Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Try-It Tuesday: Baked Chicken Pesto

Happy Tuesday! You know what that means... Abby's cooking! Get excited... for another week of (Lazy) Try-It Tuesday. Ok, it wasn't that I was lazy, just resourceful... maybe? I had pesto left over from last week's meal and wasn't sure how long it would keep and wanted to use it up so I headed to Pinterest, did the ol' search for "pesto" and had lots of options to choose from. While I really wanted to choose something like Pesto Gnocchi or Pesto Grilled Cheese or Pesto Calzones or classic Pasta with Pesto, I didn't. My mom and I were talking about how hard it's been to lose weight lately and then we realized it was because I was making junk like cream cheese laced Baked Ziti and peanut butter tumor topped Chocolate cookies (my friend Kruse gets credit for the tumor comment...) The best way to resist eating that stuff is by not making it in the first place. Genius idea, I know... So anyway, I decided to try to go a little bit more healthy this week. A little bit, I said.

I chose this recipe for Baked Chicken Pesto. It had three ingredients: chicken breast (which you know I love), pesto, and mozzarella. No cream cheese, no peanut butter, no oil, no heavy cream. That's pretty good, right? I did make some rice to go with it, but I used long grain rice, which is supposed to be better for you... right? We also had carrots (cooked and glazed like Valeria taught me in college) and strawberries (not cooked.) With all that said... the meal was a hit! If you like pesto, and chicken, and easiness... this recipe is for you.
P.S. A co-worker asked me to bake him some peanut butter cookies, and I did tonight and used this recipe... Ya'll, it was probably the best peanut butter cookie recipe I've ever had. And peanut butter cookie is my favorite kind of cookie... so this is a big deal.

P.S.(2) The whole point of this recipe was to use up my pesto... turns out I didn't have enough so in the middle of preparation I had to run to the store... Awesome. Just thought you should know.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

KU Cake for my Unca Dave!

(Rock Chalk!)
March Madness is alive and well, and thankfully my beloved Kansas Jayhawks are alive and well, too!

Tonight KU played North Carolina so we planned a mini get together with my aunt and uncle and pseudo-grandma to watch the game. They were providing dinner so I offered to bring dessert because... that's what I do. I'm the dessert girl. I asked if my aunt or uncle had any requests and my uncle Dave said, "Sure, how about a cake... with a side of sugar cookies." He was joking, of course, but I decided to go along with it. I baked a cake and made sugar cookies! And I decided to go all out and decorate them KU-themed, too. I loved baking them with my uncle in mind. Baking just to love on someone, and say, "Hey, I baked this just for you!" is the best kind of baking, I believe. I loved every minute of it. And I think my uncle liked it, too...

You know what is even better than a KU cake? A celebratory KU cake! Thankfully my cake became just that because KU beat North Carolina (take that, Roy Williams, bet you wish you were still a Jayhawk, huh?) The night couldn't have been more perfect. Now on to the Final Four... What shall I bake next week...?
(My dad, me, and my uncle Dave with the KU baked goods.
Photo courtesy of my lovely aunt Georgie!)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Have you ever wished you could erase your memory so you could experience something again like it was for the first time? I have. A lot. Especially with stories. Like books and movies and TV shows. My brother Joel and I were talking about this last week when he was home. He told me about the following quote that went along with this thought:

"See, I like forgetting. When I see a place for the first time I notice everything. The color of the paper, the sky, the way people walk, door knobs, every detail. Then after I've been there a while, I don't notice them anymore. Only by forgetting can I remember what a place is really like... so maybe for me forgetting and remembering are the same thing." -David Byrne, Talking Heads

The following list is silly compared to the deepness of the above quote. But here is a list of things I wish I could forget so I could experience them for the first time all over again...
The Hunger Games series
Friday Night Lights
Pride & Prejudice (the book and the movie - Keira Knightley version, of course).

If you haven't experienced these things. Please do it for me. Because I can't do it for the first time again, so you should.


It's Wednesday morning. It's been raining for the last three days. It's 7:33 am (at least it was when I started writing this, we'll see how long it takes me to finish it up...) Instead of being grumpy, I've decided not to be. Genius, right? Instead of thinking about how I'd like to be in bed right now, I've decided to share with you what I've been dreaming about lately.
Eating breakfast with my friend Jessie. I loved having her here this weekend and I kind of hated the fact that she had to leave. What can ya do... except for be thankful for the time you did have, right? I'm still dreaming about the cinnamon rolls and iced coffee we had though.
Going to Spain. I'm going to Spain, ya'll. I know you already know that, but I'm still totally psyched. Seeing pictures like this (from my cousin Brad's blog... I'll plug that blog until I'm red in the face!) get me even more excited.
Going to culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Austin. Ok, this is simply that, a dream. Whenever I get frustrated at work because a 27-year-old just yelled at me for not being able to get money out of his retirement account for a big screen TV, I start dreaming about culinary school. Le Cordon Bleu has a Baking and Pastry Arts program that's been calling my name lately. And it's in Austin, which is where two of my favorite people (Joel and Jessie) live. So... yep, I'm dreaming.
This jacket. It's been raining a lot lately. And what better way to embrace the rain than a perfectly bright and cute rain jacket. Yep. I want it. Just can't seem to justify spending $100 on a jacket though...
The Jayhawks winning another championship. Keep your comments to yourself, MU fans. Because if you write something nasty on my blog, I'll just delete. Rock Chalk, babay!

Happy dreaming! (P.S. I officially finished this up at 6:38 pm. Took me a while to communicate myself today... or I actually worked while at work. But whatev.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Try-It Tuesday: Roasted Garlic Chicken Pesto Pizza

Tonight might as well have been called Lazy Tuesday... But I can't think of a word that has the same meaning as lazy and starts with a T, so I guess we'll just stick with Try-It Tuesday...

This weekend my friend Jessie was in town. She hung out at our house on Sunday afternoon before going over to a friend's house for dinner. She was prepared to make dinner for the people who she was visiting (who goes to someone's house and makes THEM dinner? That'd be my friend Jessie...) so she made Annie's Eats' recipe for Perfect Homemade Pizza Crust, but ended up leaving it with us because her hostesses made her dinner after all... So, that left me with pizza dough that I could do something magical with. I decided on this Roasted Garlic Pesto Chicken Pizza recipe that I found on Pinterest. Funny enough, the blogger also used Annie's pizza dough recipe... I was going to make my own pesto, but I couldn't find pine nuts... or reasonably priced basil at the grocery store. So I bought store bought pesto. (I feel like my friend Valeria would be ashamed... Sorry, V.) I decided to continue with the laziness and buy pre-grated cheese, which I don't normally do... So, basically my ingredients:

-Pizza dough - not made by me
-Pesto - not made by me
-Mozzarella cheese - not made OR grated by me
-Chicken tenders - not slaughtered by me (but I guess I did cook it)
-Garlic - roasted by me! (this was the only thing I really did...)

The recipe was pretty good. I wouldn't say it was amazing though. It could have used more pesto... or something to give it a kick. The pizza crust, which claims to be the best pizza crust out there, was also just fine to me. I don't know if it was because I didn't have a pizza stone which it called for, or what, but I wasn't as wowed as I wanted to be. (I'm sure it had nothing to do with Jessie's preparation, because she rocks in the kitchen.) Anyway... it was good, but not great. Not every week can be a home run, right? My family left the meal happy and full, which is all I can ask for.

Until next Tuesday...!
(One of these days I'm accidentally going to drop my phone in the oven.)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A day in pictures...

Today has been a great day, so I thought I'd show you. I am pretty sure anyone who follows me on Instagram is like, "Abby, chill out with the pictures..." because I posted a lot today. But it's for a good cause... So I can show you what glorious things are out there!
(Ok, this one is actually from last night, but I wanted to show you anyway...) I ate at Beer Kitchen with Jessie and it was delicious! I had a Chicken Chow Mein Burger and Sweet Potato Fries. So. good.
I went to lunch with my friend Becca and afterward we stopped by Paper Source. I love that place! It inspires my creative side. I've decided if I don't become a baker, I want to become a card maker... maybe.
We also stopped by Sur la Table. I'm ready to get married so I can register there and get a whole new kitchen. And have I ever told you that I have a thing for whisks...? Because I do. My favorite kitchen utensil. Hands down.
While walking I spotted my first tulip of the year. I'm excited for tulip season.
I made Pioneer Woman's iced coffee recipe. It was pretty good! I have a feeling this is going to be a staple for my summer...

Now I'm headed over to some friend's tonight to play games. I always bring something baked, so made the Chocolate Chip Salted Caramel Cookie Bars again. The pan may or may not be half gone already...

Friday, March 16, 2012

New blog design...

I like my brother Cory a lot. He's funny. He's creative. He's passionate. He's caring. He's smart. He's just great. He designed yet another blog design that I really like. I'm pretty lucky to have a brother to do this for me. If it weren't for him, I'd have some lame header that Blogger provided

He's great. I've plugged his site once and I'll plug it again. corythomason.com You should check it out. Above is a picture of one of his recent designs that I really like. He designed a disc!

Thanks, Corky! (Nope, that's not a typo, that's what I call him.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Favorite... for now....

I am about to make a very dramatic statement. You ready for it? I believe... that last night I baked what can possibly be called my favorite dessert ever. I know, I know, that's a big commitment. I reserve the right to take it back, and crown something else "favorite". But as of March 14th, 2012, this recipe for Chocolate Chip Salted Caramel Cookie Bars takes the cake.

A few weeks ago, my aunt Georgie called me asking about a recipe I had tried for Deep Dish Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie (gone are the days of simple names for recipe...), but I told her that unless you have a cast iron pan... steer clear. I recommended the bar recipe instead, and she made it, and said they were a hit. So I baked them for a food day at work today, and they were a hit again! So good! My favorite recipe! Well, for now...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Try-It Tuesday: Creamy Baked Ziti

Tonight was a special night for Try-It Tuesday... My brothers Joel and Cory were home (and Kyle was supposed to be there, too, but couldn't make it) so it was a fuller house than normal. I thought it'd be better to lean on the safe side with my pick this week because I don't think the men in my family can handle anything too out of the box. My mom had come across a recipe for Creamy Baked Ziti on Pinterest and suggested that I try it out. You really can't go wrong with pasta...

...and this recipe kept the streak going with not being able to go wrong with pasta. It was so good. Too good actually. I've been shooting for healthy recipes lately, and this one was far from that. Cream cheese? Check. Sour cream? Check. Mozzarella cheese? Check. Parmesan cheese? Check. Italian sausage? Check. That's a lot of calories, ya'll. But that's also a lot of goodness. Don't let the list of craziness scare you away. It was delicious. (P.S. The recipe didn't call for any meat. And the Thomasons... we're meat eaters. So I added a little over a half pound of Italian sausage, thanks to the suggestion of my Momma. I'd say that was a good call.)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Guess who's going to Spain...

...this girl! It's official! I booked my flight! My aunt and uncle are so gracious to let me tag along on their trip to Spain to visit one of my favorite guys: my cousin Brad. May 15th can't come soon enough!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Smiles on a Friday...

Well, it's Friday! Friday's are just good days. You get to wear jeans to work. Iowa Girl Eat's posts her Friday Favorites (ok, that might not be something that makes you happy on a Friday, but it does me!) The weekend is near. Friday's are just good days. I feel like I'm smiling even more than your average Friday. Want to know why? Ok, I'll tell you...

(Um... yes please.)

I have plans to bake this beauty tonight. Well, I baked the cake last night, but I'll make the frosting and drench it with the ganache tonight. I seriously am a little bit giddy about it. (We already know that I'm a baking nerd, there's no point in hiding it.)

(I don't wear it with attitude like she does.)

Yesterday, on my day off, I hit up the Gap. They had 30% off your entire purchase so you know that I can't stay away... I bought only one shirt, this shirt, and I'm wearing it today, and it just radiates spring, I think. It's making me happy.

(Joel's the guy in the green, he's pretty cool.)

My brother Joel is home for a week from law school in Austin, Texas. I like him a lot. Especially since I've finally found a game I can kick his butt in: Hanging With Friends. This is a big feat for me.

(Nothing clever to say about this one. Not that my other comments have been clever.)

My brothers are always exposing me to good music. Yesterday Cory told me about this band (if you could call it a band) called King's Kaleidoscope. I'm not always a huge fan of Christian music, but these folks, they spice up hymns... and I like that. A lot.

(I don't have a picture of humming, but I do have a picture of some pretty pretzels. So...)

Humming. Some of the guys around me at work hum sometimes. They probably have no idea that I'm aware of their humming, but I am. And makes me smile. So I've decided that it's ok for me to hum outloud, too (as long as it's not TOO loud.) Humming has brightened my day.

(Brad playing music on the streets of Sevilla. I could be serenading him!)

I've been dreaming about going to visit my cousin Brad in Spain lately. Figuratively and literally dreaming about it. I think I may try to make it happen. This excites me. (P.S. Brad has the greatest blog ever documenting his time abroad. Add that to the list of things that make me smile: Brad's blog. Check it.)

Alright, well, these things are probably all quite insignficant to you. But it's Friday. And I'm smiling. And I hope you have silly little things like these that are making you smile, too.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Try-It Thursday: Meatballs with Peppers and Pineapple

Since I copped out and let Chipotle do the cooking on Tuesday, I thought I'd share the recipe I made tonight. I had the day off of work for a dentist appointment (yep, it's true, I took an 8 hour day off of work for a 45 minute dentist appointment... get over it) so my mom asked me if I wanted to make dinner. I'm pretty much always up for making dinner. I actually get really excited about it. Sometimes I wish I didn't get so excited about it though, because the finding of the recipe takes just as long if not longer than the making of the recipe. Ridiciulous, I know, but true.

After an extensive search, I landed on a Pioneer Woman recipe that I had pinned on Pinterest a few months ago. It didn't involve chicken (aren't you proud of me?) But it did involve meatballs, peppers and pineapple. It was called Meatballs with Peppers and Pineapple (quite original, PW...) Besides the lack of exciting name, the recipe was a hit! The sauce was a little runnier than I'd prefer (for some reason I can never make PW's sauces as thick as she does...) But everything else was pretty great. The meatballs had a good flavor. The peppers and pineapple added a fresh bite. And the sauce was sweet but not too sweet. It was just plain ol' good.
Anyway, just thought I'd share it with you. Happy Friday-eve!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Try-It Tuesday: Chocolate Peanut Butter Ball Cookies

It was just my mom and I for dinner tonight, so we opted out of a meal at home and let Chipotle do the work. At dinner, my mom said, "So... if you're in the mood to bake, Dr. Gardner mentioned today that there has been a lack of baked goods in the office..." (Side note: my mom is a dental hygienist, and a great one at that.) She didn't have to tell me twice! I'm still pretty psyched about my Joy the Baker cookbook, so I went through it twice to find the perfect recipe (yes, I'm an extreme nerd when it comes to baking...) and landed on...

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ball Cookies... What?! Yes, you heard me. A chocolate cookie... with a giant peanut butter ball in the middle. The peanut butter is like the center of a buckeye, and instead of going through the work of dipping them in chocolate, you just plop them on top of freshly baked chocolate cookies. Even though I baked them for my mom's office, you know that I couldn't let those leave my house without getting a sample... They were delicious, but they were a bit rich. And the fact that I, Abby Jean Thomason, think that they're rich, means they're real rich. I'd probably cut the size of the peanut butter ball in half next time. But believe me, there will be a next time. Fo. sho.

Happy Try-It Tuesday! (P.S. I wish I could share the recipe with you, but it's in Joy's cookbook and I really do think you should buy it. I've given you the link once, and I'll give it to you again. It's good.)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Bad Day Song.

Do you have a song that you listen to whenever you're having a bad day? You know, that song, that for some reason, gives you perspective and can cheer you up every time? Generally it's cheesy? And maybe makes you cry when you listen to it sometimes? ... No, Bad Day by Daniel Powter does NOT count, and if you say that, just leave my blog right now, we're not meant to be friends. (Not really, but seriously, there is a world full of better music out there...) Today I was down for a bit. Just had a bad day at work. And I was singing my little heart out on my way home (that normally helps...) and then I turned on my bad day song, and it worked. I don't know why, but it does it every time. (Along with verbally processing with my parents, lots of Diet Coke, and laughing with friends...) What is my bad day song, you ask?

New Day by Robbie Seay Band. (Never heard of it? Yeah, it's not really popular.) Yep, my song is cheesey. It has silly lyrics. And sounds like it's from 2007 (because it is.) But it makes me smile. And maybe cry a little bit. But it always ends with a smile. And reminds me of the bigger picture. That we get another chance tomorrow, and it might not be the best day of your life... but it just might be, too.

The first line of the song goes like this: "I'm going to sing this song, to let you know that you're not alone. And if you're like me you need hope, coffee, and a melody..." So cheesy. But so great. And if you happen to need a bad day song. And you don't have one... you can share mine. You can listen to it below. Or you can just give me a call. I'll serenade you. Promise.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Saturday night my mom and I went to this thing called KC Cakefest. There was a Groupon for it, so we were like, "What the heck... it might be interesting." To be honest, it ended up being kind of lame, so we just hung out for an hour or so, chalked it up to a good experience to people watch, then headed home. One thing I did enjoy in the evening was when this woman spoke named Leigh Grode; she's the co-owner of a famous bakery in Los Angeles called Cake Divas (and apparently she's on TV, too... although I've never seen her on anything...) She gave her two cents on a few things. Like that there is no shame in using cake mixes because all it is is pre-measured ingredients that you would use in a cake from scratch anyway. (So now I don't have to feel guilty when people ask what the secret is for my white cake and I respond, "Duncan Hines.")

Someone also asked her what was her favorite cake that she ever made. Her favorite was a birthday cake she made a boy from Russia that had recently been adopted by an American family. He was 10 years old or something, and it was his very first birthday cake. She talked about how excited he was, and the joy that it brought her to see that. She said that she loves baking because it is a way to celebrate life. I loved that! I already enjoy the art behind baking, and the yumminess behind baking, but I sometimes forget to put my finger on that fact that it's a way to celebrate! I love that, too...
(Seriously though... if you're a baker, buy this.)
I also got Joy the Baker's new cookbook in the mail this weekend. It's great. You should buy it. (Here, I'll give you the link right HERE to make it easy for you.) Tonight I made her Cream Cheese Pound Cake and Cranberry Orange Poppy Seed Cookies to take to work tomorrow. Despite the diet, I taste-tested both and they were pretty alright... Anyway, in the introduction to the cookbook, Joy said something that kind of goes back to what Leigh said. And I liked it a lot:

"I encourage you to use this book to celebrate life and love. They're both made better with sugar, butter, and cream. There's an undeniable connection between sweet treats and smiles; I hope this cookbook inspires both."

Alright, I'm stepping off of my baking soapbox now. I guess you could say it was just an inspiring weekend for me as far as baking goes...
(Depiction of happiness in the eyes of Abby Thomason.)

Friday, March 2, 2012


I needed to blog about something so that the first thing that people saw when visiting my blog wasn't the disgusting fat man below. Yes, I could just take the picture off of my post... But instead I thought I'd blog about something completely insignificant that's also completely wonderful: butterscotch.

Tonight has been a nice, relaxing Friday night at home (you know you're getting older when you look forward to a Friday night of nothing...) What do I do on a Friday night at home? Peruse Pinterest! I saw a dress, which took me to another site, which caused me to find a dress that was kind of goldeny/mustardy colored and guess what the color was called: butterscotch! And it reminded me of how much I love the stuff.

The dress that inspired it all. Feeling generous? You can buy it for me. It's only $65. No big deal. (I've never paid that much for a dress in my life... But you feel free to. Especially if it's for me, k?)
Butterscotch Shakes from Winstead's. I love these things. Knowing that I was going to get back on track with the diet this week, I treated myself to a butterscotch shake on Sunday night. A last supper of sorts...
Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies. This recipe is one of my favorite cookie recipes. I can't think of one that I enjoy more, so it very possibly could be my favorite, but I'm hesitant to give anything the favorite title. That's a big commitment for a girl like me.
Butterscotch Schnapps. This and hot chocolate is one of my favorite drinks in the winter time.
Take a few butterscotch chips, a few chocolate chips, a tiny bit of peanut butter, and melt them together. Dip a banana in this mixture and it's amazing! And reasonably healthy if you don't use too much of the chips and pb. This concoction has been getting me through this week...

Happy low key Friday!

Thursday, March 1, 2012


(Yep, this is what you get when you google "failed New Year's Resolutions"...)
Remember like 2 months ago when everyone was making lists of resolutions for the year? And remember that time that I made a list for myself? And remember that one time I slacked off instantly? But do you also remember that one time that I blogged about how I was a slacker and was going to try to get better? You don't remember that? Ok, that's because it's about to go down:

I'm a slacker. I made a list. And despite my good intentions, I've slacked. Hard core.

1. Lose 50 pounds. I lost a couple, and then I gained a couple back. Diets are hard. But a friendly reminder came my way the other day when my friend Valeria sent a picture of the bride's maid dress I'm going to need to look good in. Let's just say it's business time.

2. Learn how to play the guitar. I haven't touched the thing. I've thought about it though... Does that count?

3. Make a business plan for my bakery. Um... I've baked a lot. But no planning whatsoever has gone down. Slackety slack slack, I'm a slacker.

4. Be more adventurous. Hm... this is a little bit more subjective. I mean, I made thai turkey burgers the other day, I've been wearing stripes more instead of just solid colors, my toe nails are currently painted blue, I trimmed my own bangs tonight... Is that adventurous enough for you?

5. Take more people out to coffee. This has been happening more than it was, but I'd still like to get better. I actually went to coffee with a friend tonight. We talked about life. We played cards. We drank coffee. Life was good.

So, long story short, just thought I'd let you know I've been slacking. But that doesn't mean I've given up. And if you've got a list and have been slacking like me - don't give up! It's not too late! We can do this! Si se puede!