Who Really Eats Pineapple Upside-Down Cake?

We took a family vacation to Kauai earlier this month. Seven glorious days in the land of never-ending crashing waves and turn down service.

Shipwreck Beach, Poipu, Kauai

And dessert, like every night.

One night we wandered around a bit trying to decide what to eat for dinner. We had already planned to grab ice cream at Lappert’s for dessert so I was bummed when I saw pineapple upside-down cake on the dessert menu at Roy’s.

I've been obsessed with baking a pineapple upside-down cake since our recent trip to Hawaii. The recipe from EugenieKitchen.com was perfect.

Back at the hotel, I pinned two recipes for the cake that had been on my mind all night. They’ve both been re-pinned over one hundred times already. Who knew so many people liked pineapple upside-down cake because my husband cringed at the prospect of me baking this cake.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

I've been obsessed with baking a pineapple upside-down cake since our recent trip to Hawaii. The recipe from EugenieKitchen.com was perfect.

Of the two recipes, I chose this one from EugenieKitchen.com. She has stunning photographs and I love her how-to videos. Her suggested prep time of 20 minutes took me way longer and I had to shave nearly 15 minutes off the 50-60 minute bake time. The cake was definitely tasty. Not too sweet, maybe a little bit under done – but that was this baker’s way to either 1. under bake all things or 2. burn them to a crisp.

I've been obsessed with baking a pineapple upside-down cake since our recent trip to Hawaii. The recipe from EugenieKitchen.com was perfect.

My pineapple upside-down cake obsession has definitely been met. Now, life would be complete if I could get someone to leave a chocolate on my pillow.

Don’t miss what my friends are doing for this month’s Adventures in Pinterest. Check out projects from Anna, Jessica and Megan.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake How to take headshots with an iPhone Breakfast Cookies Home Management Notebook Image Map

Weekly Chatter: Binged Out

Pulling myself away from episode 13 of Orange Is The New Black for this week’s installment of Weekly Chatter. No spoilers, promise.

Welcome to Weekly Chatter! A brain dump of all the things that don’t necessarily fit in a regular old blog post.


So who watched the entire second season of Orange Is The New Black in three days flat? Yep, I binged out too. There is something glorious about watching this show under bed covers into the wee hours of the morning on the iPad. And while I do like that Regina Spektor theme song, thank goodness Netflix now gives the option of skipping to the next episode with the ability to completely skip the opening.

I promised no spoilers but I’m dying to talk about the season with someone who has watched it. By the way, who knows when season three is going to be available?

Speaking of television shows… So, this happened this weekend.


I’m referring to the Pinterest follow from Monica Potter. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m very grateful for the follows from Stem Cells Thailand and these two other lovely pinners, but KRISTINA FROM PARENTHOOD is following me on Pinterest! I mean, you all know my love for the show. If not, here’s the recap on my visit to the Parenthood set last season and my thoughts on her breast cancer storyline.

I’m not really sure how this happened…well, here’s my guess. I followed her on Pinterest several months ago after discovering her adorable blog Mrs. Potter and perhaps she’s just following people back. But, I looked closer at her account and she only follows 96 people. 96. And I’m one of them. Bizarre but I’ll happily take it!

Last week, I received a copy of a cookbook to review here on the blog. It’s called The Cancer Wellness Cookbook and I was pleasantly surprised with my first glance at it. Pretty photos, tasty sounding recipes. I’m excited to dig in and have a full review here in the coming weeks.  The problem? I have a cookbook problem. I have 20+ cookbooks right now in my kitchen — that I can see. Meaning, I have more stuffed into cabinets and cupboards throughout my house. But, I never ever make any recipes from any of them!

The Cancer Wellness Cookbook | Full Review on wendy-nielsen.com #cancer #breastcancer

So, I got this hair-brained idea to make at least one recipe each week from each of these cookbooks and share them here on the blog. A personal challenge of sorts. Remember that movie…the girl who blogged her way through the Julia Child’s The Art of French Cooking? Not really that. More like, cupcakes from my copy of The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook and crepes from Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything. I’m not sure if I want to share everything here on the blog or only on Instagram or what. I’m still figuring it out. I’ll let you know next week!

Shout outs! Thanks to the wildly gifted author Catherine Brunell for commenting last week about podcasts! She shared with me the podcast she hosts called Ottawa Writes Podcast! Definitely going to give it a listen this week! Catherine is a blogger and published author. You must read her first novel called The Adventures of Claire Never-Ending.

Three things I’m loving this week:

1. Jumping rope. My trainer made me jump rope last week at the gym and it’s like riding a bike, y’all. You never forget.

2. I want to be friends with Chip and Joanna Gaines. Fixer Upper is my absolute new favorite HGTV show.

3. Watermelon slushies. My daughter has been begging to make these since having them at a friend’s house. I hate cutting up a whole watermelon. It’s such a pain. Ok, maybe it’s not the biggest pain the ass but this did sort of make a wet mess everywhere. But, goodness…they were so good. Scoop out melon into blender, add ice and blend.

watermelon slushies | wendy-nielsen.com #watermelon #slushie

 Now go download OITNB and leave me a comment about season two!

Meal Planning: Week 4

Mama Bub's Weekly Menu
Last week sometime that sinking feeling of “What am I going to make for dinner” crept up on me and then I took a huge sigh of relief when I realized I didn’t have to worry about because I’ve got a dinner meal plan to work from!  Seriously, this has been life changing for our family.  And while I certainly don’t think of myself as a food or recipe blog, I’ve found that if I write it down here it somehow keeps me accountable.  So, thanks for coming back!

A couple of notes from last week’s meal plan:

I don’t think the recipe for the crock pot chicken tostadas was correct.  It called for 3 tablespoons of chili powder which seemed like an awful lot when I was spooning it out.  I swear my eyeballs were burning as the chicken slow cooked throughout the day.  Researching similar recipes, it seems like one tablespoon is more the norm.  Maybe the writer of the original recipe I used likes her chicken kicked up about 8 notches — we didn’t.  Pass the heartburn meds.

I made two recipes from the Jillian Michaels website and they were seriously flavorful and low-calorie.  I promised I would share — Lemon Baked Chicken and Lemon-Garlic Shrimp with Veggies.

Now for this week’s dinner meal plan:

Monday: Though I usually use the crock pot on Mondays because of our busy afternoon schedule, I think I’m going to go with this Easy Taco Casserole recipe from  The Recipe Critic instead.  I can put it together early in the day and then pop it in the oven when we got home from soccer.  I think I’ll omit the tortilla chips though because I’m afraid they’ll get soggy if I made it ahead of time.

Tuesday: This Korean Beef recipe looks super easy from Lizzy Writes but I plan on swapping out the white rice with organic brown rice.

Wednesday: Going really easy Wednesday night with grilled cheese and fruit.

Thursday: These fish tacos were popular when I made them a few weeks ago.  Picking up a jar of the Trader Joe’s Pineapple Salsa instead of making my own this time.

Friday: Betsy’s Stuffed Sweet Potatoes because they are fast, easy, and super delicious.


 If you’re looking for additional meal planning ideas, click on over to Mama Bub and see what she’s got cooking this week!

Lemon Garlic Shrimp with Veggies

A couple of things I am not: a food blogger, a recipe blogger, or a food photographer. Hell, I’m hardly a home cook.  But since I’ve been working on my weekly meal plans, I’ve found that I’m actually really enjoying trying out new recipes.  Last week, I tried out two recipes I found on JillianMichaels.com and they were fantastic.  Below is a recipe for Lemon Garlic Shrimp with Veggies.

Lemon Garlic Shrimp with Veggies


4 teaspoon oil, olive, extra-virgin, divided
2 large pepper(s), red, bell, diced
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
2 teaspoon lemon zest, freshly grated
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
5 clove(s) garlic, minced
1 pounds shrimp, raw, 26-30 per pound, peeled and deveined
1 cup(s) broth, chicken, reduced-sodium
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoon parsley, chopped

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers, asparagus, lemon zest, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to soften, about 6 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl; cover to keep warm.

Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add shrimp and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk broth and cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth and add to the pan along with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until the sauce has thickened slightly and the shrimp are pink and just cooked through, about 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat. Stir in lemon juice and parsley. Serve the shrimp and sauce over the vegetables.

Serves 4.  Calories per serving: 226

A couple of notes: My sauce didn’t really turn out so great – definitely the cook’s error – so I omitted the sauce from the final dish and instead we used a little splash of low-sodium soy sauce and it was delicious!

This is a non-sponsored post. I am not an affiliate for JillianMichaels.com though I am a member of the website.

Recipes from Friends

It was a recipe kind of week around the blogosphere – must be the time of year with everyone prepping for Thursday. Are you cooking? I am not. We’re taking our girl to see Happy Feet 2 and spending the afternoon watching Football and noshing.  I wish I was going to Hawaii like my neighbor (yes, that means you Dana).  But I digress.

Anyway, I read some amazing recipes and was inspired to do a recipe wrap up. The “best of” what I saw and shared with you. So, take a look and tell me what sounds good. I’m leaning towards the applesauce.

Kathleen at Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice wrote about her delectable mashed potatoes. Sage? Head turned, curious squint on my brow. I looked further for details. Oh my yum. Yes, I’ll definitely be making these some day soon. Warning…lots of butter ahead.

My sweet friend, Ashely, from northern California wrote about her Gravenstein Awesomesauce at It’s Fitting. Roasted apples? Who would have thought. I’m making this too because my husband and kid are super huge fans of applesauce. In fact, it’s my daughter’s go-to dipping sauce for quesadillas. Strange, right? I guess not…cheese and apples are good companions.

This is why the internet is so great. Mamabub had made an apple crisp a few weeks ago and it wasn’t as perfect as she had hoped it to be. But one of her readers gave her a few suggestions on how to make it like your Grandma would. And thankfully, she shared the recipe with us!

Now, I’m partial to the canned cranberry sauce in all its can shaped glory but Amy has whipped up a spiced cranberry sauce with agave nectar.  Looks so yummy.

Three words for you.  Mashed. Potato. Soup.  How incredible does that sound?  Maybe for next Friday night?  Amanda at Sunny Vegan – don’t fret…this is a vegan recipe but I’m sure it can be tweaked using conventional ingredients – shared her recipe for mashed potato soup.  She’s also got a tomato basil florentine soup and a chocolate espresso milkshake I can’t wait to try!

Don’t these recipes sound fab?  I think they do.  You know of any others I should know about?  Tell me!