Cast iron cooking!

I haven’t been on here in ages, but I recently got a cast iron skillet and I am having a ton of fun with it! I successfully made biscuits the other weekend, and last Sunday I went crazy and made a pineapple upside down cake and a chicken pot pie. I’m planning on actually updating this thing, so for now I just wanted to make sure these recipes were saved for me to use again in the future!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

12 pineapple slices in juice (from three 8-oz cans)
16 maraschino cherries
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup pineapple juice (from can of pineapple)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
Preheat oven to 350°F. Add melted butter to 12-inch cast iron or ovenproof skillet. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over butter. Arrange 8 pineapple slices in bottom of skillet. Cut remaining slices in half; arrange around inside edge of skillet. Place 1 cherry in center of each whole and half pineapple slice.
In large bowl, beat cake mix, pineapple juice, oil and eggs with electric mixer on low speed until moistened; beat 2 minutes on high speed. Pour into skillet over fruit.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until cake is golden brown and springs back when touched lightly in center.
Cool cake in skillet 5 to 10 minutes. Run knife around edge of cake to loosen. Place heatproof plate upside down over skillet; turn plate and skillet over. Remove skillet. Serve cake warm.

Chicken Potpie With Cheddar Biscuit Topping


4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup chicken stock1 large carrot, thinly sliced
1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into ¾ inch dice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 cup frozen peas
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup half-and-half
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups diced cooked chicken
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Heat a deep 10-inch skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and tilt pan to coat it evenly. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Add the stock, carrot, potato, parsley, and thyme to the skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until potato is tender. Add the peas and cook for 1 minute. Strain the mixture, reserving the stock and vegetables in separate bowls.

Heat the remaining butter in the skillet over low heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Whisk in the reserved stock and bring to boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Add the half-and-half and simmer for 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the chicken and vegetables to the skillet. Stir well.

While the vegetables simmer, prepare the biscuit dough. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a mixing bowl. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender, two knives, or your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the cheddar and sour cream and stir until it forms a soft but not sticky dough. Knead the dough gently on a floured surface, roll or pat out ¾ inch thick, and cut out 8 to 12 rounds with a floured 3-inch biscuit cutter. *I did not cut out the biscuits, I just dropped them by spoonfulls on top of the filling.

Arrange the biscuits on top of the filling and bake the potpie in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the biscuits are brown and the filling is bubbling. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.


33 weeks! Happy 4th of July!

33 wksI’m getting really huge! I keep saying I look like a house, and Joe likes to remind me that that is actually accurate because a person is living inside me. We had our birthing class/hospital tour this past Sunday. It was a very long class, a marathon day from 8 am to 5 pm. We were already pretty tired when the day started, but Joe was such a great partner and really payed attention! We learned breathing techniques and what to expect during labor. The best part for me was getting to tour L&D, we got to see exactly where to come in when I’m in labor and what will happen. The birthing rooms are all private and huge, and an hour or so after the baby is born we’ll move to a recovery room that is also really nice. My favorite piece of information was that Domino’s delivers to the hospital, so as soon as the baby is born Joe can get me a pizza. Ha.

Now that we’ve had our class, I really feel like the baby is going to be here soon! Not too soon hopefully, he or she better wait until at least August 1st to make an appearance. I’ve got bags packed for us to have in the birthing room and then a bag for things that we’ll need in recovery. I don’t want to go crazy and bring too much, but I definitely want to be comfortable! I had my first experience with Braxton Hicks contractions Tuesday night. Joe and I were going out to dinner and my stomach started feeling really weird and it hurt to breathe, and I couldn’t get in a comfortable position. They stopped after about 30 minutes. I could definitely tell that they weren’t anything real, but they weren’t fun!

I had my 33 week check up yesterday afternoon, it was the fastest appointment ever! The nurse weighed me and told me that I actually weigh exactly the same as I did at my last appointment 2 weeks ago. She said it in a very surprised voice and I was worried that that was a bad thing, but she said it was okay. I was sure I’d gained a few more pounds, especially since I’d had a whopper with onion rings for lunch. Ha.

Joe and I had a lazy 4th of July, it was very nice! I made us orange rolls for breakfast, finally got the apartment clean, worked on more nursery room organization, and Joe and I saw World War Z this afternoon. We had burgers for dinner and I made a pie for dessert! I took some pictures of the nursery, it’s still pretty empty but it’s ready enough for the baby!

nurseryThe crib fits great in this nook in the corner! We’re going to use the dresser as a changing table, we have a super cute diaper caddy that we can move around the apartment as needed.

nursery 3Joe has the stroller/car seat all put together, it’s super cute! I’m pretty excited to use our rock’n’play, it’ll be like a bassinet we can keep near our bed the first few weeks!

nursery 4The closet is looking a little full with all of our bags at the bottom! Our diaper bag is already ready to go, not that we’ll need it for a while! Our hospital bags are 95% ready, just have to throw a few last minute things in the day of!

pieThis is our smore’s pie that I made for dessert! It looked good and seemed pretty holiday appropriate! The marshmallows got a little more toasted on one side, but I think it will taste good! I got the recipe off of Pinterest, I changed it up a little but the original recipe was found here:

21 weeks, piece of cake!

Joe and I have had a busy past couple of weeks! Molly came to visit, and then it was Easter weekend, and this weekend Gracie stopped by for a quick visit! All of the excitement is making time go by faster than usual! Last weekend we were lucky to make it home for Easter! We spent Saturday hanging out at my parents house. We dyed Easter eggs, had an Easter egg hunt, and went out to dinner. Joe and I got to see all my sisters and parents, my grandmothers, my grandfather, and one of my aunts! We went out to dinner and got to chat with everyone. My family was a little disappointed that I don’t have more of a baby bump to see! Ha.

eggsDying Easter eggs!

cutiesMe and my cutie!

Sunday morning we went to church with Joe’s mom, it was a packed house! After a really nice service we went home to have a big lunch! Joe’s aunt and uncle came over, as well as my sisters and dad. We had delicious homemade lasagna and played a board game (our families love to play board games).

20 weksJoe and I after church! I was trying to accentuate the little baby bump I have.

We had a great time visiting with our families. As usual, I was sad to have to leave! So now I am halfway done with the pregnancy! It’s hard to believe. At the last doctor visit we heard the usual good news, and got to hear a very loud heartbeat! I really think I’m starting to have more of a bump each day.

This weekend we were glad to have Gracie come see us! She had been in the area for a few days working, and got to visit with us once her work trip was done! Saturday afternoon she drove up from Bethesda and we went to the Inner Harbor for dinner. We ate at a place called Houlihan’s. The food was really good, service was a little dodgy. But we had a great time catching up! After dinner we came home and had the cake I’d made earlier in the day! I made a banana pudding poke cake, from a recipe I found on Pinterest! It was really simple but super delicious. You start off making a regular yellow cake, and then punch a bunch of holes once the cake comes out of the oven!

caekIt looks really fancy with the holes in it. Then you mix up 2 small boxes of banana cream pudding with 4 cups of milk, and let it sit for a minute or two. Then you pour it over the cake, letting the pudding sink into the holes.

puddingThe cake pan was getting pretty full! You put the cake in the fridge to let the pudding set up, and once it is cold and not jiggly you ice the cake with a whole tub of cool whip! Put the cake back in the fridge until you are ready to eat. After we got back from dessert I pulled the cake out of the fridge (it had been sitting for about 6 hours at this point, but I read that it tastes even better the next day), and I put crushed vanilla wafer crumbs on top of our pieces before eating.

cakeLooks pretty good right?

joe and gracieJoe and Gracie with their cake! It was a pretty big hit! I’m excited to eat a piece later today to see if it really tastes better after a day in the fridge. The original recipe can be found here:

Gracie left for the airport this morning after breakfast, but we had a great little visit! Hopefully in a month or two Joe and I will be able to go visit her in Connecticut for a weekend! This afternoon Joe and I are driving out to West Virginia so Joe can drive a Lamborghini around a race track. It was a fun thing I bought for him a while back and he’s been looking forward to it! I don’t really have any more baby updates, aside from the fact that I really think I’m starting to feel the baby move. I’m never really sure if it’s the baby or my stomach growling, but I’ve definitely been more aware of something going on in there! So that is exciting. I can’t wait to feel some real kicks!

Almost 15 weeks, Valentine’s day, and our anniversary!

It’s been a busy past two weeks! Last Thursday was Valentine’s day, and Joe and I decided to go to D.C. to eat at Mellow Mushroom. Mellow Mushroom is our favorite pizza place ever, and we used to go all the time in Tennessee. The closest one to where we live in Baltimore is D.C., which isn’t too far of a drive. Usually. Unless you happen to get stuck in two hours of traffic. Which we did, of course. So we had me, the pregnant lady who was starving and always has to pee (and also suffers from crazy road rage), and Joe, who had worked all day and was also starving. By the time we parked the car I was ready to book it to the restaurant. Luckily there was no wait! I had my delicious Magical Mystery Tour pizza and Joe made his own pizza. We also ate an entire cheese bread appetizer. No big deal.



This Mellow Mushroom had a cool circus theme going on! My Iphone takes the grainiest pictures (it’s likely my fault).

I had made us a dessert from a recipe I’d found on Pinterest (because that’s what I do). It was a cake batter pudding bar thing, and I made it because Joe loves cake batter cookies, and I had cute Valentine themed M&Ms. It looked great coming out of the oven, it smelled great, and I had high hopes.



And then Joe and I tried it. It was no good. Like, I couldn’t even eat my piece, and I’ll eat pretty much any dessert. I was bummed, but it was a learning experience! It tasted like raw pudding mix and was not at all a good consistency. Oh well! Into the trash it went. It didn’t ruin our Valentine’s day though! We were married 5 days after Valentine’s day, and last year Joe and I were still doing the long distance relationship up until the wedding, so we didn’t get to spend the day together! This year was much better!

Our one year wedding anniversary was Tuesday night (the 19th). Joe and I decided to splurge (because next year we won’t be able to, ha) and went to our favorite steak place, Flemings. There are a few Flemings in different big cities, and Joe and I first went to the one in Nashville. It is pretty pricey, but the steak is amazing, and they have the best chocolate cake pretty much in the world. Seriously, if you go to a Flemings, save room for dessert and get the chocolate cake. Joe was super excited when we found out there was one in Baltimore, and we’ve been once or twice since we moved here.

When I made reservations, I said that it was our wedding anniversary in the comments section, which was the best idea ever. Not only did we have our usual excellent service and delicious food, but they gave us a complimentary dessert to take home and took a picture of us as a souvenir! Very nice. I couldn’t have my usual steak entree because of the baby, but my chicken dish was awesome. We came home and had slices from our wedding cake! We’d had it saved from the wedding day and it had been taking up a large amount of space in our freezer! It was actually really tasty!



Once again, a horrible quality Iphone picture. The cake kind of blends into the plate, but it was really good.

So now that we’ve been married for over a year, are we still allowed to call ourselves newlyweds? I can’t believe its been a year already, and I really can’t believe by this time next year we’ll have a 6 month old! It’s pretty exciting. Luckily Joe still puts up with me and my crazy self, and I love him more every day!

As far as baby Blackburn goes, we’re moving right along! I’ve gained a total of 3 or so pounds, look crazy bloated all the time, and feel huge. Still tired a lot, but I’m getting used to it. Also, I want to eat all the time. I’m trying to eat more healthy for the baby, but I seriously just want cookies and chips. Joe made us a ridiculously good healthy dinner the other night, I thought it was the best thing ever!



Joe made us grilled chicken shish kabobs with onion and red peppper, roasted buttery potatoes, and green beans. It was the bomb! I’m always impressed with how quickly Joe can get dinner ready! He just jumps right in and gets it done, whereas I take forever trying to be clean and organized. Ha. I’m a lucky girl to have a husband that fixes delicious meals for me! That’s all I know for now, our next baby appointment is 2 weeks away!

Pinterest peach cake!

First off, I’d like to start with a super cute picture of my little owl collection. I have my big owl, who has a bunch of measuring cups inside of him (an awesome wedding present from one of my bridesmaids). My newest additions are the cute little owl salt and pepper shakers that my mother in law bought for me! I just had to show them off.

I bargained with my manager a few weeks ago and she let me have Labor day weekend off to go home to Tennessee if I made some kind of dessert to bring in for the branch. I totally forgot about my end of the bargain, had a great time in Tennessee, and then my manager was very sad when I didn’t bring anything in. So I went to trusty Pinterest and found this Peachy Keen cake, and made it to bring in. The recipe seemed really easy and straightforward. You only need a yellow cake mix, a can of sliced peaches, butter, cream cheese, eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract, most of which I have on hand regularly. (I’m pretty proud of my well stocked kitchen)

First, combine the yellow cake mix, butter, and an egg to make a crust. Keep about a cup and half aside for a streusel top.

Press the majority of the mix into the bottom of a 13×9 pan, bake for ten minutes. (Check recipe link for temperatures and whatnot, I can’t really remember) Recipe link-

In the bowl of my super awesome mixer, I mixed the cream cheese, sugar, and an egg. It seemed to take forever to get creamy, but I think that was due to my cream cheese being not totally room temperature.

While the stand mixer is a-mixing away, and the crust is baking, dice up the peaches into smallish chunks.

Assembly time! Take the pan out of the oven, layer on the peaches.

Pour the cream cheese mixture on top of the peaches, and then crumble the remaining crust mixture over everything.

The final product looks like this bubbly, golden brown cake.

So there was the peach cake! It tasted a heck of a lot better than that picture looks! It was so good, I kind of hid it at work, so I could bring home as much as possible for Joe and I!

Our trip back to Tennessee for Labor Day was great! We got to spend a lot of time with Joe’s parents and sister, as well as my parents and sisters. I miss our families like crazy, and it is always so much fun to be back with everyone. We got to go out on the lake, see a movie, eat a lot of good food, and play board games (we are board game people!).

In other news, Joe and I went to the Maryland Renaissance Festival this past weekend. We went with another couple and it was a lot of fun! We got to shoot arrows, throw knives, juggle, watch jousting, eat un-healthy food, take silly pictures.

So basically we’re just busy as usual! Life is good.

Step away from Pinterest!

So lately I’ve been stockpiling dessert recipes like nobody’s business. I may have a sugar addiction. Last weekend Joe had a hankering for No Bake Cookies, so I whipped some up. They were awesome! I accidentally poured in too much vanilla but it paid off in the end!

Sugary goodness! Joe and I had a few and I sent the rest off to work with him! Too much temptation.

On Friday we had a potluck at work, and I offered to bring the dessert. I made Funfetti Cake Batter Cookies with icing, a recipe I’d seen all over Pinterest (and then I realized it was actually on the Pillsbury cake box). I’d never tried the cake mix cookies, and let me say, they were awesome! Super easy to make, and after letting them cool a bit I frosted them with vanilla Funfetti icing. They were the bomb. Joe and I had to sample a few before I could bring them to work. I neglected to get any pictures, mainly because they were gone so fast! When I took them to work the next day, there were only 4 left by noon! Not too shabby.

Friday night I got off the dessert train and made a Mexican chicken casserole dinner. It was a recipe I’d found on Pinterest, and I’ve already lost the original recipe! But it was super simple. It was chicken enchilada casserole, and I cheated and bought a plain rotisserie chicken. I shredded the chicken and that was done! Into a casserole dish you just threw in a cup of enchilada sauce, a cup of sour cream, 3/4 cup of salsa verde, the shredded chicken, 12 tortilla shells torn into 1 inch pieces, and a can of black beans. Stir it all together, add some shredded cheese on top, and pop it in the oven for 25 minutes. It came out bubbly and awesome smelling! And it was the easiest thing to put together, because the only dish you get dirty is the 13×9 pan!

I was super pleased with it! Joe said the leftovers he had for lunch Saturday re-heated really well. So that is something I will be making again! I would probably add some regular salsa as well next time though.

Saturday Joe and I went down to Fell’s Point in Baltimore and checked out that area. There are a ton of cute little pubs and stores. And we found a little frozen yogurt place for a snack, those fro-yo places are so popular right now! And then we found…a tattoo shop! Joe has been thinking of getting one for a while, so we went in to the Baltimore Tattoo Museum and when we left Joe had an appointment for Sunday!

We got to the shop around 11 on Sunday and the guy got all set up. I was a little nervous for Joe, the piece he was getting was lots of color and on the large side, but I knew he was tough! I have three tattoos, and I figured if I could handle it so could Joe! Ha. The tattoo artist got to work and did the whole thing in about 2 and a half hours, with no breaks!

Joe laying on the table, so cute! I was so proud of him, he was a real champ! The longest any of my tattoos took to get done was just over an hour, so for him to sit that long was pretty crazy to me. But it turned out amazing!

It’s Link from the Zelda game Windwaker! So fitting for my video game guy!

So we had a very exciting weekend! We don’t have a grill (can’t have them on our apartment patio, huge fire hazard), but we do have a George Foreman! So we’ve been grilling burgers and tonight I think we’re doing hot dogs. Yay for summer weather! I made homemade cole slaw the other night to go with our burgers, and last night we had corn on the cob. Next I’m going to try making my mom’s potato salad! Best of all, after a short work week, Joe and I will be heading to Nashville Friday night! My sister Callie is graduating from high school Saturday and Joe and I wouldn’t miss it! There will be a big party at my parents house afterwards, and I am so excited to get to see my family and Joe’s mum! It’s been too long!

Motorcycles and oatmeal cookies!

My super adorable husband has wanted a motorcycle for years now, and has started getting pretty serious about it lately. He’s been looking around at what type he wants and has a good idea of what he’s looking for. Sunday we went up to PA to look at a Harley Davidson shop, just to see some bikes in person. I was starting to warm up to the idea of him on a motorcycle, especially after seeing him look super good in a motorcycle jacket. But as soon as I think about him out on the street on one, I get totally scared! I’ll get over it I guess. We got some good information, and as luck would have it, there was a Cheddar’s right down the road! Cheddar’s is one of my favorite restaurants, and Joe and I used to go in Tennessee. They have the best croissants with honey butter! So I now know, when I need Cracker Barrel or Cheddars, just go to PA. Ha.

Joe and I were at Wegman’s picking up some milk later, and I decided we needed something sweet at the apartment! (For those that don’t know, Wegman’s is basically the coolest grocery store ever, it’s like a Whole Foods on crack) For some reason oatmeal cookies sounded good, but Joe doesn’t like raisins. We opted for butterscotch chips instead! I got home and go to baking!

I really need to figure out how to make the lighting in the kitchen better! And also, learn how to take a good picture. Ha. Last time I made cookies with my stand mixer I didn’t do so hot, so this time I was determined to get it right. I made sure to let the butter get to room temperature, and I used to dough attachment.

Looking good so far! Butter and sugar, and then the eggs and vanilla.

Here is the dough with everything added! I put a bit extra cinnamon and vanilla in the mix, because it seemed like a good idea. I used my super handy ice cream scooper to get them on the pan and threw them in the oven. The apartment smelled amazing while they were baking! And surprisingly enough, they turned out awesome!

Joe was a big fan! Even Uma could tell that they were good.

Uma sneaking up…

And Joe teasing her with his cookie! He didn’t share. Aren’t they cute though? I made Joe take a plate of the cookies to work so I didn’t have 4 dozen oatmeal cookies tempting me. Today was my day off and I had tons of errands to run, one of which finally getting all of our wedding pictures onto Facebook! It took about an hour but was worth it! I can’t believe we have been married for more than 2 months!


Joe and I have been married two weeks! Time is already flying by! We haven’t gotten sick of each other yet, so that is good! We picked out a couch that will be here tomorrow, and our big new tv should be here Friday! Our apartment will be fully furnished soon! We also adopted a baby kitty, her name is Uma and she is super adorable! Sunday I made an OreoCheesecake, it was time to break in my brand new Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer!

Here are all the ingredients! I used the recipe off Kraft’s website, it was pretty basic!

You can ignore the jalapeno’s and whatnot, that was stuff for Joe’s chili he is making tonight to bring to a chili cook off! Marriage has turned us into serious cooks! I got to use my brand new food processor as well, to crush the Oreo’s for the crust!

The food processor was another wedding gift, and I was a little intimidated to use it at first. It worked great at crushing the Oreo’s for the crust!

The recipe called for twenty quartered Oreo’s. Joe and I got a really fancy knife block, so I had a good quality knife to chop these things up, but   they ended up shooting all over the place and I got crumbs everywhere!

Here is the Oreo crust in my brand new spring form pan!

After the crust was done I tossed the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla into my food processor!

You let that cream together and then add the eggs one at a time, mixing for a bit after each egg. I was pretty amazed at how great the electric mixer worked! I’ll never use a hand mixer again! Once the eggs are all incorporated you fold in the quartered Oreo’s and you are ready to pour the mix into the spring form pan!

Looks pretty healthy, huh? Now you throw it in the oven for an hour. During that time you can occupy yourself. I cleaned this massive pile of dishes…

And watched my super cute husband play Mass Effect 2 while our super cute baby Uma napped/stretched out on his lap!

She is a total daddy’s girl, and she likes a lot of attention!

You can’t resist that sweet face! Get the cheesecake out of the oven after an hour, let it cool a bit, and then pop it in the fridge for at least four hours. The Kraft website recommended cooling it over night, by my husband wanted to break into it right away so I was lucky it lasted the four hours! The final result was amazing!

I try to eat small pieces, but I can’t help myself! Hubs thought it was pretty great too, so my first attempt at cheesecake was a success!