Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rocky Road Candies

This is another one of the easiest but tastiest little treats you can make. 
Only three ingredients and about ten minutes and voila! An easy treat for you or gifts for others. 

You will need:
  • 9 ounces (1.25 cups) dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup peanuts
You can use semisweet chocolate if you prefer and you can also do chopped toasted walnuts if you prefer. If you look at your melted chocolate with the nuts and marshmallows and seem to have extra chocolate ( I did) then add in more marshmallows and/or nuts to your liking.

Directions:

1. Prepare a cookie sheet by covering it with aluminum foil or parchment.
2. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler. Stir until completely smooth.

3. Add in the nuts and marshmallows, stirring until they are completely covered with chocolate.


4. Drop by teaspoonfuls on the cookie sheet [use a small cookie scoop for best results], and chill in the refrigerator until set.


 Enjoy!

Rocky Road Candies
adapted from About.com

Prep Time: 10 minutes /Refrigerate: 20 minutes 

Total Time: 30 minutes

[I did mine outside in the cold for less than 10 minutes.]

Ingredients:

  • 9 ounces (1.25 cups) dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts

Preparation:

1. Prepare a cookie sheet by covering it with aluminum foil or parchment.
2. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler. Stir until completely smooth.
3. Add in the nuts and marshmallows, stirring until they are completely covered with chocolate.
4. Drop by teaspoonfuls on the cookie sheet, and chill in the refrigerator until set.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

Ok, get ready for a week of delicious holiday treats. This is one my mom makes and people always gobble it up. Plus how can it be bad with pumpkin, cake and butter? mmmm


 All the healthy ingredients ;)
So basically mix everything together except the nuts, cake mix and butter. It should look something like this:

 Pour batter into 9 by 13 pan. Then sprinkle with the yellow cake mix. Then sprinkle with nuts, preferably walnuts or pecans. I only had half walnuts but had tons of almonds so I did half almonds. I wouldn't necessarily recommend that since they were pretty hard, if you have to do alternate nuts make sure they are bite sized. Also, don't skip the nuts, they add a necessary texture to the pie. Pour melted butter all over the top. The recipe calls for 2 sticks but I would start with one and then add as much as desired after that. I think I was able to do it for about 1 stick 6 tablespoons (a tiny bit better). 


 Bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until its sufficiently brown and bubbly.

Then look at this golden perfection:
 Best served warm with cool whip or vanilla ice cream, or both [gasp]. 


Crustless Pumpkin Pie

  •  4 eggs
  •   1 box yellow cake nix
  •   1 can eagle brand milk
  •   1 16 oz can pumpkin
  •   2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice**
  •  1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  •  1 cup chopped nuts
  •   2 sticks melted butter (or less)


Mix eggs, milk, pumpkin, spice, salt, and sugar. Pour into 13 by 9. Sprinkle dry cake mix over mixture. Sprinkle with nuts. Drizzle butter over top. be sure to cover edges. Do not mix!! Bake at 350 for 50 minutes (it needs to look brown and bubble) up to 20 minutes more. 


**note. I did not have pumpkin pie spice so I used this substitute: 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice = 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon plus 1/4 teaspoon ginger and 1/8 teaspoon EACH nutmeg and cloves.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pecan Pie

This recipe for Pecan Pie is from my grandmother who I never even met. I have her handwritten copy and I think it makes this recipe just a little more special :)

Ingredients:
1 cup Karo corn syrup
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup (ish) pecans
vanilla
pinch of salt
unbaked pie crust



 Prepare your pie shell. If you are super classy like me, use your store bought one. Or make your own.

 Mix all ingredients except pecans together. 

Pour pie ingredients into unbaked crust.
Pour pecans on top. This is where I threw a couple of extra pecans
where there were gaps so every bite had enough pecans.

Bake 50-60 minutes based on your oven, until the center is set. Allow to cool.


Pecan Pie
 by Lucile Moore
1 cup Karo corn syrup
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup (ish) pecans
vanilla
pinch of salt
pie crust


Prepare pie shell in pan. Mix remaining ingredients ( I did about 1 teaspoon vanilla) except pecans. Put the cup of whole pecans on the top. Bake for 50-60 minutes at 350 or until center is set. Let cool completely before serving or pie will not be hardened (place in fridge if necessary).

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Roasted Tomato Soup

This recipe was one of the first recipes to inspire me to start my food blog. I had it all planned out to make especially since I wanted to use my immersion blender for the first time. Then I realized that in the fury of moving, I left my immersion blender in Utah, saying I haven't used that, I won't use that in California either. Little did I know I would be home all day with nothing to do and all I would desire in my life was an immersion blender.

Anyways, I finally had time this week to make this and I thought it was great! So fresh and you can definitely taste the roasted flavors.

 Here are your ingredients:
  • 2 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes (mix of fresh heirlooms, cherry, vine and plum tomatoes)
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 small yellow onions, sliced
  • Vine cherry tomatoes for garnish, optional
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 quart chicken stock (4 cups)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, optional
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, optional
I didn't have any fresh basil on hand and I figured we didn't need the extra calories from the heavy cream. Although I did add some sour cream at the end.

Ingredients


Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Wash, core and cut the tomatoes into halves. I looked for a youtube video on how to core a tomato. According to the internet, cut off both ends of the tomato, then stand on one end and make a circle on the inside to remove all the watery part including seeds, basically you are left with the tomato's outer layer, it kind of looks and feels like a cored bell pepper:




Spread the tomatoes, garlic cloves and onions onto a baking tray. If using vine cherry tomatoes for garnish, add them as well, leaving them whole and on the vine. Drizzle with 1/2 cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, or until caramelized.



***Warning-The caramelization of these onions & tomatoes made my kitchen and whole apartment smoke up like crazy. Proceed with caution!***
Remove roasted tomatoes, garlic and onion from the oven and transfer to a large stock pot (set aside the roasted vine tomatoes for later). Add 3/4 of the chicken stock, bay leaves, and butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid has reduced by a third.
note: I used chicken bouillon and water cause its cheaper than canned/boxed chicken stock!


Wash and dry basil leaves, if using, and add to the pot. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Return soup to low heat, add cream and adjust consistency with remaining chicken stock, if necessary. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. [I love my immersion blender! I didn't think it would make it liquidey, but it got rid of all the chunks and made it nice and smooth!]


  Garnish in bowl with 3 or 4 roasted vine cherry tomatoes and a splash of heavy cream.


Enjoy! It is perfect for a stormy cold night!

Roasted Tomato Soup  

adapted from Tyler Florence's Tyler's Ultimate

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes (mix of fresh heirlooms, cherry, vine and plum tomatoes)
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 small yellow onions, sliced
  • Vine cherry tomatoes for garnish, optional
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, optional
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, optional

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Wash, core and cut the tomatoes into halves. Spread the tomatoes, garlic cloves and onions onto a baking tray. If using vine cherry tomatoes for garnish, add them as well, leaving them whole and on the vine. Drizzle with 1/2 cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, or until caramelized. [Watch for smoking!!]
Remove roasted tomatoes, garlic and onion from the oven and transfer to a large stock pot (set aside the roasted vine tomatoes for later). Add 3/4 of the chicken stock, bay leaves, and butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid has reduced by a third.

Wash and dry basil leaves, if using, and add to the pot. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Return soup to low heat, add cream and adjust consistency with remaining chicken stock, if necessary. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish in bowl with 3 or 4 roasted vine cherry tomatoes and a splash of heavy cream.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Red Curry

This was my first curry experience on my own and it was easy!
Jason's dad, Jedd always makes us Thai curries when we come home so I decided it was time I learn for myself.

I just used the recipe on the bottle that was for Red Curry Shrimp but made it for Chicken.
Thai red curry gets its flavor from aromatic herbs such as lemongrass, galangal (Thai ginger) and fresh red chilis.

Thai Red Curry Chicken (adapted from Thai Kitchen)

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into strips or small pieces

Red Curry Paste ( I use Thai Kitchen)
14 oz can coconut milk 
Frozen peas
Broccoli
Bell Pepper
White Onion
Desired vegetables

Jasmine Rice

Directions:
Simmer the can of coconut milk with between 1/2 to 1 Tbsp. curry paste over medium heat for five minutes.[I used a smaller amount and wished I had added more for some more kick, but decide based on tolerance, you can taste this broth to see what you think]

Add 1 to 2 Tbsp. fish sauce, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 1/2 cup frozen peas or other vegetables and 1/3 cup water. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in chicken breast pieces and continue cooking 3 to 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked thoroughly.

Garnish with fresh basil and cilantro. Serve with Jasmine Rice.



Enjoy!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mini Chocolate Bundt Cakes

For Erin's bridal shower, we had a "little" theme. I recently received this awesome mini bundt cake pan for my birthday [thanks Caroline!]. [if you would like your own, its from Bed Bath & Beyond but its called a "12 Cavity Tube Pan" and you can buy your own here.]

What a beauty!

 Some ingredients
What your butter and sugar should look liked creamed. 

Your final batter should be cakelike. It might be slightly lighter or darker based on your chocolate.


 Meet my new favorite friend. Its a cupcake (or pancake or any kind of batter) pen. You spoon your batter into it and then use it to be precise, fast, and avoid dripping everywhere. It is totally worth it! It may seem unnecessary until you use it and are able to get all your batter into a 24 cupcake pen in 60 seconds. I got mine at TJMaxx for 5.99 but you can buy it at Williams Sonoma here for 9.99.



Look at those little perfectly baked goodies!

These were a hit! I didn't even have one left!

Chocolate Mini Bundt Cakes
(adapted from Dorie Greenspan's "Baking From My Home to Yours")
(makes 6 small bundt cakes or 12 mini bundt cakes)


Cake:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 ounces (1 stick/8 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened at room temp
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk
7 ounces milk chocolate, melted and cooled


Glaze:
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tsp light corn syrup
butter

To make the cake:
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 6-mold mini bundt pan [the bigger kind] or the mini kind like mine which make 12.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add egg and beat for 1 minute more, then beat in the vanilla.

On low speed, add half the flour mixture and mix only until it is incorporated. Add in the milk and mix until just blended. Then add the remaining flour mixture and mix only until it is incorporated. Blend in the melted chocolate. {for both melted chocolates I recommend a double boiler on the stove, I had one too many incidents with burned chocolate in the microwave and became a bit frustrated!}

Divide batter evenly among the 6 molds. Bake at 350F until cake tester comes out clean, about 20-22 minutes.

Cool for 5-10 minutes in pan. Then remove the mini bundt cakes from pan and cool to room temperature before glazing.

To make glaze:
Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water or in the microwave on low. Whisk in corn syrup.If too thick, add butter until thinner consistency so you can drizzle with a fork. Spread glaze or drizzle over cakes. Allow glaze to set at room temperature, about 15 minutes.

Note: You can skip the chocolate glaze and just dust the mini bundts with powdered sugar.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Caramel Apples

For Halloween I made (and ate) caramel apples for the first time! Not only were they delish but they were super easy and fun!

You will need:

 Some beautiful Granny Smith apples
 The easy caramels for melting (look for the sticks in the bin where you found these)

Your favorite candies or toppings

To begin, wash and dry your apples. Then chop up your topping into small pieces so they will stick easily when you roll the caramel apple in them.


 Then have your strong husband stick the wooden sticks into the apples for you.
 Place your bits into a pan with 2 TBS water. Do not eat any cause they are cute and tasty. 
Heat over medium low heating, stirring constantly and watch as they start gradually melting.

 It should get a little clumpier.

Then smooth and pretty. 

Make sure you have your topping all ready and a cookie sheet with greased (well!) waxed paper. 
Have your toppings in a row so you can roll your apple directly across the toppings. 

Tilt your pan so you can get the most caramel to dip your apples in. Don't be afraid to go pretty deep in the apple. Then twirl it so it gets all around the apple. Then shake the excess off before rolling in your toppings of choice and placing on the cookie sheet. 





 Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or until hardened! You can drizzle with chocolate if desired ( I so desired but did not exert such effort and truth be told we didn't need any extra calories!)
 Cut up your apples to share & try all your toppings! Enjoy &
Happy Fall!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Decorating Tips & Tricks II

As promised, I will share some more tips!

Bedroom
  • These little knobs make a world of difference on our black dresser. We found a box of 6 for $12.99 at TJMaxx. Anthropologie of course has super cute ones too, but will run you at least $6.00 a piece. Look at TJMaxx and Target has cute knobs too. You can put these anywhere and they really add such nice style with just a little touch!

  • This used to be in our kitchen holding cookbooks but we didn't really have a spot for it. It looks nice in our bedroom and adds some extra storage.I am not using this to say buy one of these for your kitchen and then put it in your bedroom but rather, always look for new uses for pieces you already have-it is the cheapest way to redecorate!

  • If I have learned nothing else from watching Clean House on the Style Network it is that a bedroom should be a sanctuary. It should be a place for you or you and your spouse to relax and find solace. This means keeping it clean and clutter free. I often see friends or myself putting all the extra junk in the house in the bedroom. Although this may seem practical because guests rarely enter the bedroom, it doesn't keep the one place for you clean and special! I have grown to really appreciate going to bed and waking up in the morning to a beautiful bedroom, don't undervalue it! 




  • Again, look for creative and beatiful things to store things. Jason got this for me from TJMaxx for $10.00 but it helps keep our dresser clean and I love the colors and beading!



  • This hamper is practically art, I love it! Try to have all things with a function also aesthetically pleasing. If your hamper isn't pretty, put it in the closet so it doesn't take away from the rest of your decor! 
Jewelry
If you have a lot like me, these ideas are for you!


  • The first is a jewelry tree (12 but was exactly what I was looking for!) that I found at TJMaxx, it helps keep my shorter necklaces untangled and from discoloration from touching. It also looks nice on the dresser!
  • The second is a coat rack from Ross (5.99) that I use for my longer necklaces. It is the best thing I have found so far, although still not the best. Perhaps its a sign that I have too much jewelry. 
  • The third is where I keep my earrings. I have three of these containers. You can find them in the craft section or I think mine are from the tackle box section at Walmart or at Cabelas/Bass Pro Shops. They are plastic and have moveable dividers and run you about 4.99 to 5.99 worth every penny!
Bathroom

  • Our bathroom counter needed a little something but I knew Jason wouldn't want any clutter. I thought of this serving dish I had in the kitchen and brought it to the bathroom. Again, function and style. Again, different use for something I already had. It looks clean and keeps things handy that I use!
  • I used this cute hanger for my robe. That way its there when I need it and my robe adds color to the bathroom. 
  • This is the other side of the bathroom counter. I mixed different heights with different colors with different textures. 2 practical and 1 decorative makes the corner just right!
Storage

  • We have a nice big storage room but since its filled with junk (the one room that is allowed to be!) I don't like seeing it. So I bought a 3 dollar tension curtain rod from Walmart and one drape from TJMaxx for $10. voila! Instant hiding of clutter! 

That's it for now!

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