My Favorite Treat: Soup?

My Favorite Treat: Soup?

I’ve never been a huge fan of soup… Well, until this last winter. You see, I grew up in a family where homemade soup came from a can. There really isn’t anything too special about that, right?

So when I bought the Our Best Bites Cookbook, and saw all of the amazing looking soup recipe’s, I decided to give them a second chance. Starting with their tomato soup!

It has quickly become a staple here in our household. The texture is out of this world, and it is so simple to put together. I’m not sure exactly how healthy it is exactly, but comfort food is supposed to be bad for you, right?

tomator soup with extra creaminess

Creamy Tomato Soup
{recipe found in the Our Best Bites Cookbook. If you don’t own it yet, you should!}

1 T reserved oil from sun-dried tomatoes, or olive oil
1 C chopped onion
¾ C shredded carrot

4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 Tbs dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2/3 C sliced sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (14oz) can chicken broth
3 oz reduced fat cream cheese
optional: 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (if you like heat, don’t skip this!)
– Heat your olive oil to a large heavy bottomed pan. Toss in the onion, carrot, and garlic. Saute for a few minutes, or until the onion is transparent. Add the sugar, salt, pepper, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, sun-dried tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and chicken broth. {phew

! That’s a lot of ingredients!}. Heat to a boil, then reduce the heat, and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
– Remove from the heat. Transfer the mixture to your blender, and add the cream cheese. Remove the center piece of your blender, and cover with a paper towel. {important: don’t place your hand offer the paper towel! I learned the hard way that the soup splatters, and that it is HOT! I’m a genius, I know!} Process for a few seconds, or until the soup has reached your desired consistency.
– Spoon into bowls, and serve!


Here is another new thing for me. Dipping grilled cheese in your tomato soup. I must have been living under a rock, because the first time I tried this was three months ago! I’d never even heard of dipping a sandwich, but my husband swore by it, and boy am I glad that I tried it out!

However, I wanted to give our meal a creative spin. I’ve learned, as a mom, that the smaller things are the more likely my child will eat them. And that is why I made Grilled Cheese Croutons!

extra treat: cheese croutons from the grill

Grilled Cheese Croutons
{basically a grilled cheese chopped up.}
cheese singles, or your preferred type

– Heat a medium sized pan over medium heat.

– Butter one side of one slice of bread, place cheese on the other side, and top with an additional piece of buttered bread.

– Place in the heated pan, and cook on both sides until brown.

– Cut off the crust of your sandwich, and then proceed to cut small squares out of the rest. Toss in your soup and enjoy!

Petzi Cam for Dogs and Cats

Petzi Cam for Dogs and Cats

Hi there, just wanted to post something interesting.

Since a few weeks we are now using a new Pet gadget in the house. It’s the Treat Camer from Petzilla and it allows you to check up on your favorite animals from anywhere in the world with your smartphone.

Now I am not that technical so I was having some issues with setting the whole thing up. But once we got it rolling it was fantastic. I have a pretty busy life and I still want to enjoy having pets when I get home. It just makes me so happy. Leaving them alone has always been a problem with getting the neighbors to check up on them.


How a simple device like the Petzi Treat Camera can help your pets

Now I can log into the Petzi Treat Cam with my smartphone and see what is going on in the house. The view quality is very good and I can even distinguish a lot when it’s not that light in the house. This is especially good to ease my conscious when I am worried about them.

Then it’s possible to speak through a microphone. This feature took some getting used to as Donnie and Babe first didn’t recognise where my voice was coming from. The got very confused and starting looking around the room for me. After a few days they were no longer upset and clearly understood where to look. And that is mostly due to the best part of this device: it allows you to throw cookies at your pets.

Of course you need to load them first and you have to make sure that they actually fit in there. But once loaded you can dispense a treat at the push of a button – when miles away in your office. This automically changes how your pets look at the Petzi Treat Cam. First they treat it as some kind of allien thing, but once they receive a cookie from it, everything changes. Now it’s the most important part of the house. Next to their bed of course.

I have been having a ton of fun with this device. Instead of checking facebook or instagram I can now log into my house and see my doggies, talk a bit to them and give them a few cookies. This is a very cool piece of technology.

If you want to read more about it, check the article on

Have a good one!

Oh Cream Puff!

Oh Cream Puff!

Sorry for the small hiatus over the last few days. Me & the little guy took a much needed trip to California to spend some time with my side of the family, AND to soak up some of that warm California sunshine!

But now I’m back and ready to roll! I’ve got so many great recipe’s to share, it’s hard to know where to start!

Today’s recipe is one that I actually made the night before we left on our adventure. My mom has been asking me to send her some treats, and I thought these would be perfect to throw in the cooler and surprise her with!

(sorry in advance for the lack of creativity with the photo’s. I forgot to take pictures, and was running out the door. Realized what was happening, so I threw a few on a plate, and ta da! Horrible photo’s!)

puffing with cream this oneCream Puffs With Pumpkin Filling
(recipe slightly adapted from THIS AllRecipe’s one)

1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1 pinch salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs

1 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus extra for dusting
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, or to taste
1/4 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

– Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. (The parchment is important. We tried a batch without it, and the cream puffs fell apart)

– Place the butter, water, and salt in a heavy sauce pan. Bring it to a full boil. Slowly stir in the flour, and beat until the dough starts to come together. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat in the eggs one at a time.

– Spoon tablespoon sized portions onto your prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the puffs are fluffy and light brown. Remove from the oven, and cool completely before filling.

– For the filling: Beat the heavy cream until just before stiff peaks form. Slowly add the powdered sugar and pumpkin along with the spice. (you can adjust the amount of sugar, and pumpkin according to your taste). Use a piping bag to pipe the filling into the puffs. Slit them with a knife if needed.


Death By Food Processor?

Death By Food Processor?

I want a food processor. It has been on the top of my ‘must buy’ kitchen appliance list for a few weeks now. I found a really great sounding graham cracker recipe the other day, and decided it was time to give in, and get one.

Luckily for me, my dad is excellent at bargain shopping. He can get me a sweet deal on anything! So, I picked up the phone and gave him a call. I told him how just about every graham cracker and macaroon recipe I want to try this summer calls for a processor, and I need one ASAP. And that’s when it happened….

My dad told me a story…

Did I believe it?? No way!

Was it funny to listen to my dad go on in a panicking rant about it? Of course!

Here’s how our conversation went:

Dad: ‘Jess, I will NOT help you buy one of those machines! They are so dangerous!! I cannot tell you how many horror stories I’ve heard about them. One guy in Florida was decapitated!’

Me: ‘I’m sure that didn’t happen. They wouldn’t sell something if it were that dangerous.’

Dad: ‘It really happened. Well, maybe it was 20 years ago… and it could have been a juicer… I’m not sure which one… but it happened! Don’t buy one of those crazy machines! With your luck, you’ll end up cutting something off!’

Thanks for the confidence dad!

Thanks to our little pep-talk, I have yet to buy a food processor. Not because I think they are dangerous, but because I’m looking for the best deal, and the best product. I decided to try out our blender, and see if I couldn’t make it work for now.


Graham Crackers
{Adapted from Alton Brown’s recipe}

8 3/8 ounces graham flour
1 7/8 ounces all-purpose flour
3 ounces dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 ounces unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes and chilled
1 1/8 ounces molasses
1 1/8 ounce honey
1 1/2 ounces whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

-Place both flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Add the molasses, honey, milk and vanilla extract and process until the dough forms a ball, approximately 1 minute. Press the ball into a 1/2-inch thick disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

-Unwrap the chilled dough and place it onto a large piece of parchment paper and top with a second sheet of parchment paper. Roll the dough out until it is 1/16-inch thick. Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and cut the dough, using a cookie cutter of choice. {I used a heart shaped cookie cutter, and skipped the next step} Using a fork, poke holes all over the top of each cracker. Place crackers on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 16-18 minutes or until the edges just start to darken. Remove from the oven, set the pan with the crackers on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. {It is important to make sure they are cooled. The cookies will come off MUCH easier!! Otherwise you’ll end up with a graham cracker mess.}

-Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.


These are SOOOO good. Dax & I sat down and finished off 15 of these crackers!
I do have a suggestion. You want to roll these out SUPER thin. If they are too thick, you’ll end up with a soft bran type cookie, so the thinner the better. You want to make sure it gets a good crunch. Also, watch them closely. They get dark pretty quick!

Don’t judge a book from it’s cover!

Don’t judge a book from it’s cover!

Remember those Vanilla Bean Cupcakes from Wednsedays post? Well, those were just one of 4 cupcakes I made for the bride to taste test!

Wondering what flavors the bride asked for?

Cherry Coke {recipe coming soon}
& last but not least…..

Sweet Potato!

That’s right, I said sweet potato! When she mentioned this flavor, I sat in shock. Who in their right mind would want such an outrageous flavor? I couldn’t even imagine what a sweet potato cupcake would taste like… maybe sweet potato pie?

ugh… I hate sweet potato pie!

But who was I to argue with the bride? So I made her cupcakes. The whole time I was baking, I kept thinking… these are not going to turn out well. . . I tried to do a little online research to find out what I was in for, but there aren’t many sweet potato cupcake resources out there!

While the cupcakes were in the oven, I had to admit, they smelled wonderful. I started to wonder if I was wrong about these things. Maybe they would turn out to be a hidden gem. I couldn’t help but sneak a bite while they were still warm, and WOW were they good!!

Phew! What a relief!! But what frosting should I put on top?? Ultimately I decided a basic cream cheese would be fantastic, but I wanted something a little more sophisticated for a wedding. I think maple butter cream did the trick!


Sweet Potato Cupcakes

2 c. Flour
2t. baking powder
1t. cinnamon
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 C. butter
1-1/2 C. sugar
3 eggs
1 (17 oz) can sweet potato’s
1/2 t. vanilla

– Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners, and set aside.

– In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Whisk together, and set aside.

– Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla and sweet potato’s. Slowly stir in the dry ingredients.

-Once combined, distribute evenly throughout the liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely, then frost with desired frosting.

Maple Buttercream

8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 C. butter
3-4 C. powder sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
1-1/2 t. maple extract

– In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until well combined. Scrape down the sides of pan, and add powder sugar. {I only added 3 cups, but you may need more depending on how thick you want your buttercream}. Stir in vanilla and maple extract. Frost your cupcakes!

I definitely learned not to judge a book by it’s cover. These cupcakes are shooting up to my number one favorite treat of all time. The maple buttercream is a great addition. It helps bring out the flavor of the cake without overpowering.

The bride loved the flavor combination, and decided that these would for sure make it to her wedding! They are the prefect fall flavor, and a great addition to her catering options!



This Weeks RFOB

This Weeks RFOB

I’m starting something new.


R- Recipe’s. F-From. O-Other. B-Blogs.

Over 90% of the food I make for breakfast/lunch/dinner are from recipe’s I’ve found on other sites. Lately I’ve been pretty good at picking winners! SO, today, I decided to start a weekly tradition. I am going to share the recipe’s, and the sites I got them from, for my weeks favorite dishes!

First up this week:




How To: Cooking Bacon in the Oven

How To: Cooking Bacon in the Oven

Oh bacon….

My entire family loves bacon. In fact, one of my husbands uncles once told us a story about bacon. You see, they only eat bacon on special occasions. (holiday’s, birthdays, etc…) So one day, he told his kids that they were having a special treat for breakfast! They were not only going to have bacon, but bacon WRAPPED bacon. That’s right! Two layers of bacon goodness!

For some reason I thought of that story this morning as I was getting things together for Dax’s first meal of the day. So I asked him, ‘Would you like bacon and eggs for breakfast?’

His reply?

‘Mom, I just want bacon. Like a bacon sandwich!’

Huh. While I maybe wasn’t too thrilled about him only eating bacon, I didn’t mind him having a piece or two to go with his eggs and yogurt.

But lets talk about cooking bacon for a second. Raise your hand if you hate cooking the stuff!?! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been popped, or burned by bacon as it’s frying on the stove! Plus, I can NEVER get it to cook even! What the heck!? SO, a few months ago I found this awesome tutorial on using your oven to cook your bacon. Genius!


How to: Cooking Bacon in the Oven

After much trial and error, we’ve decided that this is the easiest method:

– Line a large cookie sheet with foil. (this is going to save you hours of clean up!)

– Place your bacon on your baking sheet, making sure not to overlap the pieces. Place in a cold, un-preheated, oven. Set to 400 degrees, and walk away.

– Check your bacon about 15 minutes later. It normally takes about 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven, for the bacon to reach the doneness you’re looking for.

– Remove from the oven and place on a plate lined with paper towels.

Personally, I love that the entire piece of bacon cooks evenly. That’s the problem I have with our stove top. I seriously need to invest in an electric skillet! Maybe I’ll start dropping Christmas hints to my husband early. :0)