Thursday, August 23, 2012

Overnight Coffee Cake

This has become my favorite go-to coffee cake recipe. It's easy, and I love that it can be made the night before!


  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Lightly grease an 8 inch square baking pan. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar, and 1/4 cup brown sugar. Beat in the egg until well blended. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Stir the flour mixture into the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Spread evenly into the prepared baking pan.
  2. In a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup brown sugar, walnuts, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle over the batter. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.
  3. The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

I think that walnuts are gross. You may be of a different persuasion, and that's ok....for you. :p Sometimes I opt to not use nuts at all and use a bit more brown sugar (or you could use oatmeal). This time, I used some already-made Cinnamon Pecans with the sugar/cinnamon for a little extra somthin'. I love this cake because it's really light and fluffy, and sweet without being over the top. No changes needed (other than the nuts).

Some little factoids for the day:
1) I am craving manicotti. I plan on making that at some point after my next grocery shopping trip.
2) I like painting my nails dark colors, particularly blue. I then hate when it chips (which it inevitably does after a couple of days), but for that first couple of days I find myself staring at my nails frequently. It's weird, I admit it. :)
3) I need to work on reining in my temper. I should not have the desire to kick as many people as I seem to want to kick on a daily basis. :P And even if I still WANT to kick people, I should decrease my verbalization of that desire.
4) I love my bookclub ladies, and I loved our most recent book (Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern). My favorite line: "By the time he reaches the farm, he is sure that the Bailey he is now is closer to the Bailey he is supposed to be then the Bailey he had been the day before."  I want to be closer to the person I am supposed to be tomorrow than I was today. So here is to tomorrow - Cheers!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Favorite Hamburger Bites

The hubby really likes White Castle burgers. Personally, I think they're gross, but what is marriage about but compromise? ;) Found this recipe via my daily AllRecipes e-mail and thought it wasn't TOO gross sounding, and it might make him happy. And actually, it turned out that I really liked it. Score one for compromise! :D


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix
  • 1/2 cup dried minced onion
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages dinner rolls
  • 1 (16 ounce) jar dill pickle slices, drained


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a medium baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. In a medium skillet over medium high heat, stir together ground beef, dry onion soup mix and dry minced onion. Cook until beef is evenly brown. Remove from heat, drain and stir in mayonnaise and Cheddar cheese.
  3. Slice tops off the dinner rolls. Arrange the rolls on the baking sheet. Spoon some of the ground beef mixture onto each roll. Garnish with pickle slices. Place tops back on rolls.
  4. Tightly wrap the baking sheet with aluminum foil. Bake in the preheated oven 20 minutes.

Couple of minor changes... 1/2 cup of dried minced onion is a LOT! I find that it tends to overpower recipes (see Baked Ham Sandwiches) so I put in less then 1/4 cup - it was still pretty onion-y, especially with the French Onion Soup packet, but much less so. Next time I might decrease the minced onion even more. Instead of using the already made rolls, I got the Rhodes frozen rolls (in dough form) and baked about 20 of them. Brean is VERY in to rolls, so I figured having extras was not going to be a problem. :) The only difference that they provided was being of a smaller roll then the pre-made rolls that you get from the deli. I think they worked out fine - I ended up with 18 little burgers instead of 12. While I am a fan of pickles by themselves, I don't really like them on sandwiches, so I left them out. Otherwise, follow as directed. They were pretty tasty, and are good re-heated as well. They would make a very fun appetizer or finger food for a party. Next time I may freeze half for later, as we are still working on them 2 days later!

       I was talking to a friend yesterday and asked her where she wanted to go with her life. In 5-10 years, what do you want your life to look like? As one who always has about 5 plans for her life, I actually had to stop and think about what my answer would be. Do I want to be working? If not, what would I be doing to contribute? I loved her answer, so I'm going to share it with you. She said she wanted her life to be more simplistic. Not in a "do less activities" kind of way, but in a "be content with what you have and not always have to strive for the newest and best" kind of way. I need to incorporate that philosophy in my plan, that is for sure!
       I tend to strive for the next "thing". Take my scrapbooking corner for instance. I love it. I love the way it looks, and how it makes our bedroom come together. Does that mean I'm going to scrapbook more often? Maybe...but maybe not. I acquire things more because of the way I want things to look then for the purpose of actually HAVING to have the space. Now that is not to say that I won't be more likely to scrapbook now that I have a space to leave things out - it was a pain to get everything out, just to clean it up again a couple of hours later. The reason that the scrapbook area is in our bedroom vs. my room (the guest room) is for that very purpose - to be able to leave a project out to be worked on without worrying about it not being clean anytime someone comes over.
      Alright, here's my short-term goal: I want my scrapbook corner to be my connecting place. I want to use it to write letters to people, to blog, and scrapbook, remembering the amazing people that have been in my life over the years. It was really fun to have a place to sit and write thank you notes from my birthday extravaganza - my own little oasis.
       As for what I want my life to look like in 5-10 years? I want the only debt we have to be our mortgage. I want to be working, but maybe part-time? (still debating about that one - time off vs. money towards things) I want Brean to have a job he loves. I want to have traveled somewhere big. I want to be involved in some capacity in our local community. So here is to the next 10 years - may it be all that is hoped for, accepted for what is, and cherished for what it was.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Easy Shrimp Scampii

So, it seems to be a shrimp week. This has fast become one of my favorite recipes - it's so easy, and is probably is the best scampii that I have ever had. Win-win in my book! Plus, it's a Chaley original. :D Listening to One Direction station on Pandora, which just started playing Justin Beiber. Umm, no. Just no.

1 pound pre-cooked shrimp, thawed (any size, I usually get the frozen ones)
1/4 cup olive oil
4 Tblspn butter
1/2 cup onion, diced
Minced garlic - a lot! (to taste - a couple of tablespoons)
1 cup white wine or chicken broth
1 package McCormick Garlic, Wine, and Herb marinade
Dash of lemon juice
1 box angel hair noodles
Salt and Pepper as needed, though it's pretty flavorful, so I say taste test first!

1) Add oil and butter to a pan and heat on medium-high heat until hot. Add onion and garlic, sauteing until onion is translucent.
2) Start water boiling for angel hair noodles. Add marinade package, lemon juice, and broth (or wine) to the sauteed mixture, reduce heat to medium and cook for ~5 minutes.
3) Add shrimp to the mixture and cook on medium heat just until warm. Cook angel hair noodles according to directions - they should be done about at the same time.
4) Add shrimp mixture to noodles, stir and serve! It's just that easy. :)

So, because this is my creation, I don't have any changes. :P I took this recipe from about 5 different ones on the web and only took a little bit from each, so there's not a lot to credit. I started looking for a scampii recipe that used pre-cooked shrimp, because A) it's less expensive then un-cooked shrimp, and B) it's quicker. It was actually hard to find one! But now you get to reap the benefits of all that research. Enjoy!

This evening was one of the funnest evenings I have had! Two very dear friends, Brean and I went out to see Hope Springs, with a stop at Maggie Moo's (if you've never been there, BEST ice cream ever), and a supposedly quick that turned longer trip to Meijer to pick up "a few things". The movie was good-ish. It's a slow mover, but I liked how REAL it was. The problems weren't fixed in two seconds, and I think it gave a good picture of marriage, and how people drift apart. (it does have a happy ending, for anyone who is wondering) A little heavy on the old person sex for me,  and not as comedic as I was expecting. I did enjoy it though, and it was fun talking about it over ice cream afterwards. (cinnamon ice cream with Heath bar, caramel, and chocolate flakes for me) I think my favorite part of the evening though was putzing around Meijer, with a happy hubby and goofy friends, finding all kinds of crazy jewely, neon leggings (or skinny jeans), baskets, etc. I haven't just goofed off in a store for Lord knows how long - I usually go in with a mission and stay very focused. It was fun to just be goofy and have people to be goofy with!

In other news, my scrapbooking corner (which was the entire focus of my most recent birthday) is almost set up!! It's not turning out quite like I was seeing in my mind's eye, but it is fun. Pictures will be posted on Facebook shortly I'm hoping. Hopefully spending tomorrow getting everything organized and it should be all set. Much smiles all around in this household! :)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Shrimp Summer Rolls with Asian Peanut Sauce

So this one was an attempt at a shrimp spring roll type deal. And while I think the base is there, it needs some playing around to make it what I was hoping for.


  • 1/4 pound medium shrimp - peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup shredded napa cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons shredded carrot
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 4 (8 inch) round sheets rice paper
  • 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger


  1. Preheat an outdoor grill or grill pan for medium-high heat.
  2. Place the shrimp in a bowl and toss with olive oil and salt and black pepper.
  3. Grill the shrimp on the preheated grill until opaque, 2 minutes per side. Remove from the grill and set aside.
  4. Combine the cabbage, carrot, garlic, 1 tablespoon ginger, teriyaki sauce, and lime juice in a bowl, stir well.
  5. Working with one at a time, wet rice paper with water and lay out on a clean surface. Place a quarter of the cabbage mixture in the center of the paper, top with a quarter of the shrimp. Shape the filling into a log shape and roll the rice paper around the filling, tucking the ends in as you go. Repeat with the remaining rice papers.
  6. Whisk together the peanut butter, teriyaki sauce, sesame oil, hot sauce, garlic, 1 tablespoon ginger, salt and pepper. Slice the rolls in half on an angle, and serve with the peanut sauce on the side.

Shrimp Summer Rolls with Asian Peanut Sauce Recipe

I did double the recipe, because I had about a pound of shrimp and didn't have a specific use for it other than this recipe. The shrimp was the already cooked frozen shrimp, which I have to say is my usual go-to when it comes to buying shrimp! I also doubled the sauce, but that was wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too much! We barely ate more than a couple of tablespoons for all the rolls. Brean chopped veggies for me, while I sauteed the garlic, salt and pepper, then added the shrimp just to cook until it was heated up. Then combined everything for the filling in a bowl (including the shrimp mixture, which we drained first) and let it sit for a few minutes. So reading over this recipe I just realized that I tripled the amount of sesame seed oil in the sauce...whoops! I think my main complaint was that the sesame taste was over-powering, and while I think it would be better without my whoops moment, I still think decreasing it even more would be beneficial.
We soaked the rice paper individually in warm water for a couple of seconds, which worked pretty well. I had never done anything with rice paper before, so I was a bit nervous, but after the first couple I think we got the hang of it. The flavor of the rollups themselves was good, but just not as fresh tasting as I was hoping for. I think I'll play around a bit more with this one, because the hubby liked them. I will let you know how it goes! ;) I should also point out that ours did NOT look as pretty as the picture...think more a loosely wrapped spring roll with teryaki sauce in it.

     In other news, it was my birthday this week, and fun was had by all. (well, at least me) I wandered around Jackson (wandering in a specific route I should say) to be fed all the free food I could eat. I think the best way to do it would be to find a birthday twin and traverse together - then you BOTH get free stuff! Otherwise you're just dragging another person along who has to pay for everything, or just watch while you get free food. Weird!
     I also got a massage yesterday. It was great, but I felt really weird/out of it for the rest of the day, and even today! I heard that sometimes post-massage feels like being stoned, and while I have not partaken in the stoning myself, I feel like that's what I feel like. ;) I feel like I'm just in a cloud-filled state and my brain is not really engaged. Very weird! Hoping it changes soon!
    Going to see Hope Springs tomorrow with some very dear friends - here's to hoping it's good! I'm tired of watching bad and mediocre movies! There are enough movies being made that you think that at SOME point it would be easy to find the good ones! Like maybe because of the sheer number of movies it would have to spontaneously HAPPEN at some point. We shall see. But here's to hoping! ;)