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Made this last night for dessert…sooooo yummy, and it requires no baking! Go make this now! (Original Recipe here)



  • 20 chocolate cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, divided
  • 1 carton (16 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided
  • 15 miniature peanut butter cups, chopped
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 1 package (3.9 ounces) instant chocolate fudge pudding mix


  • Crush 16 cookies; toss with the butter. Press into an ungreased 9-in. square dish; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter and 1 cup confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Fold in half of the whipped topping. Spread over crust. Sprinkle with peanut butter cups.
  • In another large bowl, beat the milk, pudding mix and remaining confectioners’ sugar on low speed for 2 minutes Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Fold in remaining whipped topping.
  • Spread over peanut butter cups. Crush remaining cookies; sprinkle over the top. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours. Yield: 12-16 servings.

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I found the original recipe through Pinterest. It was really tasty, but I have modified it (I have QUADRUPLED the pasta…when I made it tonight I *doubled* the pasta but made the original amount of sauce, and while delicious, it was a bit too soupy):


  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into small strips)
  • 16 ounces (uncooked) linguini
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 green onion (thinly sliced)
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes (chopped)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese


  1. Place chicken strips and Cajun seasoning in a bowl, toss the chicken with the seasoning until the chicken strips evenly coated with the seasoning.
  2. Cook the pasta.
  3. While pasta cooks, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
  4. Add chicken and sauté the chicken for 5 to 7 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked (the internal temperature has reached 165 degrees)
  5. Reduce heat to low. Add green onions, heavy cream, cheese, tomatoes, basil, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. Cook until heated through.
  6. Pour sauce over hot linguini and serve.

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Move More

In Weight Watchers, for the first 10 weeks you get a new booklet each week focusing on a certain idea to help promote weight loss/health. This week’s was “Move More” – basically encouraging you to move more, or exercise. This is no surprise  — we all know that to lose weight, you have improve your diet and exercise. As mush as I love to eat, exercise has always been the hardest for me. Why?:

(1)  I don’t find it very fun. Getting all hot/sweaty, out of breath, tired, and having muscles hurt doesn’t sound very appealing.

(2) Getting to and from the gym adds an extra 30 minutes to my exercise (driving, parking, getting inside, picking out my machine, etc), and when I’m busy with school, that’s 30 minutes I don’t want wasted.

However, regardless of how much I dislike it, it will help me lose weight, and, more importantly, is important to my health. But what about the time issue? Well, taking my mom’s suggestion, we decided to invest in a treadmill. We bought a Gold’s Gym 480 Treadmill (very reasonably priced, 8 exercise programs, and other nice features). John set it up in our office, in front of a TV, so I can use that to distract me from my discomfort.

My first 2 workouts have gone well. I’m doing a 9 week program – the 1st week I’m walking 4 minutes, then running 1 minute, and repeating 6 times for a total of 30 minutes. Each week you increase the amount you run/decrease the amount you walk by 30 seconds, until by the 9th week your running the whole 30 minutes. After that, I plan to increase my workout time to 45 minutes (over time).

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…Look out for the following:

Crystal Light – On the Go – Energy Wild Strawberry (10 packet box)

I’m trying to wean myself off of Mt Dew, but I’m addicted to the caffeine in it; I get headaches if I haven’t had any caffeine one day. However, sodas are just empty calories, and I don’t like diet soda, so I wanted something with caffeine, that still tastes good, but isn’t very many calories. Solution? Crystal Light on the go packets. You just add the packet to your water bottle, shake, and there you go! (I would recommend not adding all of the packet, though…if you add it all, it’s a bit too much, and leaves a bitter aftertatse). Wild Strawberry is good…and it has a whopping 120 mg caffeine per packet! And at 10 calories a packet (0g of fat, protein, carbs, etc), it definitely has fewer calories than soda! For other flavors with caffeine, look for the ones that say “Focus,” or “Energy,” or just go here and browse for yourself.


Makato Honey Ginger Dressing

You know that yummy salad dressing they put on salads at Japanese Steakhouses? Well, I’ve found one at the store that tastes a lot like it! There are some salad dressings  sold refrigerated, and they are usually near the prepackaged lettuce in the grocery store. That’s where I found mine, anyways, at Kroger.

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If you couldn’t tell from the title of my blog, I am a Harry Potter fan. They are probably my favorite books ever, and I’ve read quite a few books in my lifetime. So, when I found out about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter that was opening at Universal Studios Orlando, I knew I just had to go.

It sounds amazing! They have a Hogwarts Castle, which you get to tour while you’re waiting in line for the ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. (From the website: “You’ll visit iconic locations such as Dumbledore’s office, the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, the Gryffindor common room, the Room of Requirement and more. Then get ready to soar above the castle grounds as you join Harry Potter and his friends on an unforgettably thrilling adventure, coming face-to-face with an array of magical creatures!”)

In addition, they have several other Harry Potter roller coasters, including Dragon Challenge and Flight of the Hippogriff. Finally, the area is complete with a Hogsmeade Village!

This includes Honeydukes (candy/sweets…I’ve heard the Cauldron Cakes are pretty yummy), Zonkos Joke Shop, Dervish & Banges, Ollivanders Wand Shop, and Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods.

Also to be found is The Three Broomsticks and The Hog’s Head Pub, both of which serve the famed Butterbeer, which people have reported to taste like “butterscotch and shortbread cookies.” You better believe I’ll be having some!

So yes, for someone who is a Potter fan, this sounds awesome. For a few hours I can pretend the world actually exists! I am so excited about it! I convinced John to take me, and we are going in December (the 12th through the 16th), once we’re done with finals. I booked a package that includes Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, breakfast at The Three Broomsticks, and a 3-day ticket to both Universal parks (it also means a reduced rate at the hotel we chose to stay at).  They have 3 “on-site” hotels, and if you book those you can use your room key as an “Express Pass” to bypass the lines…but that cost A LOT more money, so we are staying at a nice hotel a few miles away. I’m considering buying some Express Passes for a day or two…however, I am torn. I can use that money to avoid long lines, or I can use it to go to Disney one evening for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. It’s at the Magic Kingdom, they limit the number of people who can go, and it means some Christmas events and (hopefully) shorter waits at rides. Any suggestions??? 🙂

Either way, I know we’ll have a great time. Universal has two parks – Islands of Adventure (where Harry Potter stuff is), and the original Universal Studios. In addition to the Harry Potter area, they have a Marvel Superhero area (with all sorts of great rides, like Spider Man and the Hulk), Dr Seuss area, Jurassic park area, rides like Jaws and Twister, and a lot more! It’s going to be soooo much fun, and a great way to unwind after the long semester I will have as a P2.

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So, I am trying to make recipes from my Cooking Light cookbook more often, but tonight I decided to indulge some and make some recipes from “The Pioneer Woman,” (see link to her blog on the left). I made Ranch Style Chicken, Twice Baked Potatoes, and Buttered Rosemary Rolls. Boy, was it delicious! Note: as listed, these recipes serve more than one person; I modified them when I made them to serve the two of us, but just copied her recipes as they were for easy viewing. Also, you may just prefer to click the above links, and she gives a step by step guide (with pictures for each step) on how to make the dishes.

Ranch Style Chicken


  • ½ cups Dijon Mustard
  • ½ cups Honey
  • ½ whole (juice Of) Lemon
  • ½ teaspoons Paprika
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • Crushed Red Pepper (optional To Taste)
  • 6 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 pound Thick Cut Bacon
  • Bacon Grease
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese, to taste
  • Canola Oil
  1. In a large bowl mix together Dijon with honey, juice of lemon, paprika, and salt and whisk until smooth. Sprinkle in some crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne if you like; set aside.
  2. Next, rinse the chicken breasts, place between two sheets of waxed paper and pound to around ½ to ¾ inch thick with a mallet. Next, add the chicken to the bowl with the marinade, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1 to 3 hours.
  3. While the chicken marinates, fry up some bacon. When finished cooking, reserve ¼ cup of the bacon grease and clean out the skillet.
  4. When the chicken is done marinating, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the chicken from the fridge and pour off excess marinade.
  5. Heat half of the reserved bacon grease with an equal quantity of Canola Oil in the clean skillet over medium-high heat. When the grease is nice and hot add two or three pieces of chicken to it. Cook until brownish/blackish, about 1 to 1 ½ minutes per side. Remove chicken to a large baking sheet. (If cooking many pieces of chicken, repeat skillet process and remove finished chicken to baking sheet).
  6. Place chicken in preheated oven and cook for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
  7. Lay a few pieces of bacon over each chicken breast. Sprinkle cheese over the top of the chicken as generously as you like.
  8. Return pan to oven for an additional five minutes until cheese is melted and bacon is sizzling. Serve immediately.

Twice Baked Potatoes


  • Baking potatoes (HALF OF however many you want…you will be cutting them in half, doubling the number of potatoes; so if you want to make 4 total in the end, buy 2)
  • Butter*
  • Bacon bits*
  • Sour cream*
  • Milk*
  • Cheese*
  • Desired Seasonings*

*You can click on the link above for specific measurements, but basically, these are ingredients you can eyeball.


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Wash potatoes; brush with olive oil (to crisp the shell); put on dish (don’t cover in foil)
  3. Bake potatoes 1 hour and 15 minutes
  4. Once done, take potatoes out of oven, and reduce heat to 350.
  5. After baking, potatoes will be hot. Holding each with a towel (to prevent your hands from burning), cut each potato in half.
  6. Scoop the contents out of each shell into a bowl.
  7. Mix the potatoes with other ingredients, and mash together.
  8. Fill shells back up; Top with more cheese
  9. Bake in 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.

Buttered Rosemary Rolls

  • Frozen, Unbaked Dinner Rolls
  • Melted Butter, Regular, Salted
  • Fresh Rosemary, Coarsely Chopped
  • Coarse Sea Salt
  1. Spray a small iron skillet with cooking spray (or coat with olive oil). Place frozen rolls in the skillet, leaving plenty of room for rising. Cover and allow to rise for several hours.
  2. After rising, brush rolls with melted butter.
  3. Sprinkle on chopped rosemary. Brush with additional butter. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
  4. Bake according to roll package directions, until rolls are a deep golden brown on top.
  5. Serve skillet on the table.

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Looking ahead…

So, next week I have about 5 new recipes I will be trying…I may not get them all posted next week, but I will do my best! They include recipes from thew new Hungry Girl cookbook, the Pioneer Woman (see link on left), and the cookbook John’s grandma gave me mentioned in previous posts. Should be yummy!

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