WIAW: Birthday Treats!

 

Happy Birthday to ME! That’s right, my birthday was this week and B, FW and I had fun celebrating this weekend and enjoying some great weather, going for runs, spending time with friends, and more.

I also had some TREATS on Monday to celebrate my BIG DAY – so that’s what today’s What I Ate Wednesday is from!

The day started with going out to breakfast with B and FW! We went to Yours Truly (I know, I went there last week!) and this time I got the Eggs Bruschetta. They were so good! Two sunny side up eggs on top of spinach, tomato, parmesan and toast!

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Lunch was a leftover veggie burger, kale salad and a sweet potato. And La Croix 🙂

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Snacks during the day (in no certain order) included some energy bites! 20170123_095616

And mixed nuts …20170123_104724

Some tea and kombucha …20170123_095440

And an apple. Yup. I was snacky. 20170123_131547

And for my birthday dinner I chose sushi! It was so good – I got  veggie roll,  a rainbow roll and mackerel sashimi. And B and I shared this seaweed salad!20170123_191317

And with our dinner – some champagne. Because it was my birthday 🙂20170123_193001

Oh and some treats, of course! I made cookies and enjoyed these soft M&M cookies and some new Hershey’s Kisses. 20170123_173623 20170123_153658

And that was it! Happy birthday to ME! Some questions for you:

  • Do you like bubbly? I used to not be able to drink it but love it now!
  • What’s your go-to sushi order?

Winter Weekends Aren’t All Bad

I’ll be the first to admit it – I don’t really like winter.

I don’t like the cold weather. I don’t like snow and ice. I don’t like the dark days and nights. I prefer warmth and the ability to hang out outside, enjoy some sunshine and run when it’s light in the morning and at night.

BUT – I have to admit it. Not all winter weekends are bad. And I had a pretty good one this past weekend! Some of the highlights:

A flight of beers at Hansa House. My first time going to this new brewery and it did not disappoint.  Especially since FW slept while we were there 🙂

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A trip to the West Side Market for some ham hocks. B made me one for dinner (to continue our Germany theme) with some piergoi and sauerkraut. And spicy German mustard.

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A walk around Ohio City with FW in tow. I love wearing him, even though he’s getting too big to be in this baby k’tan much longer!20170114_152727

A group run! Fleet Feet hosted a kickoff run for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon and I got a chance to wear my new Cleveland leggings AND meet up with some fellow marathon ambassadors for 4 miles. (check out the photobomber in the back !)

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A birthday party! It was another weekend with a first birthday party for fellow LCBS baby Jack.

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And then a short walk around some lakes. It was somewhat a beautiful (but cold) day.20170115_165618

And finally, dinner with B’s family and BIRTHDAY ICE CREAM cake for dessert! I love ice cream cake. We celebrated our nephew’s birthday – I can’t believe he’s turning 7 – and my almost birthday!

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See? Not an entirely bad weekend 🙂

Some questions for you:

  1. Do you like winter?
  2. What flavors of ice cream would you have in your ice cream cake?

I’m linking up with Katie and the weekly wraps.

B is for B’s Birthday!

This weekend was a fun-filled, pre-planned celebratory weekend for B! Why? Because B had a milestone birthday. I’m not going to say how old … but I’m sure you can figure it out 🙂

Anyway, we started off the celebrations somewhat early – Thursday night, I planned a night to Hilarities to see one of B and my’s favorite podcast stars – Pete Correale. I also invited some of B’s friends AND family to join us in the celebration! We had people over before the show for drinks, sliders and pulled pork (thanks to B’s mom!), and some snacks I prepared like buffalo chicken dip, hummus, chocolate cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies and buckeye brownies (recipe is coming soon!).

thursday night

After the show, we got a chance to say hi to Pete and even get a picture – he was such a nice guy and none of B’s friends were familiar with him but I’m sure they’re fans now; he put on a great show!

pete correale

Friday night I let B decide how he wanted to spend the evening and what he wanted for dinner – so of course, we ended up at Parnells for drinks and then Superior Pho! After dinner we walked around and caught some of the outdoor movie playing downtown – a Cleveland classic, Draft Day. And of course we enjoyed some leftover cupcakes for dessert.

superior pho

outdoor movie night!

outdoor movie night!

Saturday was another awesome day where I basically told B that we could do whatever he wanted. Because he’s the best, the day started with him making me breakfast and cleaning the apartment while I worked out (I know – he cleaned our apartment while I got to work out … he knows the way to make me happy). After that, we picked up our CSA and then headed to the Cleveland Flea! I love the Flea and it was a cool fall-like day – perfect for walking around and grabbing a few drinks.

B @ the Flea

B @ the Flea

Then, B chose to hit the driving range. We each hit a bucket of balls – and I didn’t do that bad.

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After the driving range, we went out to the lake. It had started to get cloudy – and windy – and it was fun to see the water so rough. Hard to believe last year on this same day we were on the beach in LA!

For dinner, B decided he was craving buffalo chicken wings. Wings and beer – not too bad for a birthday I suppose. And then after dinner, it was time for the next part of our plans – another comedy show! Jim Jefferies, another comedian I was introduced to from a podcast, was in town after canceling his show in June and playing in one of the local theaters. He was awesome – he put on a nearly TWO HOUR performance and it was so much fun to see him in real life after listening to his cast and watching him on TV (he used to have a show, Legit).

Buff chick salad!

Buff chick salad AND a PUMPKING (aka my favorite fall brew)

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Sunday was another great day – it included watching the Browns WIN their home opener (probably because B was wearing his birthday gift – the Brian Hoyer jersey), some meal prep for the week and a 5 miler with B. Not a bad way to end a birthday weekend – hopefully B agreed!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you watch Sunday football? Who do you root for? Sometimes – I didn’t grow up watching football but if it’s on and I can multi-task (a.k.a. I don’t have to ONLY watch it) I’ll root for the Browns.
  • Meal prepping – do you do it? Yes, if I get a chance to, I love working with my Fresh Fork finds and preparing lunches in advance. It makes my week so much better and there’s something so relaxing about preparing food. I find it therapeutic! 
  • Any favorite comics? Do you like podcasts? Which do you listen to? I like to listen while working out, especially if I’m indoors – I go for the Pete & Sebastian show or Stuff You Should Know.
  • What would your birthday meal of choice be?

Peanut Butter Butterfinger Fudge Bars! (and happy birthday to Samantha)

Happy Birthday Samantha! My fabulous coworker Samantha is celebrating her birthday today. This is Samantha (and me):

GNO!

GNO!

Sadly, Samantha is moving and will no longer work just a few doors down from me in just a few months. SO for her birthday, I wanted to make sure she got something EXTRA special from the kitchen of koskim (does that have a ring to it?). Samantha’s favorite candy is Butterfinger. Which is a great candy to love, if you ask me. As you can tell – I love Butterfinger. I’ve blogged before about baking other Butterfinger goodies, like Butterfinger Bars, cookies with Butterfinger and so on.

Anyway, enter the Peanut Butter Butterfinger Fudge Bars. I found a similar version of them on Shugary Sweets blog and knew I had to make them for Samantha’s big day – with a few minor changes of course.

Here you go. They are delicious. She loved them. As did I. And now you can too!

peanut butter butterfinger fudge bars - i crashed the web
Peanut Butter Butterfinger Fudge Bars

Here’s what you need:

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar (I usually use light brown sugar, but since B had bought me dark brown sugar by accident last week I had to use that. It was fine!)
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp milk (I used what I had on hand – unsweetened coconut almond milk. Nobody knew, I swear)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips (about 1/2 a regular sized bag)
  • 12oz milk chocolate morsels
  • 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 bag of Butterfingers that you crush! I had a 12.5 size bag of fun size and crushed them all

Here’s what you do:

  1. For the bottom cookie layer: Beat butter and brown sugar in mixing bowl until combined. Add peanut butter. Beat in egg, milk and vanilla. Add in flour and baking soda. Press dough (it will be sticky! you may need to flour your hands first) into a 15x10x1 jelly roll baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven.
  2. For peanut butter layer: Sprinkle cup of peanut butter chips evenly throughout the dough. Place cookies in oven for another minute. Peanut chips should melt. Spread evenly over the cookie dough, forming almost a peanut buttery frosting. Let cool somewhat so peanut butter layer hardens.
  3. For the fudge layer: Heat condensed milk in small saucepan until warm. Add in the milk chocolate and continue to stir until smooth. Pour fudge over hardened peanut butter layer. Top with crushed Butterfingers, pressing them into the fudge lightly. Allow to cool completely and cut into small bars.

Enjoy!

peanut butter butterfinger fudge bars - i crashed the web

Birthday Cake Truffles

Our friend Dave turned 30 this week. We celebrated over the weekend with beers, pizza and other fun (including owning the jukebox) at one of his favorite bars, Map Room, and are going to be heading down to Cincinnati soon for some more fun.

a few of us out this weekend

a few of us out this weekend

Since there will be a few of us making the trip to Cincinnati, I decided to bake some goodies to bring along the way. And since it’s his birthday, what better excuse to make birthday cake balls, or birthday cake truffles (which sounds way classier than balls).

If you have a birthday coming up – or just want to enjoy some cake batter balls yourself – I highly recommend you make these. They are awesome. They taste like cake batter. And have no eggs. Seriously –  if you like cake batter, you must make these right now. I only hope they make it to this weekend and I don’t end up enjoying them all before then!

birthday cake truffles

Birthday Cake Truffles

(slightly modified from The Girl Who Ate Everything)

Here’s what you need:

For the truffles:

  • 1 ½ c flour
  • 1 ¼ c yellow cake mix
  • ½ c unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ c white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 2-3 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles

For the coating:

  • 2 c. white chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon Crisco
  • 5 tablespoons yellow cake mix
  • Sprinkles for topping

Here’s what you do:

For the cake batter balls:

  1. Cream together butter and sugar. Add vanilla.
  2. Add cake mix and flour and combine thoroughly.
  3. Depending on consistency, add 4-5 tablespoons of milk. Batter should be the consistency of dough so that you can form small balls with your hands.
  4. Stir in sprinkles and evenly distribute with your hands or a spatula.
  5. Roll dough into small, one inch balls and place on a foil- or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Chill dough balls in refrigerator for 30 minutes or freezer for 15 minutes. 

For the coating:

  1. While dough balls are chilling, melt white chocolate chips in the microwave with Crisco. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, stirring every 30-45 minutes until melted.
  2. Once melted, add cake mix, stirring well to ensure a smooth consistency.
  3. Using a toothpick or fork, dip cake dough balls into the melted chocolate and shake off excess chocolate by tapping bottom of fork on the side of the bowl.
  4. Place completed cake dough ball on the cookie sheet and top with sprinkles. Repeat until all balls are done.
birthday cake truffles

dip the cake ball into the melted chocolate with a fork, dip excess chocolate on side of bowl

birthday cake truffles

place chocolate covered cake ball onto parchment paper, add sprinkles

birthday cake truffles

Enjoy your completed truffles

Birthday Wrap Up and Thank You!

Last week was my birthday. It was on a Wednesday, a day I happened to be in Toledo for work … so it should have been a normal, ordinary day/week/etc. not worth mentioning. But I have so many awesome friends, family members, and so on, that I have to blog about it.

I have to start by saying I don’t think I’ve ever been one of those people who declares a “birthday month” or “birthday week.” A birthday celebration, to me, always happens on your birthday – or the weekend around it. So, having my birthday on a Wednesday shouldn’t have meant much … but boy, what a birthday!

It started out with dinner at L’Albatros and tickets to see Joshua Bell perform with the Cleveland Orchestra. Joshua Bell. Yes, he really is as amazing as they say in real life (this was my first time seeing him perform) and he really does look 25 years old. AND L’Albatros was amazing as always. B and I started with a cheese plate (you MUST try the epoisses cheese!! My new fave) and fois gras (B’s favorite). For dinner, I enjoyed the vegetarian cassoulet  – I’d definitely recommend it if you like beans … and goat cheese!

Cleveland Orchestra and Post Fridays @ 7 Joshua Bell Performance

joshua bell post joshua bell fridays at 7 cleveland orchestra

I also was treated to quite a few more birthday dinners from friends and coworkers. I enjoyed a fabulous meal at one of the most underrated restaurants in Cleveland (and one of my favorite restaurants) Pura Vida, where I had a lentil pot pie and goat cheese & beet salad (I’m still drooling over them!) and another great meal at Bonefish with drinks, bang bang shrimp, awesome seafood and a surprise dessert. I can’t resist a birthday meal … or two! 🙂

That wasn’t all though. A few of you have been asking about my “Birthday Surprise.”  Well, life has been insane lately. I thought things would get less busy in the New Year, but with work and my other “extracurriculars,” they haven’t … and B has been witness to much of the stress I’ve been under. He convinced me to take the Fri after my birthday off for a Birthday Surprise. Now, in my head, I imagined sleeping in, working out, going shopping, seeing a movie, maybe getting a mani/pedi and then some froyo. OR even driving to Grandpa’s Cheesebarn. Those would have all been a welcome surprise for my day off. So naturally, what followed, was not only SUPER surprising, but pretty awesome.

just your normal January weather

just your normal January weather

B woke me up at 4:30 on my Friday off. Yes, 4:30 in the morning, his alarm went off. Let’s just say I wasn’t thrilled about waking up so early – but definitely intrigued. He told me to shower, put on jeans and sneakers, and we were leaving in 30 minutes. We got in the car around 5 a.m. and he gave me his winter hat to put over my eyes so “I wouldn’t see where we were going.” (Yes, this sounded like an episode of CSI to me!) When the car stopped a little while later, I heard the trunk open (cueing CSI music) and he told me to remove my makeshift blindfold. We were at the airport. I was speechless, not sure where we were going, why were at the airport, or what to do next. “Leave your coat in the car, you won’t need that where we’re going,” was all B said as he led me to security. FINALLY in line for security, he gave me my ticket – CLE to MIA. We were going to Miami. For my birthday.  

no big deal, just standing on the beach in January!

fruity birthday drink!

fruity birthday drinks

more fruity birthday drinks … our hotel may have had a free happy hour

I don’t usually use this blog to gush about B, but seriously – he deserves major husband points. He had packed a bag with all the essentials for a beach vacation, booked us a room just off the beach in South Beach, and planned a complete beach weekend getaway behind my back, because I’d been complaining how cold it was, how I wanted to change my birthday to July, etc.  We had a great trip, stayed at an awesome hotel, and I came back from my birthday weekend with a slight tan.

mandatory selfie on the beach

mandatory selfie on the beach

SO thanks again to all of you who called (yes, real live phone calls and messages!), tweeted, Facebooked, took me out to dinner, sent me cards and gifts for my birthday.  I feel so special! And of course I now have high expectations for my 30th in a few years 🙂