Monthly Archives: July 2011

Peanut Butter Mousse Pie

Almost 2 weeks ago my sister delivered the most adorable baby girl!  She is perfect, and all I want to do is spend time with her.  Because my sister and brother-in-law are so busy taking care of their newborn, I decided to make things easier for them by bringing dinner and dessert over for a couple of nights.  One of the desserts that I made for them was this delicious Peanut Butter Mousse Pie.  It’s so easy to make, but oh so scrumptious.  Peanut butter, chocolate, graham cracker crumbs, butter… how can you possibly go wrong?  You can’t, and I knew my sister and bro-in-law would love it.  Whatever the occasion, this pie is sure to please!


  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 7 whole graham crackers, coarsely broken
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • Whipped Cream topping
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips for sprinkling


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish with nonstick spray.
  2. Blend graham crackers, melted butter, and 2 tablespoons sugar in processor until moist clumps form. Press crumb mixture over bottom and up sides of prepared pie dish. Bake crust until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.
  3. While crust is baking, in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the heavy cream with an electric mixer on high speed until thickly whipped.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the peanut butter and powdered sugar together with the electric mixer until the peanut butter is light and fluffy.
  5. Stir half the whipped cream into the peanut butter, then gently fold in the remaining half of the cream.
  6. Once the crust has baked and cooled, place spread mousse over pie crust and chill for 1 hour or up to 1 day.
  7. Before serving, place whipped topping on top and sprinkle with chocolate chips.


Filed under Desserts

Chicken Piccata

Chicken chicken chicken… it gets old sometimes doesn’t it?  My hubby’s least favorite type of protein is chicken, especially chicken breasts.  I have to agree with him on that one; I get very sick of the same old chicken recipes.  I was looking through one of my cookbooks and saw this recipe for Chicken Piccata.  This chicken is so easy to make and no, it does not taste bland.  It tastes amazing, especially with the saltiness of the capers combined with the zesty lemon.  Give this recipe a try if you’re getting sick of the same old chicken recipes!


  • 4 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, butterflied and then cut in half
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup brined capers, rinsed
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped


  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.
  2. In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate.
  3. Into the pan add the lemon juice, stock, and capers. Bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor.
  4. Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove chicken to platter.
  5. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley.

*Adapted from Everyday Italian


Filed under Main Course

Raspberry Lemonade Cake

It was 100 degrees in D.C. this past weekend, but it felt like 145.  It was brutal, so what better way to fight the heat than to eat some Raspberry Lemonade Cake?  This cake was tart and delicious, just like raspberry lemonade.  Not only is this cake delicious, but the frosting is scrumptious too; I made a classic buttercream frosting and added some lemonade concentrate to it.  Definitely try this cake.  It’s the perfect summertime treat!

In other news, I’m going to be traveling to San Diego this week and next week for work.  Does anyone have any restaurant suggestions???  I’m always looking for great restaurant recommendations!


  • 1 cup very hot water
  • 1 box (4 oz.) raspberry gelatin
  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1/2 cup frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon peel

Lemonade Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup thawed, frozen lemonade concentrate
  1. Heat oven to 350°F and spray bottom of 13×9-inch pan with baking spray.
  2. In small bowl, mix hot water and gelatin until gelatin is completely dissolved; cool slightly.
  3. In large bowl, beat cake mix, 1/4 cup of the gelatin mixture, 1/4 cup of the lemonade concentrate, the water, oil, and egg whites with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes. Pour into pan. Reserve remaining gelatin mixture and lemonade concentrate.
  4. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Poke warm cake every inch with fork tines. In a small bowl, mix remaining gelatin mixture and remaining 1/4 cup lemonade concentrate; pour slowly over cake. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
  5.  In a large bowl, cream the butter until smooth.  Add the powdered sugar, salt, and 1/3 cup lemonade and mix until smooth and creamy.
  6. Frost entire cake and garnish with raspberries and lemon zest. Store covered in refrigerator.


Filed under Baked Goods, Desserts

Cherry Coffee Cake

I wish I could take credit for this beautiful Cherry Coffee Cake, but I can’t.  My mom made this for my family for dinner a few nights ago.  This is her recipe and she’s been making this coffee cake for as long as I can remember.  I love this coffee cake because you can change the filling to whatever flavor you like.  My mom has made cherry (obv), blueberry, half cherry/half blueberry, etc.  You can’t go wrong with coffee cake for any occasion; whether you’re celebrating the purchase of a new home, celebrating a new job, having friends over for dinner, or celebrating the birth of a new baby (!!!), this is the perfect down-home, comfort dessert.  I love it, and I’m sure you will too!


  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 can (21 oz.) of cherry pie filling

Streusel Topping:

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. butter


  • 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and grease and flour a 13×9″ baking pan.
  2. In a small bowl, sift together the  3 cups of flour and baking powder and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until smooth.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.
  4. Add the flour mix to the butter mix and beat until combined.
  5. Spread 1/2 of the batter along the bottom of the pan.  If the batter is hard to spread, wet your knife to make it easier.
  6. Spread the pie filling over the batter.  Spread the rest of the batter over the pie filling.  It may be difficult to spread the batter entirely over the pie filling.  Don’t worry if the pie filling oozes out a bit.
  7. To make the streusel topping, mix the flour, sugar, butter, and cinnamon with a fork until crumbles form.  Sprinkle the crumbles over the top of the cake.
  8. Bake the cake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  9. While cake is cooling, mix the confectioner’s sugar and milk until a smooth consistency.  Add more confectioner’s sugar to thicken or more milk to thin out.  Drizze icing over cooled cake and serve.


Filed under Baked Goods, Desserts

Greek Orzo Salad

I want to apologize for being M.I.A. this past week.  I was traveling for work and then guess what????  My sister had a beautiful baby girl this past weekend!!!!  It’s our family’s first baby and she is absolutely amazing.  She’s so tiny and beautiful.  Because I was so wrapped up with my little niece, I spent very little time in my kitchen.  However, one night, my mom took over my kitchen and made us an amazing dinner of grilled chicken and this delicious Greek Orzo Salad.  I made Summer Orzo Salad a few weeks ago, but the flavors were a bit different with avocado and oranges.  This orzo salad has the traditional Greek flavors that are so delicious and perfect for a summer BBQ.  Enjoy!


  • 1 box orzo
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, diced
  • 1 cup feta
  • 1/4 cup parsley, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper for seasoning


  1. In a large stock pot, bring water to a boil and cook orzo until al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain orzo and allow to cool while preparing vegetables.
  2. Place green onions, tomatoes, cucumber, and feta in a large bowl and combine with the orzo.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, sugar, and lemon juice and pour over salad.  Mix to combine.
  4. Sprinkle parsley and basil over salad and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Mix to combine and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Filed under Side Dishes

Banana Cinnamon Chip Muffins

Whenever I make muffins, I always try to make them a little bit healthier by substituting applesauce for oil or whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour.  I purchased some flax seed meal and have used it in baked goods or smoothies, but I’ve never used it as a substitute for eggs.  So this time, I decided to take my mushy bananas and make some Banana Cinnamon Chip Muffins with applesauce, whole wheat flour, and flax seed meal.  Now you might be thinking why did she add cinnamon chips if she wanted these muffins to be healthy?  Well, please forgive me, but I felt that these muffins would’ve been too bland without some sort of sugary pop.  Hence, the cinnamon chips.  These muffins are still very healthy, so if you want to omit the cinnamon chips, you can.  But I loved the cinnamon flavor that these chips added.  Such an easy recipe and perfect for a quick breakfast on the run!


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tbsp flax seed meal plus 3 tbsp water
  • 3 medium very ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 3 tbsp skim milk
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a standard muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Mix flax seed meal with water in a small bowl and set aside for 2 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the flours, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the applesauce, flax seed meal mix, mashed bananas, and milk until blended.  Add the dry ingredients and beat until combined.  With a wooden spoon, mix in cinnamon chips.
  5. Spoon the batter into each muffin cup, filling it level with the rim of the cup.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Transfer pan to a wire rack and allow to cool.


Filed under Baked Goods, Breakfast

Salted Fudge Brownies

I’ve been loving the sweet and salty combo lately.  You might remember these Seven Layer Bacon Bars I made last week.  This time, I decided to make some Salted Chocolate Brownies.  Nothing is more delicious than a chewy, homemade brownie – except if you add a touch of sea salt on top!  A sprinkling of sea salt gives these brownies an incredible flavor.  Once again, fireworks will go off in your mouth when you taste the chocolate and salt combo.  These are perfect to share with your friends, co-workers, family or keep all to yourself.

What is your favorite sweet and salty combo?


  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Maldon sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9-inch square metal cake pan with foil, draping the foil over the edges. Lightly butter the foil.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter with the unsweetened chocolate over very low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat. Whisking them in one at a time until thoroughly incorporated, add the cocoa, sugar, eggs, vanilla and flour. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Sprinkle the salt evenly over the batter. Using a butter knife, swirl the salt into the batter.
  3. Bake the fudge brownies in the center of the oven for about 35 minutes, until the edge is set but the center is still a bit soft and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out coated with a little of the batter.  Sprinkle the warm brownies with a pinch of sea salt and let cool at room temperature in the pan for 1 hour, then refrigerate just until they are firm, about 1 hour. Lift the brownies from the pan and peel off the foil. Cut the brownies into 16 squares. Serve at room temperature.  Make Ahead The salted fudge brownies can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, and frozen for up to 1 month.
*Food and Wine


Filed under Baked Goods, Desserts

Caprese Salad w/Heirloom Tomatoes

I bought these beautiful heirloom tomatoes at the farmer’s market and knew that I had to make Caprese Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes.  My basil plants are growing like mad, so this was the perfect recipe to trim them down.  I love fresh mozzarella and the combo of fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella is so simple, but delicious.  Definitely give this recipe a try!


  • 4 heirloom tomatoes
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, packed
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • Fresh cracked pepper and sea salt for seasoning


  1. Slice tomatoes into 1″ slices.  Arrange tomatoes on a decorative plate.
  2. Slice mozzarella into 1″ slices.  Arrange mozzarella slices on top of tomatoes.
  3. Reserve a couple basil leaves for decoration and set aside.  Chop basil and scatter on top of tomatoes and mozzarella.
  4. Drizzle olive oil over the top and season with cracked pepper and sea salt.


Filed under Appetizers, Soup & Salad

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

I hope you had a wonderful 4th of July!  My sister’s birthday is July 3, so my Mom and I baked her this delicious Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake covered in fondant.  Many of you probably already know this, but I can’t stand the taste and/or smell of mayonnaise; it literally makes me gag!  But this chocolate mayonnaise cake is my Mom’s recipe that she has been making for years.  You can’t taste the mayonnaise in it; if anything, it makes the cake super moist and delicious.  We layered 4, 9″ cakes with frosting in between each layer.  We then covered the entire cake in frosting and fondant.  We made a batch of Rice Krispy treats, cut out star shapes with a cookie cutter, and then covered the stars with fondant.  Sorry there aren’t any pictures of the inside of the cake; we transported it to my sister’s and ate it!  Hope you enjoy!


  • 3 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour 2, 9″ cake pans.
  2. In a small bowl, sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, and baking soda.  Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the mayonnaise, sugar, water, and vanilla until combined.  Add the dry ingredients and beat until smooth.
  4. Divide batter between cake pans and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick insterted in the middle comes out clean.
  5. Remove pans from oven and allow to cool 10 minutes.  Remove cakes from pans and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  6. Frost cakes with Vanilla Buttercream when completely cooled.

Yield: 2, 9″ cakes

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting


  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound), softened (but not melted!) Ideal texture should be like ice cream.
  • 3-4 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, SIFTED
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • up to 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
  1. Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the sugar doesn’t blow everywhere) until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter.
  2. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add remaining sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add remaining milk 1 tablespoons at a time.   Yield: 2.5 cups


Filed under Baked Goods, Desserts

Marshmallow S’mores Bars

Nothing screams summer and the 4th of July more than fireworks and s’mores!   S’mores are amazing – there’s nothing better than roasting your own marshmallows over an open fire and pairing that gooeyness with chocolate and graham crackers.  If you can’t have the real deal this 4th of July, definitely try making these Marshmallow S’mores Bars.  Even if you can have the real deal this 4th of July, why not make these delicious bars as well?  They’re best served warm and gooey.  Enjoy and Happy 4th of July!

  • 1 pouch of Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 3 cups chocolate chips
  • 4 1/2 cups marshmallows
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees and spray a 13×9″ pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together cookie mix and crumbs.  Stir in melted butter until a soft dough forms and press into greased pan.  Bake 18-20 minutes or until set.
  3. Once the crust is finished baking, immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over crust.  Let stand for 5 minutes or until chocolate begins to melt and spread chocolate evenly over crust.
  4. Set oven control to broil.  Sprinkle marshmallows over melted chocolate and broil 20-30 seconds or until marshmallows are toasted. (Watch closely because marshmallows will brown quickly.)
  5. Cool 10 minutes and cut into bars.  Serve warm.

*Betty Crocker


Filed under Baked Goods, Desserts