Monday, September 28, 2015

Pumpkin Cookie Bars with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Cookie Bars with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
I made these pumpkin bars for 100% unselfish reasons.

I made them for Michael's boss, my brother, and you.
Pumpkin Cookie Bars with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
See....I may have mentioned it before but Michael and I pretty much despise all things fall. We do not like this season. And one of those things includes people pumpkin-ing all the things. Mind you, I enjoy a nice piece of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving but aside from that...no pumpkin for me, thanks.

But then Michael's new boss made a request. And my brother (who is leeeaving for the airforce in a couple months!) was all "oooh yeah!" and I thought to myself..."The readers will want this."

So I did it.

I made these. You're welcome everybody.
Pumpkin Cookie Bars with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
First let me explain what I made. These are a spiced pumpkin sugar cookie bar (which I made even more pumpkin-y with the addition of pumpkin spice flavored butter that I had) that are then frosted with a brown sugar cream cheese frosting (which I, again, amped up with that pumpkin butter).

Since-like I mentioned-these bars weren't really up mine or Michael's alleys I'll give you the impressions from other people (although I will confess that I tried-and liked-the frosting. It was a nice amount of sweet without being too much):

Josh: "I was expecting them to be gooey but I really like them-the pumpkin flavor is just enough."

Michael's coworkers: Well....they disappeared in like 5 minutes flat. And one of them said he really liked the texture and flavor and that the ratio of frosting to bar was perfect-nothing overpowered anything else. (I will note that Michael's coworker Angela said the frosting was too "cream cheesy" but the aforementioned fellow told her she was insane. So...do with that as you will.)

You (probably): OMG I LOVE THEM YAYYY PUMPKIN ALL THE THINGS!

I dunno, just guessing :P

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Something Saturdays (9/26/15)

This week was so much fun!

Monday-Carla (AKA Chocolate Moosey) came to visit me and we spent the day eating our way through Cleveland. We started out by spending some time in the adorable town of Chagrin Falls so we could get some Jeni's ice cream. Which is the best ice cream everrr. Their special of the day was Honey Milk Chocolate with Smoked Almonds and we each got 1 scoop of that. Carla also got a scoop of Salty Peanut Butter with Chocolate Flecks on a cone and I got a scoop of Salty Caramel in a cup with a wedge of waffle cone. Then we headed into Cleveland to the food mecca that is the West Side Market-ohemgeeee! We were so overwhelmed and I know I def. am going to need a return trip! Carla got a latte from City Roast and a gyro from Steve's Gyros (the line was insane! She said it was really good!) We also shared a banana and nutella crepe from Crepes de Luxe (it was pretty good). And we each got a flavored cannoli from Cake Royale (I got hazelnut and Carla got caramel cappuccino)-they were really unique and quite tasty! Oh, I also got a mini creme brulee macaron from Cake Royale-it tasted sort of like a pizzelle (so...anise?) which was weird but it was good. Then, to re-work up appetites and burn some calories, we drove up to Edgewater Beach/Park and walked around. It was sooo pretty. And then we headed down to Strongsville to try out B Spot (Michael Symon's burger joint!) I got a classic cheeseburger but with griddled onions and Carla got a burger that had mushrooms, grilled onions, and blue cheese. We also got a side of rosemary fries and "pork cracklings" (essentially pork rinds)--it was happy hour so those were each only $1! :) Everything was suuuuper tasty and if you like pickles then it's pretty cool because they have a pickle bar. They also have their beers listed in a way that means Michael could prob. actual order for himself because they're divided into categories (light, medium, dark, essentially). And that was our day-it was so fun and I'm so happy that Carla came in to spend the day with me! (and if you were wondering, Jeni's was def. the highlight!) --scroll down to highlights from instagram for some photos from the day!

On Tuesday I helped with the auditions for my old high school's fall play. It was fun but super hard--like...sometimes the best person for a part didn't get it because they had to do a different part and someone else who was ok at that other part had to do it and...yeah. It's like a puzzle. Also we had to like beg the guy we wanted for the romantic lead to do it----boys in drama clubs at small schools have way too much power lol. But everyone who auditioned got a part so that was good. And my sweet little sister-in-law is one of the leads and I wasn't even playing favorites. But anyway now I'm going to sort of help assistant direct and help with rehearsals when I can. I'm pretty excited about it!

Additionally, I was reminded that this show existed, and it brought back allll the memories:


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Black Bean Pico de Gallo

Black Bean Pico de Gallo
I miss Mexico.

You know-we went there for our honeymoon and it was the best time ever. Well, it also had the tastiest food ever. I've never been huge on Mexican food but that somewhat changed thanks to our trip-especially when it comes to salsas and dips and such, we had those with/prior to pretty much every meal and they were SO GOOD! My particular favorite was a black bean pico de gallo we had at the Cactus Club. So one day I decided...I'm going to make my own! And it was a fantastic idea.
Black Bean Pico de Gallo
Anyway, my missing of Mexico has only be exacerbated by the fact that we've been to a couple Mexican restaurants (people are very excited that I'll now go to them) and my cousins had been making pico de gallo/salsas a lot lately during our Sundays in the summer. Then, one day, Michael asked me to buy him salsa con queso and tortilla chips and I said to myself, "Kayle-this is the time. Let's recreate your favorite pico de gallo!"
Black Bean Pico de Gallo
First a couple tips: This is totally adaptable based upon your palate. Know that. Also--use smaller (cherry or roma) tomatoes so that your pico de gallo doesn't turn out as watery as mine. Trust me on this. Also, um....make sure your jalapeños are chopped very small, your onions are pretty darn small, and that the tomatoes are diced on the smaller side too. And, finally--DO NOT SKIMP ON THE SALT. I'm normally very wary about the salt shaker for health reasons (and it's also kind of like I'm a recovering salt addict...I used to just straight up eat salt y'all and the sad part is...I'm not grossed out by it because I know that's delicious stuff. But soooo bad for you!)-but salt is really your friend with this, it's going to make the biggest difference with the flavor and just...you need it. You will thank me for this. Promise.

And c'mon people...this is a bowl full of vegetables and beans-it's still healthy!
Black Bean Pico de Gallo
Now you're probably wondering, "Was it everything you wanted it to be? Was it delicious? Did you love it?" 

....

YES YES YES!!! This came out as good as I could have ever expected! Mind you, it would have been nicer if I was staring at the beach and if Michael and I were in relax-y vacation mode but...still...for non-honeymoon fare, it was pretty darn good. Fresh and sweet and and cilantro-y (although that is another thing you can totally mess with to get it to your liking) and delicious (mine wasn't spicy at all because I don't like spicy so I used the lower amount of jalapeño--if you like spiciness feel free to up the amount and/or use the seeds!) And it was demolished pretty much in one sitting with Michael, me, and my brother all circled around it in my living room like crazy savages.

Yepp. That good. You're gonna love it!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Brown Butter Toasted Coconut & Toffee Cookies

Brown Butter Toasted Coconut & Toffee Cookies
"Kayle make a dessert for Hawaii-an themed Sunday at Grandma's."
"Kayle make cookies."
"Kayle I don't like coconut, can't you make something using pineapple--"

NO! NO PINEAPPLE! I WILL USE COCONUT AND YOU WILL ALL LOVE IT!

And they did. So there..
Brown Butter Toasted Coconut & Toffee Cookies
OH HAIIIII!

Sorry about my little re-enactment of the convos that led to these cookies. I felt like you should've been there with me. Anyway, as you can see I was tasked to make a tropical cookie and I chose to use coconut because...well...I love coconut and have a bunch of it right now. So I decided to use this base recipe but really punch it up by adding browned butter (of course) and just-more toasted coconut and toffee. Because...yum. And there's still oats in there 'cuz they add awesome chewiness to the texture.
Brown Butter Toasted Coconut & Toffee Cookies
For the record, many of my family members who insisted they didn't like coconut loved these. (They also said they weren't very coconut-y and I was like "uhhh yes they are. You're a crazy person.") They are very chewy yet crunchy and the toffee and coconut....mmm! A couple people said the flavors reminded them of a Samoa....and....yeah....that's awesome. I wish I still had some left over because I know my friend Carla (of the Chocolate Moosey) would totally love them and today she and I are having a HANG OUT DAY! We're spending the day out and about in Cleveland (since I visited her in Pittsburgh last) and pretty much eating all the food. If you want to follow our adventures I'm sure we'll be posting to our instagrams so check out @kayleblogna and @chocolatemoosey.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Something Saturdays (9/19/15)

Monday was a super fun day! I spent some time with one of my old friends from high school, Kevin and we went to a newer restaurant that we've heard tons about (The Twisted Olive) and then we just hung out. And then I went to a sport's bar with my mom and brother. Fun!

The rest of the week we pretty much just worked and got stuff done BUT Thursday was Michael's birthday! We didn't do much (he doesn't like a big fuss, and he was working and had school) but I made him some of his fave foods and finally broke in my ice cream maker to make his requested strawberry chocolate chip ice cream! (Recipe coming soon.) Today we're taking Michael's dad and stepmom to the airport and then going to see his mom and siblings for his birthday :) (and I'm working but meh).

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Graham Cracker Toffee

Graham Cracker Toffee
I love toffee. It's brown sugar and butter cooked into tasty goodness so...yeah. And this is a crazy easy recipe for it--no candy thermometer needed. All you need is butter, sugar, and graham crackers! (and chocolate to top it because...chocolate is always a good idea.)
Graham Cracker Toffee
You're going to become irrevocably addicted after you make these--just a warning.

Because you get rich, buttery, sweet, delicious delicious toffee. The fresher it is, the tastier. You want to give your kid's teacher a gift? Toffee. You want to get your boyfriend to propose to you? Toffee. You want to make your husband worship you for the supreme goddess* you are? TOFFEE.

*ha....yeah right :P
Graham Cracker Toffee
Hmmm....you know.,...Christmas will be here before you know it (I KNOW I KNOW THAT'S INSANE) and these would be a fantastic gift. 

Assuming I can control myself from eating half of it by myself.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Sausage Gravy & Biscuits Casserole

Sausage Gravy & Biscuits Casserole
Here's a conundrum for you-I don't like sausage. But I like sausage gravy and biscuits. It's weird but...eh...whatever. Anyway, me finding out that I like sausage gravy is a fairly recent event and so when I saw a recipe for sausage gravy & biscuit casserole...I was like-yeah. I've got to make that.

And so I did. And...I had to heavily adapt the recipe because I do not know what was up with the milk measurements but they were definitely off. I also decided to make the biscuits drop biscuits to save all of us a little time and effort. And now I have thoroughly tested this for you and can pretty much guarantee that it will be perfect and you will love it!
Sausage Gravy & Biscuits Casserole
Obviously...this is total comfort food. It's rich and flavorful and makes you feel good. The biscuits have some cheese in them because-I mean...yum. They bake in the delicious sausage gravy, soaking up a lot of that flavor. And you then have this fantastic-ness. Which I knew that I loved and I figured Michael would tolerate. Umm...he came home. He tried it. He went "Mmmmmmm! Oh my God...this is really freaking good." YES...yes it is!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Something Saturdays (9/12/15)

I feel like life is finally back to normal--I've gotten back into a rhythm of work, social life, working out, and making food and cleaning (for now at least :P)

This week was full of ups and downs! We had a really fun Monday with my family at our last weekend at the pool. Then a couple days later we found out Michael didn't get a promotion he'd gone out for (nothing he did-he just lost out to a coworker who'd been there longer, they said he'd done a great interview though) so then we were pretty bummed out about that. We did a lot of work on ordering wedding photos/canvases and such. I did some cleaning and cooking and baking. Michael and I went to a restaurant/bar with his friend Katina on Thursday. And ya know...work and stuff. I'm planning on (in addition to work) getting some stuff done this weekend and spending time with my favorite boy :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Cookie Dough Crème Brûlée-Guest Post at Blahnik Baker

Cookie Dough Crème Brûlée
I'M BACK I'M BACK I'M BAAAACK! Didja miss me? Did you miss the food I shared? I hope all the answers are yes, because I missed you guys! And I'm so excited to be back and-even though I am not 100% caught up-I definitely feel less behind. So yay!

And this first post back is extra special because I am guest posting for my wonderful friend Zainab over at the Blahnik Baker while she takes some time off for maternity leave to spend time taking care of her new little man, Elliott!
Cookie Dough Crème Brûlée
This recipe is a good one too, y'all! Usually I'm fairly lukewarm on creme brulee but not this one! No, this completely overwhelmed me and created an addiction that led me to be very sad that this recipe only makes 5. Because that is not nearly enough. You break through a gorgeous layer of crisp caramelized sugar, giving way to luscious vanilla custard, and then...then...there's rich and delicious chocolate chip cookie dough. It's pretty much the bestest thing ever.
Cookie Dough Crème Brûlée

Monday, September 7, 2015

Happy Labor Day!

HAPPY LABOR DABOR!!!


(anybody else fondly remember homestarrunner?)


AND MAKE SURE TO CHECK BACK ON WEDNESDAY--
I'm posting a recipe!!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Something Saturdays (9/5/15)

Another fairly boring week-just getting things done, cleaning, working, etc. Monday my brother and I went to my paternal grandparents' house and went through wedding pictures with them and my one cousin on that side, Then we all went out for dinner. It was ok-we're rarely all together so my grandparents were happy. Mind you my grandma had to make a point of saying that she looked better on her wedding day than I did *sigh* *eye roll* Lol

We also watched our wedding video yesterday! It was so cool to be able to 1-relive the day and 2-see things we missed at the time. Poor Michael got all anxious pre-wedding though, he relived it a bit too much lol.

What are you doing for Labor Day weekend? I'm working-might be doing some stuff with Michael's family. On Monday we're going over for the last pool day at my grandma's. Fun!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Wedding Reception 06.20.15

Our favors were bookmarks with the lyrics to our song (the theme from The Princess Bride) "Storybook Love" on the back.
You remember our photo guest book, right?
We had a table to memorialize any  close family who had passed (my grandpa, my aunt, Michael's cousin, some of his grandparents, and his aunt and uncle).

...red roses are my favorite flower. A bit obvious, no? :P
I'm kind of obsessed with how gorgeous our reception was.
and how PERFECT our cake turned out! (Flavors, for the record, were white cake with vanilla custard filling, white cake with strawberry filling, and chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling-all topped with the most fantastic buttercream.)
Michael's uncle also made us a little clay likeness of us posed like Buttercup and Westley that was on the cake table.
SO MANY COOKIES.

Italian cookie table #forthewin
Pretty pretty head table!
Each table had a movie with its table #, including ours <3

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Wedding Ceremony 06.20.15

St. Mary's Catholic Church in Massillon (which was built in 1876) is the church I grew up in and where I always dreamed of getting married. It was extra beautiful for our wedding day.

(I am particularly grateful for the photos of the church since, a few weeks ago, there was a fire at the church and it sustained a decent amount of heat, smoke, and water damage. It will be ok but it's going to take awhile to get it back to working order.)






Our little ring bearer, Timmy, (my cousin Megan's son) was so nervous!
We were going to have people shower us with the dried rose petals I've kept from every rose Michael has ever given me. Unfortunately it was still raining when the ceremony was over so this got delayed until after the reception.
...walking down the aisle to my guy.

This picture is titled: "Hiii...!"

He cried a lot <3 
My something borrowed was this rosary that belonged to my great-grandmother. All the women in my family use it for their wedding day. 
(Something old is the dress, new is the veil/shoes/jewelry, etc., and blue is the garter).

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