Today is my SIL Jody’s birthday, so we invited her and her family over.  And it’s was a beautiful day!  Sun is shining, and while its on the cool side, I absolutely love this weather.

I started out my day with a big cup of coffee.  I turned on my oven and started putting together my carrot cake, when all of a sudden my kitchen was filled with smoke!  I cooked all the ribs in the oven yesterday, and I didn’t realize some of the juices spilled onto the bottom of my oven!  So I turned it off and within 30 minutes it was cool enough for me to clean (and it needed to be cleaned anyway!) 😀

So I decided to make my breakfast – a simple breakfast taco with strawberries and cantaloupe on the side.


Then it was time to make the cake!  Warning: this is not a low fat, low calorie cake!  But it is so good!

Spiced Carrot Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound carrots, shredded (I used my food processor – nice and quick!)
  • 1.5 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1.5 cups vegetable oil (see what I mean about not being low fat!)

Mix together dry ingredients.  Shred the carrots.  In the food processor, add both sugars, and the eggs and mix until combined, about 20 seconds.  Next, with the processor going, start pouring in the oil until it becomes almost frothy.   I put my dry ingredients in my biggest bowl – simply add the carrots and processor mix to the flour and mix well until well incorporated.

Put the cake batter into a 13 x 9 pan that has been sprayed with Pam.  Into a preheated 350 oven, bake for 35 to 40 minutes, turning the cake around half way through.  Mine took exactly 35 minutes.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 5 tablespoons butter, softened,
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Add everything to food processor except powdered sugar.  Pulse until combined, about 10 seconds.  Add the powdered sugar and process until smooth – about another 10 seconds.

Wait at least two hours for the cake to cool before putting the frosting on.  I didn’t even want to figure out the calories for this one – but calories don’t count when its someone’s birthday, right? :D  Um, pretty sure this piece of cake was insulin worthy!


Our main dish was our Chicago Style Ribs.  What?  You haven’t made this dry rub or barbecue sauce yet??  The summer is almost over people!  While this rub and barbecue sauce is so good the ribs sucked!  They were tough, not tender at all.  I don’t know where I went wrong and was mad at myself that I just didn’t make scampi steak!  Luckily my sides and dessert saved the day!

I decided to do a baked potato bar on the side.  The key to a crispy baked potato is to scrub the potatoes and let them dry completely.  Once dried, rub with olive oil and roll the potatoes in a sea salt, cracked pepper mixture.  Bake at 400 for 60 minutes.  I had sour cream, whipped butter, bacon bits,  and cheddar cheese as potato fixins.  Put your potatoes on racks to let them dry completely:



My two other side dishes were black bean and corn salad and insalata caprese.

Black Bean and Corn Salad 

  • 1 14 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 14 ounce can of corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon Frank’s red hot suace
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste

Once the beans and corn have drained, add to bowl.  Mix in all other ingredients and refrigerate for at least an hour so the flavors can meld.


Insalata Caprese

  • sliced tomato
  • sliced fresh mozzarella
  • chopped fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • (and I know this doesn’t belong, but I drizzle with a good balsamic vinegar!)  You can make it to this step below and refrigerate.  About 5 minutes before serving, add the olive oil and vinegar drizzle


So here is my plate – I ate everything but the ribs!


My SIL kept telling me that she had snowman placemats that she bought for me, and kept forgetting to bring over.  She remembered!  Not only do I love snowmen but my favorite color is blue!  And of course I had to use them for dinner tonight!  Thanks Jody!


New Challenge!  I’ve really been in a slump lately with the exercise.  Once I stop going to the gym I can find a million excuses not to go!  But today I stumbled upon a challenge.  It’s a seven week challenge, and in a sense, for every pound you lose in seven weeks you donate that many pounds of food to your local food pantry.  You can get all the details hereAnybody with me on this challenge?  So I had to send them my starting weight – and mind you, I usually weigh myself in the morning, not at night, but it wasn’t pretty either way.  My starting weight for this challenge:  167!  My goal is to lose a pound a week, which could be the equivalent to 28 sticks of butter to my local food pantry!

If you have time to leave a comment to wish my SIL Jody a happy birthday, I would appreciate it! 😀

Alright, time to snuggle with my hubby – my favorite part of every day!  Come back tomorrow night, I promise to post my copy cat Panera Bread Broccoli Soup!  See you then!