Confessions of a Cookbook Queen http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com The cookbook queen, and lover of all things sweet, pink and sparkly Sat, 13 Feb 2016 22:54:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.10 Spiked Nutella Hot Cocoa http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/spiked-nutella-hot-cocoa/ http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/spiked-nutella-hot-cocoa/#comments Sat, 13 Feb 2016 22:54:06 +0000 http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/?p=12386 Spiked Nutella hot cocoa will make your cold day SO much better. Whip it up and share it with friends! Is ignoring Valentine’s Day an old person thing? I’m asking because I basically ignore Valentine’s Day. And I don’t think I have always been this way. I have vague memories of gifts and cards and t...

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Spiked Nutella hot cocoa will make your cold day SO much better. Whip it up and share it with friends!

spiked-nutella-hot-cocoa-picture

Is ignoring Valentine’s Day an old person thing?

I’m asking because I basically ignore Valentine’s Day. And I don’t think I have always been this way. I have vague memories of gifts and cards and things, but they are from so long ago that they actually play in black-and-white in my mind.

I want to be fun, I really do. But gosh dang it if being a grown up isn’t completely exhausting.

Spiked Nutella Hot Cocoa Image

Valentine’s Day has turned into being about the kids. How has that even happened? One minute I was shopping at Victoria’s Secret and planning classy dates to Red Lobster (those biscuits, OMG) and then I blinked and ten years have passed. And I have found myself overwhelmed by preschool Valentines options and worrying what to buy my son’s fifth grade teacher.

Have you taken a walk down Target’s Valentine’s section lately? Every cartoon character ever created has vomited pink and red hearts.

Do I go with the Minions? Or the Ninja Turtles? What do kids even DO with these Valentines once they go home? It all just feels like an excuse to stress grown ups out, and I’m not happy about it.

spiked-nutella-hot-cocoa-pic

So obviously, no. I have not bought my husband a thing.

I’ve bought gifts for the kids, for their teachers, and carefully packed goodie bags for their classmates. I have stocked up on Conversation Hearts for the candy jars and have prepared treats for my blog. But I have not actually done a thing for the man I love the very most in this world, and at this point, I’m too exhausted to even think about shopping.

What I am proposing is this: a home cooked meal (grilled cheese? It all counts. You’re at home, you cooked it, the end) and a cozy drink after the kiddos blessed bedtime. Might I suggest this spiked Nutella hot chocolate? Frangelico and marshmallow vodka add just the right kick to this creamy, comforting cup of chocolate.

If this isn’t romantic, then I don’t know what is.

You can also find this Spiked Nutella Hot Cocoa Recipe on Food Fanatic, where I am a regular contributor of all things sweet. Enjoy and have a great day!

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Meal Plan {2/15 – 2/19} http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/meal-plan-215-219/ http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/meal-plan-215-219/#comments Sat, 13 Feb 2016 22:35:43 +0000 http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/?p=12381 Stuck in a dinner rut? My weekly meal plan is full of simple, family friendly weeknight dinner ideas! Hey, hey, hey! Happy Saturday! I have spent the day playing catch-up on laundry, bathing the dogs, and cleaning out my closet. Not very exciting, but sometimes days like this are just what you need....

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Stuck in a dinner rut? My weekly meal plan is full of simple, family friendly weeknight dinner ideas!

WeeklyMealPlanFeb15

Hey, hey, hey! Happy Saturday!

I have spent the day playing catch-up on laundry, bathing the dogs, and cleaning out my closet. Not very exciting, but sometimes days like this are just what you need. It’s nice to sit down at the end of the day and feel like an accomplished adult.

Our weather here in Arkansas is completely out of control. We are supposed to get freezing rain tomorrow but have a high near 80 on Thursday. And THIS is why I never box up my Summer clothes. This place is whack.

Here’s what we are having for dinner this week. As usual, be sure to print out a free grocery list. Everything you need is already filled out for you!

dumplingsoup3-1-of-1Monday: Creamy Chicken and Dumpling Soup

How cozy and YUM does this look?!

**photo credit

Doritos_Taco_Salad_Main-e1433349197717Tuesday: Doritos Taco Salad

My kids aren’t big on salad, but they will love this!

**photo credit

chickenlazone

Wednesday: Chicken Lazone

I keep seeing this all over Pinterest. I think the universe is trying to tell me that I need it!!

**photo credit

the-best-sloppy-joes-recipe-ohsweetbasil.com1_Thursday: Sloppy Joes

This recipe claims to be the BEST, so I thought we should test them out and see. We do love our Sloppy Joes!

**photo credit

Garlic-RanchChickenPizza3Friday: Garlic Ranch Chicken Pizza

I have had a version of this at a local pizza buffet, but I am so excited to recreate it at home.

**photo credit

 

That’s it for this week. Enjoy your weekend!!

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The Bachelor Ben Recap {Episode 6} http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/the-bachelor-ben-recap-episode-6/ http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/the-bachelor-ben-recap-episode-6/#comments Fri, 12 Feb 2016 04:13:39 +0000 http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/?p=12363 I’m recapping Episode 6 of The Bachelor with Ben Higgins! (You can read recaps from all the previous episodes HERE) As you may remember, last week’s episode ended with the Olivia Tattletale Cliffhanger. During the cocktail party before the rose ceremony, the girls finally decided to let ...

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I’m recapping Episode 6 of The Bachelor with Ben Higgins!

The Bachelor Ben Higgins(You can read recaps from all the previous episodes HERE)

As you may remember, last week’s episode ended with the Olivia Tattletale Cliffhanger. During the cocktail party before the rose ceremony, the girls finally decided to let Ben know that Olivia is a raging lunatic. As if the manic expression on her face 24/7 isn’t clue enough.

So Ben pulls Olivia aside, while all the girls do an invisible celebration.

Ben wastes no time in asking Olivia why she does not get along with the other girls in the house. “Is there anything you want to tell me?” he asks.

He literally says that. I have to say, he went up a few respect points in my book. Because I know from dealing with my children that that line actually works. If you want them to sing like a canary, just ask them if they have anything they need to tell you, then sit back and watch the tears fly.

This is an opportunity for Olivia to FINALLY redeem herself in the eyes of the American people.

Does she take it? Of course not.

INSTEAD, she only makes her situation worse, batting her eyes and telling Ben that the other girls don’t like her because she’d rather talk about “smart things” than paint nails and braid hair.

Bless. Reentry to the real world is going to be hard on her.

Olivia returns to the group while the girls sit in shock. One of these days the Bachelor will take a cue from Survivor and give the group an option to vote someone off the island. And I’ll be loving every second.

Time for the rose ceremony!

Roses go to:

Caila

Lauren B.

JoJo

Becca

Leah

Emily

Jennifer goes home. Was she ever even on this show? Have I seen her before?

Ben informs the women that they are headed to the Bahamas. They all cheer. I cry, because Olivia doesn’t deserve to go to the Bahamas.

With the help of television magic, we are immediately transformed to the Bahamas. Chris Harrison shows up with the first Date Card, and it is addressed to Caila. It reads: Let’s see if our love is reel.

Leah cries because this is Caila’s second one-on-one date with Ben, while she hasn’t had one yet. I really wish that I could meet her and pat her hand and offer her some words of advice. And I’d tell her that while I am quite certain she’s a solid 9 in the real world, in Bachelorland she’s a 6. Which is why NO woman should EVER go on The Bachelor EVER EVER EVER. You automatically go from being a pretty big deal, to being basically invisible.

Ben and Caila head out on their date, which is on a yacht in the middle of the ocean. Caila smiles a lot, Ben squints a lot, etcetera, etcetera.

Back at the resort, Leah is losing her sheezee. See what this show does to people? One minute you’re a beautiful, confident, funny, 9, and the next minute you are red and puffy faced, sobbing in a bathroom with snot dripping down your chin while Ben and another girl dive off of a yacht in the middle of The Bahamas.

Back at the resort, a group Date Card arrives addressed to: Lauren B, Becca, Amanda, JoJo, Lauren H, and Leah. It reads,”Love is unpredictable”

Ben and Caila head to dinner, where he confronts her about all of her smiling. The conversation goes like this:

“Why do you smile so much?”

“I don’t know”

“What are you afraid of?”

“I think I love you. Also, I think I’m probably going to break your heart.”

Wait — WHAT?!?!? Does she love him, or is she going to break his heart? Does she even know what words are coming out of her mouth right now? I feel like it takes some balls to come on The Bachelor and TELL the Bachelor that you are probably going to break his heart. Color me surprised, Caila. I didn’t know you had it in you.

Somehow, Calia manages to salvage the conversation. I am not even sure how. It’s like she’s an emotion ninja. One minute she’s all “I’ll probably hurt you and I don’t know if I love you but also I do think I love you and also my smile hides my secret murderous heart,” and the next minute Ben is all, “Wow, I find your confusing nature to be very sexy, will you accept this rose?”

The next morning it’s time for the group date!

The gang piles up on a boat, where they come upon swimming pigs that basically attack them. Like these are legit massive pigs, squealing, snorting, and jumping on them in the water. It’s honestly like something out of a horror movie. I have seen a lot of to-do on Facebook about ocean pigs, and I can tell you that I am no longer interested in such devilish nonsense.

Ben pulls JoJo aside and confides in her that he feels disappointed in how things are going with the girls and uncomfortable with the situation.

BEN. Homeslice. You bring OLIVIA to the Bahamas, take a group of women swimming with murderey pigs, and you’re wondering why things don’t feel right. Gosh, I don’t know. Let’s ponder on this for awhile.

Ben attempts to spend some time with Leah, who is petulant at best. Girl, go home. Desperation is not a good look.

Later that evening, they all gather for cocktails. Ben pulls Becca aside first and asks her about being standoffish during the group date. She tells him that it is incredibly obvious to the group that he has a special connection with Lauren B, which causes her to shut down. Obviously though, this doesn’t bother her too much, because they end the conversation by making out.

Ben spends the rest of the time doing damage control, pulling each woman aside for some intense eye-looking-into and smooching. They are all placated, which kinda bums me out, so I am looking forward to the group date rose when reality comes crashing back down.

Back at the resort, the date rose arrives for Emily and Olivia. It reads: Two women, one rose. One stays, one goes.

Ben finally pulls Leah aside for a chat, which is obviously a mistake. Instead of trying to salvage her relationship with Ben, she wastes no time in throwing Lauren B under the bus. Oh, honey…no, no, no. This is not going anywhere good for you.

What’s awful is that this is obviously coming from a jealous place, and not a place of actual concern for Ben. She actually tells Ben that he and Lauren B. would not work out in the real world. Because besides being incredibly jealous for a living, she is also a fortune teller.

Lauren ends up interrupting the conversation, oblivious to what is going on. Ben lets her know what was said, without telling her who said it. Lauren, understandably, gets upset and confused, and returns to the group in tears.

Upon hearing this, Leah immediately gets an incredulous expression on her face and says, unprovoked, “Oh, well…it wasn’t me.”

LEAH. YOU ARE DEAD TO ME. YOU ARE A JEALOUS LIAR LIAR AND I WILL NOT STAND FOR IT, MA’AM.

Ben joins the group and gives the group date to Amanda, even though Lauren B. is the rightful owner of that rose. Do you hear me, Leah? That is Lauren’s rose.

Ben leaves and the girls head back to the resort, where they chat among themselves and conclude that Leah was the snitch. Leah, oblivious to the fact that she needs to SIMMER DOWN AND CALL IT A DAY, decides to head to Ben’s hotel room to further convince him that Lauren B. needs to go.

Ummmmmm…ma’am? What gives you the impression that you are qualified to make such a call? You’ve talked to Ben like twice in your life. Listen, Felicia. We don’t have time for this mess.

Leah knocks on the door and Ben greets her with a huge smile, even though we ALL know that he is dying on the inside. They sit on the couch and she immediately dives into her case against Lauren B. Like she is basically a lawyer against true love. Leah…girl. You could be smooching on that cute face and instead you are busy drinking haterade. Go on home.

Ben lets her say her piece, then sends her home. She actually has the nerve to be shocked, proving that she is not only jealous, but also clueless. Good day, ma’am. Good. Day.

Time for the two-on-one. Olivia is giddy and waxing poetic, but all I can think about are her toes. Like if she goes home tonight, I might never get closure on this. I have enough problems in my life without that gaping wound, please don’t do this to me, ABC.

Emily, Olivia, and Ben head out on a boat that takes them to an island where they awkwardly sip wine in the wind. Can we talk about how miserable the wind is? Like, wind is never, ever fun. It’s one of the most stressful weather conditions that exists.

Ben takes Olivia aside and she tells Ben that she is in love with him. Of course. OF COURSE she is the first girl to tell him that she’s in love with him. Why wouldn’t she be? What she fails to tell him, however, is that she will never be capable of loving anyone more than she loves the sound of her own voice.

Next up is Emily’s turn, and surprisingly, she manages to come across as sincere and sweet and adorable. And it is at this point that I know that Olivia does not stand a chance making it out of this date. They return to Olivia, where Ben pulls her aside, leaving Emily upset and certain that Olivia is getting the rose.

Ben and Olivia head down the beach hand in hand with Olivia smiling and ready to marry him and run away forever. And it is there, in the terribly unflattering wind, that Ben tells her that he does not love her and will not be giving her the rose.

Sorry, Olivia. But actually not sorry at all. Except I am sorry that I never got to see your sloth toes.

Emily gets the rose while Olivia sits on the beach crying and in shock. I wish I could feel sad, but I don’t. Not even a tiny bit.

Time for the cocktail party/rose ceremony! Except…Chris informs the girls that there will not be a cocktail party. Straight for the rose ceremony. A sure sign that Benny Boy is OVER. IT.

Roses go to:

Becca

JoJo

Lauren B.

 

Lauren H. goes home in tears.

Since Lauren H went home, can we just call Lauren B. Lauren now? I’d like to drop the B if we can, please.

Next week looks like LOTS of tears. And I’m calling it now – Lauren B for the win and JoJo for the next Bachelorette. Thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Red Velvet Mississippi Mud Cake http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/red-velvet-mississippi-mud-cake/ http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/red-velvet-mississippi-mud-cake/#comments Thu, 11 Feb 2016 16:00:33 +0000 http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/?p=12338 Red Velvet Mississippi Mud Cake is gooey and chocolatey, with a gorgeous and festive red color! Whip it up for Valentine’s Day. My toddler will not sleep. Do you know how difficult it is to get a toddler to do something they decidedly do NOT want to do? It’s practically impossible. And by practicall...

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Red Velvet Mississippi Mud Cake is gooey and chocolatey, with a gorgeous and festive red color! Whip it up for Valentine’s Day.

Red Velvet Mississippi Mud Cake Picture

My toddler will not sleep.

Do you know how difficult it is to get a toddler to do something they decidedly do NOT want to do?

It’s practically impossible. And by practically impossible, I mean that after attempting to do so, you will find yourself slumped on the couch, looking for answers in the bottom of a box of cheap white.

While your toddler runs around the house wearing a shirt as pants, feeding the dog Cap’n Crunch.

Red Velvet Mississippi Mud Cake Photo

What I really do not understand is why children do not WANT to sleep. Sleep is necessary for life, much like breathing air or eating cookies. Why on earth would a human be programmed to hate the very thing that is necessary for survival?

The only explanation I can come up with is that my child is not human.

The problem with toddlers is that they are old enough to act out, but not quite old enough to understand things like reasoning or “you are grounded for a month.” What is grounding to a toddler? I could take away television, but I promise you that it would hurt me eight billion times more than it would hurt her. There she’d be, hanging on my leg and begging for fruit snacks while I looked at the television longingly, tears in my eyes.

Last night I walked by Lucy’s room at 10 pm, peeking in the tiny crack in her door. I expected she’d be lying in bed, sleeping and angelic. In hindsight, I do not know why I expected this. Perhaps it was temporary insanity, or maybe I specialize in denial.

Regardless, there she was, sitting on the floor surrounded by Disney Princess Barbies, brushing their hair and singing in a whisper. What she was singing, I am not certain. In fact, I suspect that it might have actually been some sort of devilish chant. I put nothing past that child at this point. What I DO know, is that I didn’t hang around long enough to find out.

I ran. I ran down the hallway before she spotted me, collapsing on the couch. I just can’t, you guys. I just can’t. After three long years of fighting, I have thrown in the towel.

Red Velvet Mississippi Mud Cake Image

If you need me, I’ll be stuffing my face with cake and hiding from my children.

This cake is one of the best cakes I have made in some time. It’s chocolatey and moist, with a gooey marshmallow topping. The red color is perfect for Valentine’s Day, which is a nice bonus.

You can also find this Red Velvet Mississippi Mud Cake Recipe on Food Fanatic, where I am a regular contributor of all things sweet. Enjoy and have a great day!

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February Reading List http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/february-reading-list-2/ http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/february-reading-list-2/#comments Wed, 10 Feb 2016 17:19:04 +0000 http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/?p=12332 If you’re looking for some book ideas, read along with me! I’m sharing my February Reading List. Have you read any good books lately? I have not finished all of my books on last month’s list (although I intend to). I got sidetracked with THIS book (which is on this month’s li...

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If you’re looking for some book ideas, read along with me! I’m sharing my February Reading List.

Confessions of a Cookbook Queen February Reading List PictureHave you read any good books lately?

I have not finished all of my books on last month’s list (although I intend to). I got sidetracked with THIS book (which is on this month’s list), and it’s taking me awhile to finish. Not that it’s too long or not good, but we have been remodeling, so half of my house is a disaster and I’m not having a ton of time to read. Mostly, I’m sweeping up sheetrock dust and drinking wine to make the messy edges a little fuzzier.

Here’s what I’ve got on the list for this month:

Jellyfish

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

One of you guys recommended this last month! Although it’s a story meant for grades 4-7, I couldn’t pass it up after reading the description and reviews.

Via Amazon:

After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy must have been a rare jellyfish sting-things don’t just happen for no reason. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory–even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy’s achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe…and the potential for love and hope right next door.

DeadWake

 Dead Wake by Erik Larson

I have been seeing this book everywhere! A few years ago I read Erik Larson’s book The Devil in the White City and LOVED it, so hopefully this one is pretty great, too.

Via Amazon:

On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”—the fastest liner then in service—and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. 

Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small—hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more—all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.

It is a story that many of us think we know but don’t, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour and suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope to President Woodrow Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love. 

TheRoyalWe

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

I am reading this right now after seeing it on several Best Books lists. While I don’t necessarily find it worthy of any prizes, it’s entertaining and fun to read.

Via Amazon:

American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy-tales. Her twin sister Lacey was always the romantic, the one who daydreamed of being a princess. But it’s adventure-seeking Bex who goes to Oxford and meets dreamy Nick across the hall – and thus Bex who accidentally finds herself in love with the eventual heir to the British throne. Nick is everything she could have imagined, but Prince Nicholas has unimaginable baggage: grasping friends, a thorny family, hysterical tabloids tracking his every move, and a public that expected its future king to marry a native. On the eve of the most talked-about wedding of the century, Bex reflects on what she’s sacrificed for love — and exactly whose heart she may yet have to break.

BrokenGrace

Broken Grace by E.C. Diskin

I always love adding a suspenseful novel to the mix, and this one has great reviews!

Via Amazon:

On an icy winter’s day in southwest Michigan, Grace Abbott wakes up as the survivor of a car crash. But she’s left with a traumatic brain injury and a terrifying reality: she can’t remember anything.

Left in the care of her sister, Grace returns to the family’s secluded old farmhouse to recover—but within an hour of her return, the police arrive. Grace’s boyfriend has been murdered. Without any memory, Grace has no alibi.

With suspicion weighing heavily on her and flashes of memory returning, Grace searches for clues to her past. But with every glimpse, her anxiety grows. There is something about the house, her family, her childhood…perhaps the accident isn’t the only reason she can’t remember. Are the dark recesses of her mind hiding something even more sinister and terrifying than she could ever imagine?

Is someone willing to kill again to hide the truth?

 

I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading and loving!

 

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