Thursday, May 29, 2008

New Spin on an Old Favorite

One of my favorite cookies to make is a raspberry tea cookie. I have tried to vary them before. I have substituted raspberry preserves for blueberry, strawberry, and blackberry. Raspberry has by far remained my favorite. After those trials I did not learn my lesson. I decided one more try with a new twist for this cookie. I have had a jar of guava jam in my cabinet for a while. I decided that it has been neglected long enough, I don't have a toaster, what can I do with it? Guava and cheese cookies! I made them in honor of the Cuban guava and cheese pastry. The one problem: pastry is lighter. The dense cookie along with the guava and cheese was not my favorite.

Despite this not working out as well as I had hoped, I still highly recommend the original recipe for black raspberry tea cookies.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Vegetarian Stuffed Mushrooms

During the week I like to try to cook with what I have in my fridge and cupboards. I usually have a decent amount of stuff to choose from, and love to try to make a dish out of what I think sounds good. I am usually making it for just myself, so if it doesn't turn out so well no one knows. My most recent attempt was stuffed mushrooms. I saw these ingredients in my kitchen; portobello mushrooms, jar of roasted red peppers, fresh spinach, zucchini, and cream cheese. I mixed those ingredients (either the amount that I had left or what looked like a good amount) with some bread crumbs and seasonings and baked them. Results: good, but not great... possibly too much cream cheese!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Everything is better on a stick!

My mom had given me the idea of making antipasto on a stick for my next party. I always love the idea of turning regular food into finger food! I probably had too much fun making these... the entire time I was making them I could not stop thinking of the conversation from "There's Something About Mary" when they talk about how there should be more meat on sticks. I laughed to myself a little too much about it.
These were probably one of the easiest appetizers I have made in quite some time. Another good part about them is you can use very good ingredients or cheap ingredients depending on what you need them for.

Ingredients for Skewers:
Grape Tomatoes
Roasted Red Peppers
Green Olives
Black Olives
Mozzarella Cheese

Cut the pepperoni, salami, and mozzarella (if needed) into chunks. Add one of each item onto a bamboo skewer, add extra if there is room left over. Arrange on a tray and drizzle with dressing.


1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

I would recommend making this a little bit ahead of time so the vinaigrette has time to soak into the antipasto.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Coconut Not-So-High Hats

I could not be more excited about Martha Stewart's cupcake week! I am eager to try all of the recipes she has listed! I started out with the High Hats. After reading a few reviews, I decided to change the topping a little. Then while making it I decided to change it a little more and make it coconut flavored. I LOVE coconut and chocolate together!
The results were great! I did not pile the meringue as high as suggested and I am glad I didn't. I think the height I left mine at was the perfect amount of cake and topping.
One of the most difficult parts was the dipping process. I had quite a few "hats" fall off into the chocolate. Doing it very very quickly seemed to help with most, there were a few that had no hope!
I will definitely be making these again and again, they instantly became one of my favorites!


3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in center. Prepare the batter: Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl, and set it over a medium saucepan of barely simmering water; stir chocolate until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from heat, and set aside to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed, scraping sides of bowl as needed, until light and fluffy. On low speed, mix in melted chocolate. Increase speed to medium, and add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla, and beat until mixture is creamy and color has lightened slightly, about 1 minute. Mix in sour cream. On low speed, add half of reserved flour mixture, beating until just incorporated. Mix in 1/2 cup water. Add remaining flour mixture, and mix until just incorporated.
Line a cupcake pan with paper liners. Fill each liner with enough batter to come 1/8 inch from top, about 1/3 cup. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until tops are firm and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool in pan for 10 minutes.
Use a small knife to loosen any tops stuck to the pan. Carefully invert cupcakes onto the wire rack. Turn cupcakes right side up, and let cool completely.


1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
3 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon coconut extract

Put the sugar, water, egg whites, and cream of tartar in a heatproof container or the top of a double boiler (make sure there is room for the mixture to expand) and beat with a handheld electric mixer on high speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Put the bowl over, but not touching, a saucepan of barely simmering water (or the bottom of the double boiler).

The top container should sit firmly over the pan of hot water. Beat on high speed until the frosting forms a stiff peak, about 12 mintues. The frosting should register 160 degrees Fahrenheit on a thermometer. Remove the container from the water, add the coconut extract, and continue beating for 2 minutes. The filling will become firmer as it cools on the finished cupcakes.

Spoon the filling into a large pastry bag fitted with a large star tip . Leaving an edge on each cupcake, pipe the filling into mound on top of each one. Place the filled cupcakes on a platter and refrigerate, uncovered, while you prepare the coating.


2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

Put both ingredients into a microwave safe bowl and heat for about one minute, or until melted. Stir the mixture to make sure its smooth and thoroughly combined. After, dip the tops of each cupcake into the hot chocolate. Make sure to do this quickly, if not the "hats" will fall off. If you want to coat the tops completely you can always touch up with a spoon full of melted chocolate.

Place the cupcakes back onto the tray and refriderate until chocolate has cooled completely. These cupcakes should be served cold.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Finally, an excuse to make the Orange Jello Shots!

I was very excited to try the Orange Jello Shots that I posted about a few weeks ago. They were a huge hit! I used rum instead of vodka. Also, the picture from Food Network shows them sliced in long wedges. I tried this and could tell that they would not come out very well, so I opted to cut them into triangular pieces. These will definitely be something I will make again and again.

Captain and Lemonade

Captain Morgan Lemonade is one of my favorite cocktails to make for a party for two reasons: (1) Most people have never heard of such a thing (2) Even guys like it.

I tried to change the recipe up a little this time. Normally I mix Captain Morgan, lemonade and grenadine. This time I decided to try substituting the grenadine with raspberry liquer. It worked out very very well! The grenadine gives it a pretty pink color, but the raspberry liquer is not as sweet.

I don't have a set recipe for it. The amounts vary depending on who I am making it for. Generally it stays around this:


Fill a pitcher 1/3 up with Captain Morgan, add a splash of raspberry liquer, then fill the rest with lemonade.

Party Time!

I threw a party on Saturday for my football team. We celebrated finishing our season undefeated!
This was the first party I have thrown in a few years, so I was very very nervous, but it turned out to be a success! I spent the entire day Saturday cooking and baking. I was very nervouse because I chose to make a lot of things I have never made before. I ususally try not to do that, because my success rate is not always the highest, but I got lucky this time!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thank you Brittany!

For Christmas, my little sister gave me a painting she made just for me! I finally had time to hang it. I love it!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Where have I been???

I have been out of town for a week working at a golf tournament... I made that scoreboard!
This weekend I am planning a girls night out that starts at my house with cocktails and apetizers. I cannot wait to post what I made! I have missed my kitchen!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Bread Baking and Beyond!

After my bagel making fiasco, I am dying to take another stab at some sort of bread making. After a little searching, I found a great site to help me along this time... The Fresh Loaf. It includes recipes, tips, links, and the yummiest pictures ever! There is a tutorial for getting started that I plan to try and hopefully master!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I couldn't agree more!

I am a big fan of cooking this way: If its healthy, keep it that way. If its not, don't try to change it. I hate when people look at one of my MINI cupcakes and talk about it ruining their diet. No one could have said all of this better than Bronwen Weber:

Recently someone asked us to create a low cal/low fat cupcake. I had to draw the line...... Here is my response.

My cupcakes are healthy. (I can justify anything, just wait) A cupcake (as delectable as our chocolate caramel cashew variety) is healthy….on occasion…on special occasion. I am in the business of special occasions, or rather, making occasions special: so to make a cupcake that is low fat (read yucky) would hurt our business. It would only bring attention to the fat content of real cupcakes. Cupcakes are not breakfast food, nor should they come out for a dinner plate, but they do have their place in our lives. We live for celebrations. We count down the moments to our next one. This is where cupcakes belong. Do not blame the cupcake for being delicious- blame the consumer for being too eager to add the cupcake to our daily menu and remove the celebration and luxuriousness from our frosted little friend.

Perhaps it is an unnecessary rant. But....I sure did feel better afterwards. I almost felt good enough to celebrate....with a delicious cupcake.

Reason #975398437 why she is awesome!

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Bagels Are Bad!

I decided to try making bagels. I never have before, and thought it would be fun to try... Fun? Yes. But they came out awful! After retracing my steps and trying to determine where I went wrong, I realized I think the water that was mixed with the yeast was probably too hot. They looked cute, and were fun to make, but it ends there.
I would say that my favorite part of this was trying to think up new bagel flavors. For about two weeks prior to making them I asked people "If you were to make up a new bagel flavor, what would it be?" I got some very interesting replies.In the end I decided to create bagels with a hint of citrus. The flavors were : Lemon Pepper, Lime and Chili, and Orange Curry. I only tried them out on one bagel each, and topped the rest of the bagels with sea salt and coarsely ground pepper.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Awesomely Orange!

I just stumbled upon How About Orange's blog and LOVE it! I have definitely found some fun ideas to try. My favorite by far it the Jello filled orange wedges. I always want to make jello shots to bring to a party, but have a hard time finding good containers to put them in. This idea is much cuter anyways!
The recipe and instructions are on Food Network.

Trixie Delicious

I have loved Trixie Delicious' "Vandalized Vintage" plates ever since I saw them on Oh Joy about a year ago. When we decided to decorate a wall in our dining room with vintage (and vintage inspired) plates, I knew we had to add one of hers to our collection. It adds humor and you can see who is really paying attention to the decor!
Although, it will definitely have to be taken down when Grandma comes to visit!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Room Inspiration!

Lately, my roommate and I have been working hard to make our apartment more homey and personal. This weekend we decided to decorate our dining room. We chose to paint it bright pink! I was very nervous about painting a small room a bold color, but we both love it! I used this picture as inspiration and insurance that a bright pink room can be a very cool idea!