiful Southern California with my family. It was a wonderful time and I was currently not ready to head home and get back to reality. I am terrible at saying goodbye and it never gets any easier!

Before we left for our vacation, my mom and I whipped together some of her favorite mini quiches. These are so easy to make, freeze, and heat for breakfast/lunch/dinner - you name it! The best part is, this recipe gives you the freedom to take what veggies or meats that you have around and throw them in to be baked. Eggs are versatile and I appreciate that.

In this last batch of quiches, we used a whole bag of Trader Joe's of organic frozen, chopped spinach; half of a chopped red bell pepper; half of a chopped orange bell pepper; one small, diced yellow squash; one medium, diced zucchini; a quarter of a minced onion; one carton of egg beaters; and some grated swiss cheese. After combining all the veggies, you just heat them in the oven for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Using the egg beaters makes these super healthy and light and a perfect poppable meal. We throw them in a freezer bag and heat them in the microwave on HIGH for about 1 minute and 45 seconds and they are absolutely fabulous! Couldn't be easier to whip together!

"Use What You Have" Mini Quiches**
Recipe from My Mama!

  • 1 bag frozen, chopped spinach
  • 1/2 chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 chopped orange bell pepper
  • 1 small, diced yellow squash
  • 1 medium, diced zucchini
  • 1/4 minced onion
  • 1 carton egg beaters
  • Grated swiss cheese (about 6 oz.)

**Like I said, use what you have! We have added mushrooms to these, feta cheese, ham, turkey bacon, whatever you please!***


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Grease 12-18 muffin tins by spraying with Pam.
3. If using spinach, cook it on high in the microwave for 4 minutes. Remove from microwave and press out all liquid using paper towels.
4. Combine your eggs, veggies, meats, and cheeses into a large bowl.
5. Pour egg mixture into muffin tins (12-18 depending on how big you'd like them).
6. Bake quiches for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and bubbly on edges.
7. Serve hot or freeze them and microwave when hungry!