A broken and reshaped heart – and life.

This blog has sat vacant for over a year.  My heart has broken, mended, and my life has taken such a different form than when I began blogging here at Oven of Happiness.

From my About page:

I created this blog in August 2012 as a way to emotionally cope with my mother’s cancer.  Baking has always been – and continues to be – one of my favorite ways to de-stress.

Life looks so differently now than it did when I first started blogging – at the time, I was single and had quit my full-time job to help care for my mom during her surgery and ongoing chemo.  Fast-forward to today: I’m married and a stepmom to three, and went back to working full-time at the end of 2014.

But 2013 and 2014 were full of ups and downs: I began dating and fell madly in love with a single dad named Dave (who thankfully fell madly in love with me as well), my mom’s cancer spread and was diagnosed as terminal, Dave and I got engaged, then married, and three months after our wedding, my mom lost her battle with cancer.

As my life has changed during 2013 and 2014, my time and energy for this blog dwindled.  I just didn’t have the time or energy to bake, let alone the time to blog about baking.  My heart broke and reshaped.

It’s now, three years after my initial start, that I’m feeling the desire to bake again – for the first time in over a year.  Not because someone asked me to, but because I want to.

So, slowly but surely, I’ll start posting more.  Not just sugary, tasty, delicious baked goods… but healthy snacks and meals my family and I enjoy too.  I’ll also post gluten and dairy free recipes I’ve developed for my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, who have multiple food allergies.  I’ll share some struggles and successes I’ve had in terms of my family relationships and friendships.  I’ll share some of my style and beauty tips.  I’ll also share some organization, cleaning, and homemaking tips I’ve learned as I continue to make my house a home.

If you have any comments or suggestions for a post, please feel free to contact me.  I’d love to hear from you.  You can email me at ovenofhappiness at gmail dot com or send me a message on my Facebook page.

Love to you.  Be well.


Chocolate Wasted Cake.


Last year, my future sister-in-law requested a specific type of cake for her birthday.

S: “What kind of cake does she want?”

D: “Umm… choco-choco-choco chip… with chocolate.”

S: “Ahhh… a girl after my own heart.”

D: “I have an idea…” (insert light bulb here)

For those of you who have seen the movie Grown Ups, you might have already figured out the reference to this recipe.  For those of you who haven’t seen it:

And so, the idea to make this incredible cake was born.  I don’t know who came up with this recipe, but I want to give them lots of hugs and a bunch of high-fives.

I used the recipes for My Favorite Chocolate Cake and Milk Chocolate Buttercream for the cake and frosting — then just went wild with the chocolate chips and assorted chocolate candies.  That’s what I love about this recipe… the sky (or how far your stretchy pants will extend) is the limit.  I recommend eating this cake before you have a chunk of free time… a nap might be necessary afterward.

From my chocolate loving heart to yours, enjoy!  Lots of hugs and Hershey’s kisses to you!





Chocolate Wasted Cake

Recipe adapted from Art of Dessert

For the cake, you will need:

2 c. sugar

1 and 3/4 c. all-purpose flour

1 and 1/2 t. baking powder

1 t. salt

1 c. milk

2 t. vanilla

3/4 c. cocoa powder

1 and 1/2 t. baking soda

2 eggs

1/2 c. oil

1 c. boiling water

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8-inch round baking pans.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl.

3. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Gently stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans or cupcake cups.

4. For cupcakes: fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes.  For two 9″ cake pans: Divide batter evenly among two pans.  Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

For the frosting, you will need:

6 and 1/2 oz. milk chocolate chips

2 c. powdered sugar, sifted

1/4 c. milk

1/4 c. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened

2 t. vanilla

1/2 t. salt

1. Place chocolate chips in a medium heatproof bowl and microwave at 50% power until soft, for about 1 minute.  Stir and continue to heat, another minute or so, until completely melted.

2. To melted chocolate, add powdered sugar, milk, butter, vanilla, and salt.  Beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.

3. Lay one of cakes, top side down, onto a cake plate and top with about 1/3 of the frosting.

4. Place other cake on top of frosting, top side up.  Top with remaining frosting and using a wide spatula or butter knife, spread frosting along top and down sides of cake, smoothing out as you go.  Immediately after frosting, top with sprinkles.

Cake will keep, in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days.

To decorate:

1. Press chocolate chips into sides, around circumference of cake.

2. Decorate top with assorted chocolate candies (recommended: Twix, Hershey’s kisses, Hershey’s bars, and Kit Kat — you can use any kind you like!)

3. Put on your stretchy pants, cut a slice, and enjoy!

Mint Chocolate Pudding Pie.


You know how sometimes you make something so dang delicious that you dream about it the next day?  How you keep trying to find an upcoming special occasion so that you can make it again?  World Penguin Day?  Hug an Australian Day?  We should totally make this pie to celebrate!


It is so chocolaty and delicious.  And with such a lovely, subtle hint of mint — pure perfection.  Make it for a birthday.  For an obscure holiday.  For Sunday supper.  Or make it just because (my favorite).


Have a lovely weekend, friend!


Mint Chocolate Pudding Pie

Recipe adapted from Kraft


For the crust, you will need:

6 T. unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

About 15 Oreo cookies with filling removed


For the cream cheese layer, you will need:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 c. powdered sugar

1/2 t. peppermint extract


For the pudding layer, you will need:

One 3.9 oz. package instant chocolate pudding

2 c. milk







1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a food processor, pulse cookies until fine crumbs.  Add in melted butter and pulse until combined.

3. Press into a 9″ pie plate using the bottom of a small glass.

4. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  Let cool.

5. Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, and peppermint extract in food processor.  Blend until smooth.  Spread onto cooled cookie crust.

6. In a medium bowl, beat pudding mix and milk with a whisk for 2 minutes.  Pour on top of cream cheese layer.  Refrigerate until set (about an hour).  If you’re feeling extra fancy, make some fresh whipped cream and pipe onto top of pie.

Blueberry Muffins.

You know how you’re always in search of the perfect (fill in the blank) recipe?  One you can go to time and time again and it always turns out perfect?  One that you bust out when you have an event to attend and you want to bring something that doesn’t disappoint?  Yeah, me too.

These muffins?  Perfect every time.  They’re from Joy the Baker’s cookbook, which is full of deliciousness and beauty.

I’ve made them a few times — and the batter always turns out perfect.  These blueberry muffins are sweet, tasty, and moist.  If you leave some on the counter, tiny hands might come by and swipe them.  And gobble them.  And leave muffin cups crumbled around the house.  They’re irresistible to all.  You’ve been warned.


Blueberry Muffins

Recipe adapted from the Joy The Baker Cookbook

Makes 12 large or 24 small muffins


For the muffins, you will need:

7 T. unsalted butter

1/3 c. milk

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1 t. vanilla extract

1 and 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

3/4 c. granulated sugar

1 and 1/2 t. baking powder

3/4 t. salt

2 c. fresh blueberries (if using frozen blueberries, thaw the berries and drain liquid before using)


For the topping, you will need:

3 T. unsalted butter, cold

1/4 c. all-purpose flour

3 T. granulated sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line muffin tin with paper liners.  Set aside.

2. To make the muffins: melt butter in a small saucepan.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

3. Whisk milk, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla until combined.  Add melted butter and whisk to combine.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Add milk mixture all at once to the flour mixture and stir gently to combine.  Toss the blueberries in a few tablespoons of flour (this helps prevent them from sinking into the batter while baking), then fold berries gently into batter.

5. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups.

6. To make topping: combine all ingredients in a bowl and rub together with clean fingertips until crumbly.  Sprinkle topping evenly over muffin batter in the cups.  Bake 15 to 18 minutes, until tops are golden and skewer inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool muffins in pans 15 minutes before removing.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Muffins will keep, at room temperature in an airtight container, for up to three days (these lasted all of 12 hours at my house).

Mint Chocolate Malt Brownies.


Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve had a mad obsession with chocolate and mint.  The richness of the chocolate paired with the refreshing quality of peppermint?  Oh, good heavens.  Sign me up.


To this day, mint chocolate chip remains my favorite ice cream flavor (though let’s be real… I don’t discriminate when it comes to ice cream).


I found some chocolate mint malted milk balls at World Market and was trying to find the right recipe to use them in.  I ended up seeing a recipe for Whoppers brownies and tweaked it a bit to make them slightly minty.


These brownies are dense, chewy, and rich… and the peppermint gives them a fresh little twist.  Need dessert and an after dinner mint? Two birds, one stone.  Yum.



Mint Chocolate Malt Brownies

Recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction


You will need:

1 and 1/2 c. mint chocolate malt balls, crushed

4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

3/4 c. unsalted butter, cubed

1 and 1/4 c. granulated sugar

3 eggs

1/2 t. peppermint extract

1/4 t. salt

3/4 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 c. chocolate malt powder




1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8×8″ baking dish with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.  Set aside.

2. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate and butter (45 to 60 seconds).  Stir.

3. Whisk in sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt.

4. Gradually add in flour until just combined.

5. Spread half of batter in pan.  Top with crushed mint chocolate malt balls.  Cover with remaining batter.

6. Bake 30-35 minutes.  Cool completely before slicing into bars.

Chocolate Nests.


Hi, friend!  Let’s not talk about what a major blogging slacker I’ve been lately… no, let’s talk about little nests made of crunchy chow mein noodles, glued together with melted chocolate and butterscotch.  Yes, let’s talk about that.

These couldn’t be easier.  Three ingredients.  No baking required.  I believe in you.

(PS — If you have a gluten allergy, you could substitute flaked coconut or rice noodles for the chow mein)


Chocolate Nests

Recipe adapted from Chef In Training

Makes 24 nests


You will need:

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

12 oz. butterscotch chips

12 oz. chow mein noodles

Additional 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips





1. Spray two 12-cup muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In a large, microwave-safe bowl, heat the chocolate chips and butterscotch chips for 1 minute.  Stir the chips.  Microwave for 1 more minute.  Stir again.  The mixture should be glossy and smooth.

3. Fold in chow mein noodles.

4. Using a medium ice cream scoop, scoop about 2 tablespoons of mixture into each well of the prepared muffin tins.  Press down center of mixture with a spoon to create a nest shape.

5. Refrigerate nests in muffin tins for about 20 minutes, until firm.  Using a knife, carefully pull nests out of tin.

6. Melt 6 oz. semi- sweet chocolate chips, drizzle in nests.  While chocolate is warm, attach jelly beans, marshmallow candies, etc. to create an edible bird’s nest.  See?  Told you it was easy.

These are great fun to make with friends and family members of any age!  I did a little tutorial of how to make these at my church’s Easter brunch and they were a huge hit — my mom and I made some more with my nephews and they loved it.

Have a wonderful, blessed Easter friends!  Love to you!


Chocolate Cherry Cookies.


Well, friends — February is upon us.  And yes… that dreaded and/or joyous holiday brought on by Saint Valentine is just a couple of days away.


I, personally, have always enjoyed holidays.  Valentine’s Day included — whether I had a valentine or not (which most of the time, I haven’t had one… more chocolates for me).


Valentine’s Day embodies two things I adore: showing love and sweet, delicious treats.  Most of the time it’s a one-two punch (“Heyyyy!  I made you these cookies because I love youuuu!”).


I discovered cherry M&M’s a couple of years ago and ever since then, try and stock up when I see them out around the holidays.  I’m not even a chocolate cherry person, but these are totally delicious.  Added in place of chocolate chips in a fluffy cookie?  SHUT UP.  So good.


If you can’t find cherry M&M’s, you can totally use any candy (or chip) of your choice.  These cookies were so easy to make and came out so fluffy — definitely adding this one to my “go to” list.


Have a happy Valentine’s day, friends!  Love, hugs, and lots of cookies.




Chocolate Cherry Cookies

Makes approximately two dozen

Recipe adapted from Bisquick


You will need:

1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened

1 c. light brown sugar, packed

1 t. pure vanilla extract

1 egg, beaten

2 c. Bisquick

1 c. cherry M&M’s (available around Valentine’s Day — I’ve found them in my local grocery and big box stores)




1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter until light and fluffy.  Scrape down bowl with a spatula.  Add in brown sugar and mix well on medium speed, about 2 minutes.

3. Add in egg and vanilla.  Mix well.

4. Add in Bisquick, one cup at a time.  Mix until just combined.

5. Fold in M&M’s.

6. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets and bake 8 to 10 minutes, until edges are golden brown.  Let cool on cookie sheets 5 minutes, then remove and let cool completely.

Cookies will keep, stored in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to 3 days.