Sunday, January 31, 2010

Valentines Dessert Week-Strawberry Ice Cream Profiteroles

So earlier in the week I promised a Part II to my "Dreaming of Ice Cream" post and here it is...
So be amazed peeps...

Valentines is definitely drawing near and if your like me, I'm not feeling the whole "go out to a fancy restaurant" thing is appropriate in this economy. So I've been gathering ideas...

In the past, I've created some great Valentine's Dinners - and this year (thanks to the Nesting Project) you'll be able to see them. So in preparation, I've dubbed this week - "Valentine's Dessert Week" and I'll going to be posting some ideas for Valentines in preparation...

First up? Strawberry Ice Cream Profiteroles...Its kind of a new take on the whole chocolate dipped strawberry tradition we see a lot of this time of year.

The actual profiteroles are from Barefoot Contessa's recipe:
1 cup milk
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
Pinch of kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons prepared coffee

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Heat the milk, butter, and salt over medium heat until scalded. When the butter is melted, add the flour all at once and beat it with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together and forms a dough. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat for 2 minutes. The flour will begin to coat the bottom of the pan. Dump the hot mixture into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the eggs and pulse until the eggs are incorporated into the dough and the mixture is thick.

Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip. Pipe in mounds 11/2 inches wide and 1 inch high onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You should have about 18 puffs. With a wet finger, lightly press down the swirl at the top of each puff. (You can also use two spoons to scoop out the mixture and shape the puffs with damp fingers.) Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned, then turn off the oven and allow them to sit for another 10 minutes, until they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Make a small slit in the side of each puff to allow the steam to escape. Set aside to cool.

For the chocolate sauce, place the cream and chocolate chips in a bowl set over simmering water and stir just until the chocolate melts. Add the honey and coffee and stir until smooth. Set aside.

For serving, cut each profiterole in half crosswise, fill with a small scoop of ice cream, replace the top, and drizzle with slightly warm chocolate sauce.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snow Day Surprise - French Toast with a twist

Yesterday in the snow was so much fun!

So this morning I used some of the groceries we hauled up our hill yesterday and decided to do something a little different for breakfast.

One of the great things about French Toast is you can change it depending on the bread you use. And as I perused the grocery yesterday I came across a Cranberry Nut Levitan loaf that I thought would be perfect for French Toast.

But I didn't stop there. My husband is a big fan of breakfast sandwiches. And even if I make eggs, bacon and toast/biscuits/etc. separately I always find he puts them together as a sandwich.

So I decided this would also make a great sandwich and cut to the chase.

French Toast with a Twist
3 eggs (1 for inside the sandwich)
1tsp vanilla
2 tbsp heavy cream
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Take 2 eggs heavy cream and vanilla and combine in a bowl.  Dredge the sliced bread through the mixture on both sides and fry until golden brown on each side

Fry an egg (over easy). Add fried bacon and shredded cheese on top.

Enjoy the Snow!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Snow Day!

At least this time we only needed to drive 7 minutes home and not 8 hours to my parents house.

But that 7 minute drive took us 2 hours...

And when we got to the beginning of our street we couldn't get up it so we parked at the Taco Bell at the corner...

And walked up the a snowstorm....with groceries and our briefcases...

Halfway up we started to laugh hysterically at the irony of our lives...

Here is a photo montage of my husbands take on the snow:

Have fun in the snow everyone!!!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Knitting Circle Continues!

Its been a tough week kiddies and boy, did I ever need knitting circle this week....Unfortunately knitting never happened but we all had a fabulous time....

This weeks knitting soiree was hosted by fellow knitter, Alex Sedlander (a.k.a. Lil Sed)

If you will - allow me to do a little photo montage of the evening...

She hosted us from her chic little downtown Chattanooga Apartment....

Our lovely host made this beautiful free form tart for dinner...

Yes it was THAT good....

Guess how many of these were left by the end of the night???
(If your answer was zero you are correct)

So here's hoping we'll have some knitting to show for the next circle meet-up. Maybe a few less bottles and a few more carbs might get us there next time....
Just sayin.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Photos Accepted and Celebratory Ribs...

So I've had a couple of days to think about it and I'm finally ready to rejoice...

Ever since I've gotten my new Canon Eos XSI, I've worked hard to learn it, master the right lighting and learn how to edit my photos, in order to....Get one of my photos on Tastespotting, FoodGawker, Refrigerator Soup....You get the idea...

It was after the 4th or 5th rejection that I waged war....I was going to create a photo that was good enough...

I had almost given up until Sunday. I had submitted a photo of my Banana Pancakes with Banana Caramel Syrup....Then I was worried it wasn't sharp enough and I redited it. Then I cropped it a different way and sent in another submission....

I think they just posted it because they were sick of looking of 5 submissions of the same pancakes. I know I was pretty sick of those pancakes as well...

On Sunday morning I awoke to seeing them on Tastespotting. There was rejoicing in the heavens (well more like barking on the couch)  My father-in law even made his special barbecued ribs. And though I've not been cleared to share this recipe
I thought I would show you how delicious and satisfying they were...

Yeah, this is what success feels like...

 After I had the time to let it sink in a little and enjoy my success, I had the following thought:

What if it was a fluke?
What if they just took pity on me and were sick of all my photos? What if I just browbeat them into submission???????
So I had to try to do it again....They rejected my corn muffins (boo) and even rejected one version of my strawberry ice cream, which I proceeded to spend two hours trying to fix....

And then....

Today my Strawberry Ice Cream Photo
Was posted early this morning on Tastespotting AND FoodGawker!!!

Sigh...Now its time to eat that Strawberry Ice Cream....

Monday, January 25, 2010

Dreaming of Ice Cream

A potential hazard of my Nesting Project blog is that sometimes I carry things over from the weekend to the weekdays. Today I couldn't stop thinking of the Strawberry Ice Cream I made last night. It was great. In fact I'm not sure why the recipe didn't call it Gelato...

It was that good...

Anyways the funny thing is that this ice cream is for a post on Valentine's dessert ideas for later in the week...
But all I could think about today is this ice cream. So I felt that it needed a little feature of its own.

I don't care if its winter or its cold....And neither will you when you taste it...

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream (from my Epicurious Iphone App)
Yield: Makes about 5 cups

Active time: 40 min Start to finish: 4 hr

1 3/4 cups heavy cream
3 (3- by 1-inch) strips fresh lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 lb strawberries (3 cups), trimmed and quartered
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Special equipment: an ice-cream maker and an instant-read thermometer

Cooks' notes: To cool custard quickly after straining, set bowl in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and stir until chilled. Ice cream keeps 1 week.

Combine cream, zest, and salt in a heavy saucepan and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat and discard zest.

Whisk eggs with 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl, then add hot cream in a slow stream, whisking. Pour back into saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened and an instant-read thermometer registers 170°F (do not let boil).

Immediately pour custard through a fine sieve into a metal bowl, then cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Chill, overed, at least until cold, about 2 hours, and up to 1 day.

While custard is chilling, purée strawberries with remaining 1/4 cup sugar and lemon juice in a blender until smooth, then force through fine sieve (to remove seeds) into chilled custard. Stir purée into custard.

Freeze in ice-cream maker, then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Weekend With The Family

Its unusual lately, but this weekend was relaxing and free from stress. Coupled with a very rainy weekend and the NFL Champsionships and that makes for some prime couch time.

One of my specialties is my popcorn. I learned how to make it from Michael Chiarello... You basically use regular popcorn kernels, some olive oil and whatever toppings your like.

It takes the same time that it would to pop it from the bag and it tastes exponentially better...

First you pour olive oil to cover the bottom of a dutch oven or heavy bottomed sauce pan.
Pour kernels in a single layer to cover the bottom.
Heat up the oil & kernels (with top on) until you start to hear mass popping.
Now here is the kicker: At first you will hear alot of popping but eventually it will start to slow down. Lower the heat and shake the pot (with top on) a  little and gradually lower the temperature until most of your kernels are popped. (it may take a few times to get this down)

In the meantime melt some butter. Once you empty your newly popped popcorn into a bowl drizzle the butter over the top then sprinkle salt.
I also sprinkle Italian Seasoning over the popcorn as well and.....
Grated Aged Gouda...

And this kind of Cheesy Popcorn won't turn your fingers orange..
Go figure.

Once you have your popcorn proceed to enjoy your family and relax....

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Another Saturday Morning Breakfast

One of my plans this year is to not let things go bad. If I buy it, I use it....I want to be able to look in the pantry and come up with meals, even if they weren't originally planned. These bananas were meant to be smoothies for breakfast this week.

And that didn't happen...

So when I was planning on our ritual Saturday morning breakfast I searched my Epicurious Iphone App and found this recipe. I'm pretty sure that from now on I will always use buttermilk in pancakes...So fluffy and light. Something that whole milk just can't replicate. You can also use this recipe and use the batter for waffles. Which unfortunately we will be doing tomorrow because we have a lot of batter leftover.

So next on the list? Trying to follow through on the plans I make.
Smoothies here I come...

Banana Pancakes with Caramel-Banana Syrup
3 large bananas, peeled, divided
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted, divided
3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar, divided
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups self-rising flour
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
Additional melted butter

Cut 2 bananas into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Combine 1/4 cup melted butter, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup water in heavy large skillet. Boil over medium-high heat until mixture thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla extract and sliced bananas. Remove syrup from heat.

Whisk flour and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in large bowl. Mash remaining banana in medium bowl, then whisk in buttermilk and eggs. Stir banana mixture into dry ingredients (some lumps will remain). Mix in remaining 1/4 cup melted butter.

Preheat oven to 200°F. Heat griddle over medium heat; brush with additional melted butter. Working in batches, pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto griddle. Cook pancakes until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer pancakes to baking sheet; place in oven to keep warm.

Serve pancakes with caramel-banana syrup.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Chinese Food at Home

Its Thursday night and you come home from the gym sore b/c your instructor feels fat and wants to take it out on you...Your tired and hubby wants something to eat.

And you want Chinese food...

 Sometimes Chinese food is the best when you don't have to go out and get it.

The best part about this dish is that you can make it by throwing a few things together. I've used an extra chicken breast, extra skirt steak - you name it.  I always keep some sesame oil in my cupboard and fry up the chicken, broccoli and diced onion. Add some teriyaki sauce and simmer. Toward the end of the sauce is still a little watery you can use a little cornstarch mixed with a little water and add to the mixture.

While you are doing this you should be boiling your noodles (if you like lo mein) or steaming your rice. I'm in love with brown rice but it takes forever to cook (50 minutes on the stove)  But I found recently there is a short-cut in the microwave. For about 25 minutes in a microwave safe bowl.

You know what else is wonderful? Organic spicy chicken dumplings...Just steam and top with Teriyaki sauce... (Can you tell I love Teriyaki sauce???)

Sometimes after the hardest workout you just want junk food. And its better when you can make it from home.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Final Knitting Class

Last night was our final knitting class....

And while we have all learned a ton about knitting and in some cases have let knitting even come in the way of important things (Alex you really need to plan your wedding), all good things must come to a close...

Our instructor Flo brought some knitting machines (in a festive Barbie Model) to show us another way to make skinny scarves and even hats...

She also showed us how to use the dreaded double pointed knitting needles for hats...

I've learned so much and cannot believe I have another skill in my crafting toolbox... I will always be so glad I took this class and will fondly remember this time. We will knit on!

Here are some previous pictures from our class

(cue the Boys to Men music, Sam)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sometimes You Have To Break A lot of Eggs to Make a Good Omelet

The whole idea of creating an Omelet that resembles a crepe and has a wonderful cheese filling has always scared the heck out of me...

It wasn't until my time working at a Bed and Breakfast that the Chef, worked with me over and over again until I got it. And let me tell you we did break a lot of eggs in the pursuit of the perfect omelet.

The key learnings were:
1. Make sure your pan (6" usually but I didn't use that for the omelet above) was seasoned well (i.e. make sure you have the proper amount of olive oil/butter - about 1-2 tbsp)

2. Make sure its heated at the correct temp (med-high) before you add the egg

3. Swirl the egg around to make sure its properly distributed around the pan and have a spatula on hand and scrape around the edges

4. Be fearless and deliberate when flipping the omelet. (the more you hesitate in my experience the more you will rip that sucker and have to start again.)

I took great pains to creating this dish this weekend and there was no good natural light (since it rained all weekend) So here is another photo that will not be submitted to or if submitted would be declined. ARGHHHH!

Now its personal Tastespotting....

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Weekly Cup of Rant - Super Organized Women

So today I got this email from Real Simple about really organized women and tips you can learn to organize your house....Its January and I'm down with a few pointers. I think everyone is looking to consolidate and organize in the New year, right?

Then I open up this email and read the stories of the OCD Super Organized women....

Woman #1:  Lables, Alphabetizes and Categorizes over 30 spices in her pantry. And coordinates the spices & grains in her cabinet. Really???? Seriously? Here is a tip. Spices lose their punch REAL fast.... I'm thinking she is not using more then 10 of those spices in a week. Give me a break....Bonus Round: “I was labeling things with my computer long before I had a label maker. Even my label maker has a label on it that says ROBIN.” 

Woman #2:  "A photo filing system that holds a decade’s worth of family shots, beautifully organized on colorful CDs." Ummm I'm pretty sure you can keep the photos digitally archived on a removable hard drive or FLICKR that would take up less space then a whole cabinet of CD's??? What are you, Blockbuster?

Woman #3: "Inside Margot’s impeccable closet are two drawers set up to house 15 pairs of shoes each. Wedge-shaped wood inserts run the length of the drawers to keep everything in place. Short boots sit just above; tall boots live in the back. Margot’s toddler daughter enjoys a similarly soothing shoe-scape."  Seriously? Not as crazy as the first two but when you start making your toddler have the same set-up as you do for your Jimmy Choos, you've clearly gone overboardBonus Round: "As a kid, I would organize my sister’s soap collection when she wasn’t looking".....This is really sad....

Woman #4 "One wall of Janet’s spare room is outfitted with drawers that house 30 rolls of paper and 100 spools of ribbon. There’s a closet with hold-for-later presents and a glass-topped counter for wrapping." Who are you Santa Claus??????

Nesting Project Advice
Since my blog caters to those of us who are really time deficient here are a couple of my suggestions for organizing your house:

1. Identify areas that are always cluttered and try to find storage containers or a new system that will help organize it for you. Write a list of storage containers needed down and slip this list into your purse for when you are shopping and happen by the storage aisle.

2. If your shoes are on the floor and and always cluttered buy some shoe storage boxes (plastic or cardboard) Take a picture of the shoes and put it on the outside of the box (plastic ones are see thru so this step isn't needed)

3. Re-organize at least one closet a weekend - Keep doing this even if it doesn't look cluttered. Make the rounds. You can always do better and see knew ways of doing things. Especially when its not a disaster)

4. Bring your work efficiency home. Buy a small filing system for your bills, warranties, receipts, etc. As soon as the mail comes in stand by the filing system, open the mail discard what you don't need and file everything away. OR do online bill pay and go paperless...Its huge at eliminating clutter.

5. Reevaluate your organization every three months...There isn't an end to this. Its a fluid system that will change with your family. Don't get discouraged - take baby-steps and you'll be fine...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rainy Day Chocolate Chip Cookies

This weekend was a relaxing weekend.

Do you detect a note of surprise? Its there.

Since the holidays we've had a number of interesting incidents to keep us on our toes which hopefully ended with our new washing machine being delivered last weekend and our dog Hero going to the vet.

So this weekend I haven't felt like I was going crazy. In fact since the frantic clean fest that went on before knitting meet-up the house is in great shape. Of course this has always been a ploy I do to myself to get myself in gear. Invite people over and you force yourself to get the house together. It also forced me to put all the holiday decorations away and reorganize....

So this weekend we watched the football playoffs, knitted, we even went to the bookstore and Target just for gee whiz....

I even made Chocolate Chip Cookies and this time only for my hubby. Since the previous two weeks we've donated all baked goods to his co-workers....

I have found out one thing when making Chocolate Chip Cookies. Most all recipes are good if you make the cookies from scratch. I cannot stress this enough. No amount of mixes and store bought purchased dough are good enough to compare. Not even Barefoot Contessa's mixes (sorry Ina). My best friend who has recently taken up baking since the arrival of her Kitchen Aid Mixer this Christmas, also commented on this.

"There is no comparison between making them yourself and the dough you buy at the store!"

If you want really good cookies you have to use your own two hands. Plus you need to use good ingredients: Chocolate Chips (I use Giradelli but Hershey is just as good) and real butter and eggs.

Besides this epiphany....I have come to realize that baking these cookies were a really bad idea...I'm pretty sure I ate my weight in cookie dough and still have a crap load of cookies that we will probably have for two weeks...Sigh.

Maybe its not so bad pawning cookies off on unsuspecting copywritiers.

One man's uneeded calories are another man's fuel...

P.S....Thoughts on my blog header????

Friday, January 15, 2010

Hubby's Bad Day Chicken Parmigiana

Before I begin this post I would like to dedicate it to Jared Barnes who helped my hubby decide on what he wanted for dinner to make up for his bad day...

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming....

I have always been a fiercely loyal person. In fact that was one of the first things my ex-boyfriend told my husband when we were dating....

That is why I hate it when my husband has a bad day. Because everytime someone kicks the person you love you want to go beat em down...Italian Style..

So yesterday was not of the positive variety for hubby...and I decided to make him a great meal to soothe his nerves. Chicken Parmigiana is one of those meals that is easy to make but also easy to be a "special meal" And for this recipe I had some smoked mozzarella that was the PERFECT touch and balanced the sauce perfectly. I highly recommend using it.

The key is having the tomato sauce already ready (because you are making it ahead of time right???  right????)

You know what else helped? My knitting....For some reason that soothes his nerves...And mine coincidently...


Chicken Parmigiana Recipe

2 Chicken Breasts
2 eggs beaten
1 cup Italian Style breadcrumbs
Box of Penne Pasta
Smoked Mozzarella

Coat a frying pan with olive oil and put on medium heat.  Take Chicken Breasts and dredge through the breadcrumbs, dredge through beaten eggs and then dredge through the breadcrumbs again. This provides a thick crispy crust....  Put in frying pan and fry until crispy and breast is completely done inside.

Meanwhile cook Penne to directions on the box. Add tomato sauce and serve on the side

Pat any excess oil with paper towels. Get a baking sheet and put both breasts on it. Spoon tomato sauce and sliced smoked mozzarella on top. Put it under the broiler on high until the mozzarella is melted and slightly browned.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Knitting Circle Meet-Up

Yesterday I had some much needed knitting time with my knitting class classmates. Our class is officially over (even though we do have a make-up class this coming Wednesday) but we had all decided that we would periodically meet up and have a knitting circle.

Last night was our first one and we started it with a bang. I deemed it Margarita night and made some

Queso Fundido

My best friend made her wonderful Guacamole

And Lauren and Alex our partners in crime brought a Taco Ring and Salsa!
No pictures though. The Margaritas had kicked in by then. I kid....I kid...(not really)

The Knitting Circle was a huge success. Margaritas were had by all (with a little wine and beer thrown in for good measure) and lots of laughing and knitting ensued...I'm pretty sure it was a hit...

Score one for the nester...

And and guess who is knitting a new cowl????

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

When It Comes To Breakfast - I Used To Be A Professional

Over 6 years ago I became a working member of the Hospitality industry. I had recently moved to Chattanooga to be with hubby and wasn't expecting a quick turn around on the job front.

Until I found an interesting job opening at a Bed and Breakfast. Its one of those types of jobs that you say "Oh wow wouldn't that be SO NEAT!"

And so I went in a different career path - away from Corporate America. I was an Assistant Innkeeper  which holds a lot of different responsibilities, one of which is cooking breakfast sometimes while checking people out, taking reservations and standing on your head...

Seriously...This was not an easy job.

So when you work at a Bed and Breakfast - you cook breakfast a lot!

Funny how that works...

And after a while it gets extremely difficult coming up with new ways to make the same thing.... But I have to say that after doing it for 3 years I still have a knack for throwing eggs and some stuff together to make something different.

Sometimes you just have to dress it up in a different outfit.

Enter in my Andouille sausage, eggs with mozzarella in a spinach tortilla. Because if I made eggs with sausage one more time I think my husband would buy me another cookbook.

And that's really not a good thing. I might get nominated to be on "Hoarders"

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How A Good Pot Of Chili Can Really Ruin Your Life

Aww cute right???

No you are dead wrong. This dog is a representation of how I like to self inflict pain on myself.

This dog likes to think of the worst possible ways she can give me the middle paw... literally.

Most recently was last night when she snuck upstairs to throw up on my freshly laundered (with new washing machine) duvet and sheets...Suck...

She once destroyed the entire back of an expensive wing chair for fun. Another time she decided to take a dump on a brand new Anthropolgie dress just for kicks (right after she got in trouble)

But the worst... For me... was instigated by my husband... Who decided it was a good idea to feed her some leftover chili meat.

Really Toby??? Really??? Why don't you just set a bomb off in her intestines!!!!

Needless to say she got into my lap and stupid me thought she was being affectionate...


She laid a monster sized one on if to say screw you which my husband said "oh no I hope I didn't hurt her too bad"


Regardless... Enjoy this Chili recipe and feel free to share without any furry companions.

Just sayin...

Recipe (adapted from Michael Chiarello's Chili Recipe)

11/2 pounds stew beef
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1 med chopped onion
3 cloves garlic
2 beers ( I used Full Moon)
12 ounces chicken stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 tablespoons Chili powder
4 tbsp Cumin
1 oz Chocolate
1 tbsp Cinnamon
3 cans Black Beans
1 cup Dry Polenta (not instant)

Combine Stew meat, 1/2 cup polenta, 4 tablespoons chili powder, 2 tablespoons and pinch of salt in a bowl. In Dutch oven or pot fry up meat in 2 to 3 batches. Remove meat and add chopped onion and garlic. Sweat until translucent and add beer, stock and crushed tomato. Stir and add remaining spices and polenta and beef. Bring to a boil and then drop to a simmer for 2 hours.

After 2 hours add beans and chocolate. Heat beans through and enjoy!

Get Crazy and add some corn muffins to the mix!

Do not give to bowser no matter how sad their eyes look.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies Can Get You Into Real Trouble

When one of your friends (and hubby's coworker) emails you she heard the following: "What is wrong with Tiffany? I mean, these are amazing, but why does she do this to me?” 

Then you've probably baked too many cookies....

Is it my fault? Heck no....As much as I love baking and not having to eat the calories I was following hubby's lead and therein lies the problem...

The problem???? Men have no conception of when too many cookies presents a problem. Let's say like in JANUARY when people are trying to be good after the holidays?

So yet again....I am the fall guy... But I digress...

Anyways I made these Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies by adapting Barefoot Contessa's White Chocolate Chunk Cookies and substituting the White Chocolate (I notoriously hate white chocolate. It tastes like I expect candle wax to taste if it was sweet and edible)

Here you go:

1/2 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 extra large eggs
2/3 cup unsweeted cocoa powder
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
24 ounces (2 bags) of Reeses Peanut Butter Chips

Warm oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and then the cocoa powder. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together and add to the mixture. Finish with Peanut Butter Chips. Use a 1 1/2 inch cookie scoop. Bake for 15 minutes and cool....

 Enjoy with or without co-workers

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Why a Washing Machine and a Clean Basement Are Better Than A Room Filled With Roses

I used to be cool. Have high expectations. Look forward to romantic dinners, bouquets of roses and spur of the moment weekends.

Never did I think I would arrive to this...

I never thought I would get to this place in my life. A place where a clean basement would throw me over the edge with glee and a new washing machine would feel as good as diamond earrings.

For those of you who remember our fun times over the holidays (re: struggling for the survival of our sanity and fighting death in a blizzard where we were stuck sleeping in our car) you also remember we were lucky enough to get the chance to have an underground pool in our basement after our washing machine broke.

Well since we've been back we barely unpacked our things before we were back at work and playing catch-up.

We went in search for a new washing machine that left me wanting to wring the neck of a snarky elderly salesperson.

Hello online shopping and sanity...

Because nothing says positive shopping experience when I can buy major appliances in my pj's...

So on Saturday I met up for lunch with friends from out if town. When I got home I found a beautiful site... My husband had cleaned out the basement down to sweeping the floor.

I don't ever remember being able to see the floor before this juncture. I felt like one of the people from Extreme Home makeoever. Really...

Then today I woke up from a dream where the washing machine wouldn't fit into the house.... I was worried.

But at 1pm today I received this:

It's been a great weekend...

Unfortunately my past younger self is mortified...and right now she can suck it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Apple Griddlecakes

Since I'm a working girl, the weekends have always been my time to make breakfast shine. Out of all my many cookbooks (thanks to my hubby) the one cookbook I've always used for pancakes and waffles is my Fanny Farmer. I still can't remember how I got this cookbook but it has always been the one I've used.

The recipe for griddlecakes is yummy and the variations you can apply keep it interesting.

1/2-3/4 cup Milk
2 tbsp melted butter
1 egg
1 cup white flour
2tsp baking powder
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Peel 1 tart juicy apple, cut it in thin slices and stir in. Optional: toss apple slices with 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Beat milk, butter and egg lightly in a mixing bowl. Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt and add them all at once to the first mixture, stirring just enough to dampen the flour.  Lightly butter or grease a griddle or frying pan and set over moderate heat until a few drops of cold water spinkled on the pan form rapidly moving globules.  If you wish small pancakes drop about 2 tbsp of the batter onto the pan or pour about 1/4 cup from a measureing cup if larger pancakes are desired. Bake until cakes are full of bubbles on the top and undersides are lightly browned.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Desperately Seeking Warmer Weather

I'm not sure if I'm wishing for warmer weather or the start of baseball season.

I got home at a decent hour the other day and really, really wanted to make hot dogs for dinner. Now before you turn your nose need to realize that my franks answer to a higher authority...and that's good enough for me. They are hot dogs for cripessake.

Now back to the franks. So I decided with all this extra time I could be creative. Not creative like my husband who puts cheese, mustard, ketchup, horseradish and goodness knows whatever type condiment we have in the fridge. But make something different.

So I remembered I had bought some pastrami for lunches the day prior. I warmed the pastrami  and coupled it with shredded mozzarella (which melted) and spicy mustard....

It was wonderful... Unfortunately do to calorie restrictions (self-imposed) I was only allow one - and like 4 chips (Buffalo Blue Kettle Chips - you need to try these)

So at some point we will be out of the temps in the teens hopefully. But this will have to do until spring....

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