Southwestern Steak Salad with Fresh and Easy

This post is brought to you by Fresh and Easy

Can I just tell you about the double sided coin that is cooking for one (and a half)?

When it’s just me, I usually dread cooking for one. It’s no fun when you have to cook AND clean. ;)

But, I eat so much healthier, meal time is quicker, and because of Fresh and Easy it’s even yummier.

Southwestern Steak Salad

Fresh and Easy Steak Salad-1-7

Fresh & Easy thinks that fresh, wholesome food should be accessible and affordable to everyone. They offer a range of their own brand products and freshly prepared meals, in addition to other favorite top name brands.

Fresh and Easy Steak Salad-1-5

We love popping into Fresh and Easy! The store is smaller and has just what you need without all the fillers. That’s perfect for me because I’m a mama with limited amount of time (I’m sure you can relate) and typically I’m running in with an uncooperative toddler. The small store size ensures that I won’t be rushing around the store looking for my necessary ingredients for more time than I have! Plus their staff is so friendly and available, if I ever can’t find what I need they are there to point me in the right direction.

Fresh and Easy Steak Salad-1-4

Sometimes we run in just before heading to the beach for delicious and healthy snacks to take along.

Fresh and Easy Steak Salad-1-6

Then sometimes we run for dinner supplies. I love their ready to cook pre-seasoned meats. The yummy carne asada is perfect for my southwestern steak salad! And this creamy cilantro dressing is my all time favorite. What’s awesome about Fresh and Easy is that if it has the Fresh & Easy name on it, it’s guaranteed to be free from artificial colors and flavors, transfats, high-fructose corn syrup or any other hidden nasties that are out there. How awesome is that? It feels good to have brands you can always trust.

Fresh and Easy Steak Salad-1-3

Since there is nothing better then fresh produce – I can pick up everything I need for my southwestern steak salad in one place!

In addition to the fresh meat, they also offer fresh bread and fresh fish that is delivered fresh every day!

And for the days when cooking just seems impossible, they even have ready to go meal time solutions. Try the enchiladas. They are a fav!

Fresh and Easy Steak Salad-1-2

My southwestern steak salad was the perfect summer salad. Packed with fresh veggies from Fresh and Easy, romaine lettuce, cilantro, red onions, avocado, and black beans. Topped with the savory and lean carne asada and the creamy cilantro dressing. It’s one of my go to meals for summer! Fresh and Easy Steak Salad-1

If you are in AZ, CA, or NV be sure to check out where the nearest Fresh and Easy is located and check it out! You won’t be disappointed!

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Fresh and Easy. All opinions and love expressed for Fresh and Easy are truly my own. Thank you so much for supporting the companies that help keep Making Home Base going. You can see my full disclosure here.


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Mocha Banana Smoothie

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Nestle, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia  #BreakfastEssentials

Mocha Banana Smoothie


It’s soooo good for you!

But… it’s so hard for me. Breakfast foods aren’t my favorite. I always am underwhelmed by the options but I know I need to eat. I usually chomp on some toast while making a “real” breakfast for my daughter in the mornings just to get something in my belly. When I was pregnant with P, I was so sick that I couldn’t eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I snacked on crackers and peppermints. Early on in my pregnancy someone recommended I try Carnation Breakfast Essentials, if I could stomach it, because it’s packed with nutrients.

I tried out Carnation Breakfast Essentials and was able to mix the vanilla into a strawberry banana smoothie. I loved that even though I wasn’t able to eat much I was still getting some good vitamins and nutrients.

I’m back on the Carnation Breakfast Essentials wagon now that I’m a busy toddler mama. This time around I’m getting bit more creative with my smoothies.

Banana Mocha Smoothie

My favorite drink ever is a mocha banana smoothie. I love iced coffee, especially in the summer time and this drink is a nice little blended coffee with a twist.

Breakfast Essentials Banana Mocha Smoothie

I grabbed the Rich Milk Chocolate flavor of Carnation Breakfast Essentials from Safeway along with some bananas.

breakfast essentials mocha banana smoothie

I added in some cold brew coffee, the packet of Carnation Breakfast Essentials, and ice.

Mocha Banana Smoothie

This Mocha Banana Smoothie is such an easy and delicious way to get in those nutrients for the day and so refreshing! Some days I even leave out the coffee  so I can share with my little girl. She thinks it’s such a “treat.”

Mocha Banana Smoothie
  • 1 c. cold brewed coffee
  • 1 packet of Carnation Breakfast Essentials Rich Milk Chocolate
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 c. ice
  • ½ c. of milk or half and half (optional for a creamier smoothie)
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

You can find more Smoothie Recipes on Carnation Breakfast Essentials’ website or by finding them on Facebook.


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Whole Wheat Pizza Dough and Unplugging Around The Family Table

This post is brought to you by the J.M Smucker Company. All opinions are completely my own.

Have I ever told you how much my family loves pizza? My husband considers himself some type of pizza connoiseur. We love trying different pizza joints around town in the never ending quest for the perfect pie. I also love to make it at home. I’ve probably tried a few dozen different pizza dough recipes over the years before I finally settled on my favorite, and it’s even whole wheat. I know, I know. Please don’t click away – you HAVE to try it.

bread machine whole wheat pizza dough

Although I always try, between my husband’s hectic work schedule and my utter exhaustion after a day of chasing a toddler; it’s sometimes difficult to sit down together as a family for a meal. Toss in the constant need to feel connected and we may barely have a conversation! I’m so guilty of scrolling through Instagram through dinner!  As connected as we are to social media we are missing out on that with our families!

After signing the Disconnect to Reconnect pledge it was time to put away those mobile devices and focus on family around the dinner table.

And if there was one meal that gets my family to sit down and enjoy each other’s company it’s good ol’ fashion pizza. It’s something that my picky two year old won’t protest making meal time much more relaxed.
Whole Wheat Pizza

Smuckers is challenging families to Disconnect to Reconnect.

Disconnect to Reconnect is a movement to get families to unplug at the table for at least one meal, once a week. Put down the electronic devices, and turn off the television and enjoy a meal together. For me, it was about being present. My daughter will soon turn two and I’m reminded so often of how quickly time is passing. I want to soak up every moment I have with my sweet family. I don’t want to miss out on precious memories because I was zoning out on my phone.

disconnect to reconnect

So will you take the pledge with me? Will you pledge to live in the moment and Disconnect to Reconnect? Will you agree that the email messages and tweets can wait?

Head over to and take the pledge.

Disconnect to Reconnect Giveaway-2

Smuckers is offering one winner this incredible Breakfast For Dinner Prize Package which includes:

  • Presto Jumbo Cool Touch electric griddle (1)
  • 7-piece kitchen utensil set with stand (1)
  • Family Talk conversation game (1)
  • Smucker’s Strawberry Natural Squeeze jam (1)
  • JIF Creamy Peanut Butter (1)
  • JIF Chocolate Hazelnut Spread (1)
  • Folger’s Classic Roast (1)
  • Hungry Jack Breakfast Syrup (1)
  • Hungry Jack Complete Pancake and Waffle Mix (2)
  • Martha White Banana Nut Muffin Mix (2)
  • Crisco No-Stick Cooking Spray (1)
  • Martha White All-Purpose Flour (1)

Use the rafflecopter below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway details:
The giveaway will run from April 29, 2014 through 12 midnight (PST) May 5, 2014. The winner will be selected randomly using the Rafflecopter widget and will be emailed promptly after.  The winner has 48 hours to respond and claim the prize before a new winner is selected.  Giveaway is open to US residents who are 18 years or older.

Now for recipe Whole Wheat Pizza Dough:

whole wheat pizza dough


Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
Cuisine: Pizza
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough in the bread machine makes two small pies or one large pie
  • 1 c. hot water
  • 2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. active dry yeast (bread machine yeast)
  1. Place all ingredient in bread machine according to directions.
  2. Set your bread machine on the dough cycle.
  3. Once it's finished divide the dough into two balls and place in two oiled bowls.
  4. Allow dough to set for 10-15 minutes before preparing your pizza.
  5. Prepare your pizza with desired toppings.
  6. Bake pizza for 7-10 minutes at 500 degrees on the lowest rack for a crispy thin crust.

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Reese’s Pretzel Bites [A Valentine's Day Treat]

Hey friends!

I’ve been whipping up some yummy treats to share.

It all started after Christmas when Matt asked me to make some yummy treat that a co-worker had brought in to work. He was going on and on about the salty sweet deliciousness. Well, I like salty sweet deliciousness so he didn’t have to ask me twice.

The originals were made with rolos but I spotted the cutest heart shaped Reese’s chocolates so I decided to change it up a bit.

And that proved to be the best idea E.V.E.R.

Reese’s Pretzel Bites

Reeses Pretzel Bites So the deal with these little babies is really nothing fancy.

Line a cookie sheet with some parchment paper. Layout your mini pretzels. Unwrap all your Reese’s chocolate hearts and place them on top of the pretzels. Toss them in the oven on a low heat, like 300 degrees or so for about 1-3 minutes. Keep a close eye on them because you want them the chocolate to melt just enough that they stick nicely onto the pretzels but not too much that they lose their shape. Take them out just when the chocolate starts to glisten/look shiny and melty. Once they are out top the chocolate with an m&m. Put the cookie sheet in the freezer for the Reese’s Pretzel Bites to set.

Reeses Pretzel Bites

We loveeeee these treats cool and right out of the freezer but they are fab at room temperature too! They would be really fun to package a couple in a treat bag for homemade Valentine’s Day gifts too! Enjoy!!


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Crock Pot Cheesy Tortellini Recipe

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Barilla, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #JoytotheTable

I LOVE my crock pot. I use it to death in the winter months. I just love be able to dump the ingredients in and letting it do all the work for me! Ya know?

One of my favorite crock pot meals is Cheesy Tortellini. I’ve made it for years and my family loves it. Crock Pot Cheesy Tortellini It’s easily one of the tastiest meals ever. Cheesy tortellini with sweet italian sausage, in a cheesy tomato sauce. What more could you want? The best part? You can totally hide in a bunch of healthy vegetables for the kids (and husband)!

tortelliniYou can find this Barilla Tortellini in the pasta section. I love the three cheese and the cheese and spinach varieties. Can’t go wrong with either one.tortellini pastaTo make, I added all my ingredients except for the Barilla Tortellini into my crock pot and let it cook on high for about 4 hours. Towards the end of the cook time, I boiled the tortellini separately until it was cooked al dente.
crock pot tortellini Then I stirred in the tortellini…
slow cooker tortellini and cheese. mmm… cheese.Cheesy Tortellini

I always serve mine with a little extra cheese on top. More cheese is better I say.

Crock Pot CheesyTortellini
  • 1 Package Barilla Tortellini
  • 1 Package Italian Sausage
  • 1 Jar Pre-made pasta sauce
  • 1 8 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 8 oz package of mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup sliced mushrooms
  • ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  1. Cook italian sausage until brown, drain fat.
  2. Into crock pot, mix together, cooked italian sausage, pre made pasta sauce, crushed tomatoes, mushrooms, green bell peppers, and onion. Cook on high for 4-6 hours.
  3. Near the end of the cook time, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add in Barilla Tortellini and cook according to package directions. Once cooked to al dente, strain water.
  4. Stir tortellini and mozzarella cheese into crock pot. Allow to cook for another 10 minutes and then turn off and serve.

Currently, Barilla is offering $.75 off the purchase of ONE (1) package of Barilla® Tortellini in stores. For more recipes or to learn more about Barilla you can visit them on Facebook.


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Holiday Desserts: Coconut Marshmallow Brownies

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and its client.

Brownies are probably my absolute favorite dessert. I make them way too often. It’s bad. But they are sooooo good. Now that I’ve pretty much perfected my favorite recipe they are great to whip up for different events. This year I created a special holiday dessert to take along to a holiday party. Coconut Marshmallow Brownies. I love the coconut and chocolate combination! And since coconut flakes kind of look like snow, it gives the dessert a festive feel. Wouldn’t you agree?

Coconut Marshmallow Brownies with secret ingredient #coffee

The best part about this take along dessert is that I bet you have the majority of the ingredient in you pantry! Anything you’re missing you’ll easily be able to find on a quick trip to Walmart!

#kraftessentials #maxwellhouse coffee marshmallow brownies #shopThe major players here are Baker’s chocolate, cocoa powder,  Maxwell House coffee (the only brand I drink!), Kraft Mashmallows, Baker’s Coconut Flakes, and vanilla beans. See the recipe below to view the full list of ingredients!

#shop #kraftessentials coconut browniesOnce the ingredients are all whipped up it yields the most delicious batter. The brownie batter is so rich with a secret ingredient *cough* coffee *cough*! The coffee really gives a rich flavor and brings out the chocolate!

coconut marshmallow brownies

5.0 from 1 reviews
Coconut Marshmallow Brownies
Recipe type: Dessert
Use every day ingredients to make the perfect holiday take along dessert.
  • Brownies:
  • ⅓ cup cocoa
  • ½ C. brewed hot coffee
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
  • ½ C. plus 2 T. vegetable oil
  • 4 T. butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs plus 2 large yolks
  • Seeds of 2 vanilla beans
  • 2½ C. sugar
  • 1¾ C. flour
  • 1 t. salt
  • Frosting:
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • ½ bag (10 to 10½ ounces) Kraft mini-marshmallows
  • ½ cup confectioners' sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ½ bag Baker's Coconut Flakes
  1. Brownies:
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and brewed coffee. Stir in the chopped chocolate until melted.
  4. Mix in the oil, butter, eggs, yolks, sugar, and vanilla. Stir together until the batter is smooth.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
  6. Combine the dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients carefully. Stir together until the mixture is completely incorporated.
  7. Spread brownie batter into the prepared pan.
  8. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Allow to cool completely before frosting
  10. Frosting:
  11. Combine the cream, marshmallows, confectioners' sugar, and salt in a large saucepan.
  12. Heat over medium-low heat, continuously stirring until marshmallows are melted.
  13. Pour the mixture into the bowl and refrigerate until completely cooled.
  14. Remove the frosting from the refrigerator and beat it on high speed, using your stand mixer or an electric hand mixer scraping the sides of the bowl. Beat frosting for about one minute or until the frosting is smooth. The frosting will be thin.
  15. Set aside at room temperature for about 30 minutes and it will stiffen up enough to spread.
  16. Spread frosting over top the brownies. Top liberally with coconut flakes

And of course, you’ll want to make an extra batch to keep at home because they are simply irresistible.#shop #kraftessentials brownies

You can see more about my shopping trip to Walmart here.


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Zucchini Brownies with Milk Chocolate Frosting

We love dessert. It’s true. That’s why you’ll find our favorite desserts on this blog. That’s why my husband is usually concerned with what’s for dessert more than what’s for dinner. And that’s why I going to have to start Jillian Michael’s 30 day shred (Again)!

Before I start the 30 day shred again – I have to share with you these Thick & Decadent Zucchini Brownies with Milk Chocolate Frosting.

Zucchini Brownies with Milk Chocolate Frosting

Here’s the thing about these zucchini brownies; they are pretty much a healthy dessert if you skip the frosting. Not much sugar, and zero oil. They are absolutely tasty without the frosting, or with a little tiny spoonful of cool whip on top. But if you want a rich, decadent, amazing dessert – add the frosting. And then just start counting calories again tomorrow :)

Zucchini Brownies with Milk Chocolate Frosting
Delicious and Decadent brownies lightened up by using zucchini and applesauce instead of oil.
  • For brownies:
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1½-2 cups shredded zucchini
  • For frosting:
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup butter (softened)
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x9 inch baking pan with nonstick spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl mix together applesauce, egg, vanilla extract, then fold in zucchini. Mix in the flour mixture slowly until all blended. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 30-45 minutes in the preheated oven, until toothpick comes out clean when pricked into the center. Allow brownies to completely cool before frosting.
  4. To make the frosting: In a medium bowl, blend together soften butter and cocoa powder. Slowly blend in confectioners sugar and milk, alternating. Then blend in vanilla.
  5. Cut brownies into squares and smother them in frosting. Enjoy!

Zucchini Brownies with Milk Chocolate Frosting

Have a sweet tooth? Try out these yummy recipes


Cookies and cream frostingCookies and Cream Cupcakes

The Best Blueberry Muffins I've Ever MadeThe Best Blueberry Muffins Ever


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Easy Plum Tarte

My Gramma has a plum tree in her backyard. Ever since I was little I loved picking them. Isn’t there something special about food that you pick yourself? A few summers ago I took my husband to my Gramma’s for a visit. He also loved being able to pick the plums right off the tree. Since she remembered how much he loved them that summer, this year she mailed us a box full of delicious plums right from her tree. A box full of plums was such a treat! We enjoyed them so much. And since there we an abundance, I decided to make an easy plum tarte with some of them.

Easy Plum Tarte Recipe

When I say easy plum tarte, I mean easy! I used a store bought pie crust for this one, folks. The only “work” this really required was cutting a pitting the plums. Since my plums were on the smaller side, I just cut them in half. If you use larger plums be sure to slice them into wedges.

Ready for the recipe for this easy plum tarte?

Easy Plum Tarte
Cuisine: Dessert
Easy plum tarte from freshly picked plums. The perfect summer dessert.
  • Store bought pie crust
  • 10-12 small plums
  • ½ cup sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon almond flavoring
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Slice and pit plums. If they are larger cut them into wedges
  3. Toss plums into a large bowl with sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon, almond flavoring, and flour.
  4. Unroll your pre-made pie crust onto parchment paper
  5. Pile the plum mixture onto the middle of the pie crust leaving 2 inches all the way around.
  6. Begin to fold pie crust over the plums all the way around.
  7. Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Easy Plum Tarte Recipe

Guys! This plum tarte is easily one of my favorite desserts! It’s so yummy with a big scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. The tartness of the plums with the sweetness of the ice cream, pure heaven. You’ll love it!

Want more easy desserts? Check out my Cookies and Cream Frosting or this Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting

You can also follow my Sweet Treats Pinterest Board where I save all my favorite desserts!


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Blueberry Muffins, THE Best I’ve Ever Made – You’ll Love Them Too!

Blueberry muffins are a favorite around here. I’ve been making them for years. Everyone loves them.

My husband could eat his weight in fresh blueberry muffins, and even the little lady goes crazy for them.

Over the years I’ve tried many recipes, different ingredients, fresh blueberries, and frozen.

These are the BEST blueberry muffins my family has ever tasted. Seriously. Go ahead and pin this blueberry muffin recipe and get your mixing bowl ready because you have to try these!

The Best Mouthwatering Blueberry Muffins

I think it’s the crumb topping that does it. It’s sweet with a little crunch, it’s heavenly. Also, the fresh blueberries are perfect, and the batter didn’t turn blue, like it sometimes does when I use frozen (that happens to everyone right?). They really are the best ever blueberry muffins.

The Best Mouthwatering Blueberry Muffins

Go ahead and make two batches, one won’t last long… You’re welcome ;)

Printable recipe for blueberry muffins:

5.0 from 3 reviews
The Best Blueberry Muffins
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cold butter, cubed
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
  3. Combine 1½ cups flour, ¾ cup sugar, salt and baking powder.
  4. Add to the flour mixture vegetable oil, egg and buttermilk.
  5. Fold in blueberries.
  6. Fill muffin cups ¾ of the way, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
  7. To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together ½ cup sugar, ⅓ cup flour, ¼ cup butter, and 1½ teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.
  8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.
  9. Makes 10 muffins

Recipe adapted from All Recipes

For more delicious recipes be sure to try my Cookies and Cream Frosting or Coconut Marshmallow Brownies

Sharing with these parties and Savvy Southern Style, Liz Marie Blog


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Lemon Shake Up Popsicle Recipe

One of our favorite summer refreshments are Lemon Shake ups! My mom says they are really common in the midwest but around here you can pretty much only find them at the flea market or at the fair. You can also make them at home, and they are yummy and refreshing.

There’s only one thing better than a lemon shake up on a hot day, and that’s a lemon shake up popsicle! A few weeks ago I snagged a little popsicle mold from Ikea, I thought it would be fun to make our own flavors. So the lemon shake up popsicle was first on my list. We loved them and I’m thrilled to shared my Lemon Shake Up Popsicle Recipe with you!

Lemon Shake Up PopsicleLemon Shake Ups are really just a one glass lemonade. Squeeze the juice of one lemon, add a bunch of sugar (we like them sweet) and dilute with water. Then you shake it all up in a jar! Thus, the name Shake Ups! Typically, we would just add ice, and a cute little paper straw but for the popsicle version I just poured the mixture into the popsicle molds and allowed it to freeze overnight (or at least 8 hours).
Lemon Shake Up Popsicle

They were amazing! My husband woke up and had one for breakfast the next morning. They are the perfect treat for these hot summer days!

Lemon Shake Up Popsicle
  • Juice of one lemon
  • ¼ c. sugar
  • 1 quart of water
  1. Squeeze juice of one lemon into a quart sized mason jar. I also like to squeeze a bit of the pulp. Add ¼ cup of sugar and about 1 quart of water (just enough to fill the jar). Place the lid on the jar and shake it up until it's mixed really well. Poor into popsicle molds and allow to freeze overnight.
  2. Enjoy!

This post was first shared at Wait Til Your Father Gets Home

Linking up to: Love of Family and Home and some of  these great parties.


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Chocolate Cake With Vanilla Bean Frosting

This week was a very eventful one for me. I celebrated my anniversary AND birthday! Seriously, I got married two days before my birthday. It makes for a fun filled week for me each year. Not so much for the hubby who tries every year to combine gifts. Silly guy ;)

The best part of the week though, is that there is a guaranteed delicious dessert. Yum. I love a good classic chocolate cake. A few weeks ago a friend of mine shared with me, the best chocolate cake recipe ever. EVER. Since I’ve had vanilla bean on my mind since this Vanilla Bean Recipe round up, I decided to go with a vanilla bean frosting.
Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting

You can find the perfect chocolate cake recipe here.

And here is the vanilla bean recipe:

5.0 from 1 reviews
Vanilla Bean Frosting
  • ½ c. salted butter softened
  • ¼ c. unsalted butter softened
  • Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
  • 3 c. of powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp. milk
  1. In a medium sized bowl, beat butters and vanilla bean seeds until whipped creamy, about 7 minutes. Add in powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk, and mix on low until incorporated, about 1 minute. Then, beat for on medium for an additional 5 minute or until the frosting is light and fluffy.

We really loved this cake and it’s delicious vanilla bean frosting. I may or may not have even had it for breakfast on my birthday, which is totally allowed for the birthday girl, right?

Chocolate Cake and Vanilla Bean Frosting

I love the little specks of vanilla bean seeds in the frosting. Just perfect! Now, what yummy vanilla bean recipe should I try next?


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25 Vanilla Bean Recipes: A Making Home Base Round Up

Do you ever use whole vanilla beans? I was lucky enough to grab some in a co-op a few months ago and I’ve been trying to use them every chance I get. Recently, I starting looking for some yummy vanilla bean recipes on Pinterest. Of course I found some fantastic ones that I can’t wait to try. They are all too good not to share!

Please, if you want to pin any of these delicious recipes, click over to the original source and pin from them directly. Thank you!

25 Vanilla Bean Recipes | Making Home BaseI thought it would be fun to put together 25 yummy looking, vanilla bean recipes. So grab your vanilla beans and lets get baking shall we?

600afd_X_IMG_3506_almond_vanilla_bean_creme_brulee1Almond Vanilla Bean Creme Brûlée via A Farmgirl’s Dabbles

6693097883_ecdeeb1af2_bVanilla Bean Pudding via Pastry Affair

Baked Vanilla Bean Doughnut RecipeVanilla Bean Doughnuts via A Pumpkin and A Princess

brownedbutterblondiesBrowned Butter Vanilla Bean Blondies via Sweet Treats and More

circusbirthdaypartycupcakesVanilla Bean Sour Cream Cupcakes via Good Life Eats


Coconut Cake via Brown Eyed Baker

DSC_0029Copycat Vanilla Bean Scones via Bright Green Door

DSC7844Vanilla Bean Blondies via Baking Bites

DSCN5664-JPGHomemade Vanilla Sugar via Love Pomegranate House

eIMG_5323Strawberry Vanilla Bean Jam via Taste & See

IMG_6680Homemade Vanilla Bean Frozen Yogurt via With Style & Grace

Perfect-Vanilla-Iced-CoffeeCreamy Vanilla Iced Coffee via Kitchen Treaty

Skinny-Vanilla-Bean-Cheesecake-Popsicles2Skinny Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Popsicles via Kitchen Treaty

untitled-9898Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake via Buttered Up

Vanilla-Bean-Cupcakes-2-1-of-1Vanilla Bean Cupcakes via My Baking Addiction

lemon-curdVanilla Bean Lemon Curd via Kitchen Meets Girl

vanilla-bean-frosting-428x642Vanilla Bean Buttercream Frosting via Cupcake Project

Vanilla-Cinnamon-Sugar-Buttermilk-Baked-Donuts-4Vanilla Cinnamon Sugar & Buttermilk Baked Donuts via Channeling Contessa

vanilla-cream-filled-doughnuts-27-600Vanilla Cream-Filled Doughnuts via Brown Eyed Baker

vanilla-pancakes-with-caramelized-bananas1-writingVanilla Pancakes with Caramelized Bananas via I Heart Eating

Vanilla-Vanilla-MuffinsVanilla Vanilla Muffins via Dine & Dish

vanillaicecreamscoopVanilla Bean Ice Cream via For Love of the South

Details032-682x1024Homemade Vanilla Extract via Sugar Studios

vbc1Vanilla Bean Cheesecake via Heidi Bakes

classicVanilla Bean Chocolate Chip Cookies via The Domestic Rebel

Don’t all of these vanilla bean recipes looks amazing? If you want to see even more delicious vanilla bean recipes check out my All Things VANILLA board on Pinterest. Be sure to check back on Friday when I share my own vanilla bean recipe!



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Cookies and Cream Frosting

Hi friends! You are in for a treat today! I’m sharing my favorite frosting recipe today, Cookies and Cream Frosting.

Have you ever tasted cookies and cream frosting recipe? It’s mouthwatering.

Sweet and Delicious Cookies and Cream Frosting

Yesterday, I shared my daughter’s sweet Milk & Cookies first birthday party. To go along with the theme of the party we served yummy chocolate cupcakes with a delicious cookies and cream frosting! YUM!

One of my favorite ways to cut corners for parties is to use a box cake mix for the cake or cupcakes and then make the frosting for scratch. That’s exactly what I did for these cupcakes. I grabbed an easy devil’s food box cake mix for the cupcakes then whipped up a really yummy cookies and cream frosting for them!

Sweet and Delicious Cookies and Cream Frosting

I garnished them with half of a cookie. Just perfect for our milk and cookies party. I hope you enjoy them as well!

Here’s the recipe, you are sure to love it!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cookies and Cream Frosting {and the Minted. Giveaway Winner}
Recipe type: Dessert
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24 cupcakes
Cookies and Cream Frosting for the perfect Cookies and Cream cupcake
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 c. confectioner sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • ½ c. whipping cream
  • 8-10 chocolate sandwich cookies smashed up
  1. In a medium sized bowl, with a mixer, whip up butter for about a minute.
  2. Gradually add in confectioner sugar in batches, mixing after every batch until all 3 cups are mixed in smoothly.
  3. Add vanilla and whipping cream and whip for about 2 minutes or until the frosting forms stiff peaks.
  4. Add in the sandwich cookie crumbles and mix just until combined.
  5. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes.

Linking up to these parties and Liz Marie Blog , The Shabby Nest, The Repurposed Life, Serenity Now






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Miss P’s Birthday Smash Cake with Von’s $5 Birthday Bundle

Have you noticed that smash cakes are all the rage now? It is so fun to commemorate your little one’s first birthday with photographs of them diving into a little cake made especially for them. And since little lady’s birthday is only days away it was time to a smash cake photo session.

First Birthday Smash Cake With $5 BundleIt’s quite a production to make the smash cake, decorate it, and get ready for pictures. So I was so excited to be able to save time (and money) by picking up the $5 Birthday Bundle from my local Vons.

First Birthday Smash Cake With $5 BundleCheck it out! The Birthday Bundle includes 2 two-liter 7UP brand sodas, one box of Betty Crocker cake mix, one tub of Betty Crocker frosting and a box of Rainbow Striped Betty Crocker candles. All of that for just $5.00.

First Birthday Smash Cake With $5 BundleYou get to save a ton of time by making a box cake mix, and you get to reward yourself with diet root beer when it’s all over!

First Birthday Smash Cake With $5 BundleHere is sweet P’s smash cake before she dove in.

First Birthday Smash Cake With $5 BundleAnd here is during…

First Birthday Smash Cake With $5 BundleAnd here is after. I’m pretty sure she loved it and we got some great shots! Wonderful photos to save and cherish.

Do you have a birthday coming up that you need to bake for? The Birthday Bundle is available at ALL SAFEWAY, VONS, or PAVILIONS stores from April 24, 2014 until May 21, 2013.

And let me just remind you, it’s always a good time to have cake!


This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and SAFEWAY  but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #BirthdayBundle


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Yummy French Toast Bake

Welcome welcome! Today I want to invite you over for breakfast.

Seriously, friends I wish I could have you over for breakfast because this dish is amazing!

Yummy French Toast Bake

I hosted a breakfast for a few ladies yesterday and I made this delicious breakfast treat. I am usually not a fan of sweets for breakfast but this yummy french toast bake is one exception. My girlfriends really enjoyed it as well! My favorite part about making this dish is that you make it ahead of time and refrigerate overnight. It was great to be able to wake up and toss in the oven with no morning clean up. [Read more...]


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Snickerdoodle Cookies with a Valentine’s Day Twist

Happy Monday friends! I hope you all had a great weekend. I had planned on posting another Valentine’s Day craft today but after all the love you guys gave me over my Valentine’s Day Candy Bark I thought you wouldn’t mind another tasty dessert recipe. This time it’s my Snickerdoodle Cookies with a Valentine’s Day Twist. My husband absolute favorite cookies are snickerdoodles. He loves them. He also loves when I make them to for him to bring to work. I think he likes to show off. If there is ever a night when I ask him what dessert he want he will always say these cookies. I like them too, but personally, I’m a chocolate chip kinda girl.

Since they are his absolute favorite, I made a few batches last week to add to his Valentine’s Day care package. Since I was going with a Valentine’s Day theme I wanted to spruce up these yummy treats with a festive look. I did that by adding in some pink sprinkles to the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Bam. Valentine’s Day cookies! So easy, and so festive. I think these would be really great for homemade Valentine’s too. Okay, on to the recipe…

Making Home Base Snicker doodles V Day


For cookie batter:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

For cinnamon sugar coating:

2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tbsp pink sprinkles


In a mixing bowl beat butter until smooth (about 3o seconds). Add the 1 cup of sugar, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of the bowl. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in flour in 1/2 cup increments. Cover and let chill for about one hour or until the dough is easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 375° F. Combine the 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon of sprinkles. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll balls in sugar/sprinkle mixture until completed coated. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until edges are golden. (Watch them carefully they bake up fast!) Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Source: Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book

Making Home Base V Day Snicker doodle cookies

I tasted them before shipping them off – they were delicious!


Want more Valentine’s Day projects? Check out my Valentine’s Day Project Gallery

Linking up to these great parties and Coastal CharmFox Hollow CottageHome Stories A to ZSavvy Southern StyleMy Repurposed LifeFunky Junk Interiors


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Valentine’s Day Candy Bark

Hi friends!

Are you guys ready for this? My very first recipe post. I’m excited :) Are you? I have an insane sweet tooth. (I’m slightly addicted to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Have you tried the limited batch, Cannoli yet? It’s amazing.) It’s okay though because my husband does too. Normally when I bake something it’s gone before I eat too much of it anyway, ha. I appreciate that about him. The last few days I have been baking up a storm fixing all of my husband’s favorite treats. Since he’s is deployed my poor kitchen has been really deprived. Not much cooking or baking going on. It’s true, it’s not much fun cooking for one :) But lately I’ve been in the kitchen baking up a storm. I’m getting together a fun Valentine’s Day care package for him. It’s full of his favorite snacks, candies, homemade goodies, and no care package is complete without pictures of our sweet P. One of the treats I just know he will love. It combines my love for candy bark and his love for m&m’s. During the holidays I adore peppermint bark! This past Christmas, I didn’t make any (shame on me) so I thought why not skip the peppermint and make some cutesy Valentine’s Day Candy Bark instead!

Valentines Day Candy Bark


This is seriously the easiest recipe you’ll ever make. You can add any candy you’d like. Even pretzels or oreos would work well in this delicious bark. I kept it simple with just m&m’s and sprinkles. Okay, recipe time.

Valentine’s Day Candy Bark:


White chocolate chips (24 oz)

m&m’s or your favorite candy in Valentine colors (1 bag)



Line a cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper.

Using a double boiler, melt your chocolate over medium heat, stirring constantly until it’s smooth.

Carefully pour chocolate onto the lined cookie sheet and spread to even out.

Sprinkle m&ms and sprinkles over top. 

Lightly press toppings into the chocolate.

Refrigerate for about one hour or until hard and break apart.

*Since I’ll be popping these in the mail. I wrapped it in plastic wrap and put in a tin.*


valentine's day candy bark making home base

I have to admit I had a few nibbles before I packaged them all up. Don’t tell my hubby!

Making Home Base Valentines Day candy bark


Linking up to these great parties and Coastal CharmFox Hollow CottageDesign, Dining, & Diapers Organize It Link PartyHome Stories A to ZSavvy Southern StyleMy Repurposed LifeFunky Junk Interiors


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