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.


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!

It’s pumpkin season!

Fall is officially in swing, and this girl could not be happier! Don’t get my wrong, I love summer. Summer means my birthday, wearing my short shorts, and being warm! But with fall comes along all things pumpkin flavored! Some of my favorites include:

Eggo’s Pumpkin Spice waffles! They are delicious!

Dunkin Donut’s Pumpkin Iced Coffee! I could drink like ten a day.

Other favorites include pumpkin bread (which I will be making this weekend when my parents come to visit!), pumpkin pancakes, and of course pumpkin pie. Other great reasons to love Fall include watching the leaves change, wearing super comfy sweaters, drinking lots of hot chocolate, and getting to wear boots (which I look pretty good in, if I do say so). I love corn mazes, scary movies (but not haunted houses), Halloween, Thanksgiving, and laying on the couch under a blanket. Okay, enough of my love for fall…

Last week Joe had one of his game nights with some friends from work. There were 6 grown boys at our place, and I decided to make chili in honor of fall! I thought chili would be substantial enough for the guys! Along with the chili I had all the toppings- sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and Frito scoops. I had never made chili before, so I decided to loosely follow a recipe Joe had used that won him the chili cook off at his work a few months ago. I only used ground beef (I’m cheap) and used about half as much of the spices the recipe called for, as well as omitted the jalapenos (I can’t handle heat). The recipe I sort of used was this:

First I chopped up the garlic, onion, and bell pepper. My dicing skills are getting pretty good, my Iphone camera picture taking skills, not so much.

I cooked up the three pounds of ground beef in a skillet (which took foreverrrr) and started throwing everything into my super awesome red stock pot.

After the beef was cooked it was really easy! Just dump everything in the stock pot and cook over medium for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. I made this in the afternoon and just let it cook away while I puttered around. Keeping with the fall theme for the night’s dinner, I made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I accidentally let the butter get a little to soft, so after making the dough I put it in the fridge for a few hours, hoping that would keep the cookies from spreading while they baked.

Here is the chili in all its glory…

Even after dialing down all the spice, the guys still thought it was full of heat! I thought it was crazy spicy, but it was super tasty so I was able to look past the heat. The cookies tasted great, but they still spread out while baking and were pretty flimsy. They didn’t look perfect but they were also a big hit.

My parents are driving up from Nashville and will spend the weekend with me and Joe! I’m pretty excited. Monday is a holiday so we’ll have 3 days to hang out! On another note, it’s almost October 6th! Last year on October 6th, Joe proposed to me! It was pretty much one of the best days of my life. I can’t believe that was already a year ago! I’m a lucky girl.

I have blogging issues.

I can’t seem to update this blog. I wanted to have this as a way to document all the great recipes I make and to keep up with me and Joe’s adventures, but I’ve found I’m a bit lazy. Woops. I’m not a total bum though, I do try a lot of new recipes, and Joe and I have fun adventures, I just don’t seem to have the energy to update the blogosphere afterwards! So to update, Joe and I have been married for just over six months! We’re basically marriage pro’s.

Last weekend we celebrated by going out to not one, but two different restaurants for brunch! I’m a huge fan of breakfast foods (specifically pancakes and french toast), so I’d found two really great places to try. Saturday we went to Gertrude’s, which is this awesome place inside the Baltimore Museum of Art. We wandered around the museum before our reservations. Once seated at the restaurant, I ordered the blueberry pancakes that were on the daily specials menu. Joe ordered a spicy black bean burger, and then added bacon on top to get rid of the vegetarian-ness of it. Ha.

While we were waiting on our breakfast, we had biscuits and corn muffins to munch on. Joe and I also got to color on the paper table cloth, which is always fun. Can anyone spot the bride in the background of the picture? As an added bonus to our lovely brunch, there was a wedding reception taking place in the garden of the museum! It was really neat to watch!

My very beautiful pancakes! They were perfect. Amazing. I wish I could have them every weekend!

Joe’s burger!

On Sunday we went to the renowned Milton Inn. It just so happened to be part of Baltimore’s Restaurant Week, so we got a really great deal! The restaurant was in an old house (I’ve been told it used to be a boy’s home) and was very cute!  We had biscuits and fruit drizzled with honey as an appetizer. Joe created his own omelette and I had the brioche french toast. They were both delicious! I didn’t get to take any pictures though, the place was busy and I was too embarrassed to start taking pictures! Ha.

Aside from our great restaurant outings, I have also been trying a few new recipes. Here are a few things that I have managed to get snapshots of:

These baked chicken tenders were awesome! Ignore the huge piece of corn on the cob, but look at how great the chicken tenders turned out! They were supposed to taste as good as fried chicken tenders, and it was pretty darn close! I loosely followed this recipe (found on Pinterest of course)

This was another Pinterest find, and I’ve already lost the original recipe. It was an awesome, easy, great summer dish! Simply cooked pasta tossed with Italian salad dressing, fresh Parmesan cheese, diced tomatoes, diced red onion, and basil. It was a big hit.

I attempted to make stuffed red peppers, after seeing a zillion recipes on Pinterest. I love my crock pot, but I only made two little peppers in my big crock pot, and they kind of just fell over while cooking! My bad. The end result didn’t look very pretty, but they tasted pretty good! Mine were stuffed with the usual ground beef, chopped pepper, onion, rice, cheese, and the usual seasonings.

So yeah, there is proof that we don’t live off of restaurants and frozen dinners all the time! Ha. Don’t get me wrong, I do love those Bertolli frozen dinners after working all day! I’ve been trying to cut back on the sweets, but that doesn’t stop me from making popcorn a few nights a week!

Back to the six month wedding anniversary, I realize we are still newlyweds, but Joe and I really love being married! I’ve heard that the first year is the most difficult, but I really don’t see how that could be true. Maybe we’re just lucky, but I am so glad to be with him every day!

How to have a perfect day.

So I basically dropped off the face of the blog world, my bad. I’d been getting a little too jiggly since I started making all the desserts and whatnot from Pinterest, so I had to take a break. And I got too lazy to update this thing. This Sunday was one of those really great days, and I feel like it should be remembered!

Sunday was one of those perfect days where everything just makes you happy. First off, we had orange rolls for breakfast. That is a surefire way to make the day awesome. I’ve seen a lot of cinnamon roll recipes, and even a few orange roll recipes, on Pinterest, all boasting to be simple and delicious. Then you look at the ingredients and you have to deal with yeast and waiting around for things to rise, and it honestly just seems like too much of a hassle. Especially when you can go to the grocery store and get these…

Yummm. So I cheated and we had breakfast in 15 minutes! That’s my style. Joe’s company had an awesome picnic about an hour away from home, so we headed out to that before noon. It was a long-ish drive, but well worth it! I knew the company would throw a good bash, because their Christmas party last year was off the chain (lots of great food and a whole casino set up!)  There was barbecue chicken and ribs for lunch, with a bunch of sides. It was literally like a hundred degrees out, but that didn’t stop Joe from jousting with one of his friends.

I’m pretty sure my guy won! And then we got to zipline! It wasn’t the most ellaborate course, but it was free and was a really nice way to cool off!

There was a kickball game as well, which Joe and I watched from the sidelines. It was wayyy too hot to be out there playing.

Back home later that afternoon, I decided to make this meatloaf recipe I’d found off of Pinterest. I’d never made meatloaf before, so I was a little hesistant, but it turned out really great! It was a lot of steps, mixing the meat with the other stuff, forming them into cute little mini-loaves, browning them on the stove, and then covering them with a glaze and finally putting them in the oven. Whew. I got tired just typing all of that out. Here is the recipe I (loosely) followed:

This is how it turned out! (The picture didn’t turn out great, my skills are obviously lacking)

I ended up with 4 mini meatloaves, they were so cute! One of the mini loaves was more than enough for one person, I probably could have made 5 loaves easily. The best part was definitely the glaze, it was amazing. Even though it was super time consuming to make, it was still pretty simple and I was able to clean up as I went along. After dinner we had leftover cheesecake (the kind that you cheat and make out of a box and refrigerate) and watched Food Network Star! Joe and I are totally hooked and there is only one episode left!

So that was our super great Sunday! And today, July 18th, is my 23rd birthday! I feel like just yesterday I was turning 21, and now my sister Rebecca is 21! Time flies. The hubs is taking me to the Melting Pot tonight to celebrate and then I get presents! It’s all very exciting. Tomorrow, the 19th, is our 5 month wedding anniversary. I can’t believe it! Lets see if I can manage to start blogging again at a normal rate!

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!

3 months and counting!

It’s been a while since I last blogged, I keep meaning to but I’ve been lazy! So I’ve tried out a few new things in the past few weeks. I made my first batch of homemade rolls a while back.

They didn’t get as brown on the tops as I would have liked, but they seemed okay! They tasted kind of bland to me, but the recipe I used was very basic so I figured as much. I don’t know if I’ll go through all the trouble with the yeast and whatnot on a regular basis, but its nice to know I can whip them up if needed.

I made some delicious strawberry cupcakes with vanilla icing last weekend, but I totally cheated and used a box. My mom makes them as mini cupcakes during the summer, and I just had a craving for them! I made Joe take the majority of them to work so we wouldn’t have two dozen cupcakes at our apartment taunting us.

Some with sprinkles and some with out! I heard from Joe that the sprinkles went first, I’ll have to keep that in mind next time!

Joe and I have been married three months as of today! It feels like its been longer, but in a good way. Lately we’ve been doing some exploring around where we live. We take drives down random roads and find neat things along the way. Last weekend we stumbled across a neighborhood that had an open house to check out, and it just so happened to be our perfect dream home. With a price tag of 1.1 million. Wowza! But we can dream. Ha.

I lucked out and had today off, so Joe and I got out early-ish and drove around checking out some yard sales. No great finds, but we got to see some cute neighborhoods and trails. Joe had heard from some co-workers that there was a great bbq place nearby so we checked it out. It was literally in the middle of nowhere, and it was basically a run down looking house that was turned into a bbq joint. It was run by some super friendly guys that gave us our drinks for free because it was our first time there! I had a pulled pork sandwich and coleslaw, and Joe had a half rack of ribs and mac and cheese. It was super good! And a great price. Since today was so nice out we sat outside at a picnic table and had a picnic! It was great.

Joe was a really great husband and even went dress shopping with me this afternoon. We are going back to Tennessee in two weeks for one of my sister’s high school graduation. I don’t have any chick friends here and I am horrible at shopping by myself. Joe patiently went in and out of stores with me and let me try on bunches of dresses, and didn’t even mind that I took forever. He was very sweet. And eventually I found a great dress!

We rounded out our evening by hitting up this pizza place in Baltimore called Joe Squared. Guy went there on Diners, Drive-In’s, and Dives, so we had to see it! Plus Joe and I could basically live off pizza so we have to make sure we know all the good places. And it was a huge hit! We had the Flag Pizza, it was one part pesto sauce with mozzarella, one part red sauce with mozzarella cheese, and one part white sauce with feta.

My favorite part was the pesto sauce, but it was all great! It was great anniversary dinner. Ha. Now we’re back home and Joe is playing Diablo 3 and I’ve got Everwood on! Life is good.