Happylifeblogspot

Happylifeblogspot

Welcome to Happylifeblogspot! A food blog with drool worthy recipes

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Parmesan Garlic Knots

Parmesan Garlic Knots

Homemade bread is the BEST!!!! I love baking it. I love the way it smells while it’s baking. And I love having freshly baked bread with a home cooked meal. The problem is I don’t always have the time to make it ALLLLL the way […]

Penne Gorgonzola with Chicken

Penne Gorgonzola with Chicken

There’s something about a good pasta dish that just can’t be beat! Bring on the carbs!! This dish has that fancy Italian restaurant feel but I’ll let you in on a little secret…..it actually comes together in a snap! Besides boiling the pasta, it’s basically […]

Fall in Love With Buffalo

Fall in Love With Buffalo

Show of hands…..does anyone else have cabin fever??? We do this year and it’s pretty hardcore! Now I know a beach vacation with cold drinks and palm trees and waves crashing would be the ultimate cure right about now….but we already have a vacation planned for April and can’t just go off jet setting whenever we feel like it. April just seems SO. Far. Away!!! So we did the next best thing and played tourists in our hometown of Buffalo, NY.

We started our day at Swan Street Diner. This place is filled with so much history, yet it’s fairly new to the Buffalo area. It just opened in October 2017 in fact! It got it’s start as one of the early Sterling Company diner cars and originally opened in Newark, NY in 1937. Just steps away from Larkin Square, this place is sure to hopping on Food Truck Tuesdays this summer!

This guy LOVES himself a good diner!!! This place has been beautifully restored over the years and all the interior enamel panels, bar stools and wood trim are original. The retro vibes are everywhere!!

Not to be missed are the Mini-Donuts!!! We took a cue from Gateway Lodge and ordered them to share as an appetizer to our breakfast. Served hot and fresh they really were out of this world!!! I think the glazed were my favorite! Oh and another fun fact, ALL of the plates and mugs were locally made here in Buffalo at Larkin Soap Company China before it’s closing in 2013.  How cool is that?

Everything was cooked to perfection. Swan Street offers the classic diner experience that you would expect! The coffee was super delicious too!! I went for the two eggs, bacon, home fries and sourdough toast and the hubby went with a Western Omelette….cause we’re predictable like that. Why mess with a good thing?

And….we loved the mini-donuts so much that we got a 3 pack to go! That’s how we roll. But seriously…..just order some already!!! I’ve gotta come back here for lunch and try one of the milkshakes. MUST!!!

After breakfast we took a short drive to the Buffalo Botanical Gardens. The green houses are absolutely stunning both inside and out. The glass house design was inspired by the famous Crystal Palace in England.

The gardens are jam packed with amazing flower exhibits and exotic horticulture from around the world. Opened in 1900, it’s earned it’s spot as a national historic site!

This garden sanctuary is seen by many visitors as a place for spiritual healing, meditation and reflection. It’s easy to see why! As soon as you walk through the doors you’ll immediately feel more relaxed and at peace.

The Asian Rainforest house was my favorite spot! It showcases a moon gate, a decorative teahouse, lots of bamboo, beautiful orchids, and bonsai trees, but the main attraction is the spectacular waterfall. We loved sitting near the koi pond and watching all the fish swim to the surface!

It was an especially frigid day in Buffalo, like 6 degrees and chilling winds that shot right through ya! So you can bet I took my time in this desert inspired room where the temps were in the 70s and 80s. I wanna be where the cactus are!

The Ivy Room is the largest public ivy collection in the world housing over 400 varieties, but don’t worry….none of it’s poison!

The Tropical Plants House holds amazing flowering tropical plants, and also includes a soothing water feature, a vine-covered gazebo, a gorgeous pergola and a relaxing place to play checkers.

We spent our first anniversary exploring the fabulous Denver Botanic Gardens. This cute little day date had me reminiscing about that vacation! Plus there were plenty of spots to take photos at every turn. Don’t forget to tag your photos #buffalogardens for the insta!

I definitely recommend sneaking off to the hidden bench. There’s room for two and the view is the best! It feels like you’re in your own little secret garden! It really was so romantic and magical.

After the gardens, we headed to Oh Pour L’Amour Du Chocolat, the cutest little candy shop meets ice cream parlor that we didn’t even realize was right in our back yard! It’s a one stop candy shop for all of your sweet tooth cravings!!

Oh Pour L’Amour Du Chocolat which translates to Oh For the Love of Chocolate in French, really is a labor of love for husband and wife team Howard and Tara Cadmus. This full service sweet shop serves up everything from turtles, to artisans truffles, to homemade ice cream and everything in between. We were lucky enough to meet Howard during our visit! His love of all things vintage and nostalgic helps to serve up some of the most unique molded chocolates that Buffalo has to offer. Where else can you purchase a chocolate Han Solo trapped in carbonite, all four teenage mutant ninja turtles in chocolate form, or an exact replica of the human heart modeled in chocolate?!?

His wife Tara, who spent time in Belgium and Paris honing her chocolatier skills, brought back some of that European flair to Oh Pour L’Amour. This vintage cash register was one of my absolute favorite things!! But also take notice of the Italian marble ice cream counter as well as the custom shelving and woodwork found throughout the shop. But if you really want to get to know Tara, don’t miss out on the portrait she inspired, created by Art Noveau-inspired illustrator Echo Chernik which is displayed prominently on the front wall. The artist also created the Willy Wonka-esque masterpiece that hangs behind the candy counter. Just more stunning details that make this candy shop so one of a kind and unique!

The hubby and I took it upon ourselves to create our own DIY chocolate tasting and sampled as many of their creations as we possibly could! We let local artist and full time chocolate lover Isabella Constantino  choose some of Oh Pours finest selections for us to try. I mean she IS the pro behind the counter! And boy did she pick us some winners!! These milk chocolate turtles topped with sea salt were absolutely to die for!!! I was so impressed by everything that I couldn’t resist taking a box of artisan truffles home with us. Really I ‘m pretty sure every time I pass this place I’m going to have to stop in for truffles. And you can bet we’ll be checking out Oh Pour’s sister shop Sweet Jenny’s to fuel our ice cream addiction REALLY SOON!! We sampled the Caramel Chocolate Truffle artisan ice cream and it was truly love at first bite!

Ok so maybe this winter weather isn’t so bad after all! What are your favorite spots to get you through those winter blues?

We’d love to hear from you! Leave us your comments and love down below!

How To Cook The Best Steak Ever!!!

How To Cook The Best Steak Ever!!!

They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Well, you know what…..they’re right!!! It’s only taken us about a decade but we’ve finally got our Valentine’s Day style down pat. When my hubby and I first started dating our idea […]

Perfect Baked Potato

Perfect Baked Potato

There are some recipes that I feel like EVERYONE needs to know and this is one of those recipes!!! A classic baked potato….it should be simple, right?!? A quick internet search for “baked potato” will show you there are apparently about a gazillion ways to […]

Red Velvet Donuts with Cream Cheese Glaze

Red Velvet Donuts with Cream Cheese Glaze

Forget the flowers! Give the gift that everyone really wants…….DONUTS!!! Whenever I see donuts my eyes glaze over and I immediately channel my inner Homer Simpson. Mmmmmm donuts!!! Whenever I had slumber parties as a kid, my mom would run out to Dunkin Donuts the next morning to grab us breakfast. I was a sucker for the “pink donuts” the ones with the pink frosting. To this day I still run into childhood friends that remember the pink donuts and the sleepovers all these years later. As an adult my love of donuts has evolved….but not that much. We have a local donut place, Paula’s Donuts, that has THE best red velvet donuts!!! Like seriously I’ve dreamt about them. Not even kidding!! They are my absolute favorite and I’m sure they’ll be popping up on the blog at some point pretty soon! So basically I’ve just gone from pink to red. Either way my choice of donut colors (and flavors) are perfect for Valentine’s Day so what better time to share this recipe?!? Plus we all know my love language is food!

Here’s all you need: flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, buttermilk, butter, vanilla extract, eggs, red food coloring, cream cheese, milk, confectioners sugar, and sprinkles.

In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cocoa powder, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder. How fun would it be to MAKE these donuts at a sleepover?!? Calling all my grade school friends, we’re totally doing this next year for my birthday!! You know who you are!!

In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, eggs, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

Gently stir the mixture with a spoon until just combined. A few clumps are ok. You don’t want to over mix!

Fold in the red food coloring and stir until fully incorporated. Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. No chocolate left behind!

Grease the donut pans lightly with cooking spray. Carefully spoon the batter into the pans. You can even go a little less than what’s pictured below. This was my donut pan test run and I got a little heavy handed! Make sure you don’t cover the middles. That’s how we get the holes in the middle! Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 10-12 minutes.

Allow the donuts to cool for a few minutes in the pans before transferring to wire racks. Cool completely. These donuts are so velvety soft with just a hint of cocoa flavor hidden inside!

While the donuts are cooling, we can go ahead and make our cream cheese glaze, because cream cheese glaze is life! In medium bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, milk, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, and confectioners sugar. If you really want to get fancy you can sift the powdered sugar. Full disclosure….I didn’t….and it turned out fine. It just means you have to whisk a little harder…but I’m counting it as arm day. How did you get them big guns?!?……I do a lot of whisking!!

Once the donuts have cooled completely, dip them top side down, into the glaze. Transfer back to the cooling rack and immediately top with sprinkles. Really what’s a donut without sprinkles?!?

Aren’t they darling??? I absolutely loved how they turned out!! Hubby…if you’re listening I’ll take a dozen of these instead of roses this year!!

Red Velvet Donuts with Cream Cheese Glazed

February 10, 2018
: 12 donuts
: Medium

By:

Ingredients
  • FOR THE DONUTS:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 teaspoons red food coloring
  • FOR THE GLAZE:
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • spinkles
Directions
  • Step 1 In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cocoa powder, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder.
  • Step 2 In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, eggs, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Gently stir the mixture until just combined.
  • Step 3 Fold in the red food coloring and stir until fully incorporated.
  • Step 4 Grease the donut pans lightly with cooking spray. Carefully spoon the batter into the pans. Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Allow the donuts to cool for a few minutes in the pans before transferring to wire racks. Cool completely.
  • Step 5 Meanwhile, in medium bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, milk, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, and confectioners sugar.
  • Step 6 Once the donuts have cooled completely, dip them top side down, into the glaze. Transfer back to the cooling rack and immediately top with sprinkles.

We’d love to hear from you! Leave us your comments and love down below!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Valentine’s Day is coming up and I know what I want……anything chocolate!!! Chocolate covered strawberries are one of my favorite V-day treats, but the price tag in stores is highly overrated. No thanks! Lucky for you (and me!) they are SO easy to make. Like […]

Hearty Cheeseburger Soup

Hearty Cheeseburger Soup

Ok so is it Soup-er Bowl or Super Bowl??? Either way I’m ready!! Happy Sunday Everyone!! The big game is finally here and we’ve got one more husband approved, game winning recipe to share with you. Cheeseburger Soup is a winter favorite in our house. […]

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Ball

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Ball

Soooo….you know I love me a good no bake last minute recipe! With the Super Bowl less than a week away, I wanted to bring you this super easy, super delicious party snack. Just because a recipe comes together quickly doesn’t mean it can’t be a show stopper! Our Chocolate Chip Cheesecake ball is a fun spin on the traditional cheese ball and is sure to be the game day MVP. You can even make it ahead of time or even the day before, refrigerate, and pull it out in time for kickoff. More sweet than savory, it’s dessert like flavor is a hit with kids and adults alike. Equal parts cheesecake and chocolate chip cookie dough, this yummy snack will have your party goers huddled around the food table! Ready, set, hike!!!

Here’s all you’ll need: cream cheese, butter, vanilla, confectioners sugar, brown sugar, mini chocolate chips, pecans, and graham crackers for dipping.

In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, softened butter, and vanilla until smooth. I totally cheated and nuked the cream cheese for 30 seconds in the microwave, then added the butter and ran it for another 15 seconds. Instantly softened cream cheese and butter for the win!

Next add the brown sugar and confectioners sugar and mix until well blended. The mixture should be nice and creamy and tastes just like cheesecake at this point! YUM!!!!

Stir in the mini chocolate chips. Mix until evenly distributed. Cover the mixture and refrigerate for two hours or until firm enough to shape. This recipe is literally just a bunch of refrigeration time with about 5 minutes of actual work. I won’t tell if you don’t! Super simple recipes are my favorite!!

Place the mixture on a large sheet of plastic wrap. Cover completely with the plastic wrap and shape into a ball. Place the ball into a bowl and refrigerate for one hour. The bowl helps to keep its round shape. And don’t forget, you can make this the morning of, or the day before and just keep it refrigerated until ready to serve. That is….if you can keep your hands out of it until then!

Unwrap and roll the ball into the chopped pecans before serving. Nom nom nom nom!! You’re gonna wanna double dip! You’ve been warned!

Serve with graham crackers, animal crackers, Nella wafers, pretzels, anything that you would love to cover with chocolate chips and cheesecake! I pick all of the above!!! I’m about to call a BLITZ and charge the dessert table!!

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Ball

January 31, 2018
: 16
: Easy

By:

Ingredients
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • Graham crackers
Directions
  • Step 1 In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, softened butter, and vanilla until smooth.
  • Step 2 Add the brown sugar and confectioners sugar and mix until well blended.
  • Step 3 Stir in the mini chocolate chips. Cover the mixture and refrigerate for two hours or until firm enough to shape.
  • Step 4 Place the mixture on a large sheet of plastic wrap. Cover completely with the plastic wrap and shape into a ball. Refrigerate for one hour.
  • Step 5 Unwrap and roll the ball into the chopped pecans before serving. Serve with graham crackers, pretzels or your favorite dippers. Enjoy!!

We’d love to hear from you! Leave us your comments and love down below!

Frosted Fudge Brownies

Frosted Fudge Brownies

If you’re in need of the ultimate brownie recipe, then look no further! You’ve come to the right place. This rich, fudgy, frosted brownie recipe is the only one you’ll ever need. Really!! They turn out perfect every time….well except for the first time that […]


All Time Favorites

How To Cook The Best Steak Ever!!!

How To Cook The Best Steak Ever!!!

They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Well, you know what…..they’re right!!! It’s only taken us about a decade but we’ve finally got our Valentine’s Day style down pat. When my hubby and I first started dating our idea […]

Perfect Baked Potato

Perfect Baked Potato

There are some recipes that I feel like EVERYONE needs to know and this is one of those recipes!!! A classic baked potato….it should be simple, right?!? A quick internet search for “baked potato” will show you there are apparently about a gazillion ways to […]

Hearty Cheeseburger Soup

Hearty Cheeseburger Soup

Ok so is it Soup-er Bowl or Super Bowl??? Either way I’m ready!! Happy Sunday Everyone!! The big game is finally here and we’ve got one more husband approved, game winning recipe to share with you. Cheeseburger Soup is a winter favorite in our house. […]

Cheesy Pizza Dip

Cheesy Pizza Dip

It’s no secret that I love ALL things pizza!! I’ll take it in any way, shape or form….JUST GIMME ALL THE PIZZA!!!! No really. All that gooey, cheesy goodness gives me heart eyes. And our Cheesy Pizza Dip is no exception! It’s the perfect party […]

Best Ever Zuppa Toscana

Best Ever Zuppa Toscana

I’m so excited to share this recipe with you today because Zuppa Toscana is my all. time. favorite. soup!! It’s like the BEST!!! I try to mix up our meals to give us lots of variety, but somehow I end up making this recipe like 5 […]