I lived in France for a summer before my senior year of high school. It took two minutes after I arrived to realize I should've practiced up on my French beyond the basics in a Lonely Planet book if I was going to live with a French family for a month and a half. My first words to them were, "I am getting married." Whoops. And so began my awkward summer in France.

I ended up learning a good deal of French, mainly because only one person in my host family spoke any English. It made me feel like an idiot, which was good for my high school self. One of my favorite things to do was to sneak in their cabinet and take some of the delicious bread (even their hotdog buns taste better than American bread) and pop a piece of Kinder chocolate in the center. In hindsight I'm sure they knew I was doing it since no French person eats four hot dog buns of Kinder a day. When I finished the summer they gave me 10 boxes of Kinder. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I long for that metabolism again.

The point is, I enjoy the little moments that bring me back to that summer on the southern coast of France. It was probably great for me to take some time to listen instead of always doing the talking. I was painfully out of my element but it was an incredible experience. These crescent rolls filled with nutella and cream cheese remind me of France. They are super easy to put together and deliciously rich. The other day I heard they are now making seamless crescents. Pillsbury must've been reading my mind. I will definitely be buying those next time, but the seamed ones work just fine as well!

Cheesecake Nutella Twists
Recipe from Inside BruCrew Life

Ingredients (8 twists)
  • 2 cans refrigerated crescent rolls (8 oz. each)
  • 1 package cream cheese (8 oz.)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 c. Nutella
  • 1/4 c. white chips, melted

In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and egg until creamy. Unroll the crescent rolls and separate into triangles. Press two triangles together to form a rectangle. Spoon a large tablespoon of Nutella down the right side of the center. Repeat with a large tablespoon of cheesecake filling down the left side of the center. Fold the edges of the rolls over the filling. Press the seams together at the middle and the end. Flip the roll over so that the seam is underneath. Gently twist the roll. Press together any seams that come undone. Bake at 375* for 10-11 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Drizzle with melted white chips. Let set. Refrigerate leftovers.

For some reason the cream cheese didn't show up in the pictures, but as you can see above it's in there!

I have a good one for you today. A homemade cake that is absolutely perfect for the busy days when the last thing you want is to deal with a long list of ingredients and a sink full of bowls (and the first thing you want is chocolate cake). This cake batter is mixed in the pan. What a concept! I was skeptical, but oh my...this cake is good.

The cake itself is super moist and fluffy, undoubtedly homemade, and it's just as easy to make as its boxed counterpart. You've done it again, Martha Stewart. Seriously, I was slightly disturbed by the size of the piece I just ate. The seven-minute icing is a classic recipe that goes back decades (or so I'm told). I'm living back with my parents for the next month before I make my way up to DC. This basically means I'm baking up a storm before I get cut off and thrown into the real world. I'm ok with paying for my housing, transportation, etc., but I am incredibly worried about paying for my own groceries. I've been watching extreme couponing to prepare myself. How does this all relate to this wonderful, simple cake? It's dirt cheap and you probably already have everything on hand! This will be a new dessert staple.


Busy Day Chocolate Cake

Recipe from Dinners for Winners (adapted from martha stewart)
  • 1 1/2 cups  flour (all-purpose)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 6 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 TBSP white vinegar **
  • 1 cup cold water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In an 8-inch square baking pan, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and coarse salt.
Making a well in the center of the pan, add remaining ingredients and whisk until well combined, taking special care in the corners of the pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick in the center comes out cleanly. Let cool in pan on a wire rack.

** DO NOT LEAVE THIS OUT! It does not affect the taste, and it is essential to the recipe.

Seven-Minute Frosting

Adapted from Martha Stewart
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 TBSP water
  • 1 TBSP light corn syrup
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
Bring first three ingredients to a boil in a small, heavy saucepan, stirring, making sure sugar dissolves. Once boiling, cook without stirring until 230 degrees on a candy thermometer. Occasionally wash down sides of saucepan with a pastry brush dipped in water to prevent any sugar crystals.
Meanwhile, whisk egg whites with a stand mixer until soft peaks form. As soon as sugar syrup reaches 230 degrees, with mixer running, pour in a slow, steady stream down the side of the mixing bowl. Really slowly. Raise mixer speed to high and beat until thick and shiny and cooled, 5 to 10 minutes (about 7, i’d say!). Turn off the mixer and lick the beater. You have created a masterpiece.

I should currently be getting ready for a graduation party, so I'll keep this post short and sweet. This is a simple recipe that hits the spot. It calls for the cheesecakes to be made in regular sized muffin pans, but I found that using a mini muffin pan made these even cuter (what can I say, I like my food 'cute'). They tasted great both ways. I just like the bite-sized version for a little something different.

These are an easy fix that I'm sure would get grabbed up quickly at any party. I'd recommend using the regular sized pan if you want to serve these for dessert after a meal, but if you'll be serving them to a crowd give the mini version a try!

Individual Peanut Butter Cheesecakes
Recipe from Alaska from Scratch
Makes 12 cheesecakes

For the Crust:
1-1/2c graham cracker crumbs
4T sugar
1/4c butter, melted
couple dashes salt

For the Filling:
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1c sugar
1t vanilla
1/2c creamy peanut butter
3T flour
2 eggs

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a 12-count muffin tin with 12 cupcake cups.
  2. In a bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar, and salt until well combined. Using a tablespoon, scoop a heaping tablespoon into the bottom of each cup. Use the rounded back of the tablespoon to press crust down into cup and slightly up the sides. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and sugar together until smooth, being sure to scrape sides and bottom of bowl. Add vanilla and peanut butter. Beat again until smooth. While mixer is going, sprinkle in the flour, then add the eggs one at a time until creamy and fully incorporated.
  4. Scoop the peanut butter mixture into a piping bag or gallon-sized plastic zip bag with the tip cut off. Squeeze the mixture into cups, using a circular motion until almost full.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until centers are set. Allow to cool to room temperature on a cooling rack. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate and serve later.

I don't think I could ever get tired of pizza. It's been a staple throughout my college years (is this where the nostalgia sets in..when I talk about food?). I feel I've moved up the ranks in my pizza obsession in these last four years. It started out as it would with any young, naive freshman, ordering late night pizza from the greasiest place in town, Gumby's. There is honestly nothing better than Gumby's "Pokey Stix" at 2am. They're garlicky, greasy and delicious. You can also smell them from a mile away and get an XXL for $10. It was an essential part of making friends. The problem is, you only enjoy Pokey's for the brief time you are actually eating them. Guilt sets in about five minutes later. Then slight nausea.

So, then it came to sophomore year. Sophomore year I chose the more traditional route: Domino's, Papa John's or pizza from one of our great local places. I hoarded coupons to keep things cheap. By sophomore year you scoff at the freshmen ordering Pokey's and pretend like you weren't doing the same thing a year before. Junior year I discovered pizza bread. That's when I started making my own pizza...all. the. time. That's healthy. A week ago (aka one week to go in my senior year) I discovered these. Good heavens. It was a long and, at times, treacherous journey, but it was all worth it if this is the pinnacle of pizza perfection. Yes, I know I could go and get amazing pizza from a restaurant, but I'm young and broke.

I've been up working on a final exam since 5am this morning. I only made it to 6am before I had to go down and heat up two of these. Do I stop getting away with odd eating habits once I graduate? That's unfortunate. As an awkward side note, I had to sprint through campus to turn my take home exam in on time and ran right past my professor who immediately called me out. So much for cool, calm and collected to close out senior year.

You've probably seen something similar to these without the sauce and garlic in the bread. I've made those a few times in the past. I've never posted them because I don't really like posting things I don't love, and they're good, but not great. But I found the missing link. Also, I did not measure out anything. Pizza is all about personalization. I tried to guess out about how much I put of everything, but if you use more or less that's fine!


Pizza Rolls

1 batch pizza dough *
50 pepperonis, cut in quarters
1/4 cup pizza sauce
Minced garlic spread (I use California Style Minced Garlic)
6 ounces shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese
Italian seasoning
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate (a cake pan will also work fine if you don't have a pie plate). 
  • Divide the dough into 10 roughly equal pieces. Take the dough pieces, one at a time, and flatten them out into a small circle about 4 inches wide. 
  • Spread about 1/8 teaspoon minced garlic across the dough. You are not trying to overwhelm anyone with garlic, it's just for a slight kick. 
  • Dab roughly a tablespoon of sauce on, but don't spread it out to the edges. 
  • Place a few pepperonis on top, and sprinkle about a tablespoon of cheese on. 
  • Pull the edges around the contents and pinch closed. If you put on too much sauce, the sauce will start dripping out and you'll never be able to seal the dough, so be careful with amounts! 
  • Place seam-side down around the outside of the pie pan. 
  • Repeat this process, placing the sealed rolls side by side. One or two might have to go in the middle, this is ok. 
  • Lightly brush the tops of the dough with olive oil, then sprinkle Italian seasoning and parmesan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Serve warm, with ranch or marinara (or both!). 
*I happen to stockpile frozen pizza dough like it's my ticket to surviving the apocalypse. My recommendation, buy it in bulk when it's on sale for 99 cents at the grocery store. When you get home, pop what you aren't using in the freezer. You can either thaw it by setting it out on the counter for ~6 hours, or thaw it in the fridge overnight when you are ready to use it. If you have time and want to try homemade pizza dough go for it! I just like shortcuts.

As I write this post, I'm putting off starting my second to last take home exam before I graduate (it's due at noon tomorrow..it's 1am). It's funny to think that in two days I will be completely done with school for the rest of my life. No grad school for me. My bf is in law school, and I honestly feel like I've experienced the misery of it through him. I would write a longer post dedicated to nostalgia and things of that sort, but I currently have food on the brain. More specifically, this amazing cake. I think it's my favorite new recipe.

This is the kind of cake you finish a piece of and feel like you will have to be physically restrained to resist grabbing another piece. Maybe it's the lemon. Maybe it's the addition of Greek yogurt (brilliant!). Maybe it's that I find blackberries terribly addicting. But, I made it with strawberries too and it was just as good, maybe even better. Ah, the dilemmas of a bake-a-holic. The bigger problem is no one wants to eat around exam time because they're all jacked up on caffeine, stress and meds. So, it's just me chowing down on my cake. Graduation gowns are one size fits all, right?

But seriously, make this cake. You won't regret it. Blackberries, strawberries, raspberries -- use whatever is on sale or whatever you have on hand! I'm in lurve.

Fresh Blackberry Yogurt Cake
Recipe from A Spicy Perspective

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 Tb. lemon juice, divided
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 8 oz. plain or vanilla, Greek yogurt (I used Oikos)
  • 12 oz. fresh blackberries *
  • 1 cup powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 325*. Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan (10-15 cup pan.) Sift together the 2 ¼ cups of flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in the lemon zest and set aside.
  2. With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in 1 Tb. lemon juice. Alternate beating in the flour mixture and the yogurt, mixing just until incorporated.
  3. Toss the blackberries with the remaining ¼ cup of flour. I rinsed them with water and didn't dry them off so the flour would stick. Gently mix them into the batter.
  4. Pour the batter into the Bundt pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Allow to cool at least 20 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Once cooled whisk together the remaining 2 Tb. of lemon juice and the powdered sugar. Drizzle over the top of the cake.

    *The original version of this cake is made with strawberries. Blackberries were on sale, so I used those instead the first time I made this. The second time I used strawberries. I'm honestly too blown away by both of them to pick one variation. You can't go wrong.
This is the strawberry version.

Sorry the photos aren't great -- it was a rainy morning before work!