Super Bowl Party for Two: Cake Batter Cookies

Unless you were hiding under a rock you probably tuned into the Super Bowl last night! We of course did even though we are the opposite of NFL fans. This is the south and there is only one type of football and that’s SEC! Anyway, we have hosted SB parties before and were invited to a couple but we decided to stay at home and have our own little party. I whipped up some fresh salsa , French onion dip and cocktail weenies. Mike made chicken wings which were phenomenal and since I wanted something sweet I decided to try something a little different. I have been seeing different recipes for Cake Batter Cookies all over the web and I settled on working around this recipe. I did tweak it a bit and I think that made all of the difference! These were amazingly delicious and tasted like a cookie, cake and a brownie all in one. They would make the most fabulous whoopie pies! You can customize these anyway you want by adding nuts, candy or chocolate chips. I decided to make them plain since this was my first time. These are an easy and inexpensive homemade dessert anyone will love! 

Cake Batter Cookies

Ingredients

  • One box of cake mix; any flavor(I used double fudge)
  • One egg
  • 1/2 Cup softened butter
  • 3 Tablespoons water
Directions
  1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
  2. Beat together all ingredients with an electric mixer in a large bowl(this mixture will be super sticky)
  3. Use a melon baller to drop 2 inch balls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. 
  4. Bake 8-9 minutes and remove from oven. Let cookies cool on pan for 2 minutes and then move to rack. 
  5. Enjoy!
These really are an amazing texture that reminds me of an ice-cream sandwich wafer! 

Mirrored Subway Tiles

For the longest time I have been obsessed with subway tile and the crisp clean lines that it gives a room. From bathrooms to kitchens and laundry rooms, subway tile can give a nice clean base for decoration. As I was perusing Pinterest the other day I came across mirrored subway tiles. My mouth dropped opened and after I picked my jaw up off the desk I decided to a bit more scoping into mirrored tiles. There are SO many different designs to choose from your typical reflective mirror to more of a hurricane glass look then you can choose flat or beveled edges. As I plan for my future home I now have even more things to think and dream about…thanks Pinterest! Here are some inspiration pics!

Sure I think it’s a design risk but hey what isn’t? I can just imagine the great reflection from great pendant lighting hung in front of it!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

With this super cold Winter we have been having so far this year I have been craving stews and soups to keep me full and warm. This recipe is perfect for a quick weeknight meal that your family will enjoy. It can be customized to your spiciness preferences pretty easily and it is ready quickly. The ingredients make a beautifully colorful and tasty dish. I topped mine with shredded sharp cheddar, sour cream and garnished with tortilla chips that I crushed on top! Don’t let the long list of ingredients deter you as you should have most of this in your pantry! The recipe was husband approved so you know what that means…this soup is going in our dinner rotation!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of shredded chicken(I used white meat from a rotisserie chicken I picked up at the store or you can quickly do this at home using this tutorial)
  • 2 cans of Rotel
  • 1 can of black beans; rinsed 
  • 1 Small can of Tomato sauce(8 oz.)
  • 1 cup of corn(I used frozen)
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic;minced
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro; chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder(omit if you do not like spicy foods)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • Black pepper to taste(I use fresh ground)
  • 1Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Sour Cream, cheese and tortilla chips(optional)
Directions
  1. Heat up olive oil in the bottom of a large pot and sauté onions until translucent
  2. Add garlic and sauté around 2-3 minutes. 
  3. Add broth, chicken, beans, tomato sauce, corn, Rotel and all spices. Stir well.
  4. Simmer on low-med covered for 30 minutes. 
  5. Remove from heat and add lime juice and cilantro. 
  6. Garnish and Enjoy!
What I love about recipes like this is that you can easily customize it to add or subtract whatever you’d like! I hope you enjoy this as much as I did and that you stay warm in the “polar vortex: part 2.”

Las Vegas: Day Two on The Strip

On our last day in Vegas I woke up feeling awful and sick but I was not going to let that stop me from making the most of everything. I will say we got up a lot slower that morning and I blame going non-stop the days prior. We were leaving on a red eye that night so we had a ton of ground to cover! Here is a taste of what we got into and ate on our last day in Vegas! 
We started the day heading south down the other side of the strip hitting Caesar’s Palace first! We had already checked out Caesar’s earlier as it was right next door to our hotel however I was dying to take a pic next to this fountain that was super packed with people every other time we had passed by it. This was around 8:30 in the morning and literally we only saw two people on the strip and they were jogging! I now believe what we were told that no one wakes up until noon in this town!

We then went next door to the Bellagio which I was super pumped about since I had heard such wonderful things. I will say that it is a extraordinarily beautiful hotel but I loved the feel of the Venetian more. The Bellagio was still decorated for Christmas and it was absolutely gorgeous. The hotel is also home to the World’s Largest Chocolate fountain which was pretty neat. 
We had lunch off the strip at In-N-Out Burger at the request of my husband. After we decided to go to Vegas for our vacay he replied with “You know that there are In-N-Out’s there!” He was very excited to get his hands on a double animal style etc…whatever that means. Anyway, we both enjoyed the cheapest meal we ate on this entire trip and I would totally go back in a heartbeat!
We kept making our way down the strip visiting The Cosmopolitan, Aria, New York New York, Luxor and Mandalay Bay. We even rode the roller coaster at NYNY and it was wild. I mean it was a ton of fun but I doubt I have ever screamed that loud!! The Cosmopolitan was absolutely amazing! It had this gorgeous chandelier bar that I recommend checking out! 
We had to head back to Caesar’s Palace to pick up our show tickets and I decided I wanted to try out a Frrrozen Hot Chocolate from Serendipity 3. Let’s just say Mike and I were not disappointed in the Peanut butter flavored concoction. We couldn’t get enough! We both highly recommend not missing one of these!
By that time of the day we were both extremely exhausted and my feet were absolutely killing me so we decided to pick a casino to hang out in and rest. I picked PH as I was searching from Britney who had just opened her Vegas residency the night before! We did not spot Brit Brit but we enjoyed chilling for a while and playing slot machines. 

We made a reservation at Mon Ami Gabi at Paris and requested a table on the patio. I highly recommend eating there at night and sitting on the patio year round as they have heaters etc. The Paris hotel is directly across the street from the Bellagio and you can enjoy the fountain show as you dine on delicious French cuisine. We were not disappointed with our steaks and I loved seeing the show every 15 minutes! After dinner I had a hankering for cheesecake so I convinced Mike(it didn’t take much) to head over to Ceasar’s Palace to the Cheesecake factory and enjoy a slice before we went to see Absinthe. We both enjoyed the show a lot. It was a really good mix of all that Vegas has to offer. It contains raunchy comedy, acrobatic acts and burlesque dance. I will say heed the warnings of offensiveness but if you are not offended easily you should really enjoy it! We thought it was worth every penny!
After the show we hurried back to the Mirage as we were being picked up by the limo to be taken back to the airport! All in all, Vegas was a great(exhausting) time. Would I go back? Yes. Am I dying to return. No. I only say that last part because I have traveled very little and I want to see more of what the US has to offer! 

Friday Funnies

We finally made it to Friday! This has been the longest four day work week of my life! The cold weather is back in Mississippi making it dreadful to even go from home to the car for me. I know I am whining! I digress and am here with some new funnies for the week! 
I hope you have a fabulous weekend! Stay warm and do something fun! 
I am planning to curl up on the couch and read while drinking hot chocolate. 
I do plan to venture out to finally go see what all of the hype is about with Frozen! 

Ranch Pork Loin with Sweet Potatoes

I wanted to try something a little different when I decided to whip up this easy pork loin roast last week. This recipe was seriously so easy and delicious. I love just throwing ingredients I have together and seeing what happens and this is exactly what I did! All you need is a 2-3 lb pork loin roast, two sweet potatoes, one large onion and some ranch powder to make a flavorful and easy weeknight dinner. I served mine with a side salad and a glass of red wine!
Ranch Pork Loin with Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon ranch dressing powder(store bought or use this recipe for a healthier, homemade version)
  • 2-3 lb pork roast
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes cut and quartered
  • 1 large sweet onion sliced
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • Onion powder to taste
Directions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Heat up a cast iron skillet to med-high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil and allow the pan to heat up! DO NOT grab the handle with your bare hand(speaking from experience).
  2. Season pork loin with garlic and onion powder. Rub it into the meat on all sides.
  3. Brown the meat for 1 minute on each side until the sides are brown.
  4. Remove pork loin from skillet and add to 9×13 baking dish.
  5. Add onion, potatoes and 3/4 cup of water. Sprinkle ranch powder all over. 
  6. Place the pan in the oven uncovered and bake for around 40-45 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and let the meat rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting into it.
  8. Enjoy!

January Book Club Pick: The Husband’s Secret

For the book club this month we are actually reading one of my own picks for 2014! I have just finished reading this book over the weekend and I wanted to share my thoughts about it. I picked this book solely from reading synopses and from it being rated so highly on Goodreads. The book is a sort of puzzle as you have to try to put all of the pieces together as there are essentially three different stories being told at once and at the beginning I will say it is kind of hard to keep up with it all. As you read you will start to connect the dots and feel like you are catching up to how these stories actually relate to each other. 
The book centers around Cecilia Fitzpatrick: mother of three girls, overachieving Tupperware saleswoman and wife to a mysterious husband. Now granted, she doesn’t think he’s mysterious per say until she finds a letter addressed to her in the event of his untimely death. She is torn about what to do with the letter; to read or not to read. Cecilia eventually reads and the story unfolds with the aftermath of the secret contained within. The other stories told are all about how Cecilia and the letter connects to them!
The book is a bit slow in the beginning as she finds the letter first thing but holds off on reading it until about half way through. However my eyes were glued to the book after she discovered what the letter entailed and the twists just kept coming. I really enjoyed the book, however I thought that one of the three characters that was featured could be omitted completely. The story really didn’t connect to her at all, although the author did mention her at the end connecting more, but I feel like her whole storyline was completely useless. Not to say I didn’t like her story, but it wasn’t imperative for the ‘real’ story the author was trying to tell. 
So as for my recommendation I would say that I enjoyed this book and would suggest it to friends who like chick-lit mixed with a little mystery! It was a quick and easy read that I cannot wait to discuss with the club!

Homemade Pizza Dough

I thought it was high time I started using this fabulous Ninja more often! I was super excited to get one when we got married as I love making smoothies, frozen drinks and salsa. I have used it to make all three and they were super easy and quick so I am loving the Ninja thus far. 

When I first opened the box of the system I found a recipe book showcasing exactly what you could make with this thing. Needless to say I was super excited to see that it could be used to make bread/dough. I watched a few of the online videos about how easy it was and lets just say that I was skeptical…but it was amazingly easy and painless! I decided I would use the pizza dough recipe provided by Ninja and it turned out great! I cannot wait to experiment more with this recipe and add my own twist to it. 




Ingredients
  • 2/3 cups warm water (105 to 110 degrees F)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of active dry yeast
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
Directions
  1. Place yeast, salt, sugar and water in blender and Pulse for 10 seconds.
  2. Add the oil and flour 1 cup at a time, pulsing until dough is smooth and in a ball.
  3. Transfer dough to lightly oiled bowl and cover with towel to let rise(about one hour).
  4. Spread on pan the best you can! This is tricky and I need to practice! This much dough can be used to make a medium thick crust or a large thin crust pizza!
  5. Cover with pizza sauce.
  6. Top with your favorite toppings such as cheese along with meat and veggies and bake at 325 for 20-25 minutes
  7. Enjoy!
This is my favorite picture of this whole experiment…look who was creeping down there!

Workout Gear

You may or may not know that I teach reformer Pilates at Midtown Pilates here in town a few days a week before and after work. I fell in love with Pilates in January last year and decided to get certified not too long after that. One of the main reasons I love it are the clothes. I LOVE being in comfy clothing as soon as I get home from work each day and on the weekends. Pilates clothing lends itself perfectly to my lounge style. 
As you know I have started up my #Arnold500miles challenge so I am using my workout gear even more these days and I can use most of my Pilates gear to get outside while walking. My workout style consists of a good pair of crops, soft top, seamless sports bra and if I am walking I of course wear tennis shoes and ankle socks. Most of all comfort is key in every facet of my life. I cannot stand to be uncomfortable in my clothes or shoes! I always look for good studier fabrics that can stand to be washed over and over again and not pill up. Also, pick fabrics that have wicking properties for those hot workouts! Here are some of my favorite workout pieces that are necessary for my job and my active lifestyle!
A good workout outfit must start with a well fitting sports bra like this one from Under Armor. I love it because it is seamless and has no scratchy feeling as I am on top of my head in Pilates class. As you know here in the south it’s warm most of the year so you can find me in tanks similar to this one by Athleta constantly. I love how soft it is and it is also flowy without being billowy which I hate. If it is chilly I will pair my tank with a pop-over like this one from Old Navy. I love it as it has the little thumb holes! My staple workout outfit would not be complete without skinny black crops. I own this pair from Old Navy in every color they make as they fit my body like a glove and are so incredibly comfortable. To finish up I like to lace up these Ghost 6’s by Brooks. I have owned tons of tennis shoes in my lifetime, but none have been more comfortable straight out of the box like these. Worth every penny! Finally sometimes I need to keep stray hairs in place and I use one of these great Sweaty bands to do so. They are so comfortable and versatile as I use mine every night to keep the hair out of my face while removing my makeup!
As you can see, most of the items I have listed are quite inexpensive. I shop for most of my workout gear at Old Navy, Target and larger sport stores on the clearance rack of course. There are always sales going on these items so I do not recommend paying full price but instead waiting for a little bit for a better deal!