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“Ice Cream”

17 Jan

It’s the new year and I know a lot of people are probably on a health kick to start the year off right.  However, I think that every good meal should end with some sort of dessert.  Unfortunately this philosophy can be challenging when I’m trying to be healthy, so I’ve had to get a little more creative.  Three of my favorite things to eat are peanut butter, bananas and honey.  I’ll often make myself a little sandwich with these ingredients.  And, at this restaurant in Dallas called Purple Cow, I like to order a peanut butter and banana milkshake.  Mmmmm…

Ok, I got sidetracked momentarily, but back to being healthy.  So, keeping with this banana, honey and peanut butter thing, I made some “ice cream”.  Here’s what you need:

  • 2 ripe bananas, frozen and cut into one-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon of honey (or more if you’re like me)
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons of milk

So, the one part of this recipe that stinks is that you have to plan ahead.  You have to cut your bananas up and put them in the freezer.  But, it’s so worth it, so just do it.  Then, when they’re nice and frozen throw them into your food processor:

Mix those around for a while until you get something that I think looks like Dippin’ Dots:

Don’t worry, I promise it will start to look like real ice cream soon.  Then, add the remaining ingredients:

Then, mix it around some more until you get something so deliciously rich and creamy you’ll swear you’re eating ice cream:

The great thing about this recipe, is that you can add anything you want.   Try some chocolate chips, or anything else that you like with your bananas.  Enjoy!

Baby Shower Part II

13 Jan

Well, I talked about this previously, but the baby shower for my sister is really soon!  The last time I chatted about this, I was wavering between tricycles and elephants as the theme for the shower.  Most of you all chose the elephant route, and I agreed!  But, I am obsessed with bunting flags too so I knew I needed to figure out a way to incorporate them.  Well, my friend Morgana offered to design the invites for me.  I sent her some information and a few samples of what I was going for and she got to work.  I loved the way they turned out.  What do you think?

So, keeping with the theme, we’ll have an elephant cake from Dallas Affairs.  And then to throw in some of the bunting, I’m making signs for each of the different food items with these bunting flags:

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For those of you planning a wedding, it’s actually from a wedding invite, and there are a lot of other cute free downloadables too. 

Ok, so now that you know how I’ll label the food, what will we actually be eating?  Well, I’m still deciding, but I have some ideas.

Prosciutto and Fig-Spread Sandwiches (cut in cut bite-size pieces):

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Endive with crab and avocado:

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Artichoke-Parmesean Crostini:

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Veggies and dip:

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Goat Cheese-Stuffed Mushrooms:

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And for drinks, I’m thinking lemonade for the non-alcoholic drink and Prosecco Sangria for the ladies that want to have a good time:

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It’s not blue though, does that matter?  I tried to find a tasty blue drink and I came up empty-handed.  Pink ones are a lot easier to come by. 

And, for a parting favor for the guests, I’m thinking about elephant cookies:

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I think I want to package them in little bags sealed with a mini clothespins.  Sort of like this, but smaller and for a boy baby shower:

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And, I would love to put them out on display in one of these adorable little suitcases:

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So, what do you think?  Any suggestions?

Snowmen

24 Dec

I live in Texas and unfortunately we don’t get much in the way of winter weather.  To remedy that and get my snowman fix, I decided to make snowmen cakepops.  I’ve talked about cakepops before and went step by step, so this time I’m just going to get to the good stuff.

I rolled the cake and frosting mixture into little snowmen:

I tried to make some trees too, but those didn’t turn out so good:

Do you see the trees?  Pretty crappy. 

Then I put them in the freezer to harden up while I ran some errands.  When I came back they were ready to go!  I dipped them in the chocolate and decorated them with the sprinkles I had.  I don’t have a picture of the process because cakepops can be really messy to make and I was the only one home, so I’m sorry.  But here they are all decorated and looking pretty:

And a close up:

My camera was having a hard time focusing on the cakepops, it kept wanting to pick up the background, so this is the best of the bunch. 

Anyway, I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!!

Chocolate Truffles

6 Dec

In addition to the mini apple pies,  I also made some truffles.  And, they were surprisingly easy.  Remember the first time you made chocolate covered strawberries after the countless times you bought them and paid a ridiculous amount, and you were thinking to yourself, “why the hell didn’t I do this a long time ago”?  Well, it’s kind of like that with truffles.  They are pretty easy, but super costly, so if you’re in the mood for truffles, just make them! 

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 14 ounces white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup coconut, toasted and finely ground
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar, sifted

Start with the white chocolate and cut it into pieces:

In one pot, warm the heavy cream over very low heat.  Then, in a double boiler, add the white chocolate.  Then, pour in the hot cream.

Whisk until all of the chocolate has melted.  Then, add the butter and whisk until the mixture is smooth.

Cover the ganache with plastic wrap.  Make sure to press the plastic wrap into the bowl right on top of the ganache to avoid developing a film.  Refrigerate the ganache for about 1 to 2 hours, just enough to be able to form it into balls.

Once it’s been in the fridge long enough it will look something like this:

 

Use a tablespoon or small scoop to measure even amounts of ganache into small balls. Or if you’re anything like me, just be happy you formed some sort of ball even though they are in no way uniform.  Put the balls on a parchment or silicone mat lined sheet tray. Refrigerate for 1 hour to firm up before the next step. 

While you’re waiting for everything to firm up, you can prepare the toppings (except the chocolate).  Put the coconut and pecans into little bowls to roll the truffles in.  Or, you can get creative and come up with other toppings too. Put the confectioners sugar in a sifter to sift over the tops of the chocolate. 

Once the little balls are firmed up and ready, cut up the chocolate and melt it in a double boiler.

Then, dip each ball in the melted chocolate (2 forks make it easier to fish out dipped chocolate balls). 

 

Set them down for just a little bit (like 20 seconds) and then  roll them around in the toppings.

Then put them on a wire rack over a parchment lined tray to dry.

So what do you think?

Mini Apple Pies

5 Dec

So, I was invited to a cookie exchange this past weekend.  Well, sometimes I’m not so great at following directions or maybe rules so I decided to make two desserts and neither of them was a cookie.  I thought the other people might appreciate some variety.  Anyway, the first one was mini apple pies.  I heard recently that the new dessert craze might be pies. Move over cupcakes! 

I cheated though and didn’t make my own crust.  For about $2 I was able to get 2 crusts right in the frozen section of my grocery store.  I know, I know, but whatever shortcuts I can get, I’ll take. 

I started out with the pre-made crust, some cookie cutters and some play-doh cutters.  I’m serious, they’re from my nieces play-doh set that I had at my house:

Since I was using things that belong to my nieces, I kept the theme going with the cup I chose to make the little circle pie crusts.

And, I cut out some pie crust tops with the little cookie cutters.  Here’s where things went a little off course.  Initially I wanted to use the play-doh stuff to make cute shapes in the top crust, well that turned into a big fat fail.  You can see in the top of the picture below that I tried cutting out a little star and it did not work.  So I abandoned that idea and just made cute flower shapes with the cookie cutters:

I put all the bottom crusts in my pie pan and started making the filling.  For the filling, I just used one granny smith apple.  I wasn’t making very many pies though, so if you make more than me, you’ll at least need two.  I peeled and cored them, and then cut them into small sticks:

What happened next was a bit of a blur.  I haven’t made pie in YEARS, but for some reason I thought I should just throw some stuff in the pan and do a few taste tests as I went along.  Luckily it actually worked out for me.  To the pan I added apples, cinnamon, butter, white wine and sugar.   And then for good measure I added some honey too.  Not really sure why, but it tasted good.

Once the apple concoction was soft enough, I started to spoon it into the little pie crusts:

Then, I put the tops on and put it into the oven.

I baked them for about 20 minutes at 350F.  Maybe longer though, I kept checking on them and they didn’t seem to be done, so then I’d add some more time. 

Mmmm….

I thought they tasted really yummy, and the crust to filling ratio was good.  The only thing I would change is the top of the pie crust. I wanted something cuter than what I ended up with, but for my first time trying mini pies, I think they turned out pretty good.

Thanksgiving

28 Nov

Wow, this is the second longest blogging break I’ve ever taken, beaten only by my honeymoon. :) I had big plans for sharing all my recipes with you guys, but then I had too many things going on simultaneously so I did a really shitty job of documenting the process.  This means that you’ll get to see the recipes  in various stages of completeness.  However, I figure that no one is really looking for Thanksgiving recipes after the actual day, so it’s probably not a big deal. 

I tried out a few new recipes and some of them worked out well, and others were just ok.  I made a Cranberry Pomegranate sauce.  This was good, but I think I needed to let it cook a little longer because it wasn’t thick enough. 

And, I made some broccoli rice and cheese casserole.  This is my favorite, and it’s so ghetto.  The recipe involves cheese wiz.  And, yes, I probably could have updated it with some real cheese, but I’ve liked it for years, so why change it now?

And the sweet potatoes.  Mmmmm…with marshmallows.  Even better.  It’s just sweet potatoes, maple syrup and butter.  So simple and so delicious. 

I also did some appetizers.  I tried out some spinach and gruyere pinwheels made with puff pastry and some french onion soup stuffed mushrooms

Oh, and the pies.  I did pumpkin, my sister made pecan and chocolate and her fiance made a chess pie.  OMG, I couldn’t pick just one, so I had a sampler plate. 

Also, my brother made fun of me for decorating the table and actually complained about the “dirty acorn” I put on his napkin.  But, I still think it was worth it.  What do you think? 

Overall the weekend was great, we played some games, ate a lot of food, and to round out the weekend, we also found a dog and returned it to its owner.  (Yes, we actually found this dog running in the street and found the owners!) 

How was your Thanksgiving weekend?

Holiday Time

25 Oct

Guess who put on her big girl pants?  Um…me!  Why you ask?  Well, I’m going to host Thanksgiving at our house for the first time ever.   I’d mentioned this to my mom a couple of weeks ago, and I wasn’t sure if anyone was really going to take me up on this.  See, I live in Austin while my mom, brother, sister and nieces all live in Dallas.  Typically Sean and I make our way up there for each holiday event.  But, we are newlyweds with a semi-new house and I would love to be able to put some of my registry gifts to use by hosting things here.  Looks like I’m going to get my chance. 

My mom always does the turkey (and, I don’t eat it because I’m a vegetarian), but my favorite part has always been the sides.  One of my most favorite sides ever is Truffle Mac and Cheese.

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My favorite truffle mac and cheese recipe is this one by Ina Garten.  Only, I can’t ever find truffle butter, so I substitute truffle oil. 

I also love broccoli, rice and cheese casserole.

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Um…clearly I’m going to need a little more than cheese and then more cheese.  Luckily, my Real Simple magazine and Martha Stewart Food magazine had a lot of great ideas this month including a killer mashed potato recipe and at least 8 different ways to do stuffing.  Yum.  What are your favorite recipes?  And, any tips for a first time Thanksgiving host?

Minnesota State Fair

12 Sep

Wow.  I ate close to a weeks worth of calories at the state fair and I am not proud of that.  I don’t think I need to eat anything fried ever again.

We started with fried potato skins covered in ranch and cheese

Moved on to fried pickles with ranch dipping sauce

Then corn dogs

Chocolate covered bacon

(I don’t eat meat, so I didn’t take part in these, but I heard the corn dog was good, bacon was not so good, it was cold)

Fried cheese on a stick

(vegetarian corn dog to me)

Fried green tomatoes with ranch dipping sauce

And quite possibly the grossest thing I’ve ever heard of…a scotch egg.  It’s hard-boiled egg, surrounded by sausage and then deep-fried.  It comes with some dipping sauce too.  I learned that the dipping sauce for everything at the Minnesota state fair is ranch dressing.

But, don’t think that we just ate food and did nothing else, we also saw some of the biggest vegetables I’ve ever seen

And some of the smallest vegetables I’ve ever seen

And the only other thing I like to do at the fair besides eat, is pet the animals

And, I know it looks like I’m really scared of this lamb, but I was actually really sad because he looked like he had a cold.  Poor guy.

They had a birthing center too where you can watch animals be born, but we missed it.

The next day I felt like I needed to eat some veggies immediately, but it was a lot of fun and I’m glad I got to go.  Although, I have to say it, the Texas fair is better.  Sorry!

Cupcakes!!

29 Aug

I’m getting ready to host a shower in Minneapolis over Labor Day weekend and my mind is drifting to all things sweet in preparation for the dessert table.  Well, I found the best site with the most amazing cupcake recipes.  Ming Makes Cupcakes, I heart you.  Want a sample of what her recipes look like?

And, not to be overlooked, cookies and other delectable treats are also featured on the blog, like this

I especially love the fall-inspired flavors.  Yum.

Cupcake Tin Recipes

18 Aug

When I was registering for our wedding I was blinded by all the shiny things and ended up with a few things that I’ve only used a handful of times, and some things that I’ve never used.  So, now I really want to do my best to use the items we received for more than just their intended use.  Luckily, I came across this article in Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine (side note, it showed up in my mailbox, I’m not really sure how, but I’ll take it). 

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It’s an article devoted entirely to using the cupcake tin for more than just muffins and cupcakes!  The picture up above are all mini deep-dish pizzas.  The ingredients for those are:

  • olive oil for the muffin pan
  • flour for rolling the rough
  • 1/2 pound pizza dough cut into 6 pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (4 ounces)
  • 1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
  • any desired topping such as cooked vegetables (onions, mushrooms, bell pepper), pepperoni, ham, basil, etc
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and brush the muffin cups with olive oil. 
  2. Roll out the dough each to 6 inch rounds and place in the tin.  Season with salt and pepper. 
  3. Sprinkle each cup with cheese tomato and the desired topping and then a little more cheese and tomato on top. 
  4. Bake for about 12 minutes, let cool and then remove from the tin.  Yum.

But, I also loved another recipe they had.  It was an upside-down mushroom tartlet

The ingredients are:

  • 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed and cut into six 3-inch rounds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for muffin pan
  • 1 large shallot, diced small
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil and cook the shallot for 3 minutes. 
  3. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring until soft and browned (about 10 minutes).  Stir in the thyme and remove from heat. 
  4. Oil the muffin cups and divide the mushroom mixture and cheese in each of the cups.  Top each cup with a chilled pastry round.
  5. Bake until pastry is golden brown and puffed, about 25 minutes.  Be sure to rotate the pan halfway through.
  6. After baking, run a small knife around the cups to loosen the tartlet.  Place a large plate over the pan and invert to release the tartlets. 
  7. Sprinkle with thyme and serve warm.

Enjoy!

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