Lemon Ricotta Cookies


Lemon Ricotta Cookies

I love, love, love everything lemon! Thank goodness the rest of my family shares my feelings on the delicious citrus.

I have been making these lemon ricotta cookies for several years, they are such a hit that I often receive requests from friends, family, and co-workers to bring make them.

If you love lemon cookies, these are sure to be a hit! Give them a try, and let me know what you think 🙂

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
3 Tbs. lemon juice
1 lemon, zested

1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
3 Tbs. lemon juice
1 lemon, zested

Preheat the oven to 375*F

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the butter and the sugar. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough (about 2 tablespoons for each cookie) onto the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden on the edges. Be sure to not over cook these cookies! Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.

Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2 tsp. onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours. Pack the cookies into a decorative container.

Original recipe found at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/lemon-ricotta-cookies-with-lemon-glaze-recipe.html.

Oh What A Beautiful Day

Today is the perfect day to celebrate!

Happy Birthday to my Godson… I hope you enjoy your special dinner, birthday cake, and have a wonderful day!

It’s Valentines Day!! I hope everyone is enjoying the day celebrating love! Love comes in so many forms 🙂

I’m celebrating so many different things today and thought I would share a little.
My wonderful husband and love of my life, was so kind and helpful today, I am truly blessed.
Even though I am approaching 40, my Dad still sends me a box of chocolate every year, he was my first Valentine.
It’s 75* here in Tucson today! The weather is beautiful and it’s been great to open the windows and let the spring air in.
Everyone is healthy and happy today. The boys had their sports activities and my daughter is enjoying time with her friends.

Weekly Meal Prep

In my previous post I shared with you how I plan my meals to reduce the stress of cooking for a family while working a full-time job, having a newly acquired blogging addiction, and trying to balance all of the activities our kids are involved in while still maintaining a lifestyle that includes home cooked meals and family meal time at the table rather than on the go.

In addition to planning my meals in advance, I also prepare as much of each meal ahead of time as I possibly can. This helps to reduce the amount of time spent in the kitchen during our busy weeknight schedule.

Here’s what I did Sunday to prepare for the week:

I cooked and portioned out separately all of the meat for each meal on my weekly menu. Once cooled I vacuum sealed, labeled, and refrigerated.

I chopped all of my vegetables, divided appropriately, vacuum sealed, labeled and refrigerated

I prepared the sauces for each meal on my weekly menu.

I assembled the Hawaiian Ham Sammies, covered with foil and placed in the refrigerator. The only thing Kevin had to do was throw the casserole dish covered in foil in the oven while I drove home with the kids. We were able to walk in to dinner almost ready.

With this strategy I chopped once, and cooked the bulk of each meal ahead of time. There will be some assembly required throughout the week, but it’s much easier for me to handle the assembly after the prep work has been done. I can throw together a casserole, baked ziti, etc. before work and it’s ready for the oven on my way home, or easy to throw everything together in just a few minutes in a skillet on the stove.

Although not everyone loves spending an afternoon in the kitchen, I hope you find these tips helpful. I’d love to know if you give this method a try, hear more about how you plan your meals, and share ideas.

Meal Planning

Do you find yourself tired at the end of the day and overwhelmed with the age-old question…”Mom, what’s for dinner?” With three kids in school, activities, homework, etc. I have found that if I don’t plan ahead, we end up eating cereal or grilled cheese. That’s not to say there is anything wrong with either of those!

I have developed a system in our home to try to eliminate that stress, and our intake of overly processed food. I’ll explain in detail, and hope that you will share your system on meal planning with me.

Every few months the family sits down together and makes a list of some of our favorite meals. We do this because tastes change, we want to try new things, and depending on the season, some of our choices just don’t work. I use this list as a reference point to plan our meals weekly. I am also constantly on the lookout for new recipes, so sometimes I deviate from the family list and try something new.

Every week I plan our meals out for the entire week.
Here’s what is on the menu this week:
Monday- Hawaiian Ham Sammies with Macaroni Salad
Tuesday- Beef Noodle Casserole with Fruit Salad
Wednesday- Baked Ziti with Garlic Toast and Salad
Thursday-Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Shells with Fresh Fruit
Friday- Sloppy Joe’s and Tater Tots
Saturday- Smothered Italian Chicken with Garlic Buttered Spaghetti, Green Beans, Garlic Toast

I use our weekly menu to make our grocery list, accounting for lunches, baked items, and healthy snacks.

I have found that if I make the list from my planned meals, I spend less money at the grocery store, and avoid last-minute trips.

A little planning goes a long way.  I’ll explain in my next post the next step to this process.  I usually spend Sunday afternoon doing as much of the prep work as I can for the upcoming week, but more about that later 🙂

Old Fashioned Pan Rolls

Old Fashioned Pan Rolls


This recipe has been a Thanksgiving tradition for as long as I can remember.  The smell of yeast bread rising is certainly one of my fondest holiday memories.  I smile when I remember waking up to my mom covered in flour and kneading the dough, preparing for its first round of rising.  I have continued that tradition and in fact make them regularly for hot roast beef sandwiches, left over turkey sandwiches and everything in between. I’m happy to share this tradition with you and your family.


1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp. salt

2 pkgs active dry yeast

6 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups water

3/4 cup butter

1 egg

Vegetable oil


  1. In a large bowl combine sugar, salt, yeast and 2 1/2 cups of flour.
  2. In a 1 quart saucepan over low heat, heat water and 1/2 cup of butter until very warm (120*-130*).  The butter does not need to melt completely.
  3. With mixer as low-speed, gradually beat liquid into dry ingredients until just blended.
  4. Increase speed to medium, beat 2 minutes occasionally scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  5. Beat in egg and 3/4 cup flour to make a thick batter; continue beating 2 minutes, scraping the bowl often.
  6. Stir in enough additional four to make a soft dough. It usually takes about 2 1/2 cups of flour to achieve the right consistency.
  7. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If you are comfortable using the dough hook on your Kitchenaid, that will also work.  I prefer to knead by hand to make sure I am comfortable with the consistency.
  8. Shape dough into a large ball and place in a greased large bowl (using vegetable oil from ingredients list); turn dough over so that the top of the dough is lightly greased.
  9. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place away from draft.  Dough is finished rising when it has doubled in size (usually about 1 1/2 hours).  My mom taught me that the dough is doubled when two fingers pressed lightly into the dough leave a dent.
  10. Once dough has doubled, it is ready for phase two.  Punch down dough.
  11. Lightly grease a 15 1/2 by 10 1/2 roasting pan.
  12. Cut dough into 30 equal pieces; shape into balls and place in pan.
  13. Cover with a towel; let rise in warm place until doubled (usually about 1 1/2 hours).
  14. Pre-heat oven to 425*.
  15. Bake rolls 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.
  16. Rub with a stick of butter when you remove them from the oven.

Happy Birthday!

Strawberry cake

Happy Birthday to three lovely ladies in my life!

My niece is turning six today. She’s the only niece I have, so it’s safe to say she is my favorite! Darby is a fun, spunky, smart little girl 🙂 Happy Birthday Darby!

My friend Leann is turning ?? today 🙂 I hope she has a great day and is celebrated for being a great mom, wife and friend.

My friend Vee is turning 51 today! What an amazing woman she is! We will be celebrating with her later this month, I am preparing some of her favorite comfort foods and look forward to time with her.

Enjoy your day ladies!!

The Winner Is…..Texas Sheet Cake

slice of cake
My first post presented an ever so tempting poll…which recipe would you like to see posted first? The winner by a margin was Texas Sheet Cake.

I honestly have no idea where my family found this delicious chocolate cinnamon cake recipe, or who started baking it first. What I do know for sure is that it’s easy, yummy, and always a hit!

When I was a child my grandmother would make it for us every time my sister and I went to visit. My grandfather would eat the cake one sliver at a time, a good technique to keep our grandmother from really noticing how much cake we could actually devour in a day!

Here’s the recipe with some photos to help you along the way! I hope you give it a try and your family loves it as much as mine does. Let me know what you think 🙂

Ingredients (Cake):
2 Cups Flour
2 Cups Sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 Cup Butter (2 sticks)
1 Cup Water
3 Tbsp. Cocoa
2 Well Beaten Eggs
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Buttermilk
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 tsp. Cinnamon

Ingredients (Frosting):
1/2 Cup Butter (1 stick)
3 Tbsp. Cocoa
6 Tbsp. Milk
1 lb. Powdered Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla

1. Combine Flour, Sugar, Salt in large mixing bowl (I combine everything in my Kitchenaid for easy clean up)

Flour mixture2
2. In a small saucepan bring Butter, Water, and Cocoa to a boil
3. Once above mixture reaches a boil, pour over Flour and Sugar Mixture and mix well first two steps
4. In another bow combine Eggs, Baking Soda, Buttermilk, Vanilla, and Cinnamon
5. Add to above mixture and mix wellbatter
6. Bake in 15 1/2 X 10 1/2 X 1″ baking sheet at 350* for 15-20 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
7. While cake is baking, prepare frosting as you will need to frost this cake while it is still warm.
8. Combine Milk, Butter, Cocoa in small saucepan over low heat until butter is melted.
9. Combine Powdered Sugar and Vanilla in medium mixing bowl.
10. Pour Milk mixture over Powdered Sugar and Vanilla.
11. Mix until combined. This frosting is thin, so don’t worry if it doesn’t look like your usual frosting.
12. After removing cake from the oven, pour frosting over the cake, spreading to create an even layer.
13. Let frosted cake cook completely before serving.
Finished cake

Treasure each moment

IMG_2663Two years ago tomorrow I nearly lost my best friend, soul mate, husband, step-father to my children and just an all around amazing man.

It’s a very long story so I will keep it brief.

After roughly nine months of marriage, Kevin ended up spending the majority of six weeks in ICU suffering from endocarditis, congestive heart failure, and multiple other life threatening complications.

Tomorrow will mark the two-year anniversary of this most trying experience. Together with the support of those that love us most, we conquered and came out stronger than ever. After open heart surgery, an extra day on life support and many uphill battles he came out stronger than ever.

What did we learn? We learned to appreciate the little things. We learned to celebrate everyday. We learned to love with everything, no holding back! We learned that life is short. We learned to not sweat the small stuff. We learned that in the end, “everything will be ok”. We learned that you don’t ever need a reason to eat cake, because today is always a day to celebrate…even if it wasn’t our best.

Pulled Pork

pulled pork photo

This year we opted to skip the junk food, snacks, and traditional football feast. Instead I made pulled pork, potato salad, baked beans and chocolate cake for dessert.

I love my crock pot, particularly when I have a bazillion other things I’d like to be doing! This morning I prepared the Pork, placed in the crock pot, turned it on and went on with the rest of my day. The best thing about this meal is that we always have leftovers, I especially enjoy cooking once and then creating a second meal with the leftovers.

Here’s the recipe, it’s super easy:

1 Pork Butt (use any size you want, we have a family of 5 so I usually get a large one)
Garlic, Black Pepper, Salt, Onion Powder (season to your taste)
1 can Coke Cola
1 can of sweetened condensed milk

Combine all of the seasonings to create a dry rub, rub all over the Pork
Place the pork in the crock pot
Pour can of Coke and sweetened condensed milk over the meat
Turn crock pot to low and cook for 7-8 hours until meat is cooked, tender, and shreds easily.

Serve with your favorite BBQ sauce, your choice of bread/rolls, your favorite side (although I am partial to homemade potato salad and baked beans).

Dinner is done 🙂 This is a great Sunday night meal, everyone seems to enjoy the smell of food cooking all day. My family gets to eat a hearty meal, and I get to spend my day with them rather than in the kitchen.