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Pumpkin-White Chocolate Blondies


Let me warn you, making these was a really bad idea.  These were so good I could not leave them alone.  Thank goodness my parents were kind enough to let me bring some over so I didn’t gobble up the whole bunch in one day.  My parents and Bernie described these blondies as pumpkin coffee cake, I think it taste like pumpkin pie goodness.  They are super moist and you get a little sweetness from the white chocolate bits.  Bring on the pumpkin for fall!!

Pumpkin-White Chocolate Blondies, from Cate’s World Kitchen


2 cups all-purpose flour whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 package (12 ounces) white chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Grease 9X13 pan and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree. Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in white chocolate chips.

Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares!

And look at this little boy who has been growing like a weed the last month!!


Happy Birthday Alex – birth story


I don’t have a recipe today, or anything cooking/food related.  Bernie and I have been blessed with a wonderful baby boy, and I want to take a post to introduce him to the “world.”

On September 10 at 3:15am, just six days before his due date, Alexander Joseph entered the world.  When I woke up the day before, however, I had no idea I would be a mommy within the next 24 hours.

That Thursday, the 8th, I had regular contractions all day long.  They were trackable so I figured labor was starting.  After talking to my doctor on the phone, we decided it was best to try and labor at home as long as possible since I wanted to try to have an unmedicated birth.  The contractions were extremely mild and I was able to sleep fine through the night.  Then Friday came.  I woke up and had no contractions.  But, I also noticed through the morning and afternoon I also did not feel Alex moving very much.  This little guy had been extremely active throughout the whole pregnancy so again I called the doctor.  The triage nurse didn’t ask many questions but told me to come in within the next hour…talk about a scary ride to the hospital.

I had Bernie get my halfway packed bag, just in case – and not expecting to need it, and to the doctor’s office we went.  Alex looked great on the ultrasound and they were able to capture his heartbeat.  But after some monitoring they wanted to send me to labor and delivery to do additional monitoring to be absolutely certain everything was ok.  Well, everything was not ok.  There were a few questionable spots on the monitor so surprise, when we did leave the hospital we would be leaving with a baby boy.  Thank goodness the nurses and doctor ignored the fact that my parents had brought Bernie and I some food so I could fuel up for labor.

Last picture of the pregnant belly

So I walked my pregnant butt to my room in labor and delivery.  I wanted to have an unmedicated delivery but since our main objective was to deliver a healthy baby safely, that was not going to happen.  I got my IV set up and started pitocin.  The contractions were not bad at first.  Bernie and my mom helped me to relax and do deep breathing.  No big deal.  Well, I was not progressing so they increase the dosage.  And the contractions started coming closer, and stronger.  After the doctor checked me at 4cm and broke my water, it got even more intense.  Knock you over kind of pain.  I could no longer relax between contractions, in fact I was on the verge of hysterical between contractions making everything worse.  As soon as I said I wanted an epidural the anesthesiologist was in my room in about 30 seconds flat.  I labored as long as I could without pain medication, but I knew I could not progress anymore if I could not relax.  So after a couple of hours laboring, I finally got some relief from the epi around midnight.

The following hours were easy.  I couldn’t feel the contractions and I progressed extremely fast.  Shortly after getting the epidural I started getting the shakes, which was a surprise since I didn’t expect to be in transition so soon.  Around 2am they checked and I was at 10cm!  Mind you, I was extremely relaxed so my response to the nurse was, “shut up, are you serious?”  She was serious alright, and they turned off the pitocin and let Bernie and I  hangout for  about 30 minutes before coming back in.  Apparently Alex did not like the contractions and his heart rate kept dropping when I was contracting.  So they told me it was time to push.

Bernie is excited, it's time to push!

After a few pushes I heard the nurses ask for the doctor to be called.  They assured me everything was ok, but we waited to push again until the doctor arrived.  After just 5 or 6 pushes, Alex was suctioned out, perfect healthy little boy.

First meeting

At 3:15am, after laboring for only 6 hours, we got to meet Alex for the first time.  He was a little boy, 6 pounds 13 oz and 20 inches long.

Put me back!!!

Only mommies will understand, but the love of  a mother starts immediately…seeing Alex for the first time and holding him on my chest was the best moment of my life. .  It felt amazing to be holding this little baby in my arms that I had been carrying for 9 months.  I still, and will probably always, get teary-eyed thinking about that moment.

First family photo

Happy Birthday Alex

It is so neat to look at your baby and see so much of yourself.  It is hard to not just sit and stare at this little guy.

Love at first sight

Snuggles with Daddy

The past week and a half has been, no doubt, the hardest of my life – but absolutely worth it.  The sleepless nights are totally worth being able to snuggle with this guy.  Thank you to everyone who has supported us through the pregnancy and since Alex has been born.  Thank you to my husband and mom for being the best support ever.  Can’t wait to share more moments with Alex and eventually cooking for the two men in my life 🙂

Going home

Chex Party Mix!


So I know buying Chex Mix might be a little easier than making your own, but homemade tastes so much better and is much less greasy.  There are all different variations using Chex on their website, but this is my favorite.  I opt to cook it in the over rather than the microwave.

Hot and Spicy Chex Party Mix, from Chex

3 cups Corn Chex® cereal
3 cups Rice Chex® cereal
3 cups Wheat Chex® cereal
1 cup mixed nuts
1 cup pretzels
1 cup bite-size cheese crackers
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/4 teaspoons seasoned salt
2 to 3 teaspoons red pepper sauce

Preparation Directions
1. In large microwavable bowl, mix cereals, nuts, pretzels and crackers; set aside. In small microwavable bowl, microwave butter uncovered on High about 40 seconds or until melted. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt and red pepper sauce. Pour over cereal mixture; stir until evenly coated.
2. Microwave uncovered on High 5 to 6 minutes, thoroughly stirring every 2 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool. Store in airtight container.
Oven Directions
Heat oven to 250°F. In large bowl, mix cereals, nuts, pretzels and crackers; set aside. In ungreased large roasting pan, melt butter in oven. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt and pepper sauce. Gradually stir in cereal mixture until evenly coated. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool, about 15 minutes. Store in airtight container.

Nutritional Information (from Chex website)
1 Serving (1/2 cup): Calories 130; Total Fat 6g (Saturated Fat 2g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 5mg; Sodium 310mg; Total Carbohydrate 16g (Dietary Fiber 2g, Sugars 2g); Protein 3g

Hello 2011


I haven’t been posting much recently because my husband and I have been in transition.  We have been getting settled into our new house and adapting to our new life as parents to our a furry child:


Willa Von Rheinhardt

Willa is a very smart german shepherd puppy.  We are still working on house breaking her, but she has already mastered “sit” and “down.”  She has definitely been keeping us busy!


We love our neighborhood so far.  The second day we were here we met one of our neighbors and received delicious cookies from another one!


Yummy cookies from the neighbors


I finally found my cord to my camera to upload pictures, so I am all ready to continue blogging new recipes, and probably more pictures of the dog!

Christmas Cookies – Part 5 of 5: Grandmother’s Cookies


The most important cookies for us to make this year were my Grandmother’s Forgotten cookies.  She made these cookies for us every Christmas.  Grandmother passed away this year on December 5 at age 89.  It is hard to grasp the reality that she won’t be at Christmas this year, or birthday celebrations next year, or see our new house, etc.  She was a strong woman who defied the odds of modern medicine for so many years, and will be missed.  Memories are a wonderful thing, and will definitely be thinking of her every year when my mom and I make these.  Thanks to my mom for making this batch this year.

Grandmother’s Forgotten Cookies
2 egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup chocolate bits
1 cup nuts, broken

Beat egg whites until frothy. Add sugar by spoonful by spoonful -slowly – and beat until stiff. Add chocolate bits and nuts. Have oven heated to 350 degrees F. Put cookies on a foil-lined (shiny side down) cookie sheet – spooned out by the tablespoon. Put cookies in the oven and turn oven off. Leave 5 hours.


Me, Grant, Grandmother and Danny



Szechwan Shrimp


This shrimp has a little kick to it, so it you don’t like spicy you may want to reduce the crushed red pepper.

Szechwan Shrimp, from allrecipes

2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon ketchup
1-1/2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1-1/2 teaspoons vegetable olive oil
2 tablespoons sliced green onions white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 ounces cooked raw shrimp, tails removed

  1. In a bowl, stir together water, ketchup, soy sauce, cornstarch, honey, crushed red pepper, and ground ginger. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in onions and garlic; cook 30 seconds. Stir in shrimp, and toss to coat with oil. Stir in sauce. Cook and stir until sauce is bubbly and thickened and shrimp is cooked.

Approximately 2.5 servings

Nutrition per serving: 170 calories, 4.8g fat, 0.8g saturated fat, 172mg cholesterol, 350.9mg sodium, 6.8g carbohydrates, 0.3g fiber, 2.8g sugars, 23.5g protein

Welcome to my blog!


So I have decided to start a blog to keep track of and share my adventures in the kitchen.  If you know me, then you know I love to cook (especially bake!) and to try new things.  I am very health conscious so I try to make adjustments to recipes to make them a little healthier, and still tasty.  Most of the recipes I try will be from cookbooks or other blogs, maybe with just minor adjustments.  I look forward to sharing my experiences with you!