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I love summer cooking, especially food from a barbecue – I mean you can cook pretty much everything on a grill.  But what do you do when you’re craving a steak, but it’s freezing cold outside and you aren’t even prepared to set up the barbecue outside. I have a couple different ways of doing it that I find super easy, as well as still providing a juicy delicious steak in a relatively short amount of time.

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The weather is finally cooling down and that means it’s time for one of my favorite things to eat – soup. Potato soup, tomato soup, chicken noodle each with a toasty sandwich to go with it. Yumazing!!

This particular soup is a total new favorite of mine and I will be making it several times this season – especially since my boyfriend LOVED it. It is so easy to make, and only requires 7 ingredients – 6 of those being canned – so just open, pour and heat. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any images of this amazingness, but you can check out where I found the recipe here. The only thing I changed was instead of canned chicken I boiled some chicken breasts and shredded them into the soup and did not add the chicken bouillon. It has such a great kick to it and I could eat til I pop.

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Julia Child quote

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from life hacker.comThere’s nothing that I love more than a beautiful presentation. This obsession has made me realize that I would love to plan weddings and parties, but alas I am stuck with conventions and expos, which are definitely not as pretty. Part of a beautiful presentation, at least as far as food goes, is a proper place setting, especially when dealing with multiple courses. I often wish my family was bigger and more inclined to come to my house so I could set and host a beautiful table with such place settings; however, place settings like these can often become overwhelming to some because it seems to be so under used. With TV trays and weeknight episode obsessions it seems family dinners have all but gone out the window, it’s no wonder people don’t know the different between their wine glasses the different forks. This little cheat sheet comes from lifehacker.com and helps you to remember which is which.  But for those of you who already know that, let’s look at different types of place settings.

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20131017_194551I’ve never been a big cake person, however I LOVE a good chocolate cake. I have tried layer cakes before (a long time ago) and was never able to make them beautiful the way they were intended. The cakes would fall apart, or get stuck in the pan, or the frosting would rip off parts of the cake – SO MAD!!! But this time was different, SO SO different. This cake turned out amazing looking and tasting, even if it did take me a while to make. The chocolate pairs perfectly with the raspberries and the fresh raspberries on top with powdered sugar gives a perfect presentation. If you need a dessert to impress – this is it, and if I can make it, so can you! I found the recipe on http://www.epicurious.com and made some small changes as usual. Instead of pre-packaged raspberry jam, I made my own filling with fresh raspberries and had to find a quick fix for not having buttermilk. Let’s go!

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I can’t believe I am still posting stuff from last weekend! Is it better to space them out? Because I feel like it is, but maybe you guys would rather see it all at once – Let me know!

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Anywho, these bars were created because I had run out of muffin cups while making my Caramel Apple Pie Mini Cheesecakes. I had made about 12 minis and still had filling left over, and I am not one to waste. So I needed to find something that didn’t require muffin cups, and would only need a small amount of filling since I didn’t have enough to do a whole cheesecake. I decided on these delectable cheesecake bars. I found the recipe on Food Network‘s website, and I picked it apart to use only the parts that I needed (divided in half) – the crust and the amazing streusel topping.

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After making my Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes I knew that I had to make more mini cheesecakes with other fall flavors. And it’s no surprise that I immediately settled on apple. These little delights are filled with homemade applesauce and topped with sliced apples and homemade caramel sauce. And WOW are they good! Not only that, I used the same gluten free crust as used in my pumpkin recipe by using oats for the crust instead of crackers or any type of flour mixture. Now my only problem is to figure out what flavor I want to do next! Any suggestions?

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Whenever I had seen people “make” caramel, it usually meant melting down this little caramel square candies – you know the ones that get wedged into your teeth for days? But since, I didn’t have any of those candies, and I didn’t want to run to the store, I did my usual internet scavenger hunt. I found a simple recipe from www.inspiredtaste.net. It’s a great post on caramel because it goes through step by step with photos, which is great because I don’t own a candy thermometer (and again not in the mood to go to the store). So I was able to make this caramel based on time limits and visuals. I was so excited because it ended up being so much easier than I thought it would be and only required 4 ingredients – sugar, water, vanilla and heavy whipping cream – 5 ingredients if you include patience. Also, I only did half of the recipe from their post since I was only using this sauce as a drizzle for some other treats I made on Sunday, but I will post the full version anyway. I also left out the sea salt, but I imagine I will want to try making this again with the sea salt added. Here we go…

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This weekend was so amazing! I spent all of Friday night baking with my mom, and all of Sunday day baking and eating, and Saturday I had an outdoor show with my band (Once An Empire). The outdoor shows are so fun! I just love playing under the sun and being able to enjoy the beautiful weather. The amphitheater in the park looked pretty cool too. 20131012_105001

Anyways, Friday night my mom showed me how to make Sugar Free Applesauce, and I made some amazing Maple Glazed Pumpkin muffins. I brought them as breakfast for our show as well, and those things went fast! They go great with coffee and tea, and are perfect for breakfast because they’re not too sweet but still have that hint of maple flavor.

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Weekends are my favorite – well, I think most people would say that, at least those of us that work during the week. My favorite part about the weekends is breakfast or brunch. Waking up early and drinking my coffee or tea while making something delicious just makes my entire day. And although, I am not a morning person, I would like to think I would be if I had the time every morning to concoct a tasty jump start before hitting the road.

Back before I started this culinary journey, I would make pancakes from the bag – you know the Krusteaz or Bisquick bag of white dust. During that time, I was never a big fan of pancakes. The consistency was always weird, and the taste was bland unless it was flooded in butter and syrup – ick. But, in recent weekends, I’ve started making my own pancakes from scratch. I started simple at first with just regular old pancakes, and the first time I made them I was blown away. There are so many other ingredients besides powder and water to make these delicious, so it’s no wonder the bagged version tastes so boring! I will no longer be using the prepackaged pancake mix. Pancakes from scratch are so easy to make and use ingredients I generally have in my kitchen, so there’s really no excuse to go back.

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