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Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Homemade Rice-A-Roni Copycat Recipe

Thursday, September 8, 2011@ 12:10 PM

Do you know what this recipe it going to make?

How about now?

Isn’t it looking very familiar?

Did you read the title and now you’re just humoring me?

I don’t have anything against artificial colors or preservatives, and I definitely didn’t make this recipe because I wanted it to be healthier.  I made it purely because I love Rice-A-Roni.  If I eat Eggo waffles for dinner, I could eat Rice-A-Roni for breakfast… and dinner.  Hmm.  Eggo Waffles with a side of Rice-A-Roni.  Eggo Waffle Sandwich stuffed with Rice-A-Roni  *mmm**drool*  Wonder what Shane would say if I served him that for dinner tonight haha.

So anyways, this recipe was just for my own curiosity.
Does it taste as good as the box?  -  Yeah.
Is it as easy as just ripping open the box?  -  Not even close, but I’m glad I did it anyways.


  • 2 cups white rice
  • 1 cup vermicelli, broken into very small pieces.  (if you can’t find vermicelli, use angel hair pasta)
  • 6 Tbsp chicken bullion powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup parsley flakes
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • When you are ready to cook it, you’ll also need 2 Tbsp butter and 2 1/4 cups of water.


  1. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl.  Voila.  There’s your rice mix.
  2. To cook:  Melt 2 Tbsp of butter in a skillet.  Add 1 cup of the rice mix and stir to brown it a little.  Add 2 1/4 cups water and bring to a boil.  Reduce to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.


  • To make more servings, simply add more rice and adjust your water & cooking times accordingly.
  • I ended up not adding all of the parsley, but close to it.  And I’m not a huge fan of thyme, so next time I’m going to try leaving it out.



Butterfinger Brownies

Monday, August 22, 2011@ 4:04 PM

We were potentially going to have company stay with us, and that started a hurricane of cleaning frenzy at the house.  I’m very clean, incredibly clean, don’t-go-anywhere-without-Clorox-wipes clean… but I’m not tidy.  I kick my shoes off at the door which results in a mountain (as high as the tv) of heels.  I almost ALWAYS have a stack of junk mail on the counter.  The kitchen table is usually covered in recipes I’ve printed.  The bed is never made.  Dirty clothes are thrown on the closet floor next to the hamper.  etc etc etc.

So we did a complete cleaning session from top to bottom and everything looked great!  Even though our guests never came, I was thrilled that it motivated me to do housework.  And even though the house is perfectly acceptable, I still wanted to do more…

Is there anything better than a shopping trip filled with only baking ingredients?

Recipe adapted from: RecipeGirl

So I know this post is about Butterfinger Brownies, but I feel I owe something to my saveur préférée (thank you Google translate).  The brownies in the bottom of that pic are my Snickers Brownies, and oooh la la they are good!

That being said, the brownie of this hour is butterfinger.  Have you ever bitten into a Butterfinger and really given thought to the flavors?  For being covered in chocolate and a “peanut butter” flavored filling, it really isn’t sweet.  And, if you ask me, it doesn’t taste like peanut butter either.  So don’t be expecting a peanut butter brownie, because you ain’t gonna get it  :)

What I like about this brownie is that it’s different.  It’s almost… bittersweet?  I don’t have the most refined palate, but this isn’t your typical brownie.


  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • ½ cup softened butter
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 16 (.65oz) chopped Butterfinger candy bars.


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  2. Line a 13×9 inch pan with foil and then grease the foil
  3. Melt chocolate in the microwave.  Set aside.
  4. Combine butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar with an electric mixer.  Beat in eggs and vanilla extract.  Mix in melted chocolate.  Blend in flour.  Set aside about 3/4 cup of the Butterfingers, and stir in the rest.
  5. Spread into prepared pan.  Top with the reserved Butterfingers.
  6. Bake 25-35 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Let cool completely.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.
  8. Remove all foil before cutting.

And of course I always have an audience when there are good smells coming from the kitchen


Ham and Hash Brown Casserole

Tuesday, August 9, 2011@ 8:47 AM

Recipe adapted from: Allrecipes.com


I thought this one would be more like a dinner casserole, but it’s actually a better side dish…
Not my all-time favorite, but good for a change.


  • 1 (32oz) package frozen hash browns
  • 8 oz cooked, diced ham
  • 2 (10.75oz) cans condensed cream of potato soup
  • 16 oz sour cream
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. Lightly grease a 13×9 inch baking dish
  3. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients (except the Parmesan).  Spread into baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.
  5. Bake 1 hour until top is golden brown.
  6. Serve hot.


As usual, it looks pretty gross when you’re mixing it up.  But what I love love love about it is the super crispy Parmesan topping!

  And it’s not bad leftover either.


 Recipe adapted from: Eggs on Sunday

These cookies win me first prize at every competition (as long as my dad is the judge)  :)

I have never made them where they haven’t come out perfectly, therefore they are a great go-to recipe for company or gifts.  Thick, chewy, and loaded with nuts.


  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 1½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup crunchy (or extra-crunchy) peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 12 oz bittersweet chocolate; store-bought chips or chopped into chunks
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup chopped pecans


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. Combine the flour, salt and baking soda.  Whisk to combine.
  3. Put butter and peanut butter in the mixer bowl and beat on medium for 1 minute.  Mixture should be smooth.
  4. Add the white and brown sugars and beat for about 2 more minutes.  Beat in vanilla.
  5. Add the eggs one at time, beating until combined.
  6. Reduce mixer to low and gradually add the flour mixture to fully incorporate.
  7. Gently mix in the chocolate chips and nuts (either on the lowest setting or by hand)
  8. Refrigerate the dough for about 15 minutes.
  9. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Drop dough onto sheet by rounded tablespoonfuls.
  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the center is golden brown.
  11. Let rest on the baking sheet for a minute or two and then transfer to cooling rack




Bagel Dogs (or Pretzel Dogs?)

Thursday, July 14, 2011@ 3:53 PM

I’m not gonna lie and say this is a quick and easy recipe, because it isn’t.  Well, it isn’t hard, but it’s definitely time consuming!  Bagel dogs have been on my “to do” list for awhile now.  Each night I would drive home from work with the intention of making them for dinner, and then I’d remember that for some reason Shane likes to eat dinner before 11:30pm.  Crazy, right?

So these had to wait until I finally got a free weekend — and here they are!  *Insert self-compliment here* I’m actually pretty proud of them because I think they look awesome for a first attempt!

While we were enjoying the finished product, Shane said, “I really like these pretzel dogs.”  To which I promptly replied, “Ummm… they’re bagel dogs… helllllooooo….”  (But after that all I could taste was soft pretzel)

So what is the difference between a bagel and a soft pretzel?  Besides the obvious answer (their shape), I couldn’t really figure it out.  I think that bagels are usually made with more salt in the water and soft pretzels have more baking soda?  Or maybe it was just that I chose to use salt as the topping, which must automatically turn it into a pretzel?  I don’t know!  Someone please enlighten me.


  • 2 cups water (110 degrees F)
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 3 Tbsp granulated white sugar
  • 3 tsp table salt
  • 5 to 5 ½ cups AP flour
  • 12 hot dogs
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Coarse sea salt for garnish

Required Equipment:

  1. Mixer (with paddle and dough hook attachments)
  2. Kitchen towel
  3. Large, heavy pot
  4. Baking sheets
  5. Parchment paper
  6. Pizza cutter


  1. Pour the water into  a mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast over top.  Let stand for 5 minutes, until foamy.  Stir in the sugar and salt.
  2. Turn the mixer on medium speed (using the paddle attachment) and gradually add flour.  You should end up with a stiff dough.
  3. Change your mixer to the dough hook and knead thoroughly until smooth and elastic.
  4. Lightly grease a bowl.  Form the dough into a ball and place in bowl, turning once to grease all sides.  Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for about an hour (until doubled in size).
  5. Punch the dough down and knead briefly.
  6. Lightly flour a board or your (clean) counter, and then turn the dough out onto the floured surface.  Used a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12×9 inch rectangle (should be about ¼ inch thick).  *Add flour as needed to prevent sticking*
  7. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut the dough into 12 1-inch strips.
  8. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  9. Remove hot dogs from the refrigerator and dry thoroughly.  Wrap the dough around the hot dog, overlapping the edges slightly.  Place, seam side down, on the baking sheet and then cover loosely with the kitchen towel and let stand for 30-45 minutes.
  10. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  11. Using a deep, heavy pot, fill with water and add the baking soda.  Bring to a gentle boil.
  12. Working 2 bagels at a time, carefully place them in the water, turning frequently for about a minute.  Lift out of water with a large, slotted spoon, dry gently, and arrange at least 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  13. In a small bowl, lightly beat 1 egg yolk with 1 Tbsp water.  Brush the bagels with the egg wash and then sprinkle on your salt garnish.
  14. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until brown.
  15. Transfer to a wire rack for cooling – Serve warm.


  • If you’re rolling the dought out on the counter, be very careful when using the cutter on it so you don’t damage the surface.  I rolled mine out on the counter and then just slid a cutting board under it for the slicing.
  • Short, stubby hot dogs don’t work as well.
  • The dough will be incredibly sticky when you remove it from the boiling water.  If it starts to unwind a bit like mine did, carefully re-wrap the dough around the hot dog.  It’s super hot – don’t burn yourself!