Monday, October 17, 2011


We moved into our new place, which came with a grill on the balcony. I decided I wanted to learn to grill. One weekend in August, Ashley and I invited Steph & Todd over for dinner (Wendy was out of town). I told Steph that I wanted to grill but Todd was going to have to teach me how. Done and done. We prepared the food (added onion soup mix to the hamburger), Steph brought her delicious bbq sauce, and Todd taught me to grill. It was a fun night: food, friends, balcony.

The next day I cooked a few of the extra patties for lunch. I'm learning not to make the patties so thick. They were yummy - a grilling success!

I've grilled several times since then. I've grilled burgers, chicken breasts, lots of veggies (tomatoes, zucchini, squash, peppers, eggplant), and kebabs. I'm having a lot of fun with this new skill but still learning. I made dinner for friends one night and Mary took a picture:

Another favorite fall food is spaghetti squash. I love that stuff. A few weeks ago I made dinner for Wendy and Ashley. Spaghetti squash with grilled chicken, steamed veggies, and olive oil. Scrumptious and healthy!

In preparation for our upcoming Chowder Chowdown event, we made Steph's famous Corn Chowder. It was so delicious! I can't take the credit for making it because I just helped. I've been eating a lot of clam chowder at restaurants (have yet to attempt making it myself). I love soup in the fall!

2011 New Recipe #18

Wendy turned 32 on September 8th. We celebrated on her bday by going out on a Duffy boat with friends. The following Sunday, we threw a dessert party for her at our house. Ali made coconut cake (Wendy's favorite), Ashley made some fancy chocolate cookies, and I made fudgy coconut squares (Wendy loves coconut). They were delicious. I didn't get any pictures of the food or the party. Oops.

Fudgy Coconut Squares


  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 5 tablespoons evaporated milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Combine flour, cocoa and walnuts; add to the creamed mixture. Spread into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Combine condensed milk and coconut; carefully spread over the hot chocolate layer. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until coconut is lightly browned. Combine icing ingredients until smooth; spread over warm bars. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before cutting.


2011 New Recipe #17

Recipe #17 was Crepes. I made them in July for Steph's bridal shower that we threw in Wendy's back yard. By the time I finished making them, I think I had it figured out (how much to pour on the griddle, when and how to flip them, etc). They are pretty easy. We served them with lots of topping options including Nutella, whipped topping, strawberries, bananas, and coconut. The recipe came from Wendy's sister, Amber, in Oregon.


3/4 c flour
3 eggs
1 T sugar
1 1/4 c milk (maybe a little more to thin)
Smidgen of salt

I think we quadrupled the recipe. Per Amber's directions, we used a hand mixer (I don't know why but that's what she said). The batter should be really thin.

Here are a few pics from the shower. You can kind of see the crepes and toppings in one of them. And the cute decor in another. And I made the cookies (cowboy cookies and snicker doodles) that were wrapped in cellophane baggies and tied with a cute "thank you" tag.

2011 New Recipe #16

Recipe #16 was Blueberry Dump Cake. I had a bunch of fresh blueberries that I needed to get rid of so I searched for a good recipe. I made it in a 9 x 13 pan and it was delicious and full of butter. I remember playing games and serving/eating it. It was a Sunday so my options were limited but I think this is the recipe that I ended up using (from, of course). And I didn't have 4 cups of fresh blueberries so I used some frozen ones, too. There were no complaints!

Blueberry Dump Cake

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 4 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix berries, sugar, and cinnamon in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan. Cover berries with dry cake mix. Pour butter over cake mix, do not stir.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes, or until light brown. Serve warm or cold. Top with ice cream.

Recipes update (#13, #14, #15)

I haven't completely forgotten about my goal to try 30 new recipes in 2011...I just haven't been doing a very good job. I've made six new recipes since my last blog post, though. Unfortunately I'm not sure where the recipes are and I only have a few pictures (but not sure which goes with which recipe).

Recipe #13 chocolate chip cookies
Recipe #14 chocolate chip cookies
Recipe #15 chocolate chip cookies

That's right, I've made a lot of chocolate chip cookies. They are my favorite and there are so many different variations that I wanted to try! I actually did quite a bit of research about technique, etc, but I think I made them all back in May so I remember very little. Sad, I know. I did learn that you should make your cookie dough 24 hours in advance and refrigerate it. And I think I have some notes written on printed recipes that I'm too lazy to find but will hopefully be able to locate when I need them!

I tried a recipe that had coarse salt on top of the cookies, which I really liked. I gave those to Jessica for her birthday in a cute little lunchbox.

Another recipe I tried was vanilla pudding chocolate chip cookies, which I first heard about through my sister, Annie. I got the recipe from a blog:

Vanilla Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 c (319 g) flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c (237 g) butter, softened
3/4 c (106 g) brown sugar
1/4 c (50 g) granulated sugar
3.4 oz (96 g) pkg vanilla instant pudding mix
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 c (473 ml worth) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beat in the pudding mix. Scrape the bowl again and add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping the bowl after each addition eggs. Add vanilla. Add half of the pre-mixed dry ingredients to the batter and mix just to combine. Scrape down the bowl and add the remaining half, mixing until fully incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Using a tablespoon-size scoop, portion the cookies into balls. Place 2 1/2" apart on prepared baking sheets and bake 10-12 minutes, until slightly golden and set. Let cookies cool on sheet for 3 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool fully.