Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas and a Funeral


Ok, now that I got my excitement out...I just wanted to say that we are going home for Christmas and that I won't be able to blog for about 2 weeks : (.  Living in a small, in-the-middle-of-nowhere town makes for pretty bad internet connection.

We certainly hope that everyone has a GREAT Christmas and happy New Year!!

While we are excited to be going home to see our families, there is also a little bit of sadness in the air. Garrett's grandpa passed away yesterday morning so we are also going home for a funeral. The words Christmas and funeral should not be in a sentence together. Papa C, as we called him, will be greatly missed this Christmas season at the Cypert household and we will definitely be thinking of him.

This is one of our favorite pictures of Papa C. This was Christmas 2009. The Cypert's wear Christmas hats for Christmas morning and his stuck straight up all day. Garrett's grandma, Mama C, went around the house calling him Stiffy. It was hilarious!

We sure wish we would be spending Christmas with him again this year, his jokes and orneriness will be missed!

Please keep the Cypert family in your prayers!

Welp, off to an 11 hour car ride complete with two needy cats. This should be fun...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Praline Coconut Cream Pie

Yep. You read that correctly. Coconut AND praline together in ONE pie! I won't go on and on about how absolutely wonderful this pie is, how great the praline layer and the coconut cream layer go together or how great the homemade whipped cream tastes but, you should most definitely try this one for yourself! Maybe your addition to the family Christmas table?

For the praline layer you will need:

1 Baked 9" Pie Crust (Bake as directed on back of package)
1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup (one stick) Unsalted Butter
1 1/2 Cups Chopped Pecans

1. Bake your pie crust as directed on the back of the package.

2. Melt the butter and brown sugar together in a sauce pan over medium heat until the sugar loses it's graininess and the butter is completely melted.

3. Pour the melted butter and sugar directly into the prepared pie crust. Sprinkle the pecans directly on top of that. Try to keep them spread out so that there is pecan in every bite! Set aside.

For the Coconut Cream layer you will need:

1 Cup Sugar
3 Tablespoons Flour
2 Egg Yolks
2 14oz. Cans Evaporated Milk
Pinch of Salt
1 Cup shredded Coconut
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
2 Tablespoons Butter

1. Whisk together the sugar, flour, egg yolks, evaporated milk, and salt until well combined. Then add the 1 cup of coconut and mix it in. Be sure to mix this in a big microwaveable bowl.

2. Microwave this mixture until it thickens and heavily coats a spoon. We microwaved ours around 15 minutes but yours may not take that long. Be sure to stir every minute to minute and a half.

3. Let cool for about 5 minutes and then add in the vanilla and butter. The butter will melt from the heat of the mixture so you do not have to melt it first.

4. Pour over the praline layer. Place in fridge to let cool for 45 minutes to an hour.

For the Whipped Cream topping:

1 Pint of Heavy Cream
1/2 Cup Sugar
Toasted Coconut (we just eyeballed this)

1. Pour heavy cream and sugar into mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy. The consistency of whipped cream! We used 1/2 cup of sugar but you can add more or less depending on how sweet you like it. 1/2 cup seemed about perfect to me! Spread onto pie using whatever amount you like, we used almost all of it.

2. Place a handful of coconut onto a baking sheet and lightly toast it using the broiler. Sprinkle it on top of the pie!

Look at those layers! YUM!

Now that I have your mouth watering, go ahead and plan on making this yummy slice of Heaven! You won't regret it!

Recipe found here.

Shared here:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Pie!!

Oh my Heavens! I know, I know...if you look at any of my other dessert posts I brag about how delicious the recipe is and how worth it it is to make. But, this pie is the BEST pie I have ever made. Probably the best pie that I have ever had (no offense mom- your Chocolate Pie is pretty darn close. And Julie, so is your Lemon Meringue!) Back to where I was...oh my Heavens!! This pie is salty, it's sweet, it's chocolatey, it's rich, it's creamy, it's....well just try it yourself!

Oh, by the way, I declared this month Pie Month at the end of November and then realized that it is December 8th and I have not posted one single measly pie. Oops! I made Fudge Pie before this one but for some silly reason didn't take a single picture of the final product, I only took pictures of the ingredients which wouldn't make a very interesting post. But, you can find the recipe for that here! And, believe me, it was pretty good too! But, in my opinion, not as yummy as the pie I'm about to (finally) give you the recipe for!

One more thing. I got this recipe here. It is Alton Brown's from his show Good Eats on the Food Network Channel.

Ok here goes,


6 1/2 Oz. Chocolate Wafers (we used chocolate graham crackers)
1 Tablespoon Sugar
5 Ounces unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 Cups of creamy peanut butter
3/4 Cup powdered sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (we used chips)
1/4 Cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In the bowl of a food processor, or a blender which is what we used,  combine the wafers and 1 tablespoon sugar. Process until the wafers are fine crumbs. Melt 3 ounces of the butter and drizzle into the crumb mixture. Pulse to combine. Press this mixture into the bottom, up the sides and just over the lip of a 9-inch metal pie pan. Place in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

2. After the crust has cooled, place the peanut butter and remaining 2 ounces of butter into the bowl of the food processor, (if you do not have a food processor, never fear! We just mixed it using our mixer. Just use what ya got!). Process for 1 minute.

3. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and process for another 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until smooth.

4. Carefully spread the mixture into the pie shell and return to the oven to bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool while preparing the topping.

* The peanut butter filling won't completely fill the pie but, trust me, it will be ok! That's how it is supposed to be. 

 Now for the yummy topping:

1. Place the heavy cream into a heat-proof bowl and microwave on high just until simmering, approximately 30 seconds. Remove the cream from the microwave and add the chocolate. Make sure the chocolate is completely submersed in the cream. Allow to sit for 2 minutes. Gently whisk until the chocolate is melted and combined with the cream, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Spread the chocolate mixture over the pie and chill in the refrigerator for 1 1/2 hours before serving.

* It will look runny at first but once you chill the pie in the fridge, the topping will harden a bit and be the perfect texture!

Are you ready for this...

I only have ONE piece left now. And I am treasuring it. I already want to start whipping up another pie exactly like this one. But, my CRAZY husband doesn't like peanut butter or chocolate that much so he would be annoyed I think. Probably better for my hips, stomach, body if I don't anyways. Although I did give away two pieces to two lucky coworkers...that's something. : )

Sharing this goodness here:

Days of Chalk and Chocolate

Happy Go Lucky

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Isn't Christmas time the best season of all? The Pumpkin Spice latte's from Starbucks, hot chocolate, Christmas music, lights, roasted almonds, Christmas trees, presents...I could go on forever. I think the reason Christmas time is my absolute favorite is because it engages all of your senses. From smelling cinnamon pine cones to seeing the snow fall out of the window and feeling a warm fireplace on the back of your legs. It is just truly wonderful! Oh, and you can't forget about making snow ice cream!

Garrett and I put up our Christmas tree the day after his family left to go home from our Thanksgiving visit. We had Christmas music playing on the record player, glasses of wine and, for the size of our apartment, tons of boxes of stuff to go through and things to put up. The cats helped by getting into every single box that they could fit into and by chewing on the bottom limbs of the tree when they didn't think we were looking. I think they were just trying to help us "fluff" the tree.

My sweet hubby brought in all of the boxes for us. I feel like this picture doesn't do much justice to how many Christmas things we have. Maybe I just feel like we have so much because we don't have enough space to put it all. Ohhh to have a big house...

A couple of our Christmas records. We got these from thrifts stores for $1.99 each! Worth it!

Putting up the tree!

A "Christmas vase" filled with thrift store finds! : )

Junior had fun playing in the tissue paper. No, he's not drunk. He can't keep his eyes open when there is even a hint of a camera flash.

These are handmade ornaments by my husband himself when he was little! It's ok, you can laugh. They are pretty funny but SO cute and I am so glad that we have these!

And these Disney ornaments were mine from when I was little and had my first tiny Christmas tree in my room! I love these and hope to give them to my kids for their first tree someday.

All done!

Good 'ole self timer! Take 1, 2, and 3! Look at the cats in the second picture. Silly gatos!

We hope that you have had fun putting up your tree's and Christmas decorations, it is such a great time of year and you have to enjoy it to it's fullest!

Not much longer until we are home with our families!!

I wanna know, what is your favorite thing about Christmas?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

One Person's Junk...

Garrett and I go to thrift stores alot. While most couples are going on movie dates, dinner dates, whatever dates, we are thrift shopping. That's our Saturday date. And it's fun. I still can not believe all of the stuff that you can stumble upon at a good thrifty price! It is amazing! I also can't believe I was lucky enough to marry a man who likes to thrift shop.

I used to HATE thrift stores. I though that they were ghetto, nasty, and had nothing but useless junk. After all, that's where most of the stuff that we once owned went when we decided it was useless. However, the old saying still stands true: One person's junk is another person's treasure.

If you aren't a thrift store shopper you should atleast give it a try. You will be surprised at what you can find for hardly any money. Garrett and I once left with 4 full bags (and thrift store bags are BIG, atleast the one's we shop at are) for $50! If you are a crafty person, like I try to be, you can find all kinds of crafty things. If you are a collector of vinyls, like Garrett, you can find those there too!

No, the local thrift stores didn't pay me to advertise for them, (I wish!) I really do love thrifting that much. Too bad we live in an apartment without much space. But, one day we will have a house and every little thrift store thing we bought will have a place, hopefully.

Some "treasures" from our last shopping "spree":

Garrett found these Vinyls!
I had been looking for the Grease soundtrack all over the place, even at record stores, and we found it an ARC thrift store for $1.99!

I love stuffed animals. I am 24 and still have a pretty big collection. So, when I saw this sweet face below for only $4.99, I couldn't leave him. He is basically brand new and is from the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer movie. He say's two quotes from the show in his adorable little voice. When we got him home we realized he was from Build-A-Bear and that there was also a female version! Garrett didn't think I needed her though..

I also found this ceramic candy cane for $1.99. I love that it looks old, it will be a perfect addition to our Christmas decor!

The stores we went to had already put out their Christmas stuff, so I got tinsel, flowers, garland, ornaments, and some decorative little cranberries! I got this stuff to put into a hurricane vase (also from a thrift store) to display on our table.

This is most of that with some pine cones I put into the vase for a centerpiece. And that's my cat Harley on the left. He was not a thrift store purchase.

I also used the hurricane glass for Thanksgiving, just with potpourri and pine cones instead of the Christmas stuff! See how versatile things you get from thrift stores can be? : )

I am a sucker for cute little pieces of china, so when I saw these I couldn't put them down. The fact that they look great with my Fiestaware was just a delightful bonus!

These beautiful lamps were actually found at an estate sale awhile back, but they are just too cute not share! Also, estate sales have GREAT stuff for cheap too! : )

Sooooo, the moral of the story, or blog post, is to shop at thrift stores! You will be amazed at what you can find and at the same time you will be helping out the area that you live in! Many stores are non-profit and donate their proceeds to the needy. That's great motivation to shop!

Have a great weekend! I am off to the store to get a couple of things for Alton Brown's Peanut Butter Pie for my self proclaimed Pie Month! I am SO excited!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Simple Crispy Cheddar Chicken

My blog has been pretty recipe heavy lately huh? I think I have just been in the cooking rather than crafting mood for the past couple of weeks. Oh well, more yummy food for us and yummy food ideas for you!

This recipe is, yet again, one of our favorites! It is SO easy and tastes absolutely delicious!

And, yet again, I found this recipe on Pinterest (here) and now am a follower of the great blog Jamie Cooks it Up from which the recipe came! She makes many delicious and simple things, you should check her blog out!


4 large chicken breasts
2 sleeves Ritz crackers
1/4 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1/2 C milk
3 C cheddar cheese, grated
1 t dried parsley 
1  10 ounce can cream of chicken soup
2 T sour cream
2 T butter
Cut each chicken breast into big chunks.

In a food processor or blender, grind up the Ritz into small crumbs. Toss the salt and pepper in with the cracker crumbs and stir with a fork to combine. Then place the cracker crumbs, milk, and cheese into 3 separate containers big enough to dip the chicken into.

You will dip the chicken into the milk, then the cheese, and last the cracker crumbs, so go ahead and get it set up. You will want a greased baking pan (9x13) ready to lay the chicken in once you are done with the dipping.

This is how I had mine set up:

Grab a big chunk of your chicken and dip it into the milk

Then the cheese

Then the Ritz crumbs

Then lay them all side by side in your baking dish. I threw in a little (or maybe alot, you will never know muahahaha) extra cheese on top. Sprinkle the dried parsley on top of the chicken. This makes it look pretty. Now they are ready to go into the oven.

Cover the pan with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove the tin foil, bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the edges of the chicken are golden brown and crispy. 

Sauce making time! Do not skip this step...the sauce is what makes the chicken extra delicious in my opinion!

Into a medium sized sauce pan combine the cream of chicken soup, sour cream and butter with a whisk. Stir it over medium high heat until the sauce is nice and hot and the butter is melted. Serve over the chicken. 
Now eat, eat, eat! 

We served ours with macaroni and cheese, and they went perfectly together!



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One Artsy Mama