Confessions of a Cookbook Queen http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com The cookbook queen, and lover of all things sweet, pink and sparkly Wed, 25 May 2016 16:05:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.11 No Bake Banana Pudding Cheesecake http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/no-bake-banana-pudding-cheesecake/ http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/no-bake-banana-pudding-cheesecake/#comments Wed, 25 May 2016 16:05:22 +0000 http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/?p=12975 This no bake banana pudding cheesecake is cool and creamy — perfect for warm weather gatherings! I’m here, I’m here!! Don’t leave!! There’s a good chance you haven’t noticed (what, food blogs aren’t what keeps you up at night worrying and wondering? You mean...

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This no bake banana pudding cheesecake is cool and creamy — perfect for warm weather gatherings!

No Bake Banana Pudding Cheesecake PictureI’m here, I’m here!! Don’t leave!!

There’s a good chance you haven’t noticed (what, food blogs aren’t what keeps you up at night worrying and wondering? You mean there is more to life?), but I have been MIA for about a week. No new recipes for all the days.

I was invited as a member of a press to be on the inaugural voyage of Carnival’s newest ship, the Vista on a cruise around Europe. I’ll share photos and details soon (so many — SO MANY!!) but in the meantime, suffice to say that it was overwhelming in all of the best ways. I took my laptop on the trip, fully intending on writing some blog posts and catching up on work from the ship. But obviously…that never happened.

The time in Italy and Greece was 7-8 hours ahead of here at home, not to mention that a cruise ship is basically a floating oasis of oblivion. What day is it? What time is it? Wine for breakfast? Why not?

banana pudding cheesecake pic

I finally got home last night after 23 hours of all the airplanes and customs and OMG reentry is not my favorite. I woke up this morning confused and sad. Kids were wanting waffles and there was grass outside of my window instead of an ocean. I attempted to pour a tiny glass of wine to have with my cereal (it’s important to ease oneself back to reality, after all) but then I realized that I’d have to be driving places today.

Do I still know how to drive? Which pedal is the gas, again?

Can I install a soft serve machine in my kitchen?

I decided that my first order of business today would be sharing a recipe with you. There really is no better way to start a day than with pie, and this one happens to be particularly fabulous.

banana pudding cheesecake image

Banana pudding and cheesecake are two of my all-time favorite desserts, so I decided to combine the two to create one epic, creamy treat. This pie is no-bake, which makes it even better!

This banana pudding cheesecake would be absolutely perfect for your Memorial Day celebrations. Or just for shoving right into your face. I’ve heard that banana pudding has skin brightening powers, I don’t know.

I just know you’re going to love this!!

No Bake Banana Pudding Cheesecake

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients

  • Crust:
  • 3 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 12 Tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • Filling:
  • Small box (3.4 oz) instant banana pudding
  • 16 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • 24 Nilla Wafers

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter until combined. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Place in the refrigerator to chill for one hour.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together pudding mix and 3/4 cup cold water until smooth. Place bowl in the refrigerator. In the bowl of your mixer, beat cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla on medium speed until smooth. Beat in banana pudding mixture until smooth and combined.
  3. Spread banana slices over the top of the crust. Spoon half of the filling mixture on top, spreading to the edges. Place Nilla Wafers all over the top of the filling, then cover with remaining half of filling, spreading smooth. Place in the refrigerator for several hours to chill before serving.

Enjoy, friends!! Have a happy day :)

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Meal Plan {5/23 – 5/27} http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/meal-plan-523-527/ http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/meal-plan-523-527/#comments Sat, 21 May 2016 11:00:50 +0000 http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/?p=13006 My weekly meal plan is full of dinner inspiration for busy weeknights! Perfect meals for kiddos and picky eaters. Happy Saturday!! I am currently on a cruise with Carnival and today we dock in Rhodes. So far we have visited Rome, Naples, and Crete and it has been such an amazing trip. I can’t ...

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My weekly meal plan is full of dinner inspiration for busy weeknights! Perfect meals for kiddos and picky eaters.

WeeklyMealPlan52316Happy Saturday!!

I am currently on a cruise with Carnival and today we dock in Rhodes. So far we have visited Rome, Naples, and Crete and it has been such an amazing trip. I can’t wait to show you all of my photos!

I’ll be home Tuesday, after a very long (LONG) day of travel and airports. I have no doubt that I’ll be craving my own cooking and this meal plan will REALLY come in handy. Bonus — I’m having my husband print out my grocery list so the kitchen will already be stocked when I get home! Make sure that you print it out, too!

Here’s what we’re having:

Ham-Swiss-Croissant-

Monday: Hot Ham and Swiss Croissants

I love super simple meals like this that still feel kind of special. Mondays are crazy enough without complicated dinners!

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lemonchickenskillet

Tuesday: Lemon Chicken Skillet

I love lemon chicken, and this skillet looks so bright and Summery! I’d serve it over rice with a side salad.

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red-wine-roast-beef-2

Wednesday: Red Wine Roast Beef

Roast is one of my favorite simple meals and we all love it.

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chicken-ranch-tacos-3-683x1024

Thursday: Chicken Ranch Tacos

A fun change-up from our usual tacos

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Hashbrown_Breakfast_Pizza

Friday: Breakfast Pizza with Hash Brown Crust

I have been majorly obsessing over this pizza. It’s got all of my favorite things!

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My Favorite Podcasts http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/my-favorite-podcasts/ http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/my-favorite-podcasts/#comments Wed, 18 May 2016 12:06:17 +0000 http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/?p=13008 I’m sharing a list of my favorite podcasts — there is something for everyone! Hi. My name is Kristan and I am addicted to podcasts. This is semi-embarrassing because it’s not very cool. I used to be that girl you’d catch blaring music and singing along at a stoplight, but now...

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I’m sharing a list of my favorite podcasts — there is something for everyone!

FavoritePodcastsMainHeaderHi. My name is Kristan and I am addicted to podcasts.

This is semi-embarrassing because it’s not very cool. I used to be that girl you’d catch blaring music and singing along at a stoplight, but now I’m nodding my head thoughtfully, carefully listening to the story being laid out.

I give myself two years before I have no idea who those people are that are accepting Grammys on stage. “Who is that and what is she wearing?! Does she have music on the radio?” <—- Me, very soon.

I do love music. I really do. But I have always loved reading, so I think that’s why I love podcasts so much. It’s basically a story, just told in another way. And unlike television, it’s made for strictly listening. As much as I love TV, I spend most of my day working at the computer, baking, or driving the kids around. And none of those situations are particularly conducive to watching a screen. So, podcasts.

I have a long list of podcasts I listen to, because most come out with a new show once a week AT MOST. I hate when I run out of new episodes to listen to, which is usually when I turn to an audiobook. I’ll often pick up the audio version of whatever book I’m in the middle of so I can pick up where I left off before bed the previous night.

Don’t get too close, people. You might accidentally catch some of my cool.

On the off chance that you’re looking for a podcast or four, I’ve broken my favorites up into categories to suit your interests! I’m helpful that way.

PiecesofInterestPIECES OF INTEREST:

1. This American Life: Always reliably good, and the podcast that spawned Serial. This is basically the best podcast on the planet. The host is wonderful, the voices are fun to listen to, and the stories are interesting and unique.

My favorite episodes: #513: 129 Cars, #165: Americans in Paris, #492: Dr. Gilmer and Mr. Hyde, #419: Petty Tyrant, #534: Not So Simple Majority #543: Wake Up Now

2. The Mystery Show: Starly Kine, who has the funnest voice EVER to listen to, tries to solve mysteries WITHOUT using the internet. It’s surprisingly fun and there is usually a pretty great story in the process.

My favorite episodes: #3 Belt Buckle, #5 Source Code

3. Stuff You Missed in History Class: If you enjoy history, you’ll love this podcast. It’s interesting and fun.

My favorite episodes: Year Without A Summer, The Disappearance of the Sodder Children,

4. Chris Gethard’s Beautiful Anonymous: Anonymous people call in and talk to Chris Gethard for an hour. It’s often really funny and actually kind of beautiful.

My favorite episodes: A Real Life Superhero, Ron Paul’s Baby

5. RadioLab: Often science based, but incredibly interesting and well-told. Probably my favorite podcast after This American Life.

My favorite episodes: Patient Zero, The Rhino Hunter, The Montreal Screw-Job, The Cold War

6. Crime Writers on Serial: This podcast originally began as four crime-writers discussing Serial, but now they talk about all kinds of shows and true crime. It might not sound that interesting, but it just works. They all have great podcast voices and story-telling abilities. It’s just fun to hear them banter.

My favorite episodes: S2 Ep 3.5 Talking ‘Making a Murderer’, JINXED! The Jinx and The Staircase, These are Their Stories: A Law & Order Special

TrueCrime

TRUE CRIME:

1. Serial: OBVIOUSLY!! Does anyone NOT listen to Serial? I’ve listened to Season 1 about three times. Can’t get enough of Sarah Koenig. Season 2 started off slow, but I ended up loving it. It was much different than Season 1, but still incredibly interesting and thought-provoking.

My favorite episodes: ALLLL of Season 1, and Episodes 1, 9, 10, and 11 of Season 2.

2. Someone Knows Something: A Canadian podcast investigating the disappearance of a five year old boy in 1972 during a family fishing trip. This podcast takes place in real time as the narrator tries to gather new leads and evidence.

My favorite episodes: 5 Breeze and Grief and 6 The Scent

3. Undisclosed: Unless you’ve already listened to Serial season 1,  you probably won’t be too interested in this one. This podcast isn’t the most well-produced, but if you got caught up in Serial and Adnan’s case, this will answer a LOT of questions. Rabia Chaudry, a family friend of Adnan, and two other law experts go over all of the evidence and really dive into the case.

My favorite episodes: Episode 3: Jay’s Day, Episode 10: Crime Stoppers

4. Breakdown: Bill Rankin, a senior legal affairs writer with the Atlanta Journal Constitution, breaks down the justice system in his state of Georgia. His voice takes some getting used to, but it’s a really great podcast.

My Favorite episodes: Season 2: Episodes 1 and 6

5. The Disappearance of Maura Murray: An incredibly fascinating story about a woman who went missing after a one-person car crash 12 years ago. It’s one of the most puzzling mysteries I’ve ever heard. The beginning episodes of the podcast can get tedious at times, but I stick with it because the story has me so interested!

My favorite episodes: Episode 19: Oddities in Haverhill, Episode 22: What We Know

6. Criminal: The episodes are about true crime — some old and some new. This podcast is usually pretty brief, which is nice if you’re short on time! They always pick a great variety of interesting crimes, which I love.

My favorite episodes: Episode 1: Animal Instincts, Episode 5: Dropping Like Flies, Episode 11: I’m About to Save Your Life

**Late Addition** Generation Why: Two dudes discussing true crime. They go over old and new cases, both well-known and not. It’s very good!

Books

BOOKS:

1. Books on the Nightstand: A good, easy to listen to podcast that’ll give you some great ideas for books to pick up!

My favorite episodes: #246, #296, #311, #321

2. That’s What She Read: Not always the most captivating, but these girls suggest a lot of good books that I normally might not have found. They have a pretty mainstream reading taste, so I can usually trust what they suggest.

3. What Should I Read Next?: Blogger Anne Bogel (The Modern Mrs. Darcy) interviews one reader every episode, then does some “literary matchmaking,” matching her guest with three books of her choice based on books they’ve loved in the past.

My favorite episodes: #6, #9, #1

 

What podcasts do you listen to and love?! I always need more!

Happy listening, friends!

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Mini Jello Aquariums http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/mini-jello-fish-bowls/ http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/mini-jello-fish-bowls/#comments Mon, 16 May 2016 01:00:29 +0000 http://confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/?p=1558 These Mini Jell-O Aquariums are the perfect treat to put together with your kiddos! **THIS WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED IN AUGUST OF 2011. I HAVE UPDATED THE PHOTOS AND TWEAKED THE RECIPE A BIT. ENJOY!!**  So today is the day where we talk about my baby Jon David starting first grade this morning and I cry...

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These Mini Jell-O Aquariums are the perfect treat to put together with your kiddos!

Mini Jello Aquariums Picture**THIS WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED IN AUGUST OF 2011. I HAVE UPDATED THE PHOTOS AND TWEAKED THE RECIPE A BIT. ENJOY!!**

 So today is the day where we talk about my baby Jon David starting first grade this morning and I cry and you give me lots of hugs and candy.

Or money. That would probably help a little.

For some crazy reason, I thought that Kindergarten would be the worst. I mean, I stayed home with my son for 6 years.  And when you are with someone all day every day, it’s more like dog years.

So what I’m saying is, I stayed home with my son for like 38 years (maybe?? I’m not sure how dog years work, so this is just an estimate) before the “government” ripped him away from me for an “education” **sob** FINE!! I let him go learn stuff. I got used to it. But then this Summer I realized something–over the course of that school year, my sweet, snuggly, chubby baby turned into a tall, skinny man-child.

He insists on using Axe shampoo and body wash. Instead of SpongeBob, he watches Man Vs. Wild and Dual Survival. He asks me to take him to the sporting goods store to LOOK AT KNIVES. Sharp ones, too. Not those cute little butter knives you use at tea parties.

Mini Jello Aquariums Photo

Also I have noticed that when other men are around, he talks with this weird deep voice that isn’t his normal voice.

If Kindergarten did this to him, I shudder to think of what is going to happen in First Grade. He will probably come home with chest hairs and a six pack of beer or something.

Also, I just remembered that I forgot to tell you the very worst thing of all:  Recently, he has been asking for HIS DAD to do stuff for him INSTEAD OF ME. It’s like I’m living on a whole other planet that’s made of sadness and broken hearts and unfulfilled wishes.

So, I’m hoping that these cute treats this week will reel him back into the land of cozy hugs and storybook snuggles and hand holding.  And Johnson’s Baby Wash.  The End.

Mini Jello Aquariums Image

When I originally had the idea for these little aquariums, I thought I’d hit snack jackpot!! But a quick Google search informed me that Martha had a very similar idea. But hers was bigger and didn’t have candy aquarium rocks.

NO CANDY AQUARIUM ROCKS?! But then I discovered why — pouring liquid Jell-O over candy makes the candy squishy and gross as the Jello sets. No good. Squishy candy rocks are NO GOOD FOR ANYONE!

BUT THEN IT CAME TO ME IN A DREAM. (not really, I was awake) If I let the Jell-O set up in the jars (like a mold) and then loosened it and dropped it in another jar with candy in the bottom, it wouldn’t get soggy.

So I did. And it worked.  Easy!!

Mini Jello Aquariums

Ingredients

  • 3 oz box blue Jello (any brand/flavor will do -- I like a lighter color blue)
  • 4 half-pint canning jars
  • 1/2 cup Nerds candy
  • 4 Swedish Fish candies

Instructions

  1. Pour Jello powder in medium bowl. Boil 3/4 cup water, and pour over the Jello. Stir for about 2 minutes, until completely dissolved. Add 3/4 cup cold water.  Divide gelatin evenly into 2 small jars and place in the refrigerator for about 4 hours, until firm and fully set.
  2. Divide the Nerds into the bottom of the two remaining jars. Right before serving, loosen the set Jell-O from jars by running a knife along the inside edges. Place jar upside down over the jar with the candy and give it a tap ¦it will fall right out and into place!
  3. Cut two slits in the Jell-O and insert your Swedish Fish.  Done!!
  4. Makes 2 mini Jell-O aquariums.

Try not to put these together until you’re ready to serve them.  Although the candy doesn’t get totally soggy and gross, the moisture from the Jell-O will compromise the quality of the Nerds candy after a period of time.

I hope your little ones enjoy these!! Have a happy day and thanks for reading!!

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Meal Plan {5/16 – 5/20} http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/meal-plan-516-520/ http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/meal-plan-516-520/#comments Sat, 14 May 2016 11:00:22 +0000 http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/?p=13001 My weekly meal plan has lots of simple and kid-friendly meal ideas that are perfect for weeknights! Hi friends! Happy Saturday! I’ve got a busy weekend ahead of me!! Jon David and I leave Monday for a European cruise, so I’ve got lots of packing and planning to do. I’m already anxi...

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My weekly meal plan has lots of simple and kid-friendly meal ideas that are perfect for weeknights!

WeeklyMealPlan51616

Hi friends! Happy Saturday!

I’ve got a busy weekend ahead of me!! Jon David and I leave Monday for a European cruise, so I’ve got lots of packing and planning to do. I’m already anxious about leaving my husband and Lucy behind, but I know that they will be fine and the time will pass quickly.

Of course, that means that I will not be home to cook, but I wanted to put a meal plan together for you guys anyways. I get lots of emails from people who rely on these plans for ideas, and I totally understand that. Putting them together makes my life SO much easier, so I’m happy to share them with you! Pinterest really helps keep me out of a dinner rut — how did I plan meals before Pinterest?!

Here’s what I planned for this week. As usual, be sure to print out a grocery list — everything you need for the week is already filled out for you!

chicken-caesar-wraps-1Monday: Chicken Caesar Wraps

Grab a rotisserie chicken and these wraps are ready in minutes. Love this! Perfect for a hectic Monday.

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chicken cordon bleu rice bake (1) copy 3

 Tuesday: Chicken Cordon Bleu Rice Bake

I make a similar pasta dish and we all LOVE it! This rice dish sounds like it would be just as good, if not better.

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Bacon-Wrapped-Pork-Loin-3Wednesday: Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin

Sometimes it’s really nice to have something other than beef or chicken.  And this looks SO perfect!

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million-dollar-spageti-b3b

Thursday: Million Dollar Spaghetti

My family is never crazy about spaghetti, which is unfortunate because it’s SO easy and inexpensive. But dressed up like this? They’ll eat it all day. Still easy and still inexpensive. Love.

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walking-tacosFriday: Walking Tacos

A really fun weekend meal, especially if you’re expecting company or the kiddos are having a sleepover. Just add taco toppings to a bag of corn chips and eat!

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