Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Chocolate Bombe

Chocolate lovers out there this if for you. Rich, delectable, and a dessert covered in chocolate, the Chocolate Bombe makes a unique cake for a special occasion.  Whether it's for Easter or a birthday party, the cake is overall easy to assemble and sure to impress guests. Just look at that picture! YUM! The name makes me think of a chocolate bomb, it's that explosive.

This recipe came from my mother's Daytons cookbook that she collected when she used to work at Daytons.  For you younger generations, Macy's used to be Marshall Fields, which used to be Daytons, which took over/joined Hudson stores therefore becoming Dayton Hudson.  Daytons had thrown a potluck for their 24,000 employees and 500 winning recipes came together to form this potluck recipe book. My mom says it was a really enjoyable event, since it was a fun way for the employees to socialize and try everyone's best recipes. This Chocolate Bombe was in the book and came from Camille Atkinson from the Hudson's Ann Arbor.

This recipe came from 1989, and within that time frame one ingredient required for this recipe, a can of almaretto almond frosting, disappeared off grocery store shelves.  We attempted to purchase it over the counter from bakeries, but that's not as popular an option as people are stealing the frosting for their own baking use.  Therefore with a few ingredients we made our own. We'd recommend maybe to even use less frosting than the recipe requires, since it's already rich. But that amaretto liquor really steps this cake up, and makes it a great cake for celebrating those older birthdays.


12 oz (12 squares) semi-sweet chocolate
3/4 cup butter
5 egg yolks
8 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 baked angel food cake
12 oz (12 squares) semi-sweet chocolate
1/4 cup vegetable oil
16 oz can amaretto almond frosting
*Note: to make the frosting we used 1 can classic vanilla frosting, added 4 tsp flavored liquor (Amaretto), and 1 tsp vanilla extract.


In large saucepan, melt 12 oz chocolate and butter over medium heat.  Remove from heat.  Stir in egg yolks.  Cool to room temperature.  In large mixing bowl, beat egg whites and sugar until stiff peaks form.  Fold egg whites and vanilla into chocolate mixture. 

Cut angel food cake into strips.  Line 9 inch bowl with strips.  Fill with chocolate mixture.  Top with a layer of angel food cake strips.  Freeze overnight.  Un-mold bombe onto serving plate.  Frost with a layer of frosting.  Refrigerate.  In saucepan, melt 12 oz chocolate with oil.  Cover bombe with chocolate mixture. 

Serve immediately or return to freezer. Cover with plastic wrap to freeze.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

A dear coworker of mine left my team for another job and we threw a little going away party for her. I was looking for an excuse to do a little fall baking so volunteered to bring some treats. These were the perfect fall dessert!

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

I used Krusteaz Pumpkin Spice Mix. I used the bread recipe since I did not want my whoopie pies to be too dense or overly sweet. One bread mix packet made 18 medium whoopie pies.

I had some silicone baking sheets that I had purchased on sale after last autumn. They worked like magic and added an adorable fall touch! Admittedly, I had a bit of OCD when I noticed that the tops had bubbled out. I cut off the tops so that the imprinted side could lay flat while face up. However, the tops were scrumptious to nibble on while I finished the whoopie pies!

Cream Cheese Filling:
- 6 oz cream cheese
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients together. Cut whoopie pies into halves and once cool, spread or pipe the filling into the whoopie pies. Refrigerate until shortly before serving. Now, pair this with a carmel apple bar and you have yourself a party!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sweet BBQ Crockpot Chicken

BBQ...yum!  It's hard not to have your mouth water at the mention of bbq.

This isn't one of those recipes that will take a whole lot of attention and  constant surveillance to make sure it turns out just right.  Easy to just throw the ingredients in the pot and let it cook unsupervised until dinnertime rolls around and you break out the buns to serve this fall apart bbq chicken.

This is one recipe you can add to your make-ahead and freeze recipe collection.  Perfect for those with busy lives and looking for a cheap no fuss meal. 


4-6 chicken breasts
12 oz bottle of BBQ sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper

*Note due to large amount of sauce 6 chicken breasts works well. Use 1/2 tsp cayenne for less heat.


1) Cook on LOW in slowcooker 4-6 hours.
2) Serve the chicken as is OR
Shred the chicken and place back in the cooker if you're looking to make bbq sandwiches.
3) Serve alongside some corn, cornbread, or coleslaw to round off the meal.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Heroes of Olympus

Another series by Rick Riordan that I absolutely fell in love with. It's hard not to when the books are well written and full of adventure, myths, monsters, deities, and heroes. A new Great Prophecy and a new generation of demigods. In this 5 book series you revisit old friends with a new cast of main characters, the heroes of Camp Half-Blood embark on the most dangerous challenges yet.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians was the preceding series to The Heroes of Olympus. If you haven't already heard of the Percy Jackson series which has blown up in popularity of the books and been turned into movies, you should talk to some teens. Widely popular, there is a lot to like about both series.  If you want to find out more about the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series check out my previous post.

Now if someone is interested in the Heroes of Olympus series they don't need to read the Percy Jackson series, HOWEVER the two do intertwine and continue from the previous series. So what I'm trying to say is it's a mistake not to read both series.  Plus reading all the books in the correct order will of course answer any questions that might pop up and best explain the workings of Ancient Greek and Roman mythology. Because let's be honest not all adults are up to speed on mythology, even some of the basics.  Kids seem to get a real kick out of the books, both male and female.  These are like the Harry Potter Books that used to be the main books to read back in my day.  Am I really that old already?

So whether you are a teen, or have a teen in your family it's worth sharing the series with them if they haven't already picked it up.  Plus the books make great gifts for birthdays and Christmas.  Who doesn't like to encourage reading by gifting a fabulous book or two or a whole series?

And hey I'm in my mid twenties and I greatly enjoyed them. Laughing out loud, having the books gripped in my hand til I turned to the final page, and then I'd walk over to my stack of books and start right in on the next one. I'm sure you can tell patience is not one of my stronger virtues. But lucky for you, all the books are out and so you don't even have to wait for a release of another book in the series like I had was torture. Did I mention I lack patience? Well in case I have failed to convince you it's in your best interest to share/read these novels check out the summary of the first book. I didn't want to give anything away by writing ones for the others, since I'm hoping you'll be intriugued enough and take up my challenge to read the series. I mean look at the covers! Isn't your interest a little piqued?

If you do want more information on the books check out Rick Riordan's website.  From there I got these great pictures of the covers and there are summaries for the novels, and the order in which to read them.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Carmel Apple Bar

Fall is such a beautiful season. Whether its fall fashion, fall baking or pumpkin crafts, we here at TITC are big fans of the change of colors and the anticipation of holiday season!

I am always looking for creative ideas for get together each season. Last winter, I put together a hot chocolate bar and wondered how I could incorporate something similar for fall. I decided to try the idea out with caramel apples. 

Carmel Apple Bar


Depending on how fancy you want to get, you could get all sorts of different apples. Since apples are lower priced and there is a large variety in the fall, you could get anything from Honeycrisp to Pink Lady to Gold Ginger!

You could include whole apples with popsicle sticks in them. Or just have slices available with a skewer in them for easy dipping.


Carmel, of course! You could also include chocolate and peanut butter for some fancy concoctions. 


Some traditional add-ons include: m&m candy, chocolate sprinkles, peanuts and candy corn. A few other ideas are marshmallows (We used some that were candy corn flavored!), toffee, chocolate chunks and graham crackers.

What a fun addition to a fall party or get together! For other great fall and holiday ideas, check out our Pinterest page!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

End of Alzheimer's Walk 2014

This past weekend I was able to participate in the Alzheimer's Walk in Minneapolis. My family took part of this amazing cause in honor of my grandfather, who currently has Alzheimers. It felt great to not only support this organization but to do so with my family made it more empowering.

Alzheimer's is a disease that causes memory problems due to dementia. According to the Alzhiemer's Association, Alzhiemers accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia. It is a progressive disease and there is currently no cure.

At the walk, they provided four different colored windmill flowers. Blue meant that you had Alzheimers, purple meant that you lost someone to Alzheimers, yellow meant that you loved or are caring for someone with Alzheimers and orange meant that you supported the end of Alzheimers. It was breathtaking to see the hundreds of colored flowers being raised into the air at the beginning of the walk. It was moving to see all those who have lost loved ones or are caring for loved ones with Alzheimers. 

My grandpa is an amazing man, a veteran. We love him dearly and while there are plenty of simple, beautiful moments that we enjoy with him, there are equally as many hard moments. My grandma is an amazing example of love and patience. I have also watched my dad and his siblings love up their dad and mom. They have done an incredible job supporting one another and learning about the disease to try and better care for their dad.

I am lucky to have such a sweet grandfather and to be part of such a great family. I will be supporting the Alzheimer's Association going forward and it was an honor to be a part of the annual walk.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wedding Guestbook

Most wedding days are a blur, especially the reception portion of the event. While there are some amazing moments that have been etched into my memory, I can attest to that being the case. We were so incredibly happy. We talked to everyone and their mother, gave giant bear hugs, rocked out on the dance floor. At the end of it all, we wanted to remember who was able to celebrate our big day with us. Cue the guestbook.

These days, there are so many options for a creative guestbook. I am sure many of you have seen the thumbprint trees, the photo booth strips in a scrapbook or writing notes of love and encouragement in a photo album.

A few of my other favorites are signing a monogram wooden letter, signing rocks to be placed in a vase or writing on wine bottles to be opened and drank by the happy couple on future wedding anniversaries.

With so many options to choose from and so many ideas already used, I wanted to do something different and out of the box. That said, I also wanted to create a guestbook that we could display easily in our home. I ran into a couple of ideas that I liked and ended up deciding on a variation of my own.

One of my new sister-in-laws is an amazing artist. Someday I will share more on her art and hopefully she will have a website available by then! She kindly agreed to help make our guestbook a reality. We picked out some paper, a beautiful frame and she took it from there! 

Liz drew a man and woman snuggled up in a boat, fishing. She clearly knows us well because she included an anchor and some turtles. She made the most incredible background out of old book pages, which created a stunning layered look for the backdrop. It was a perfect subtle tie in to our reception venue. Did I mention that we had our reception in a library?! We were able to display the precious and treasured artwork at the wedding on an easel.

We had our guests sign fishes for us to add later. I used the Cricut machine to cut out all different sizes of fish using black, gray, gold and purple papers. To sign the fish, we had black, purple and gold pens. I made some instructions and put them in a flashy frame that read, “Two less fish in the sea” and to “Catch a fish and sign your name.”

I am still working on putting it all together but I know that it is going to be a prized piece in our home. It was special to go through all the little notes and signatures. My husband and I feel like we have both found the “perfect catch” in each other and think our guestbook is a beautiful reminder of all the other amazing people who fill up our colorful “ocean” of a life.  

Of all the fish in the sea, I choose you.