Easy Sweet and Salty Party Mix

Disclosure: I was provided with samples of G.H. Cretors products, in exchange for a post. G.H. Cretors is also supplying the prize for the giveaway. All opinions are 100% my own.

Easy Sweet and Salty Party Mix

When I was a kid, I had an adorable wooden, handmade Easter basket. I fondly think about it every year around this time, and it brings back lovely memories of Easter Day. The Easter Bunny ;-) was so creative and thoughtful with our baskets…they would contain our favorite candies, as well as a couple of fun trinkets/toys. They were beautifully wrapped in colorful cellophane, complete with the perfect bow. So much attention to detail…I can only hope my kids one day get that level of creativity in their baskets. :-)

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Our Carnival Dream Adventure – Part 3

Disclosure: Carnival Cruise Lines sent us (my husband and I) on a 7 day cruise aboard the Carnival Dream at no cost to us. (We did pay for all of the excursions on our own.) All opinions in this post are 100% my own.

Towel Animals

After talking about the food, the only logical thing left is to talk about all of the fun we had on our trip! What I love most about Carnival is that you don’t have to stress about your vacation planning once you’re on the cruise ship.

Every night, your room steward will leave a newsletter on your bed, which shows every single activity that’s available for you to participate in on the boat. There’s several types of activities on the ship. My favorites are the comedy shows, karaoke (watching it…no one should be subjected to my vocal “talents”), the evening shows (which were different themes every night) and mini golf. To name some of the amenities, on our ship there were also a few pools, hot tubs, an adult only deck, water slides, a full-on spa, gym, a casino, a few shops and art gallery.

In addition to ship activities, there are also excursions you can book for when you’re in port (You can do this either online or once you’re on the ship…just keep in mind that some excursions can fill up and they’re first come, first serve.). Our big excursion this year was the dolphin swim/snorkel in Roatan, Honduras. A bit of a background…I have ALWAYS wanted to do this. Always. I love dolphins. So, this year, I think I annoyed my husband with enough “pretty please”s, because he was totally game for it this cruise. Our particular excursion included a dolphin encounter, where you watch them do tricks, you get to pet them, and of course, you get the famous dolphin kiss.

Dolphin Swim
(Images taken by a staff member at St. Anthony’s Key Resort…we purchased the rights to use and print these photos.)

For our excursion, we were put in small groups with a trainer, and the trainer had a dolphin with him. This dolphin’s name is Bailey, and she was the sweetest. Here’s a picture of when she would slowly swim past the group for us to pet her. :-)

Dolphin Swim

After we all took our pictures with the dolphins, the trainers treated us to a few tricks involving multiple dolphins. I’m so in awe of how beautiful these animals are when they’re jumping, skipping, etc.

Dolphin Swim

After the encounter, we were allowed to go into deeper waters and snorkel with them. It was so neat to hear them communicate under water…I absolutely loved it! The trainers showed us a trick with waving sea grass…it would attract the calves to play with the grass! So adorable…their mannerisms reminded me so much of puppies.

Another excursion we did was the Behind the Fun tour. This is an excursion that is on the ship, where you learn about the inner workings of a cruise ship. It’s held on the last sea day of the cruise, and my husband read about this on the cruising forums. You can’t book this online before your cruise, but once you get on the ship, you can go to the shore excursions desk and book it then.

While I have no pictures to share of the tour (they aren’t allowed), I will say that the tour was worth it to us. It lasted a good 3 hours, and just to make you aware, it does require quite a bit of walking and stair climbing. We toured everything from the kitchen, to the storage areas for food, laundry areas and a few crew only areas, to name a few places. I was never bored, and our tour guide made it fun for us. The time really flew by, and when we got back to our room, this nice surprise was waiting for us! :-)

Behind the Fun

I have to say, this was probably the best cruise we’ve been on. Between the excursions, the ship, the crew and of course, this being the first cruise we’ve been on with family, we had a wonderful time. I feel that this is one of the few vacations where you truly feel like you are relaxed afterwards and had a good mental vacation. I know some people aren’t really into cruises (we thought we were those people, by the way), but I’m so glad that we tried a cruise for the first time three years ago, because we are just hooked.

Thank you again, Carnival Cruise Lines for the amazing trip. We had such a wonderful, relaxing time, and we’re already starting to plan our next one!

Caribbean Sunset

(I’ll just leave this little sunset picture here….)

Our Carnival Dream Adventure – Part 2

Disclosure: Carnival Cruise Lines sent us (my husband and I) on a 7 day cruise aboard the Carnival Dream at no cost to us. They also comped our steakhouse visit. (We did pay for the excursions on our own.) All opinions in this post are 100% my own. 

When my husband and I went on our very first cruise, we had no idea what to expect. We knew that the food was included in the cost of the cruise, so our hopes weren’t very high (because where else do you get the food included with your vacation?!). However, we were blown away with the food and the service that was included. Because of that, we never really considered booking any of the premium meal offerings, until this year.

While our steakhouse dinner was generously comped by Carnival, we actually made a reservation with the steakhouse before we found that out. We had heard so many wonderful things on cruising forums, so we figured on our third cruise…why not give it a try? We very rarely go out to eat at fancy restaurants, so we considered this to be an extra special treat.

We were beyond blown away. My husband and I agree that the steakhouse is a MUST for every cruise from now on. :-)

Our waiter first brought out an amuse bouche for us to enjoy after we placed our order. My husband got the most adorable little slider I’ve ever seen, and I had a small tomato soup.

CarnivalSteakhouseStarter

At the steakhouse, you get your choice of a starter, salad, entree and dessert. My husband isn’t much of a salad person, so they mentioned that he could have two starters instead.

Both my husband and I had their baked onion soup. I’m a sucker for onion soup, and this one was seriously the BEST onion soup I’ve ever had. It was rich, full of flavor, cheesy…all of the things an onion soup needs to be. My husband agreed…we loved it so much! I wish I knew how to make this soup at home. For my salad, I had a classic caesar salad, and my husband opted for the crab cake starter instead of the salad.  Both were also delicious!

CarnivalSteakhouseAppetizers

The entrees…whoa. These steaks were fantastic! I ordered the broiled filet mignon and my husband ordered the spice-rubbed prime ribeye steak. I tried a piece of my husband’s, and both steaks were perfectly cooked and delicious. My filet was so tender…I barely needed my knife to cut through it! For the sides, we both got wasabi horseradish potatoes and I had the sautéed mushrooms as well. They also offer sauces for the steaks, and we got a sampler of all three. We both said the wild mushroom was our favorite, although the bearnaise offered a wonderful richness and the three peppercorn was a nice, flavorful sauce as well.

CarnivalSteakhouseEntrees

Neither of us really had room for dessert, but um….who are we to refuse dessert? My husband ordered the cheesecake, and I ordered the chocolate sampler. When our waitress brought out the desserts, I had no idea how we were going to finish them. The cheesecake was insanely tall…I have no idea if they even use normal sized springform pans to make theirs…haha! I wish I held something in the picture next to the cheesecake to give you an idea of scale. Let’s just say it was a really tall cheesecake! The chocolate sampler that I had was just perfection. It’s a sampler of four desserts, each topped with ice cream or sorbet. One of the desserts was a banana pannacotta, which was perfect to have a bite of when dessert got to be a little too rich.

CarnivalDesserts

I can’t even begin to explain how wonderful this dinner was. It was probably the best dinner of my life, and I was thankful our room was on the same side of the boat as the restaurant, because we seriously went straight to our room and fell asleep. We were so blissfully full, and then swore we would never eat that much for a meal again on the rest of the cruise. (That ended up being a straight-up lie.)

We are absolutely making the steakhouse dinner a tradition for every cruise we go on from now on. We were completely blown away by the food and the impeccable service. Completely.

We actually went on the cruise with some of my husband’s family, and we decided to pay for his parents to dine in the steakhouse a few nights later as a gift to them. That’s how much we loved it…we just had to share the experience with someone, and they were equally impressed!

After the first night, we ended up eating dinner at the main dining room for the rest of the cruise. Since we were with some of his family, we liked using dinnertime as a time to catch-up and talk about how the cruise was going. We had the most unbelievable wait staff in the main dining room (A huge shout-out to our head server Zubin and his staff…they were probably the best main dining room staff we’ve ever had between all of the cruises we’ve been on!). And of course, the food was delicious. I pictured some of my favorites from the cruise below.

CarnivalFoodFaves

Left: Formal night lobster. Oh man…not only do you get lobster, but they also include jumbo tiger shrimp. It’s such a good, classic entree.

Top right: On the second day of the cruise, the steakhouse offered a cooking demonstration where they cooked and gave us recipes to make a few of the steakhouse favorites. We also got to sample whatever they cooked. Pictured is the mushroom cappuccino, which is what they serve on the first formal night of the cruise. We asked if it was served the night we went to the steakhouse (we remembered it from the last cruise’s cooking demonstration…it’s THAT good), but our server said it’s only on formal nights. So good!

Center right: Champagne sorbet. It’s not the easiest to photograph, but this is another steakhouse favorite offered on formal nights. Our maitre d’ mentioned it to us one night, and since we missed out on that too for our steakhouse dinner, she surprised us with some on the second formal night at our table! I loved it so much…I need to make this myself. :-) Wouldn’t that be fun for a celebration?

Bottom right: Warm Melting Chocolate Cake. Another classic…it’s the most popular dessert in the main dining room and for good reason. You just can’t beat the warm melting chocolate cake. I have a copycat recipe on the blog, which is crazy easy to make!

The wonderful staff on the cruise ship surprised us with a few treats during the cruise! We ended up meeting Allan, the Chef de Cuisine of the entire ship. I was shocked that he took a few minutes to talk to me and my husband’s family at dinner one night. He was such a friendly man (I would be so stressed in his shoes, but he seemed so calm and collected!), and we saw him once again on the Behind the Fun tour (which I’ll talk about in the next post).  Throughout the cruise, he generously sent some treats to our room, which we shared with my husband’s family. :-) We enjoyed so much food on this cruise!

Dessert Collage

Also, if that’s not enough, we did take advantage of the included room service a few times. I loved enjoying coffee and some fruit (you know, to balance things out haha) while sitting out on our balcony. It was the perfect way to start the day. :-)

All in all, the food on the Carnival Dream was just amazing. I won’t mention how much weight we gained after the cruise (even though we walked a ton), but it was SO worth it. Stay tuned for the next post, where I share some of the excursions and other fun we had on our Carnival cruise.

Our Carnival Dream Adventure – Part 1

Disclosure: Carnival Cruise Lines sent us (my husband and I) on a 7 day cruise aboard the Carnival Dream at no cost to us. (We did pay for the excursions on our own.) All opinions in this post are 100% my own. 

Carnival Dream

My husband and I started cruising a couple of years ago. Since New Orleans is a popular port city for cruise lines and is only a short drive away for us, we’ve started to make a Carnival cruise a yearly get-away for us.

We’ve cruised with Carnival twice before (on our own dime), and we’ve always been impressed with them. I find that a cruise is one of the rare vacations where you feel like you really take a good, long break away from everything. Once I’m on the boat, most of my stress melts away. I can turn off my phone for a week, not have to worry about cleaning anything, nap whenever I want (yes, I sleep a LOT on vacation…ask my husband), take in all of the beautiful views of the Caribbean Sea, enjoy some excursions in port, and of course, try all sorts of delicious food without having to step foot in a grocery store!

To me, that’s a vacation!

One of the best views of the trip, in my opinion, is the great sunset view of New Orleans. The city just looks so calm and serene. It’s the perfect backdrop for the start of our vacation.

Carnival Farewell New Orleans

Since we’ve cruised twice before, we decided to make this trip full of firsts. I can’t wait to share those with y’all, but here’s one of our biggest firsts: swimming with dolphins. What an experience!

Dolphin Swim
(Images taken by a staff member at St. Anthony’s Key Resort…we purchased the rights to use and print these photos.)

::sigh:: These Caribbean sunsets never get old. One of my favorite things is to just sit on the balcony with a cup of coffee and just stare at this. I also really, really enjoy taking pictures of the sunsets. The pictures never do them justice, though.

Carnival Sunset

I also love the little touches that Carnival provides to every cruiser. Every single night, they’d place chocolates and a towel animal on our bed. We had a new animal every night, which was so fun! Since I love them so much, I would carefully move them to our sofa in the room so they could stay intact throughout the cruise. After a couple of nights of doing this, our room steward took notice and left them for us to enjoy. We had a nice little collection at the end of the cruise!

Towel Animals

Don’t judge me… :-P

And of course, there was plenty of delicious food. Plenty….here’s a sneak peek of some of the desserts we got to enjoy! I can’t wait to share with y’all some of the amazing food that we got to enjoy on this cruise! Stay tuned!

Dessert Collage

Sorry Folks…

ah-huck ah-huck ah-huck…park’s closed for renovations. (Sorry….quoting National Lampoon Vacation here!) Nah, the site isn’t closed, but there’s a few changes happening.

Please accept this cute picture of Millie as an apology.

Untitled

Easiest way to put it is that there have been some issues with my hosting site over the past few weeks, so I decided that I’m going to take some time to switch over and since they messed up my theme, I am going to do a temporary re-design as well.

Your favorite recipes and posts will still be around, but the site does look a little different. Thanks for your patience!

 

The 9Chefs Baking Competition

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about peppermint bark chess pie. I adapted the pie recipe for the 9Chefs Baking Competition, which was aired on WAFB (a local news station). I can’t tell you how many times I made that pie to practice, but it was to the point to where I pretty much didn’t need to look at the recipe for the competition.

I was INCREDIBLY nervous about this competition. The whole week of the competition, I would randomly get butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it. Would I drop my pie? Add salt instead of sugar? Look ridiculous on camera? I also had dreams about how it would go….I know it’s ridiculous sounding, but I’ve never done anything like this.

The morning of the competition, I left my house an hour early just to give myself ample time to settle in at the culinary institute (where it was held/taped). Well, typical Friday traffic didn’t happen, because there was a terrible accident on the Interstate, which, despite me leaving an hour early, I was 10 minutes late. I was the last one there…how embarrassing. :( I seriously thought I was going to get kicked out for being late.

When I arrived, I learned that we were going to be wearing chef jackets. Um…WAY COOL. After that, it was a whirlwind, but I remember we had a few minutes to set up our stations (we were allowed to bring any tools/appliances from home, so I had a bit to unpack haha) before interviews. Then, right after, the competition would start.

The competition allowed us 3 hours to bake two pies. One for tasting and one for presentation. With the pie I wanted to make, I knew I had to get it in the oven within the first hour, to give it ample cooling time. One thing I didn’t expect was that there were culinary students there to help us gather ingredients, and while we were frantically rolling pie dough and making fillings, the students washed our dishes for us. It was so appreciated. I’m sure the students have no idea this blog exists, but if they happen to see this, Thank You. Also, a HUGE thanks to the Louisiana Culinary Institute (LCI) for allowing us to use their kitchen, their ingredients and their equipment. It was very interesting (intimidating at first) to use commercial equipment, but with the help of the students and instructors from LCI, it wasn’t bad at all.

That first hour, I was completely in the zone. The room was actually VERY quiet, and I thought it would be crazy/loud/hectic like you see on Chopped, but every competitor was quietly doing their thing. It was so cool to glance around to see what everyone was making, and to watch how everyone works differently in the kitchen. After the first hour, I relaxed a bit and worked on decorations/whipped cream topping. I also got to really take this whole experience in once the pies were in the oven….that first hour, the room felt so quiet, but after everyone had their pies in, we all would just randomly chat and it became a pretty friendly environment, which I didn’t expect at all. It was a relief, but we were all amateur home bakers…I think we were all pretty nervous about it. Once my pies were out of the oven (about 2 hours in), I concentrated on cleaning my station/packing my tools and letting my pies cool.

9Chefs Baking Competition

After 3 hours, this is the display that I left for the judges. My pies could have cooled a bit more, and man, I was SO nervous slicing the pie that quite a few of them just broke (compared to the blog photo from the recipe post). I was really hoping that the taste would make up for it. :-)

9Chefs Baking Competition

Once the competition was over, we went to a waiting room to allow the judges to taste the pies and did our post-competition interviews. I think that’s when the butterflies really set in. My pies came out great but of course, I had to question if I did enough….

If you’d like to see how the competition went down, here’s the video on YouTube. If you want to skip to the results, just drag the player to about 20 minutes in. :-)

One of the big questions my friends and family have asked me is if I would do this again. In a heartbeat. I really loved it!

Thanks again to WAFB and LCI for the wonderful opportunity, and congratulations to the winners!

Top 10 Recipes of 2012

Man, what a year it has been! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season with their friends and family. :-)

Most years, I feel like time has flown by, but for some reason, it feels like last January was truly a year ago. So many great things have happened to us this year (as well as some really crappy events).  

Some highlights and not so highlights:

  • It was our first full year in our new house, which has been such a blessing. It’s just awesome to finally have friendly neighbors, who don’t throw their trash in our backyard or play loud music at 2am (side-eye to the neighbors at the old house).
  • My husband and I have both decided to live healthier. Between us, we’ve lost over 150 lbs. this year. (I’m sure my husband is rolling his eyes at me sharing this, but seriously..I’m gonna brag here!) That’s just amazing to me. I’m so proud of us.
  • Another weight loss highlight. I fit into a clothes size that I haven’t been able to wear since 10th grade. That was 12 years ago. OMG!
  • A not so highlight. Hurricane Isaac…don’t want to go into too much detail with that one, but yeah, hurricanes suck. Oh, and for the record, labradors don’t care if the winds are 50 mph outside. If there’s rain/water, it’s playtime! (ugh)
  • I think I’m making some good progress on my 101 Goals in 1001 Days list.

And of course, it’s been another fun year blogging. I really appreciate all of y’all taking the time to read my tiny corner of the Internet. Thank you for your sweet comments, emails and tweets. In January, it’s gonna be this blog’s 5th anniversary, and I’m just amazed by all of the friends I’ve made and people I’ve “met”  through this blog. You guys are the best!

Just to round up the year, I wanted to share with y’all your top 10 most read posts from 2012.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies w/ Salted Caramel Buttercream

10. Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Salted Caramel Buttercream – These whoopie pies were made for a work fundraiser, and they were a huge success. Great pumpkin/spicy flavor, and the salted caramel buttercream just makes them super indulgent. Pumpkin + caramel is a wonderful combination!

Red Velvet Bundt Cake

9. Red Velvet Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – I love anything red velvet. This bundt cake is a fun change from a regular cake, and it was pretty easy to throw together and bake!

Baked Oatmeal

8. Baked Oatmeal – My breakfast has been forever changed by this. This oatmeal is not soggy at all (which I hate about cooked oats), and it’s very sweet with the addition of bananas.

Peanut Butter Cookies

7. Peanut Butter Cookies – Just simple, classic peanut butter cookies. :-) Very good!

Candy Corn Oreo Truffles

6. Candy Corn Oreo Truffles – Oreo truffles are insanely good, and it was fun to make these with seasonal flavors. Always a favorite when I bring these truffles to work!

Fresh Strawberry Pie

5. Fresh Strawberry Pie – I’m SO glad strawberry season is back. I need to make this pie again…it’s not rich at all, and since it involves no cooking (except for the crust), it tastes so fresh!

Snickers Cupcakes

4. Snickers Cupcakes – Oh, I totally need to make these again. If you love Snickers, you will LOVE these!

Homemade Strawberry Lemonade

3. Homemade Strawberry Lemonade – Meyer lemon season + strawberry season? Um…guess I need to make this too and ASAP!

Red Velvet Swirl Brownies

2. Red Velvet Swirl Brownies – These were just delicious, and so pretty too! Perfect for Valentine’s Day!

Spinach Strawberry Salad with Feta

1. Spinach, Strawberry, Pecan and Feta Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette – This is a huge favorite of y’alls. I think Pinterest made this a popular one, and it is VERY easy to throw together! This is a salad you want to make for your next party…it’s an awesome combination!

Thanks so much for reading this blog, and I hope everyone has a Happy New Year! Time to get used to writing/typing “2013”. :-)

Top 10 Recipes of 2011

Am I the only person who is shocked that Christmas just passed? I can’t believe it. Neighbors are taking down lights, and our tree looks SO empty without gifts under it. My favorite holiday is over, and crazy enough, it’s time for a new year. 2012.

Time to take the shrink wrap off of the new planner and get used to writing “2012” on papers/emails/etc. This is just crazy.

Also crazy…sometime in 2012, my 4 year blogiversary is happening and my 3 year wedding anniversary is happening too. WHAT?

It’s a lot to look forward to, but before everyone rings in the new year, I just wanted to share with y’all the top 10 posts of 2011. :-)

Yellow Cupcakes w/ Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

10. Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream – This was my first time making SMBC, and I swear, if you haven’t tried SMBC before, just do it. Please?

Pecan Pie Macarons

9. Pecan Pie Macarons – Gotta love macarons. These were really a huge favorite for Thanksgiving, and the star shape (which was a happy accident) made them super cute and festive!

Queso Blanco

8. Restaurant Style Queso Blanco – This is it. The ultimate queso blanco. If you’re as addicted to queso as me, you’d understand how wonderful it is to FINALLY have a recipe for this!

Strawberry Cream Cake

7. Strawberry Cream Cake – I’m actually glad I compiled this top 10, because I sort of forgot about this cake. Since it’s currently strawberry season in Louisiana, I think I MUST make this cake again. Yum!

Peppermint Bark Cheesecake Truffles

6. Peppermint Bark Cheesecake Truffles – This is the recipe that made my year, basically. I still can’t believe I won that recipe contest, and I’ve been told by a few friends who made this that these little truffles were a hit at their holiday parties! So happy to hear that!

Banana Nutella "Ice Cream"

5. Banana Nutella “Ice Cream” – Two ingredient “ice cream”. It’s basically awesome and couldn’t be any easier. Your food processor does all the work!

Corn Grits

4. Grilled Corn Grits – I can’t be from the South, and not have a post about grits. I promise you if you make this, your hips may never be the same again, but your taste buds will tell you it’s completely worth it!

3. Easy Pasta Salad – My first (and so far, only) vlog. I might get the courage to make one again, since you guys seemed to like it so much!

Diet Cupcakes

2. Cooking For Kids – The infamous post. Yup, who’da thought that a soda cupcake would get so much response from you guys (both good and bad)…yikes!

Homemade S'mores

1. S’mores for a Shower – Nutella S’mores. I can see why you guys loved this one so much. I’m sort of craving s’mores right now, actually. :-P

I hope you have a wonderful New Year with your family and friends, and thank you so much for reading The Nifty Foodie! See y’all in 2012!

The Kitchen is Closed (for now)

You may have noticed that I’ve been a little quiet on the blog. This is an odd time for me not to post, since Fall started and I really enjoy making dishes that scream Fall. :-)

There’s a good reason for this, I swear.

The New House

WE’RE MOVING!

We just closed on this house Friday, and have been in a packing frenzy for a couple of weeks now! :-) So, the kitchen is closed right now. It’s actually sort of hard for me, since the Fall recipes are pouring in, and all I want to do is be in the kitchen. However, in a week or so when we’re all settled in, this will all be worth it. :-)

And of course, I wouldn’t show you the house without showing you the kitchen. :-)

The New Kitchen

I absolutely love how open the kitchen is and I cannot wait to start cooking in it! :-) I also love that the kitchen will have so much natural light in it (this picture was taken with natural light alone)…easier blog pictures, right? :-)

Thanks for bearing with me during the move! We’re so excited!

7 Links

I’ve been seeing this blog idea around the blogosphere for a little while now, and last week, I got tagged by The Wannabe Athlete to post my 7 links. This was a little hard to do, because I’ve been blogging for well over 3 years. How could I just pick 7 links to share with y’all?

However, after a good bit of thought, here are 7 links on my blog that I think you should totally check out if you haven’t already!

Pumpkin Bread

Most BeautifulMy Blog, My Moments

I really enjoyed writing this post for Project Food Blog last year. It made me dig deep to share with y’all why I blog about food. Some people find it a little weird. Heck, my family and husband found it weird at first, but they realize that this is now a hobby of mine and fully support me. My mom even tells me all the time how much she enjoys my writing, which is a huge compliment.

Homemade S'mores

Most PopularS’mores for a Shower

I had no idea that this post would be as popular as it was. This dish was made for a virtual baby shower, and I think that contributed to its popularity. The picture/post also got featured on Foodgawker and Tastespotting. The result? The hits were about 10 times more than the normal daily hits on my blog! Definitely exciting!

Diet Cupcakes

Most ControversialCooking for Kids

Another post I was surprised by. I wrote this post, mainly because I wanted to share a fun cupcake coloring technique to do with children. The post was actually written, because it would result in a $50 donation towards a charity. The controversial part was the diet soda cupcake recipe idea that I shared from a Weight Watchers meeting. Since the recipe featured nothing but cake mix and soda, a lot of snarky comments resulted, which really made me realize that thick skin is really important to have as a blogger. While I wouldn’t make diet soda cupcakes for kids, I would definitely make them for myself in a pinch. I still don’t understand why some people commented so rudely.

Cutting Board Trick

Most HelpfulNifty Tricks

This was a post series idea that I had a while back featuring little tricks you can use in the kitchen. I actually forgot about this series until writing this post. (oops!) I really want to start up these posts again, since it was a fun idea, and you guys seemed to really like it, too!

Caramel Apple Pie A La Mode Bites

A Post Whose Success Surprised YouCaramel Apple Pie a la Mode Bites

I wrote this post for a recipe writing contest (no, I didn’t win). I really didn’t think the idea would be popular at all, since the crust was simply sliced bread and cinnamon sugar! Even Joy the Baker commented on this post! Seriously crazy and surprising!
Turkey Cake Pops

A Post You Feel Didn’t Get the Attention It DeservedTurkey Cake Pops

I have to admit, cake pops take a ridiculous amount of time, and usually, dishes that take time to make, get more hits for some reason. I really thought this post would be more popular, since it was written right after Thanksgiving, but maybe I should have blogged it before.

Gumbo

Most Proud OfGumbeaux

Roux is an intimidating thing. It can easily burn, and when making gumbo, you have to work on a roux for quite a while. It’s intensive and stressful for me. After many burnt rouxs, I found this idea from Alton Brown to make roux in an oven. SCORE! The resulting gumbo was absolutely delicious, and I felt so proud that my husband and I made a gumbo from scratch for the first time. :-)

Now, to tag 7 other bloggers:

Serena of Big Apple Nosh
Amy of Sing For Your Supper
Jessica of The Novice Chef
Cate of Cate’s World Kitchen
Carrie of Carrie’s Sweet Life
Stephanie of This Casita
Ali of His Birdie’s Nest

Can’t wait to read everyone else’s 7 Links! :-)