November 29, 2013

Cookie Monster





I love cookie cakes.  They are thick, delicious and the ultimate comfort food.  I just didn’t know how easy they were to make at home!

This is definitely my new go-to dessert and I am so happy to share it with you.  Enjoy!


Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

Print this recipe!


3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp cornstarch

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips OR about 1 cup of chocolate chunks



1. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.

2. Mix in egg and vanilla extract.

3. With the mixer on low speed, add flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt.

4. Stir in chocolate chips. Dough will be thick.




5. Chill for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

7. Place parchment paper into the bottom of your cake pan to help the cookie not stick; or use a tart pan with a removable bottom for best results (spray with nonstick spray).



8. Spread the dough out into the cake pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden.



9. Remove from oven and let cool for a couple minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.  Add frosting if desired once cooled.


For the frosting:

You can absolutely make your own butter cream frosting, but if you are like me and always in need of more time, you could simply buy your favorite store bought frosting, add some color (or not) and decorate away!

I have a collection of decorating tips that I have had for a while that I use for any sort of cake decorating.  Using a plastic sandwich bag I snip the edge, attach the tip, put the icing in and pipe away for any occasion!






November 26, 2013

Menu-ish Monday


Our weekend in a nutshell:  playing, standing, exploring, napping, eating, running, repeat.  Wouldn’t change it for the world.







Also, Grandma Pam is here for the next two weeks visiting from Wisconsin…can you see why she was so excited!?!?



This week is go, go, go but we are so thankful for it all.  I hope you have a blessed Turkey Day!

Speaking of food, here’s our plan---


M:  Grilled Chicken with Veggie Wild Rice and Corn on the Cob

T:  Taco Salad

W:  Baked Ziti in Palatka!


F:  Baked Potatoes w/ Chopped Salad

Sa:  Chicken Pesto Paninis w/ Chips and Apple Slices

Su:  Meatloaf w/ Roasted Carrots and Green Bean Casserole


Have a happy week!

November 23, 2013



When my friend Kamrin told me that she and her husband John had just purchased an old run down building with the hopes of turning into a food market I had no idea what to expect, but I knew it would be spectacular.  I was right.

With John’s vision and creativity along with Kamrin’s unending support and hard work they have successfully opened a beautifully organic and foodie forward hub near downtown Orlando.

I introduce to you:



Mike, Everett and I joined our friend Lynn at East End on opening weekend and were so excited  to see the turnout.  The place was PACKED and the excitement was buzzing.  I loved the laid back vibe, friendly merchants and diverse goods from which to chose.  It’s like nothing else available around Orlando and you could tell that the customers thought it was something special, as did we.





I haven’t tried food from all of the merchants, but I will say that so far the Pimento Cheese and Rosemary Cashews from Houndstooth, Dried Cherry Scone and Cheese Danish from Olde Hearth Bread Company, and the Pumpkin Gingerbread Smoothie from Skyebird were all absolutely delish! 

I felt so trendy and hip buying bits and pieces from each vendor, and nibbling as I shopped.  It was so fun.



In addition to the Winter Park Urban Farm, East End is also host to their own onsite raised bed gardens which are beautiful-my mom was so jealous of the tomatoes!




Besides the delicious food and beautiful garden, I have to tell you about the d├ęcor inside the main hall…it’s fabulous.  From the stained concrete floors to the reclaimed barn wood and galvanized metal, everything is modern yet rustic.  I loved how each vendor space meshes well with the others as the whole building oozes with a clean, cozy and comfortable vibe.





I think Skyebird Juice Bar and Experimental Kitchen is one of my favorite options at East End because a) they have the coolest cut twig detail on their bright red cabinets b) they offer yummy yet healthy smoothies and most importantly c) they serve them in mason jars – my fave!




We finished our stay at East End with an exquisite cup o’ joe.  Lineage Coffee’s pour over technique is beautiful to watch – especially is you are a coffee lover.  The team at Lineage definitely takes pride in their roasting and brewing.  They love their beans!  Yum.









Although food is the main focus of East End Market, I can’t forget the interior vendors.  Porch Therapy and Old Inc. have some amazing finds and offer tons of gift ideas.  Their goods were absolutely gorgeous a great place to look when you just need that perfect gift for any occasion.








We even got to sneak in a chat with the main man, John, while we were there.  We are so happy for the whole Rife clan and we couldn’t be more proud!  Way to go guys!



Beer tested (by dad) and kid approved. 

E had a great time!


Since going to East End on opening weekend I have been back quite a few times and it just keeps getting better.  I met the girls there for a glass of wine, took my mom for the first time two weeks ago and plan to take Mike’s mom when she is here next week.  It’s the perfect place to share with friends and family.


East End Market is located in the Audubon Park District and is on the Corner or Corrine Drive and East End Avenue.  It is open Tues-Sat 10a-7p, Sun 11a-6p, and closed Monday.

For more information on their upcoming restaurant opening, event space and upcoming special events visit their website at


P.S. – In addition to owning and operating East End Market, John is also the director of the Winter Park Harvest Festival which is happening TODAY!  If you want some fun, food and folk music head to Winter Park – you won’t want to miss it!