we love mud pie!!!

Posted by Lauren

Facebook proves it.

October 22, 2006 at 9:05 pm – Sarah: “we love mud pie!!!”
December 17, 2010 at 6:25 pm – Lauren: “SARAH…. I want mud pie. right now.

we love mud pie

It’s almost been SEVEN YEARS since I first tried Cindy’s infamous mud pie, an event which forever changed my life. Plus, it was a reeeeally fun college night where my best friends from high school visited me and we went to a party in jewel tone togas.

po5 toga

Natalie, me, Katie, Sarah … we’re missing Vanessa :(

Ahh, memories. :)

So last month, after a tasty dinner at Cindy’s house and MINI banana split bites!!! for dessert, Cindy suggested that next month’s dinner be a birthday celebration for me and took requests. I immediately said mud pie because that’s one of my all-time favorites. I also suggested mushrooms, because anything with mushrooms rocks.

I was definitely spoiled last night with Mushrooms & Mud Pie!


Patriotic, summer table setting…


Fresh sunflowers and a blooming artichoke (love!)


Birthday presents! My own succulent terrarium!


Tasty peach sangria and spring salad with avocado dressing….


Chicken and rice with sauteed mushrooms and giant broccoli….

And then it was time.

Cindy, Mike, and Sarah sang Happy Birthday and then we dug in!


I literally sent that to 99% of my Snapchat friends because I was so excited haha.


Cindy, me, Sarah!

Do you want the recipe? Because back in 2009 I asked for it and I still have it on file (aka my old yahoo email address from 1998)

30 OREO’S crushed
1/3 cup melted butter
1 Jar Mrs. Richardson’s Chocolate Fudge Sauce
1/2 gallon Mocha Fudge Almond Ice Cream
3 Heath Toffee Bars crushed (if can’t find can use SKOR bars)
5 additional crushed OREO’S
1 9×13 disposable pan

  • Mix 30 crushed Oreo’s with melted butter. Press evenly on botton of pan. Freeze until firm.
  • Soften ice cream at room temperature. Spoon over frozen crust. Freeze until hard.
  • Spoon fudge sauce evenly over ice cream. Sprinkle crushed Heath Bars evenly over top. Sprinkle
    remaining 5 oreo’s over heath bars.
  • Flash freeze if you are going to keep pie in freezer for a while.
  • FLASH FREEZE DIRECTIONS: Put pie in freezer (unwrapped) until frozen through. Remove from freezer, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, cover with foil and return to freezer.


I will not confirm how many servings I had :)


After a few rounds of mud pie, we joined Owie (below) and Binky on the couch for episode 6 of The Bachelorette.


Going in to next week’s episode, we each have someone in the Top 5. Cindy is in a good spot, with 2 guys still in the running (Chris and Michael). I think Brooks has a shot, and Sarah’s kinda out of luck with #HashtagDrew. Oddly enough, we originally assigned the “extra” guy Zak to Mike and he’s still in it! It will be pretty funny if Zak wins, because then we’re treating Mike Jones to a pedicure.

bachelorette fantasy draft

I really think Chris and Brooks will be the final 2. Are you watching? What do you think?

mud pie 2006

Go make the mud pie.

Question: What kind of “birthday cake” do you make special requests for?


Double Father’s Day


Posted by Nicole

I’d have to say that our Father’s Day was quite a success. Not only was it a fun day to celebrate our dad and stepdad, but it was also a good chance to push our baking limits.

In the morning, David mentioned he wanted pumpkin bread from Starbucks and I figured homemade is much better. I found an easy recipe for pumpkin bread and adapted it a bit by adding dark chocolate chunks (crushed up Theo bar from our trip to Seattle). I also figured a little extra sweetness wouldn’t hurt, so I quickly adapted a maple cinnamon glaze from this recipe.

pumpkin dark chocolate chunk bread

pumpkin dark chocolate chunk bread

The bread didn’t last long, especially because it is best when warm!

pumpkin dark chocolate chunk bread

The bread recipe conveniently made two loaves, so we packed one up while still warm and went over to our Dad’s house. We hung out for a while and watched a golf tournament for entertainment. That’s a lie… the conversation was much more interesting than the golf!

A bit later, we went to the store and got supplies for our baking experiment. Last week at dinner, David mentioned various foods that his grandma used to make. Though he didn’t have the original recipes, Lauren and I decided to try to recreate one recipe in particular for Kolaches. These pastry-like desserts are a balance between sweet dough and fruit filling. With much help from this recipe, we didn’t completely screw up!




The difficult part of this recipe was using yeast… something we don’t do often… or ever. We tried to figure the dough out while heating the dried prunes and apricots on the stovetop. During the third step with the dough it was supposed to double in size, but it didn’t. A minor setback, but we just continued baking as usual. When the fruits were done, we added in the other ingredients to finish up the filling.





Impatience hit and we decided to go ahead and fill the kolache dough even though it hadn’t risen too much. Lauren filled with prunes and I filled with apricots. We topped the desserts with popsika crumble and popped them into the oven.

While they were baking, we prepared dinner. A veggie stirfry, a giant spinach salad, maple cinnamon sweet potatoes, sliced sourdough bread, and barbeque chicken.

father's day

father's day

And the star of the show, our finished Kolache(s)! David was very surprised and we were very relieved that they were edible… and quite tasty.


father's day

father's day kolache


father's day


It was such a nice end to the holiday and to the weekend.

– Nicole

Salad Takeover


Posted by Lauren


Isn’t that a beaut?

On our way back from Fresno this weekend, Kyle and I stopped at a fruit stand and picked up strawberries and cherries, respectively. Last night Kyle begged me to take a few more of his strawberries because that’s basically all he’s been eating since Sunday haha… I topped plain oatmeal with strawberries and mixed in a banana for a decent breakfast.

My fridge was bare (tortillas, eggs, and turkey – that’s it) so after work I paid the Joe Trader a visit:


Green things. Nice change.

Then I went to the gym for 5 easy miles in 45 minutes. Seems like all runs are “easy” these days….


Let’s play two truths and a lie:

1. Nicole went to Crossfit today!
2. Katie and Doug are going to Monterey Beer Festival this weekend!!!
3. I don’t like salads anymore.

Ok, so #3 is the lie. While I haven’t personally been making salads for lunch or dinner lately, I’m not against them. To prove it, I made like 27 servings of salad for the next few days



Top to bottom: great northern beans, carrots, squash, mushrooms, green pepper

  1. Chop everything up, except the beans and put into large container
  2. Pour balsamic vinaigrette over the top, cover, shake until well mixed
  3. Scoop a cup of the vegetable/bean mixture up and add to TJ’s pre-made Pasadena salad

Ta Da!



On the side I had carrots + TJ’s spicy hummus.

I literally have 3.5 quarts of mixed veggies/beans to add to 2 pounds of baby spinach. I think the Salad Takeover has officially commenced.


Banana Cake in a Blender


Posted by Lauren

It’s time to talk about cake. Better yet…  banana cake from a blender. If you’re like me, you might stock up on extra bananas just so that a handful will reach that perfect spotty brown color. Freckled bananas are ideal for baking – NOT eating. Ew, mush.


You might have seen the above photo on Instagram – I was so excited about the ease of “blender cake batter” that social media seemed like the right outlet. Anyways… our house had about 12 bananas on the verge of passing their prime, so I used up 4 in a blender experiment Saturday night. The trial went so well that I can’t stop myself from posting about it now, although I think a few more tests are in order to confirm accuracy ;)

Banana Cake (or Banana Bread) in a Blender


2 cups mashed (super ripe) bananas (I used 4 bananas)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted room temperature butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup soy flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup egg whites
Sprinkle of sea salt


  1. Preheat your oven to 350* F and grease/cooking spray a 13×9 pan.
  2. Set up your high power blender (Vitamix, Blendtec, etc; this recipe wasn’t tested with a basic blender). Peel bananas, put them in the blender, and blend until decently smooth. Small banana chunks are ok. Pour 80% of the mashed bananas into a bowl and set aside.
  3. Place sugar and then butter into the blender, in that order. Slowly turn to speed 5/10. It took me about 4 minutes for the butter and sugar to start creaming together fully. I had to stop the machine once to push some larger butter chunks closer to the bottom/blade. This might be easier with spread butter…
  4. While your butter and sugar become best friends cream, whisk together the all-purpose flour, soy flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Make sure you sift your flours! Sifting = Success. Why soy flour? Because I had it on hand, it reduces the gluten content a smidgen, and it has a slightly nutty flavor that goes will with banana/cinnamon.
  5. Add the egg whites, vanilla, and mashed bananas back to the blender. Blend until fully incorporated. This shouldn’t take more than a minute or so. The mixture will be the consistency of a very thick smoothie.
  6. Pour the contents of the blender in to the bowl of dry ingredients and stir together with a wooden spoon. I love a good wooden spoon. Pour the mixture into the baking pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until done.

The cake tasted great on its own (a la banana bread) but was also fantastic with some chocolate frosting (um, what wouldn’t be?). I want to investigate this whole “blender cake batter” concept further, maybe even eliminate the dry ingredients bowl altogether. I’ll keep you guys updated with my successes and failures!


On Sunday night, I brought the banana cake and the above veggie dish over to my mom’s house as part of her birthday celebration dinner. I combined leftover toasted sesame quinoa with roasted spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower. Yup, I’m still in love with toasted sesame oil!


My mom, David, Nathan, Ben, Michelle, Kyle and I sat down to a nice dinner of avocado super greens salad, sweet potatoes, BBQ chicken, and the veggie dish I already talked about. My newest discovery: sweet potatoes + BBQ sauce. YUM.


After some present opening, the Birthday Girl got up and cut her cake. She was a little camera-shy…. but that didn’t stop us from singing Happy Birthday!


Earlier in the day, I “tested” the banana cake – for observation and analysis purposes only, of course. After a 1.5 inch perimeter disappeared from the cake pan, I decided to assemble and frost it so I’d stop myself from “just another slice.” This was a very effective technique :) I was totally happy with the end result!


For dessert, we had to make the tough choice between blackberry pie and banana cake. The smart folks asked for both!


FYI: I used my homemade chocolate Italian meringue buttercream to separate the two cake layers and frost the top/outside edges. The dots are chocolate covered espresso beans and the sloppy writing is peanut butter from a squeeze bottle. It kind of looks like a 3rd grader decorated the cake, but that’s ok with me!


Not the cleanest cross-section… but you get the point.

I can’t wait to try more blender cakes! Also, one more time: Happy Birthday Mom! You’re looking younger ever day ;) Love you!