Date at the Park

Now that is not so blazing hot outside, C and I went to the park for the first time today. He had lots of fun on the swings, playing with a fire hydrant, and practicing his walking with the help of a fence. Here is one picture, but I will post more later.

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Dad’s 60th Birthday

Well this post is really about two months later than it needs to be but yesterday I was finally able to get a moment to go through and edit a few photos from my dad’s 60th birthday party back in July. We surprised him with a gather of folks at one of his favorite seafood restaurants. It was great to see both family and some dear friends of our family gather together, laugh, fellowship, and have a great time. I hope I have these kind of family and friends when I’m my dad’s age! Enjoy the photos!

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Parmesan Herb Bread


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Parmesan Herb Bread
I've adapted this recipe from a bread recipe that I found on This bread is especially great with Italian dishes and wonderful for making toasted sandwiches.

One very important thing to remember with this recipe is to NOT RUSH the rising or baking process. That is unless you have a thing for heavy and gooey bread...
Course: Bread
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic (I personally like Savory Spice Shop's Roasted Granulated Garlic)
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • 4 cloves roasted garlic, minced
  • 1½ tsp crushed rosemary
  • 1 tbsp minced parsley
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese
  1. For the dough, combine the yeast, sugar, salt, granulated garlic, onion powder, and 1½ cups of the flour in a large bowl.
  2. Combine in a small saucepan and warm the milk, water and butter until liquid reaches 110℉.
  3. In a stand mixer, combine the warmed liquid, vinegar, and flour mixture. Blend at low speed until moistened, then increase speed to medium and beat for an additional 3 minutes.
  4. Add 1½ cups additional flour, reduce speed of mixer to low, and mix until a sticky dough is formed.
  5. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead adding ½ to 1 cup more of flour until dough is smooth and pliable.
  6. Place dough in a greased bowl and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume. This step can also be done on the floured surface, if you have the counter space.
  7. While dough is rising, cook in a saucepan the onions, garlic, rosemary, salt, parsley, and butter until onions are translucent.
  8. Punch down dough and roll into a rectangular shape about 16x8 inches.
  9. Spread the cooked onion mixture over the dough rectangle, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and starting from the 16 inch side roll the dough up tightly. Then wind up the roll into a bun like shape.
  10. Place the bread seam side down onto a greased cookie sheet and let rise until doubled in sized.
  11. Preheat oven to 400℉. Bake bread until golden brown about 20 to 30 minutes.
“Grandma’s” Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

“Grandma’s” Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

“Once upon a time in a land not so very far away, lived a girl who loved peanuts in most any form they came. She would eat peanut butter sandwiches (no jelly of course), Reeses’s Peanut Butter cups, Butterfinger candy bars, and a multitude of other things containing peanuts. All was well until she found out that she was allergic to peanuts, one of her favorite foods. It was a very sad time in the Johnson house and there may or may not have been slight periods of mourning.”

Early this August, I went to the allergist for a food challenge, after a blood test had found that my levels for peanuts had dropped significantly. Nearly eight years after cutting peanuts from my diet, I was in the doctor’s office eating spoon after spoon of peanut butter—with a bottle of Benadryl and vial of epinephrine sitting on the table across from me. After eating almost a cup of peanut butter, I (peanut lover, turned deathly allergic) was cleared to once again eat one of my favorite foods!

Needless to say, Jason and I were very happy when we found out the wonderful news, and since we have been making up for lost time making/eating lots of yummy things. One such yummy thing has been this peanut butter pie. While the basics of the pie are like a lot of peanut butter pies out there, what makes this one different is its orange flavored ganache, giving it an intriguing twist.


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While I’m not sure what my dad was thinking in this photo (or what he was planning to do with those paper towels) here is a picture of the pie right before my family devoured it.

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As you can see from my mistake, the two hours chilling time is definitely needed…

"Grandma's" Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
Prep Time
Total Time
Serves: 16
  • 1 pack whole Oreos
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 8 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 6 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 16 oz Cool Whip, thawed
Orange Ganache
  • 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tsp Grand Marnier
  1. Place Oreos in a food processor, pulse until they become fine crumbs and set aside in a separate bowl.
  2. Brush a 10-inch springform pan with some of the melted butter and then add the rest to the Oreo crumbs, stirring with a fork until combined.
  3. Evenly press Oreo mixture into the bottom and ¾ up the sides of pan; bake at 350℉ for 6 to 8 minutes, or until set.
  4. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  1. In a large bowl using a hand mixer beat peanut butter, softened cream cheese, and sugar until smooth.
  2. Add in the thawed Cool Whip and continue to beat mixture until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Once filling has come together, spoon into the cooled crust, and evenly spread with an offset spatula.
  4. Chill for at least an hour before topping with orange ganache.
Orange Ganache
  1. Place chocolate into a double broiler and melt completely.
  2. While chocolate is melting, warm the cream and Grand Marnier in a microwave safe dish.
  3. Once chocolate has melted add warmed milk mixture and stir until smooth.
  4. Allow ganache to cool slightly and then pour over chilled pie.
  5. Return completed pie to the refrigerator and chill for at least two hours—it’s worth the wait.