Chocolate Chunk Cookie Dough Brownies

Today is a big, big day. Well, it actually happened 11 days ago, but we shall celebrate today instead.  It has officially been a year since the inception of this little blog.

As many of you know, before starting this blog I was an avid blog reader (and still am).  Reading those blogs pushed me to be more creative in the kitchen and try new things I had never done before, like cupcakes, sugar cookies, and cakes.  Despite my drive those first attempts were mostly disastrous. Very disastrous.

My sugar cookies would puff up, my frosting would droop in very sad manners, and my cake would stick to the pan.  But I was convinced that if all of these folks out there who were self-taught could do it, then I could too.  I kept trying, kept learning, and kept reading.   Slowly, I started having more successes than failures in the kitchen.  I can now bake and decorate sugar cookies, swirl frosting on cupcakes, and make a cake (even if it topples over).

This is not to say that I am a master at any of these things, but I am happy improving and continuing to try new techniques.

Breakfast Snacks

Crunchy Granola {and also Bars}

My friends, you might already know this, but let me tell you anyway: the Internet is truly revolutionary.

While in Seattle I met a former Peace Corps volunteer who served in Africa over 20 years ago.   To keep in touch with his family he wrote letters and would wait months to receive a response.  To make calls back home he was able to go in to the capital city twice a year.  His only other method of knowing what was occurring in the States was via Newsweek, which would arrive a month late.

Main Course

Stovetop Homemade Bacon Mac and Cheese

Back in the good old days, when I was a carefree child, one of my favorite things in the world was eating Velveeta Shells & Cheese.  In my mind this was the real stuff, it had “real” cheese that came in a squeezable pouch, none of this powder shenanigans.

It wasn’t until college, when I met a certain someone by the name of Jon, that the wonderful little bubble that I lived in was burst. We were wandering the aisles of the supermarket and I was telling Jon how much I loved Velveeta, it was so smooth and so tasty.   Jon very kindly told me that Velveeta is not real cheese, along with American cheese slices.   “What do you mean, Jon?  It is SO cheese, just look at its color.”


Sprinkle Cookie Sandwiches with Dulce de Leche

Holy Mackerels, it only took me four and a half months to get back on the cooking/blogging bandwagon.   But, with that said, I couldn’t be more thrilled to be once again baking and hopefully cooking for my fellow readers.  Are you guys as stoked as I am about this?  Ok, ok, now simmer down, no need to touch the roof with your jumping.

Here’s the story, when Jon and I decided to leave to Paraguay via the Peace Corps the one thing I was saddest to leave behind was this here little cooking blog.  (In addition to our friends and family, of course.) You guys would ask me “What is going to happen to your lovely blog when you go?”  I, unfortunately, would have no answer.

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that Paraguay was baking heaven.  I can find every baking related ingredient in the grocery store.  Including the biggest bag of beautiful multi-colored sprinkles you could ever imagine for $2.  There is also dulce de leche in big, big buckets.


Living in Unexpected Manners

Today, I provide you with random happenings that you or I might experience while in Paraguay interspersed with pictures of parades and town festivals.

Everyday is full of unexpected events

One second you’re trying to figure out what you’re going to do for that hour before lunch, and the next you are on the most popular community radio station explaining how you ended up in Paraguay. Might I state, that this would never ever happen in the USA, where everything is meticulously planned and scheduled.

Another day, you go visit a fellow volunteer in a nearby community for their founding anniversary celebration, much of which entailed sitting on the sidewalk watching an elaborate parade go by. Except, unlike the States, the first lady is sitting a mere 10 feet away from you, observing as well, no big deal.