Fall Festivities

IMG_0319editedFall is one of my favorite times of year.  The colors, the slightly cooler (but still warm) weather, the activities, the food!  When we start switching over to Halloween at work, I get all excited for the coming season.

Over the last few weeks in October, we have done a ton of fun things with Jake and our family and friends.  Here’s a look at a few toddler approved outings we’ve participated in lately:

I posted a few pictures from our hayride at Windmill Farms last week.

IMG_0290editedThis outing is becoming an annual thing with Jeff’s brother and his family.  For $8.95/person, you can go on a hayride that takes you all over the farm and through “Spook Hallow” where you may or may not see a couple ghouls hanging out.  An extra $3 gets you a pumpkin from their pumpkin patch!  They run hayrides starting in the middle of September all the way through Halloween.

IMG_0316edited IMG_0277edited IMG_0269editedAnother great event that we’ve been to every year for the last three years is the Monster Mash at our son’s daycare.

IMG_0399 IMG_0366They bring in vendors from all over the Miami Valley, provide snacks and drinks for the families, and have rides and activities for purchase.  We didn’t stay until the end this year, but apparently they had a balloon release as well.

IMG_0409My son has made several great friends over the last few years at daycare and I, in turn, have befriended the moms too.  I can’t say enough great things about our daycare.  They are thoughtful, caring, and really love our children.  They go above and beyond every day and he loves going to school there.

IMG_0469Just yesterday, my friend Kristy and I decided we wanted to try our hand at Tom’s Corn Maze. 

IMG_0463She had been here before and said it was fun, so Jeff, Jake, and I met her yesterday afternoon.  For $8/person (kids under 5 are free), you get a blank map and have to find 12 mailboxes throughout the maze.  Each mailbox has a piece of the map and, when the map is filled, you get to cross Victory Bridge!  Here’s a tip…listen to the masses of people surrounding the mailboxes!

IMG_0465It took us about 1.5 hours to do the whole thing, which isn’t too bad for $8!  Afterwards, we watched them chuck a pumpkin…or tried to at least.  It’s kind of like watching a golf ball after you hit it.  I always lose them in the clouds!

IMG_0471We’ve had some fun this month and we still have Beggar’s Night yet.  Jake LOVES his Spider-man costume and I have a feeling he will continue to wear it long into the new year.  Hope your fall has been as fun and beautiful as ours has!

Caramel Apple Pork Chops


I have this habit of listening to podcasts on my drive to work.  I used to get audiobooks from the library, but they tend to lose my interest because they are several hours long.  I got on the podcast kick a few years ago when I was planning a trip to Disney World.  Yes, there are podcasts about Disney World.  Good ones, in fact.

Speaking of good podcasts, have you listened to Serial?

Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, and is hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial tells one story – a true story – over the course of an entire season.” – http://serialpodcast.org/

Anyhow, obviously I’m into cooking, so I began looking for a podcast that talked about my favorite subject.  That’s when I found The Splendid Table“the show about life’s appetites.” Since then, I’ve been listening to this podcast pretty regularly.  They tend to talk about seasonal cooking, so here recently it’s been all about apples, butternut squash, and comfort food.

This got me thinking…I need to cook with apples more.  I love apples, but I rarely use them in my cooking.  Why?  Who the heck knows.  After a quick search of my favorite website, allrecipes.com, I came across a recipe for caramel apple pork chops.  I love caramel, I love apples, and I love pork chops if cooked the correct way!

IMG_0319editedToday was the perfect day to make this dish.  It was a gorgeous fall day outside, with the air slightly crisp and the sun shining.  Jeff and I both loved the dish.  As for Jake…well…he liked the raspberries I gave him.  :|

IMG_7490editedCaramel Apple Pork Chops
(adapted from this recipe)

2 thick cut pork chops
salt & pepper to taste or meat seasoning such as Penzey’s Northwoods Fire Seasoning
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped (can substitute other tart apples)
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp vegetable oil*
Boursin cheese (optional)

Remove pork chops from fridge, sprinkle with seasoning of your choice, and let come to room temperature as you prepare the rest of the dish.

Combine apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and butter in a medium saucepan.  Cook over medium low heat until apples are tender, stirring occasionally.  Mine took about 20 minutes to get to the consistency I wanted.  Full disclosure:  I forgot to peel my apples.  Learn from my mistake…peel yours.

IMG_7494editedAfter apples have been cooking for approximately 10 minutes, heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the vegetable oil (*or in my case bacon grease as I was also making my Warm Potato Salad) to the pan.  Cook pork chops on medium heat for about 5 minutes per side or until internal temperature is 145º.  I like using a meat thermometer with my pork and beef because I tend to overcook it and my guy hates overcooked meats.

Remove from pan when pork chops are cooked and let sit for about 5 minutes.  To serve, top with caramelized apples.

Well, here’s what happened when I served the dish.  Jeff ate the pork with the apples and said it was just OK but it was missing something.  When asked what he thought it needed, he said he wasn’t sure but maybe “something creamy like cheese but also a little tangy?  I don’t know…”  My quick thinking produced the remains of the Boursin cheese I’d purchased for my Harvest Salad.  He added a little touch of the cheese to the pork and he could not quit raving about the dish.

IMG_7498editedSo to sum up…add some Boursin.  Everything’s better with cheese, right? (Ignore the crappy picture…I was too excited to eat to worry about composition of this photo.)

And just because he’s so stinkin’ cute, here are a couple pictures of my little guy from this weekend.  Can you believe he’ll be FOUR in two months???  #slowdownkid

IMG_0290edited IMG_0269edited IMG_0277edited IMG_0316edited

Dewey’s Copycat Harvest Salad

There is a local pizza joint I tried for the first time last year.  Since then, I have been back again and again and again.  Dewey’s Pizza is unique and delicious.  They have the most creative pizzas there like the:

  • Edgar Allan Poe 
    Olive Oil, Mozzarella-Fontina Blend, Mushrooms, Roasted Garlic, Kalamata Olives and Goat Cheese, with Fresh Tomatoes and Parsley after the bake

And the:

  • Dr. Dre
    Olive oil, Mozzarella Cheese, Green Peppers, Red Onions, Amish Chicken, Bacon, and Jalapenos with Diced Tomatoes and Ranch after the bake

Or perhaps my favorite, the:

  • Southwest BBQ Chicken
    Olive Oil, Smoked Cheddar & Mozzarella, Black Bean Corn Salsa, Amish Chicken, Roasted Red Peppers, BBQ Sauce




My friend and I even attended a pizza making class there!

IMG_8993I rocked that pizza making hardcore, dude.

IMG_8994But, oddly enough, my most favorite thing on the Dewey’s menu isn’t their pizza (except maybe their crust…mmm).  It’s their Harvest Salad!  Sweet and tangy with a mix of complimentary flavors and textures, this seasonal salad is definitely my most favorite salad of all time.

The problem is, it’s only available in the fall!  That works for right now, but soon my precious baby is going to go away for nine whole months!  “I must find a way to fix this problem” I thought one day.  A quick Google search resulted in this recipe, which I have adapted slightly.  If you’re like me and you LOVE Dewey’s salad, or apple cider vinaigrette, or figs, or Boursin cheese, pin this recipe to your Pinterest board PRONTO!

IMG_0232editedDewey’s Copycat Harvest Salad
Spring mix salad
Thick cut bacon, cooked and chopped in 1/2″ chunks
Boursin cheese (flavor doesn’t matter but I used Garlic & Herb)
Dried figs, chopped
Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Guess what the steps to this salad are.  You guessed it!  Throw everything in a bowl and eat!  I didn’t put amounts on this recipe because it’s a salad.  Add the amount of what you want!  For example, most people would make a salad with maybe 1/3-1/2 a container of spring mix.  To that, in addition to all the other ingredients, they’d probably add a couple slices of bacon.  Me?  I’d add a couple slices.  Then a couple more.  Then I’d eat a slice or two.  Then I’d contemplate adding a fifth, sixth, and seventh slice.  But that’s me and I have a pork addiction.

For my salad (to keep things in perspective), I started with 1/3 container of spring mix.  To that, I added four slices of bacon, 1/4 container of Boursin cheese, 6 dried figs I chopped into large pieces, some pumpkin seeds, and a couple tablespoons of Apple Cider dressing.  I thought it was perfect, but again, add more or less of each ingredient based on your tastes.

Speaking of pumpkin seeds, make sure you get pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds).  I wasn’t paying attention and I just grabbed “pumpkin seeds” which have the shell on them.  If you can’t find them at your local grocery store, try Trader Joes.  You can use sunflower seeds as well if you can’t find them.

Another tip I have is that you don’t have to make your own dressing.  You are more than welcome to (I suggest following the recipe on the original post I linked to in my opening paragraph), but in a time crunch, try Ken’s Steak House Apple Cider Vinaigrette.

I had started to make my own and then realized I forgot the APPLE CIDER.  Then I saw this dressing in the pantry and did a happy dance I didn’t have to run to the store!

If you like salads with some sweetness and a little bit of crunch, try this out.  It’s a great salad to have with dinner or as a quick lunch.  Yummmmmmm

Harvest Salad



Top 10 Sephora Favorites

I watch a lot of YouTube videos, mostly about makeup or cooking.  Yeah, exciting, I know.  This weekend, as I was getting my list of things I needed to buy at Sephora together, I realized I could do my very own “Favorites” post on my blog.  I know I usually write about food, but I thought I might branch out a little.  A post here about makeup.  A post there about Jake and the fun things we do around Dayton.  You know…mix it up.

One of my new, must have onhand at all times, favorite things is Sephora’s Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover ($14).  This is what a makeup guru would call a “holy grail” makeup remover.  I wear a decent amount of eye makeup (shadow, liner, mascara) and I don’t like to stand at my sink for ten minutes each night taking off my makeup.  I used to use Bliss Lid+Lash Wash Makeup Remover and I thought it worked great.  Then, last month when I went on vacation, I took my travel sized Bliss remover instead of my Sephora remover and I was cursing myself every day!  Note to self:  pick up a travel sized bottle of the Sephora remover before my next vacation.

I’m sure there are hundreds of different bronzers that work just fine on most skin types, but I’m partial to this one.  NARS Bronzer in Casino ($39) has been my go to bronzer for several years.  It’s on the pricey side, but it’s worth it.  It’s got just a hint of shimmer and it’s the perfect shade if you’re slightly darker like me.  There is a different shade called Laguna that flatters more people’s skin tones.  Whichever you choose, it’s awesome!

Speaking of NARS, I have a weakness for their shadows, even though the price tag gives me heart palpitations whenever I think about it.  That being said, NARS Eyeshadow in Kalahari ($35) has been my favorite “quick and easy eye shadow day” look for years.  I love it because all I have to do is prime my eyes, add the light shadow all over my lid, add the darker shadow in the crease, then line my eyes and throw on some mascara.  Quick, easy, and gorgeous!

And since we’re on the subject of primers, Urban Decay’s Primer Potion ($20) has been in my makeup drawer for at least ten years.  Ever since I started going to Sephora, I have been picking up this little beauty.  A primer evens out the skin tone on your eyelid, covers any bluish veins that might be visible, and provides an even surface for the shadow to glide onto.  Their original shade (pictured above) has been what I reach for most, though I have also used Eden, which is a gorgeous warm bronze color.  It’s beautiful if you want to achieve that goddess type look, but isn’t my favorite for an everyday primer.  Sunday, I didn’t see the original so I purchased Minor Sin, which is sort of a mix between the Original and Eden.  I’m not sure if I’ll love it as much as the Original, but we’ll see.

My new favorite liner is Stila’s Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Liner ($22).  Now, I am NOT one to purchase liquid liners or mascara from Sephora or Ulta.  They dry out too quickly and I don’t feel like I get my money’s worth.  This is especially true with mascara.  I love my mascara and end up going through a tube every 3-4 months, which is good because you’re supposed to throw them away after 3 months anyway.  However, I received a “best of” kit for Christmas last year and this eyeliner was included.  I’m kind of picky with my liquid liner, but this baby definitely knocked it out of the park.  I love it!  It glides on smoothly, is dark black (instead of grayish black like some liners), and stays all day like the name says.  (A close, cheaper version is Maybelline’s Lash Stiletto.)

While we’re on the subject of eye makeup, these Urban Decay 24/7 Glide on Eye Pencils ($20) are pretty awesome too.  I like to pick vibrant colors like Vice (pictured above) to add a little pop of color to my eyelid. I draw on a kind of thick line over my shadow and follow up with a thin, black line on top of it.  It gives my eyes a little hint of something special on days I’m feeling a little feisty.  I also have Woodstock (a hot pink color) and Deep End (turquoise).  These liners glide on super easy and, like the Stila liner, stays all day long.

It’s not makeup, but something I purchased a couple times now is Tory Burch’s self titled fragrance ($68 for 1 oz).  It is my favorite scent currently.  It smells like Neroli, Grapefruit, Cassis, Bergamot, Peony, Tuberose, Jasmine Sambac, Vetiver, and Sandalwood (per the Sephora website).  To me, it’s very woodsy and citrusy, not too sweet, and perfect for everyday wear.

Another fragrance I’m in love with is actually a recent discovery.  I feel confident it will be purchased again and again though.  Clean Fragrance in Skin ($38 for 1 oz) is…well…clean smelling.  It’s notes are Honeydew, Lotus Blossom and Fresh Air Accord, Dewy Petals, Aquatic Notes, Blue Rose, Musks, Amber Wood, Vanilla.  It’s kind of like walking along the beach on a warm, breezy day.

A list of my favorite Sephora items wouldn’t be complete without Urban Decay’s Naked Palettes ($54).  There are four of them and, honestly, I can’t really pick a favorite.  Depending on the time of year, I rotate through all of them.  The most recent palette, Naked Smoky, is the one I’ve been reaching for first lately.  I need to research more ways to play with the colors so I branch out from my typical application, but overall I love this palette!

Last but not least is the Beautyblender makeup sponge ($20).  This little sponge is a miracle beauty product!  It gives your foundation the look of an airbrushed application.  It smooths everything out, fills in your pores, and removes any excess product from your skin.  To use, you simply wet it and squeeze out the excess water, then blot on your skin.  Sometimes I rub my foundation into my skin first and then use the sponge to blend it out.  Sometimes I apply dots of foundation over my skin and use the sponge to achieve a thin layer.

So there you go.  Ten products I love and have purchased at least twice in my life.  What are your favorite products you can’t live without?

Meal Plan for 10/4-10/10

We’ve gotten in a routine at our house.  Since I’ve taken a job as a store manager, I am lucky enough to get most nights and weekends off.  If you’ve ever worked retail, you know how rare this is.

At my job, we get to pick two Saturdays a month that we want to take completely off.  The other Saturdays we have to work a short, four hour shift.  Because of this, I tend to do most of my meal planning, grocery shopping, and recipe prep on Sundays.

Typically, I make my meal plan either Saturday night or early Sunday morning.  Then I add all my ingredients I need to pick up to my GroceryIQ app on my phone (love this thing btw) and try to get to the store by 10A.  Our Kroger is packed by 10:30A, so the earlier I get out there, the better.

I am still in the process of figuring out the best way to record all my meal planning and the results of each meal.  I’ve tried several different ways from using an app like Instagram, to Pinterest, to keeping a running, written list of meals I like.  I think I may have figured out the best way, but I haven’t actually put it in practice yet, so I’m not going to share quite yet.  If anyone has any thoughts on this, let me know.

Lately, I’ve just been making a list.  I write out the days of the week, add in any appointments, plans, events, etc, and then start filling in meals.  Since I’m a manager, I have to close one night a week (typically Thursdays), so I add that to the plan.  This coming week, I am going out with friends on Tuesday night, so that goes on there too.  This way, I can plan for my guys to have a meal Jeff can make or they can go out to eat on nights I won’t be there to cook.  Thursday night works for me to close because it’s 35¢ wing night at BW3s!

That was a long intro to tell you about the meals I have slated for this week…

Sunday – Marinated and Grilled Pork Chops with Skinnytaste Garlic Parm Roasted Fries

Monday – Waffle Crusted Chicken w/ Skewered Grilled Potatoes

Tuesday – Coneys for the boys using my City BBQ Chili recipe

Wednesday – Baked Chicken Parmesan with roasted green beans

Thursday – BW3s for the boys

Friday – Garlic Bread Chicken Nuggets with Corn Casserole

Saturday – Grilled Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Lime Rice

So that’s what’s planned for our house this week.  I’m hoping to report back with all kinds of yummy additions to my list of Must Make Again meals!

Full disclosure:  95% of the pictures in this blog post are NOT mine.  I DO NOT take credit for them or the deliciousness they portray.  For the actual recipes I will be using this week, please click on the associated links in the titles.

Parmesan Parsley Potatoes

In the two-thirds of a year, I have become a devoted fan of Gina over at Skinnytaste.  It all started when I was given her cookbook for Christmas.

At the start of 2015, I decided I was going to refocus on exercise and eating healthy (an original idea, right?).  I wanted to incorporate recipes from the Skinnytaste cookbook because I had heard her recipes were delicious yet healthy.  She lost a bunch of weight using the Weight Watchers system and, though I wasn’t a Weight Watcher, I still liked the concept behind their plan.

After trying and loving several of the cookbook recipes, I ventured over to her blog, where I was delighted to find a vast array of new ideas for dinner.  I began pinning tons of things from breakfast to main meals to side dishes.  She has all sorts of great recipes.

Tonight, as we tried to capture the last few drops of summer sunshine (err…early fall sunshine I guess :( ), I knew I wanted a delicious, yet decadent-tasting recipe as a side to our grilled pork chops.  I stumbled upon this recipe that sounded perfect.  Garlicky, cheesy, potatoey, delicious.  This will definitely be going on my Must Make Again Pinterest board.  (Incidentally, if you want a few suggestions of what I’ve tried and loved on Pinterest, check out that board.  If you want some ideas of things to avoid, check out the Done and Done board.)  FYI, I try to comment as to why we loved or hated the recipe.

Gina’s Parmesan Parsley Potatoes
(from Skinnytaste.com)

1 tsp oil
1 garlic clove, minced (I used Trader Joe’s garlic paste)
Cooking spray
1 medium russet or yukon gold potato, washed and dried
Salt & Pepper
Parmesan cheese (she suggests 2 tsp)

Begin by slicing your potato in 1/4″ strips.  Following Gina’s advice, I used my mandolin to slice my potatoes in 1/4″ planks and then sliced those planks in strips.  I dunked my potatoes in cold water at this point for 10 minutes and, honestly, I think this was a mistake because they were not nearly as crispy as I wanted them to be.  Gina does not say to do that and I think I should have followed her on this.  Instead, I read another reader who suggested doing this would lead to an extra crispy fry, which is my goal in life.  Full disclosure, I probably didn’t dry my fries as well as they needed too.

Preheat your oven to 425º.  Prepare a cookie sheet with the cooking spray.  Toss your fries with the oil, garlic, salt, & pepper.  I do this right on the cookie sheet.  Spread out in an even layer then bake in the oven for 10 minutes* on each side.

*I ended up baking them for 10 minutes, flipping, and baking 10 more minutes.  Then, as they weren’t very crispy, I bumped up the temp to broil and cooked them for an additional 10-15 minutes.  I think the pre-soak and the fact that I didn’t measure my oil might have been where I went wrong.  So, if you learn anything from me, follow the recipe.  Regardless, I loved them!  They were super yummy.

BTW, I think I have a new mascot for Red Nose Day…  (Google it if you didn’t hear about it this summer.)

Recipe Revisit

If you’ve been on my blog much in the past, you may have noticed that I updated my recipe page(s).  I went back through my old recipes, categorized them, and posted pictures of everything on their respective pages.  In doing so, I realized that several of my recipes either had no picture or very, very bad pictures.  So I thought I’d update them slowly over time, especially in the case of recipes I find myself making over and over and over again.

Case in point, Taco Soup.

IMG_0016This is one of my go to recipes to make when it gets colder outside.  It reminds me slightly of chili, but with a little Mexican flair.  It’s perfect for a quick and easy lunch, especially when you store the soup in mason jars in the freezer.  It’s so simple to grab a jar of frozen soup and throw it in your lunch bag for later.  Bonus, it serves as the ice pack!

When you get a spare minute, click on the Recipes tab at the top of the page and browse around for a minute.  My suggestion?  Check out the Family Favorite link first.  Happy cooking!

BBQ For A Good Cause

It’s no secret that I’m a HUGE supporter of our local bbq joint, City BBQ.  I got promoted to a different store earlier this year and it just so happens to be right across the street from a City BBQ.  Like literally right across the street.  I could walk there.

I don’t.  But I could.

I do tend to end up at City BBQ probably once a week though.  It’s an addiction really…

I’ve written about how awesome their food is a couple times on the blog.  You know what else is awesome?  When they throw a benefit to support cute, furry animals.  Well, that’s what’s going on this Friday at the Beavercreek location!

City BBQ 4

City BBQ has teamed up with Dayton local brewery, Warped Wing, to support the Dayton Humane Society and their sweet, adorable little puppies and kitties with the BBQ, Brews, and Tunes charity event!  For just $20, you can enjoy a buffet dinner, six beer tickets from Warped Wing, live music, and the ability to feel good about supporting a great organization.

And, in case you haven’t tried it yet, make sure you nab some of the full cut brisket!  It’s my new favorite item on the menu. Moist, juicy, and so flavorful.  Mmmmm.  There are no words.

So stop by City BBQ for dinner on Friday night and have a delicious dinner while supporting a great cause.  For more information, visit the BBQ, Brews, and Tunes Facebook page!

CIty BBQ 3

Garlic Rosemary Dinner Rolls

One of my favorite things I’ve ever posted on this blog were these:

Cinnamon Rolls 3Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls.  They are awesome.  Seriously good.  They do take a little bit of extra effort to be honest, but they are so worth it in the end.

Today, I ran into my sister-in-law at the grocery store and she happened to mention them so, obviously, I started craving them.  As we were right next to the baking aisle, I zipped through, grabbed a packet of yeast, and it was decided.  Today was cinnamon roll day.

Well, today also happened to be chicken brining day and what goes better with delicious brined, roasted chicken than homemade dinner rolls!  As we were running errands, I began to ponder whether or not the cinnamon roll dough, which was rising beautifully on my dryer as it tossed my clothes around in the warm heat, would transform into dinner rolls.  They are, after all, both yeast rolls.  I figured I’d give it a try.  What’s the worst that could happen?  No dinner rolls?

Yes, I realize that would be a travesty, but nonetheless.

So after I prepped the bird and veggies and popped them in the oven, I retrieved my bowl of glorious dough from the laundry room and portioned out about a third of the dough.  I kneaded it a bit and rolled it around, then cut it into 8 equal pieces.  After I covered them with butter and some seasonings, I threw them in the oven with a silent “please let these be delicious”.

IMG_0034Oh.  My.  Word.

They were FABULOUS!!!  A bit denser than traditional dinner rolls, but we were using cinnamon roll dough after all.  These rolls are definitely reappearing on the fourth Thursday in November at Bethany’s house…


Garlic Rosemary Dinner Rolls
(adapted from Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Roll recipe)

1 quart whole milk
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
9 cups flour, plus an extra cup if needed
1 heaping tbsp baking powder
1 scant tbsp baking soda
1 heaping tbsp salt
Dried rosemary
Garlic powder

Warning:  This will make a TON of rolls.  This recipe is originally for making cinnamon rolls to share.

Mix milk, sugar, and oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat just until it starts to look like it might boil.  I whisked mine every few minutes to make sure it stayed combined.  Set aside for about an hour and cool until it is just slightly warm to the touch.  Sprinkle yeast over the top and let sit for a minute or two.

Meanwhile, measure out 9 cups of flour into a large bowl.  Add the baking powder, baking soda, and salt and whisk to combine.  You can also sift the ingredients if you want.  Mix your yeast into the liquids and then pour in the flour.  Whisk to combine and then switch to a spoon when you can’t really whisk anymore.  If your dough is still too sticky at this point, you can add a little more flour.  My dough needed a little extra.  You want the dough to be slightly tacky, but not coating your whole hand when you pull it away.

Make sense?  Sure, Bethany.  Clear as mud.

Cover with a clean towel and put in a warm spot in your house.  I was doing laundry, so it was the perfect place to stash my mix.  Let sit, covered, for at least an hour until the dough puffs up.

After an hour, punch down the dough and turn out onto a floured board.  Knead the dough a little until it’s smooth (I think I did this for about 2 minutes).  Cut your dough into equal pieces and form into balls.  I sort of fold my dough under itself to make a nice, even top to my rolls, but I don’t think that’s necessary.

Place your rolls in a buttered pan and leave a couple inches of space between each.  Cover and let rise again for 20 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 375°.  Uncover rolls and brush them with a little melted butter.  Sprinkle on dried rosemary and garlic powder, then bake for 15-18 minutes or until your rolls are nice and golden brown.


These rolls go well with roasted chicken, steak, or….nothing at all.

Use Your Noodle

We have a new commercial development being built near our house.  It’s very exciting because there are several new-to-Dayton restaurants being built AND an old favorite of mine, Noodles and Co.  I was first exposed to Noodles when it moved in at the Greene (a local mall) and more often than not I would eat there when I went shopping.  When I found out Noodles and Co was expanding to Austin Landing, I was pumped.  I love their Pad Thai and Curry Soup.

Since I follow Austin Landing’s Facebook page, I learn about all the “soft openings” and “sneak peaks” that happen at their various stores.  One such sneak peak was for Noodles.  Jeff, Jake, and I, along with a couple friends, were able to sample one free dish per person one night.

As we were eating, Jill, the manager, came over to see how our meal was and to ask us if we’d eaten at Noodles before.  I said I had and we got to talking a bit.  I explained I was a food blogger and she asked if I’d be interested in doing a tasting.  Duh.  That was easy.

I invited a few other bloggers and some friends to lunch on a snowy Thursday in March where we were able to sample several of Noodles’ dishes.

We started with a couple flatbreads.  The always available Margherita (classic tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella)

Margheritaand the limited time only Fig and Pig (described as “caramelized onions, naturally-raised, slow-braised pork, crumbled feta and Parmesan cheese on a toasted flatbread, drizzled with Balsamic Fig-infused oil and topped with more feta cheese and an Arcadian lettuce mix” on their website).  This was hands down the best thing I tried during the lunch.

FigPigPumpkin, one of my fellow blogger’s daughters, wasn’t too sure of the “pizza” but tried it anyway.

Pumpkin2Next up was the Penne Rosa, a penne pasta tossed in a spicy marinara, topped with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.  A delicious, classic choice, albeit a bit spicy.

RosaTo cool off our palettes, Jill brought out their Mac and Cheese with Parmesan Crusted Chicken.

Mac and CheeseAfter trying a bit, she asked us if we liked spicy.  “Try it with Sriracha,” she said.  Boy, lemme tell ya.  It gives a seriously good flavor to the already yummy dish!  I have been back since and ordered mac and cheese (instead of my Pad Thai staple, mind you) and doused it in Sriracha.  Stuff is good, man…

SrirachaTo bring in some of their Asian influenced, the Bangkok Curry was next.  This dish was a mixture of rice noodles, veggies, and sweet coconut curry sauce over a bed of cabbage.

CurryTo be honest, this wasn’t my favorite dish.  It wasn’t bad and I for sure ate my serving, but I probably won’t be ordering it for myself in the future.

Alongside the Curry, she served up the Med Salad, which is exactly what it sounds like.  It’s a Mediterranean influenced salad with tomatoes, onions, olives, feta, and vinaigrette.Med Salad

One cool thing about Noodles is they offer a “World Map” of choices you can make at their restaurants for under 500 calories!

choicesThis Bangkok Curry and Med Salad combo was one of those options.  If I had had those two complete dishes as my lunch, I would have been pleasantly full.Under 500

Steak Stroganoff was up next.  This dish was traditional egg noodles covered in a creamy stroganoff sauce topped with seasoned steak and Parmesan.  Because several of us were sharing one dish, I don’t think I got very much of the sauce so my bites were a little bland.  But the sauce I did taste was yummy!Stroganoff

The next Asian dish we had was the Japanese Pan Noodles, which I’d had before.  Veggies, udon noodles, and bits of steak were tossed in a deliciously sweet sauce.  I loved this one and kept going back for more little bites.  YUM!Udon

Next up was the Pad Thai.  We all know I love Pad Thai, so of course I loved this one.  I’ve gotten it more times than I can count and am definitely a fan.Pad Thai

Finally it was time for dessert!  In all the time I’ve been coming to Noodles, I only ever thought they had their jumbo rice krispy treats (they’re right there on the counter).  When Jill brought out the trio of treats, I was floored!

First, I tried the Chocolate Espresso Cake.  I love chocolate, but sometimes it’s a bit rich for me.  This was a very rich cake and I was satisfied with just a small bite of it.  Jeff would have gobbled that whole thing up though.Chocolate Cake

Next, I tried the Carrot Cake.  When I was in the hospital after I gave birth to Jake, I probably at a piece of carrot cake each day because the hospital’s cake was that good.  This was a close second.Carrot

Finally, I sampled the Tres Leche cake.  MMMMMM.  It was so yummy.  We each had a taste of the desserts and then one person would get the final bite.  I got the final bite of this one.  I savored every second of it too.  It was delicious!Tres Leche

I already knew I was a fan of Noodles and Co, but with this tasting I love it even more.  They have so many good options and are conscious of people’s desires to eat healthier.  All the nutritional values are on their website, so you can plan before you go too.  With that World Map, it really makes it easy!

They have something for everyone, even the pickiest eaters like my little guy.  Their associates are very friendly and go out of their way to help, coming around to check on your meal periodically.  They even bus the tables for you!

I want to thank Jill for bringing us in for a fabulous lunch on a dreary Thursday morning.  It was very nice and pleasant.  I think I speak for everyone when I say we all enjoyed it.

So if you’re in the area, stop in and grab a meal!  It’s a fabulous place.