The new roommie and I have signed a lease, hired movers and started to complain about packing.  But all the moving pains don’t compare to how  stoked I am to live in a house with an office space, two kitchen aids and possibly a lazy boy recliner love seat!  I’m also pretty pumped to use my DIYness to decorate.  I’ve been pursing Design Sponge’s Best of Bedrooms parts 1, 2 and 3 to gather ideas because guess what I can fit more than my bed and a dresser in my new room!

Like I said before we have an office space that we plan to use for grading (new roommie will be student teaching this Fall), sewing table and “library.”  The walls of course are that horrible white that all the landlords in the world paint their walls, but neither of us wants to have to do the whole “paint the walls then paint them back,” so I’m looking in to this nifty DIY white wall paper.  It is a self adhesive wall paper that you can paint and then remove from the wall when you move out. I’m thinking it would be great for an accent wall.

Last but not least the first night you spend in a new place usually means eating take out and drinking an adult beverage from the local corner store but the first thing I plan to make when we have guests is this recipe for Slow Roasted Tomato and Jalapeno Ketchup and Roasted Potatoes.





It was Monday, July 4th and I realized that I had a dozen eggs in the fridge that were going to expire on the 7th, five bananas that I had forgotten I purchased the previous Monday and a curious amount of half eaten snack foods.  What was I to do?  Well, I made banana bread muffins, egg salad and tried out the Compost Cookie recipe I’d been coveting since my trip to NYC.

The egg salad recipe is from 101 cookbooks. If you’re thinking that you don’t need a recipe for egg salad then at least try out her hard boiled egg method (below), no joke it changed the way I view the hard boiled egg. Also, use greek yogurt instead of mayo it taste the same and it is better for you.


I’ve realized that 90% of the challenge here is properly boiling the egg. You need to boil it so the center sets yet stays moist. You also need to avoid the green/grey ring thing that surrounds the yolk in many hard boiled eggs. I use the same technique here that I learned camping with a hardcore egg enthusiast. It has worked for me flawlessly ever since. The key is to avoid over cooking, and to dunk the eggs in a bowl of icy water to stop the cooking after you remove them from the hot water. I always use good quality eggs – but something to keep in mind, the fresher they are, the harder they are to peel after boiling.

The photo above is the only image I will show you that I took of my Compost Cookies.  They taste great but they look awful. Next time I am going to try this version of the recipe from momofukufor2.  Note: when you make these cookies you need to refrigerate the dough for a minimum of 1 hour or up to 1 week as individual cookie size (picture above) so make room in the fridge.


The Banana Bread recipe I used was from All Recipes and I would use it again but I’d like to have a recipe that bakes up a bit more moist.  Note: I doubled the recipe and I didn’t measure out the bananas, I just used the five that I had.  To make the muffins instead of bread: pour the batter into a lined cupcake pan, bake at 350 for about 30 minutes and take them out once a tooth pick comes out clean.

cake pops

Besides trying to figure out why someone would hack a baking blog,  I made cake pops over the weekend for my cousin’s bridal shower.  Long before cake pops were in Starbucks, they were being made by Bakerella, and this past Christmas, my cousin gave me a signed copy of her cook book, Cake Pops, that I lugged with me on my eight-hour bus ride from Chicago to Minneapolis.


To say making this fun treat was a breeze would be a lie, but they were easy enough that I woke up at 8:00 Thursday morning, and they were complete and ready to eat by 6:00 pm. Please remember that this was not all I did that day.

As you can see, I just stuck the pops in a Styrofoam block from the craft store and then decorated it with the paper from the bridal shower invites.  Once things were wrapping up, my S-I-L and I packed up the treats as party favors with plastic wrap and raffia ribbon.  I even got to share some with friends the following day for a birthday celebration.

Here is the recipe but instead of red velvet, use chocolate and instead of cream cheese frosting use vanilla and instead of chocolate bark use candy coating chips.


If you’re in a time crunch, freeze the cake balls for the 15 minutes – no need to put them in the fridge for half the day.

Plan to fail when dipping at least the first four of your cake balls. Seriously, people will be just as happy to eat them.

You can get all your supplies at the grocery store and on Bakerella’s amazon storefront.


Root beer cake

Root beer floats and fried cheese curds at LaGrander’s drive-in in Chippewa Falls, WI is one thing I miss during the summers here in Chicago; however, this root beer float cake helped ease the pain.

I started to make this cake on Sunday for my neighbor/friend’s birthday on Monday and made the frosting and frosted the cake before I went to work on Monday morning.  If you need to put together a cake but don’t have enough time right before the event (and you don’t want to serve a dry cake), you should this recipe. It is one of the easiest “do ahead” cake recipes I’ve made. Plus, it is a bundt cake, and who doesn’t love a bundt cake?

Click to download a pdf of BrownEyedBaker‘s Root Beer Float Cake recipe.


Tips:  My frosting came out way too thick, so I just added more root beer as I mixed, just like you would do with milk.  I turned my oven down to 300 and took it out after 45 minutes, and I think it still needed a bit longer.  Next time, I’m going to leave the oven on at 325 and just keep a closer eye on it.  You must eat this cake with vanilla ice cream or a vanilla-ice-cream-like substitute.

lemon roll

Last night, my friend Kate made a wonderful “family” dinner for a few of us and finished it off with a delicious summer dessert. I literally grabbed my dish back as she was clearing the table and demanded that she let me finish my last bite.  The great thing about this dessert it wasn’t even that bad for us because it was from the The American Heart Association Cookbook.


22 once can lemon pie filling

16 ounce package angel food cake mix

1 tablespoon confections’sugar

2 cups fat-free or low-fat frozen whipped topping, thawed

12 ounces fresh blueberries


Preheat the oven to 350 F

Line a 10×15 inch jell roll pan with wax paper

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the pie filling and cake mix,  Beat on medium for 5 to 7 minutes.  Spoon in to the pan, using a rubber scraper, smooth the mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean

Sprinkle a dish towel with confectioners’ sugar Invert the cake onto the towel Peel away and discard the wax paper.  Neatly trim the edges of the cake roll.  Starting from a short end, roll up the cake in the dish towel.  Let cool on a cooling rack for 2 hours.

In a small bowl, stir together the  topping and lemon zest.

Unroll the cake and remove the dish towel.  Spread the whipped topping over the cake; reroll.  Freeze for about 2 hours, or until the whipped topping is firm

To serve, cut into 16 slices.  Sprinkle with blueberries – don’t be stingy.


Click here to download the pdf of the recipe.



“put an Oero in it!”

Some of you may be familiar with the saying “put a bird on it!” from the television show Portlandia on IFC.  Well, yesterday, my cousin introduced me to the saying “put an Oero in it!”

For example, don’t just make a chocolate chip cookie – make a chocolate chip cookie with an Oero in the center; or, don’t just make brownies – make brownie-covered Oreos!  This may seem a bit indulgent, but what delicious baking treat isn’t? Here are a couple recipes for Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies: Amandeleine’s recipe and Becky Bakes’ recipe and Picky Palate’s Brownie Covered Oreos.