A very Minnie Mouse birthday

sugar cookies oreo cake pops finished

A week ago, the daughter of one of my best friends turned 2. About a month and a half ago, my friend had asked if I would bake some cookies for the party, which was a Minnie Mouse theme. To be honest, I was surprised at the Minnie Mouse theme at first. I thought kids today didn’t know who Mickey and Minnie are and only knew about the Disney Princesses and the characters from the Disney/Pixar movies. But, apparently Mickey and Minnie are back and as popular as ever thanks to the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse TV show (which I didn’t even know still existed).

Of course, I said yes to my friend’s request and immediately started thinking of what kind of cookie I would make, how I would decorate them, what fun stuff I could add to them. Even though my friend had just asked for cookies that looked like Minnie’s head, I knew I wanted to do more. So, I searched Pinterest and Esty and got the idea to do individual Minnie bows and number 2s. Then, it hit me–I need to make cake pops!

The first time I ever made cake pops was for the baby shower celebrating the now 2 year old. Then, for her Winter One-derland first birthday party last year, I made snowman and snowflake cake pops. So, obviously, I HAD to make them for this party. It’s like my thing now for her, right?

Since I knew I’d be making sugar cookies (using my go-to recipe from In Katrina’s Kitchen), I decided to go with a chocolate cake pop to add in some more flavor. I had made melting snowman Oreo truffles last year for Christmas and figured that the recipe could easily work for cake pops. And, it’s so easy, like ridiculously easy. Continue reading


Harry Potter Butterbeer Cupcakes

cupcake butterscotch buttercream

Before I get into my latest baking adventure, I have to say that I am so so sad that Alan Rickman died. What a loss of such a great talent and person. I loved him in every movie I’ve seen with him in it. But, let’s be honest, my favorite role was him as Snape in the Harry Potter series. I read the majority of the books, and have seen all of the movies and I thought he portrayed Snape wonderfully and made him likable even when he wasn’t supposed to be. I’ve been wanting to re-read and re-watch the movies, and I think that now is a perfect time.

Harry potter movies snape actor alan rickman

I wish I could say that I made these Harry Potter Butterbeer Cupcakes in tribute to Alan Rickman. But the truth is I made them about a week prior for my friend’s birthday. She loves Harry Potter even more than I do. I knew I wanted to make something special and fun for her birthday and when I found these Butterbeer Cupcakes, I knew IMMEDIATELY that I had to attempt them. Thank you to Amy at Amy Bites for this amazing recipe!

There are 3 steps to making the cupcakes: Continue reading

Chocolate Peppermint Christmas Roll

chocolate cake with peppermint buttercream filling and chocolate glaze

I put away the last of my Christmas decorations this past weekend, and it made me so sad that the Christmas season is already over! I always feel like it goes by too fast, but for some reason this year it seemed to FLY! I love baking throughout the year (obviously), but I really love it at Christmas time because of all of the yummy flavors–chocolate, caramel, pumpkin, cranberry, orange. My absolute favorite though is peppermint. So today I’m sharing the Chocolate Peppermint Roll that I made for my office’s Christmas party.

I was super nervous about making this. The only other time I’ve made a roll of any kind was a pumpkin roll for this past Thanksgiving and I didn’t grease or flour the pan enough so it got stuck to the pan and I really had to work to get it out without breaking the cake. I was determined not to let that happen again!

The recipe is from Love Grows Wild (and I must say, her pictures are much better than mine. Goal for next time–better pics! hahaha). The cake takes a little bit of time to make, but it’s worth it because it’s so yummy!

There are 3 parts to the roll: the chocolate cake, the peppermint buttercream and then the glaze. Continue reading

Holiday M&M Blondies


When I started this blog back in August, I had every intention of keeping up with it and posting at least once a week. But then, life happens and things (work, travel, etc.) got busy and the next thing I know, it’s 2 weeks until Christmas and I haven’t written anything since the end of August.

That’s not to say that I haven’t been baking and cooking and crafting and traveling, because, oh I have. Somehow though, all those things I made and the pictures I took documenting it have just been sitting on my computer. But, that’s about to change.

I will post all of those things that I’ve made while away from my blog, but because I’m staring at my Christmas tree all lit up and listening to Christmas music, and feeling all festive, I’m going to come back to all those other things and instead post the most recent thing I made–Holiday M&Ms Blondies. Continue reading

Bridal Shower Sugar Cookies


My sister is getting married in a month and two weeks ago, we celebrated her bridal shower. My aunts organized the whole thing, and it was held at The Shawnee Inn, a place near and dear to my sister’s heart.

Although all of the food was being provided, I decided it would be a great idea to volunteer to make all of the cookies for the shower, and then we could just have an assortment of other desserts there too. When I came up with this brilliant idea, I was hopped up on pain killers after undergoing knee surgery and wasn’t in the clearest of minds. As the shower got closer and closer, a part of me couldn’t help but think, “I volunteered to do what? I have to make and decorate how many cookies? What if they don’t turn out good and then everything is ruined?” I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little bit of pressure because my perfectionist self (at least when it comes to baking) would be scrutinizing everything and would be mad at myself if everything wasn’t perfect. I was so nervous of screwing up that I almost backed out. But, my sister has always been one of my biggest fans when it comes to baking (she seriously asks me all the time when am I going to quit my job and open a bake shop), and so I decided that I would see my drug-infused promise through. Continue reading

Healthy Two Ingredient “Cookies”



Recently, I did something that I swore I’d never do when baking. I made healthy cookies. That’s right, healthy, clean-eating, no sugar, no oil, no eggs cookies. Do they really count as cookies if it’s missing all that stuff? Jury’s still out on that, but the end result was tasty.

Why healthy cookies, you ask? Well, as much as I love baking, I can’t be eating a ton of cookies every week. Well, I could, but then I’d have to spend hours at the gym, and who really wants to do that? And, with my sister’s wedding coming up in September, I need to look good in my dress! (Totally vain, I know, but what girl doesn’t have that thought)?

I had some bananas sitting around that were just slightly too ripe and I needed something to do with them. I remembered seeing a recipe on Pinterest that called for cookies made with bananas and oatmeal. So obviously I went and found it and whipped up some cookies. Continue reading

Memorial Day Golf Ball Sugar Cookies

Golf Ball Cookies

Memorial Day is my 3rd favorite holiday, behind Christmas and Thanksgiving. I know, it seems odd, most people wouldn’t pick it as a favorite. But, for my family and me, it’s a big deal. Every Memorial Day weekend for the last 31 years, my parents have hosted a golf tournament. What started off as an idea between my dad and his handful of friends to make sure that they all got together at least once a year, has turned into a full-blown, weekend-long, 50+ people affair.

It starts with golfing on Sunday morning and culminates in a picnic at my parents, complete with plenty of food, beer, and an awards ceremony. The awards are typically joke awards that are relevant to things that have taken place in the last year, the winner gets a horrible plaid jacket that they have to wear throughout the year (unlike the Masters’ jacket, this isn’t one that you’re dying to win. It’s from the 70s and hasn’t been washed since. It was found in my grandfather’s closet when my dad decided to throw this bash together all those years ago).

When I say I love this day, I’m not exaggerating. Family, friends, laughter, it’s what life is all about. By the time the weekend rolls around, I’m so excited to see everyone.

Because of the number of people who attend, everyone brings a dish to the picnic, so as to alleviate some of the cooking that my mom has to do. The past few years, I’ve tried to make something golf themed. A few years ago it was a cake that looked like a golf course, after that, donuts that looked like they were sitting on a green. I did deviate last year and made star cookies that were red, white and blue that were then made into a flag (it is Memorial Day after all, let’s not forget the real reason for the 3-day weekend). This year, I wanted to make the cookies again but make them golf related. And that’s when I remembered this adorable picture that I had found on Pinterest.

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 9.15.55 PM

So cute, right? I can totally recreate that, maybe just a little less complicated (and just the golf balls, not the “course”), I thought to myself. And it wasn’t too hard to do either! Continue reading

The time this girl got dirty


A few weekends ago, I did something that I thought I’d never do: a 5k mud run.  Forget about the fact that I’m not supposed to run given my two knee surgeries and threats from my doctor of “it’s not if, it’s when you have another surgery.” The running part really wasn’t that bad and my knee was okay for the most part (the few days after not so much, but total fine during the run which is what matters!). It’s the fact that I ran, crawled and slid through mud. Mud and I don’t mix. Dirt and I don’t mix. I mean, I wear flip flops or slippers around my own house because I don’t want my feet to get dirty–and it’s my own house!! So the fact that I not only did this mud run, but was actually the one who suggested to my friends that we do it was mind-blowing.

The Dirty Girl 5k was actually a lot of fun, and not really as bad as I thought it would be.  The race is obviously for women, hence the name, it’s not actually a race–no one keeping time here, and there are signs at each obstacle that say “you can skip the obstacle, we won’t tell anyone” so it’s not as intense as Tough Mudder.  But hello, what’s the point of signing up for an obstacle course mud run if you aren’t going to complete the obstacles? So naturally my friends and I completed every single one of them: climbing over walls, climbing up ropes, sliding down a slide into a landing area of mud, army crawling under ropes, 12 obstacles in all. Continue reading

Exploring my Irish roots


Two months ago at this time, I was on a plane bound for Dublin, Ireland with 12 of my family members from my dad’s side of the family.  I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland and to be able to experience it with my family was incredible.  We’ve all talked about it for so long, so the fact that someone, aka my amazing cousin Katie, was actually able to organize it, and us, was a dream come true.

My dad’s family has deep Irish roots; my dad is 100% Irish and his father was 1st generation American.  So this really was an opportunity to where our family came from, and where they still are, as we have cousins who still live in County Mayo, where my great-grandfather grew up.

There are not enough words to describe my trip, my feelings, my experience.  The easiest way to describe it is LOVE.  I’ve been fortunate to travel to many places, but nowhere else have I fallen in love with a place like I did upon arriving in Ireland. Continue reading