From the category archives:


making whoopie
{red velvet whoopie that is}

by @according2kelly on February 20, 2013


i’m a sucker for red velvet.

what do they say? a moment on the lips, on lifetime on the hips?

when it comes to red velvet , it doesn’t matter…

it makes my knees shake, & my heart race.

pretty sure i could eat red velvet all day & night.

especially red velvet whoopie pies.

the combination of red velvet & mounds of delicious cream cheese frosting?

me oh my, what’s not to love?

red velvet whoopie pies

red velvet cookies
1 box german chocolate cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips OR white chocolate chips
1, 1-oz bottle of red food coloring

1. preheat over to 375 degrees.

2. combine cake mix, eggs, oil, food coloring & vanilla extract.

3. using a spoon, fold in the chocolate chips

3. scoop out tablespoon-sized balls

4. bake for 7-10 minutes & let cool.

cream cheese frosting
1, 8-oz package cream cheese
1 stick of softened butter
1 tsp. vanilla
4+ cups of powdered sugar

1. mix cream cheese, butter & vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth & well combined.

2. slowly add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until desired taste achieved. be sure to scrape down the side of bowl with a spatula.

3. once well combined, beat for an additional minute or so, until everything is creamy & fluffy.

*  using a pastry bag or ziplock bag, pipe mounds of frosting onto one cookie & sandwich with another cookie.



apple dump cake

by @according2kelly on September 30, 2012

apple-caramel-dump-cake it’s supposedly fall.

although, considering it’s still 90 degrees outside – obviously southern california hasn’t gotten the memo.

it doesn’t matter, the leaves are changing color somewhere… which means it’s time for one of my favorite recipes – apple dump cake.

trust me, one bite & you will be thanking me for the recipe.

but the best part? it’s easy to have the ingredients always on hand & it’s probably one of the easiest recipes ever.

i can pretty much guarantee it’s going to become your new fall-favorite-go-to.


apple dump cake recipe

2 cans of apple pie filling (i prefer to get fancy, & use caramel apple pie filling)
1 box of yellow cake mix
1 cup of chopped pecans
1 stick of butter
1 can ofhansen’s ginger ale (this is the secret ingredient! i know it sounds crazy, but it makes the cake extra moist & super delicious!)

1. spread the pie filling in a 9×13 pan
2. sprinkle the pecans & cake mix over the pie filling
3. slice the butter into thin slices & layer on top
4. pour the ginger ale over the dry cake mix
5. bake at 350 degrees for an hour

best served warm with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream!

to find out more about hansen’s natural soda, visit their website, follow them on twitter at @hansensnatural, or “like” hansen’s natural soda on facebook

disclosure: over the past 3 months i have shared posts with you as part of a compensated campaign for hansen’s natural soda. all opinions are my own.


snickerdoodle cake balls

by @according2kelly on August 7, 2012

snickerdoodle cake balls?! or as my kids like to point out, they really should be called snickerdoodle cookie balls.

whatever you call them, they are delicious. (& the perfect way to carbo load for a 20  mile run, if you have a sweet tooth like me!)


snickerdoodle cake balls

2 1/2 cups crumbled soft snickerdoodle cookies (about 10 cookies)
2 tbsp plus 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup prepared vanilla frosting
1/4 cup granulated sugar
12 oz white chocolate or candy melts
1 cup crispy rice cereal (optional)

1. crumble the snickerdoodles into very fine pieces (the food processor works great)

2. add 1 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and the frosting to the cookie crumbs, and mix everything together (i used my hands). i usually add the frosting slowly. you want it moist enough to hold together when you press it into a ball, but not too frosting-rich that you lose the cookie taste.

3. use a small ice cream scooper to form 1-inch cookie balls. roll each cookie bal between your hands to make it perfectly round, & place it on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. refrigerate the cookie balls while you prepare the chocolate.

4. in your food processor, combine the granulated sugar, remaining 2 tablespoons of cinnamon, & optional crispy rice cereal (it gives a little crunch to the cookie ball coating), & mix until everything is nicely crumbled.

5. in a microwave-safe bowl (i prefer to use a glass bowl, plastic seems to retain heat & always burns my chocolate), melt the white chocolate or candy melts, and stir until it is smooth and free of lumps. pour the cinnamon-sugar topping into a shallow bowl.

6. using a toothpick, dip a cookie ball into the melted chocolate & cover the entire ball with chocolate. or, spoon a small amount of melted chocolate into the palm of your hand & roll the cookie ball in between the palms of your hands. however you do it, you want to cover the entire cookie ball with a thin layer of chocolate, & then immediately rolling the balls in the cinnamon-sugar bowl.

7. repeat this process until all of the cookie balls have been covered in white chocolate & rolled in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

8. store snickerdoodle cookie balls the refrigerator & allow the chocolate to harden. however, before devouring them, be sure to bring them to room temperature – they taste better that way!

if your house is anything like mine, the snickerdoodle cake balls won’t last long. who could possibly resist soft & chewy snickerdoodles mixed with frosting, dipped in white chocolate & coated with cinnamon sugar?! i know i can’t!


caramel ecstasy

by @according2kelly on July 12, 2012

any recipe that calls for two entire bags of caramels, is bound to be delicious.


you can’t help but love ooey-gooey caramel sandwiched between layers of shortbread.

trust me when i say this stuff is addicting.

so addicting i would have called it caramel crack, but i already have a recipe for that – so caramel ecstasy it is.

& believe me, one bite & you will definitely be in ecstasy.

caramel ecstasy

crust ingredients:
1 lb. unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 cups all-purpose flour

filling ingredients:
2 bags (14-ounces each) caramel candies, unwrapped
2/3 cup half & half, or heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup chopped peanuts (optional)

crust directions:
1. pre-heat oven to 325 degrees
2. line a 9×13 inch baking pan with a sheet of parchment paper. allow the sides of the parchment to “hang over”, making it easy for “easy removal.”
3. in a large bowl: cream the butter & both sugars until creamy.
4. add the vanilla and salt and beat until combined.
5. add the flour and beat on low speed until a smooth, soft dough forms.
6. pres 1/3 of teh dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust.
7. pat the remaining dough into a flat disk, wrap in plastic wrap & refrigerate until firm (approximately 30 minutes).
8. bake until the edges are a pale golden brown, approximately 20 minutes.

filling directions:
1. place the unwrapped caramels in a microwave-safe bowl. add the half & half/heavy cream, vanilla & salt.
2. microwave on high for 1 minute.
3. remove from microwave & stir until smooth.
4. continue microwaving in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until smooth.
5. sprinkle nuts (if using) over the bottom crust.
6. pour the caramel filling over the nuts/ crust & use a spatula to spread the filling evenly.
7. remove the remaining dough from the refrigerator and crumble it evenly over the caramel.
8. return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbly and the crumbled shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden, approximate 30 minutes.
9. transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
10. using the parchment overhang, remove the bars and transfer to a cutting surface. using a sharp knife cut the bars into small squares.

now you’re ready to enjoy! one bite & you’ll understand why i call it caramel ecstasty. although, according to my friend desiree’s recipe, the official name is gooey caramel butter bars.

whatever you call them – i’m sure you’ll aggre, they’re delicious. just be careful, if you turn your back, you might return to find the pan empty, just like i did…



fast food inspired, thai noodle salad

by @according2kelly on April 20, 2012


when you’re carbo loading you want that perfect mixture of carbs, protein – without it being too heavy.

i’ve never been a huge fan of spaghetti (it’s not that it’s not good – it is. spaghetti is just so boring – you know what i mean?).

so when i stumbled upon the recipe for fast food inspired thai noodle salad (that i totally stole borrowed from fresh & easy), i knew it would be the perfect “last meal” before i hit the pavement running the ragnar relay.

& let me tell you, it was the perfect choice. a little bit of thai – in all the right places. it was sweet & had a little crunch (that i loved), not to mention it tasted just as good this morning, if not better.

fast food inspired thai noodle salad

thin spaghetti
broccoli slaw
bean sprouts
cooked chicken
peanut butter
slivered almonds
fresh & easy thai chili lime sauce

1. boil a pot of water and cook your pasta – the pasta takes just about 5 minutes once the water’s ready.
2. meanwhile, cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
3. once the pasta’s ready and drained, add a bit of peanut butter (to suit your taste) & stir through the warm noodles so it melts nicely and distributes evenly. (just be careful not to add too much peanut butter or it thickens up quite a bit. you just want that light peanutty taste.)
4. then, mix in your cut-up chicken and as much (or as little) of the broccoli slaw, bean sprouts & slivered almonds as you choose, and finish by pouring a tablespoon or two of the thai chili lime sauce per serving and dinner is done!

it can be served room temperature, or warm – either way it’s delicious!



choco rama chocolate chip cookies

by @according2kelly on March 13, 2012

trust me, these cookies won’t last long – they WILL be gone in a matter of hours.

i carbo load on them, we celebrate with them, & they are a perfect midnight snack.

my kids ask for them on a daily basis, & i crave them even more often.

& every time i bake them, i thank my lucky stars that my friends passed the recipe along.

choco rama chocolate chip cookies

2 sticks of room temperature unsalted sweet cream butter
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup of each: white chocolate, milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, dark chocolate & butterscotch chips

1. cream butter & sugars
2. mix in eggs, vanilla, baking soda
3. slowly add flour, salt, baking powder & chocolate chips

bake at 375 degrees for 12-14 minutes or until slightly browned on the edges

* i used both unsalted & salted butter & haven’t noticed much of difference – so i usually use whatever butter i have on hand

* the recipe calls 2 1/2 cups of flour, but in my experience the cookies need more flour. i usually add at least a 1/4 cup more… you want your dough “tacky” not soft

* there’s alot of chocolate chips involved in this recipe (hence the name choco ram chocolate chip cookies) – i usually just add whatever i have on hand (because i’m lazy like that). but, then again – i make sure to always have alot of chocolate on hand, so it’s usually there when i’m ready to bake.

* i always bake these cookies on a silpat or parchment paper at 350 degrees or at 325 degrees when i’m using a convection oven – 375 degrees seemed to “bake” them too much. you want to take them out of the oven when they are just barely browned on the edges & still soft.

* just like any other cookie, keep these in an air-tight container. because of all the sugar, they seem to harden up a wee bit faster than other cookies – but no worries, they usually don’t last long enough for anyone to notice.

choco rama chocolate chip cookies are best served with an ice cold glass of milk (or chocolate milk, if you want to live on the wild side). be careful though, they are addicting – just giving you fair warning. i don’t want to hear any complaints when you can’t stop eating them.




cook like martha

by @according2kelly on November 22, 2011

when i grow up, i want to cook like martha. so when i heard she was coming to town for a cooking demo highlighting recipes from her new cookbook martha’s entertaining: a year of celebrations, i knew i had to be in the audience.  & luckily she did not disappoint…

her cookbook is beautiful. it’s 432 page of pure martha stewart awesome-ness. breathtaking photography, mouthwatering recipes – it’s definitely a cookbook i’m proud to display in my kitchen.

during the actual cooking demo & book signing, martha was full of sass & personality (i loved the leather leggings & stilettos she rocked that evening). & the seafood stew, glazed carrots, perfect white rice, & pear crostata she made for us to taste was absolutely delicious. & she whipped up the entire meal (with the help of her lovely assistant) in less than 30 minutes. so, it’s the perfect winter meal…


cook like martha: seafood stew


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 fennel bulb, trimmed, halved, and thinly sliced, plus fronds for garnish
1 large tomato, cut into large dice
Coarse salt and ground pepper
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
12 ounces skinless striped bass or red snapper fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, or diver scallops, or a combination

Crusty bread, for serving


  1. in a medium dutch oven or saucepan, combine oil and garlic; cook over medium-high until garlic is fragrant, 1 minute. add fennel and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. add tomato, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until tomato is breaking down, about 3 minutes.
  2. stir in broth and bring stew to a gentle boil. reduce to a simmer.
  3. gently fold in seafood. return to a bare simmer and cook until seafood is opaque throughout, about 3 minutes. serve stew topped with fennel fronds and a drizzle of oil, with bread alongside.

cook like martha: glazed carrots


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds baby carrots, trimmed
1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice (from 4-5 oranges)
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. melt butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. add carrots, orange juice and thyme; cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. season with salt and pepper. serve warm.

cook like martha: perfect white rice


1 cup long-grain white rice
1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
  2. stir in rice and salt and return to a boil over medium high heat.
  3. reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid, 16-18 minutes (check only toward the end of cooking time).
  4. the rice should be studded with craters, or steam holes, when it is ready. remove from heat and let steam, covered, for 10 minutes. fluff wit fork and serve.

cook like martha pear crostata

cook like martha: pear crostata & tart dough

tart ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup fine yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon ice water, plus more if needed

tart directions

  1. in a food processor, pulse flour, salt, and sugar several times to combine. add butter. pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with just a few pea-size pieces remaining.
  2. sprinkle with 2 tablespoons ice water. pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed with fingers (if needed, add up to 2 tablespoons more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time). do not overprocess.
  3. turn dough out onto a work surface; form dough into a 3/4-inch-thick disk. wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
  4. before baking, unwrap dough; place on a large piece of floured waxed paper. roll dough to a 14-inch round. using paper, lift and wrap dough around rolling pin (discarding paper); carefully unroll over a 9-inch pie plate. Gently fit into bottom and up sides of plate.
  5. trim overhang to 1 inch; fold overhang under itself. pinch between thumb and forefinger to make a uniform edge around the rim. crimp edge; refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

pear crostata ingredients

3 pounds ripe, firm pears (about 10), peeled, cored and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
all-purpose flour, for dusting
tart dough
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for egg wash
1/4 cup sanding sugar

pear crostata directions

  1. toss fruit with granulated sugar and cornstarch in a bowl, and set aside to macerate.
  2. preheat oven to 375 degrees. flour a large (at least 18 inches long) piece of parchment. place dough on parchment. using your knuckles, press edges of dough so it doesn’t crack during rolling. lightly flour top of dough to prevent sticking; roll into an 18-inch round, about 1/4 inch thick. transfer dough (still on parchment) to a large baking sheet.
  3. mound fruit in the center of dough, leaving a 2-inch border all around. fold dough over fruit, pleating it as you go. brush the exposed dough with the egg wash and sprinkle with sanding sugar.
  4. bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling in the center, 45-50 minutes. transfer sheet to a wire rack, and let tart cool completely.

thanks to the fabulous lindsey, the mod chik, for documenting our amazing martha stewart encounter.


hot chocolate floats

by @according2kelly on November 9, 2011

hot-chocolate-floatsrich & decadent double fudge hot chocolate, served with just a touch (okay, maybe a double scoop) of ice cream. hot chocolate floats– the ultimate late night anytime snack on a cold winter day.

hot chocolate floats

1 mug of hot chocolate

1/4 cup of international delight creamer of your choice

1 scoop (or 2) of ice cream of your choice

combine hot cocoa, international delight creamer in a mug and stir to blend. top with a scoop (or 2) of ice cream, & serve immediately. my “standard” hot chocolate float is made with french vanilla international delights creamer, and french vanilla ice cream or mint chocolate chip ice cream.

but sometimes, i like to mix it up & live on the wild side…. pumpkin pie spice international delights creamer & pumpkin ice cream, peppermint mocha international delights creamer & peppermint ice cream. the possibilities are truly endless.

the only thing that could make hot chocolate floats even better? a couple of candy cane joe joe’son the side. better wipe my mouth, i’m drooling.



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pumpkin curry soup

by @according2kelly on October 26, 2011

pumpkin-curry-soupthe weather has finally turned cold & there’s a definite chill in the air. so what does that mean? soup’s on. this week, pumpkin curry soup is bubbling on my stovetop. served with warm & crusty bread and maybe a spinach craisin salad, this is the perfect meal to warm you from the inside out.

pumpkin curry soup

3 tablespoons butter
1 large onion chopped (1 cup)
2 teaspoons of finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon curry powder (depending on taste – i like it spicy)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red cayenne pepper
2 cans (15-oz each), or 1 28-oz can of pure pumpkin
32-oz chicken broth
1 cup whipping cream

optional garnish: sour cream, fresh thyme, pumpkin seeds

1. in a large stock pot or dutch oven, heat butter over medium heat. cook onion, garlic until tender (stirring occasionally).
2. stir in curry powder, salt, red pepper, pumpkin & broth. heat to boiling, reduce heat & simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
3. pour slightly cooled soup into a blender in small batch & blend on high speed for about 15 seconds, or until smooth. pour blended soup into a medium sized bowl & repeat with remaining soup.
4. return all pureed soup to stock pot or dutch oven. stir in whipping cream & cook over medium-low heat until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently.

garnish with sour cream, fresh thyme &/or pumpkin seeds.

bold pumpkin flavor with just a kick of spice, pumpkin curry soup is definitely a new family favorite.




banana chocolate chip bread recipe

by @according2kelly on August 16, 2011

chocolate, banana, a handful of coconut & if you’re feeling fancy…. a sprinkling of macadamia nuts – i’d say that’s hawaii in a bread pan, or at the very least, the best banana bread recipe ever.

i’ve spent years trying to re-create & perfect this recipe from my childhood. with a hint of coconut & banana, the ooey goodness of melted chocolate & smothered in a powdered sugar icing… i think i may have finally hit the jackpot.


banana chocolate chip bread recipe

bread ingredients
3 bananas, mashed
1/3 cup of melted butter
3 tablespoons of milk
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 cup of coconut flakes
1 cup of milk chocolate chips
1 cup of macadamia nuts (optional)

icing ingredients
1/2 – 3/4 cup of powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons of milk


1. preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large bowl. add sugar, egg & vanilla.
3. add baking soda & salt and mix.
4. add the flour, mix.
5. add coconut, nuts & chocolate chips & mix with fork.
6. pour mixture into a buttered loaf pan.
7. bake approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
8. while the bread cools, mix the icing…
9. mix powdered sugar & milk until it’s at the consistency where is slowly runs off a spoon. (if it’s too runny, it won’t stick to bread.)
10. remove bread from pan & drizzle (or smother with) icing on top.

best enjoyed slightly warmed from the oven. although, it is awfully delicious served the next morning for breakfast. or, as the base of a hot fudge sundae (complete with a scoop of vanilla ice cream & hot fudge).