Monday, February 28, 2011

Gretchen's Cookie Dough Madness

My friend Gretchen was in town last week from Indiana. We used to have a grand ole time when she lived in Austin almost 2 year ago! Of course we had a blast, and we are not ashamed to admit that on Saturday night we opted for dessert and a movie. It was prefect, except that the movie was awful (Dinner for Schmucks)! I really enjoyed Gretchen's famous cookie dough madness though!

Actually, I had never had it before, but I cannot count the number of times she has told me about this dessert, how you make it, how good it is, etc. etc. After more than 2 years, I can finally confirm that she was SO right! Warm, gooey cookie dough with a little crunch was made for ice cream!

This is so easy and so so bad, but so so good- I think you deserve a little treat every now and then. Warning- do not leave leftover cookie dough in your fridge or you may make this again the next day when your friends are gone!

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Sweetest Treat...Little Cookie Cake Sandwiches


I know this is way late, and that I should have posted like a week before Valentine's day so that you all could make this in time. I know. I'm SORRY! I really have to get with the program on my timing of holiday-themed posts...I mean, what did you expect after this Chili Dip recipe popped up 2 weeks post-Superbowl? Oh well, its OK because you can really make these ANY day in any shape/color! :)

They are very yummy. I don't think you will want to wait until Feb 14th every year to enjoy these. I made them for a sweet treat potluck for work, and I was so glad they were all gone so I didn't have to take any home with me! Well, I did have to reserve one for the bf though, and apparently he was unable to restrain himself and enjoyed a lovely sugary chocolately chippy Vday breakfast!

Now, I've made cookie cake before. It is pretty delicious and seriously the easiest dessert to make. Also, Everyone LOVES cookie cake. I wanted to do something a bit different than the norm this time, so I cut out mini heart shapes from the cake and made them into mini "sandwiches" - anyone familiar with the double doozie? So sinfully DELISH! :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies

I cannot tell you how much chocolate and peanut butter have been on my mind lately! I mean, it is a FABULOUS combination, but I have never craved it so much before! I do not usually eat a lot candy, but I have seriously been wanting some Reese's... I knew I needed to get my little craving out of the way, so I whipped these up in no time and brought them over to a little Superbowl viewing party. They were still warm and received rave reviews. I do have to say, that they are not very good the next day unless you warm them up, so make these for a party/gathering/sharing. Believe me, you won't want these in your peripheral vision while you're trying to convince yourself to go to the gym... 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Baked Chicken and Cheese Taquitos

 These baked taquitos are quite tasty. I wasn't sure they would be enough for a meal on their own, but they sure were! You can use leftover chicken you have on hand or just boil and shred to make these. So quick and easy for a weeknight meal!

They sure would go nicely with some Tortilla Soup too .You could also make a smaller version into little appetizer finger foods. Oh! The possibilities are endless...

Oh and I had lunch plans the next day so I gave the leftovers to the bf, who crisped them up in the oven for his lunch and sent me a text saying they were "AMAZING!" I think that's basically the same as a thumbs up... :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Easy Chili Dip

I'm sorry that I didn't have enough foresight to make this BEFORE the Superbowl so that I could post it before last weekend, and then you could make it and impress everyone at YOUR Superbowl party. Instead, I made it 5 minutes before I went over to a friend's house to watch the Superbowl. I admit, I actually did make this dip for Game Night about a month ago, but I just didn't take any photos. The process just goes by so fast that I forget. I did better this time, but I didn't take any of it "cooking." Oops. You can use your imagination right? What do you think a bar of cream cheese and a can of chili look like together in a pot? It's not the prettiest sight. :)

I digress, this dip is VERY yummy though. It does not taste cheap and easy, and your friends will request that you bring it to every get together from now on, which is how it ended up at Superbowl 2011. Enjoy!

Chili Dip
  • 8 oz cream cheese, partially softened
  • 1 can chili with beans
  • Tortilla chips
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt cream cheese and chili until well combined. Spoon into serving dish.

Serve hot with tortilla chips.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Melon ballerific Fruit Salad

OK. So. This little post kind of got lost in my "waiting to post" list and I just found it. It was one of my first posts, so let's not make fun. Also, can we pretend these pictures are awesome? K. Thanks! I knew you'd understand. :)

While I was snapping photos of my fruit salad-making the other day, my boyfriend lovingly pointed out that no one probably needed directions on how to make fruit salad. Let me just say that I know that everyone has different ways of doing fruit salad, but I wanted to share mine. In fact, if you're reading, Sweetie, you probably didn't even know that I put these things on the fruit salad that you eat. hehe :)

One of my close friends, S, gifted me with the amazing melon baller- a kitchen gadget I had my eye on for some time. I had been trying to scale down on my gadgets since the bf complained that my gadget drawer was often hard to open as a result of too many tools- oops! Let me just say that I use this ALL the time now, and even bf noted when he was eating this- "Thank goodness for the melon baller!" Phew- would we ever eat so much melon without it? Probably not... I really think that the way it scoops the fruit locks in the juices- yum!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The best kind of Valentine...

I do love a good Valentine's treat. :)  I'm not-so-much a big fan of all the cheesieness that is Valentine's Day. That being said, it is not so bad when you do have a Valentine. However, after a bad experience on Feb 14th last year (read: Crowds. Hour and half delay after reservation time. No mint for mojito. Starving girl and boy. All good food options sold out. Entree arrives seconds after starter. Leaving before dessert! Boy signing check "Worst dinner ever.") I (we've) decided we would rather celebrate holidays in our own way. We tried this new method out for New Years 2010 (we went to the movies on NYE and out to dinner on Jan 1st), and it was a success!

I digress, I got my Valentine's wish early this year. :) Lammes chocolate covered strawberries. Pause for drooling...

They are HUGE. Amazing. The perfect milk chocolatey shell. I could do no better myself. I think these are becoming a tradition for us... What can I say, chocolate and berries make my heart swoon...

Of course I had to share, so I gave him a tiny one...hehe :)

Happy Valentines Day to you!

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P.S. I made some Valentines treat to take to work today. I will post those soon, but I couldn't resist a little teaser.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Buttery Cornbread Revisited


So I know I posted this recipe before, but it only had one lousy iPhone photo. I just made it again to go along with my Tortilla Soup. Also, I cannot stress to you how delicious this cornbread is! It is not even hard to make. It takes like 2 more minutes than a mix and it is 100 times better. Try it! 

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you may remember how I was on the hunt for meal recipes just to go with this cornbread! Texas chili- check. Tortilla Soup- check check! If you have anymore ideas please let me know!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Tastiest Tortilla Soup!

I've had my eye on this beautiful tortilla soup over at Baked Bree for a little while now... I'm so glad I finally got around to trying it, because it truly is wonderful and fresh-tasting. It is pretty healthy with all the veggies. I added one shredded chicken breast to mine, but I think it would be plenty filling without too. Hmm if only I had made this BEFORE the snow day on Friday, it would have been a great warmer-upper. :) Do not be intimidated by the ingredient list, it just has a lot of spices! It is actually very easy to make and does not take a lot of time, which really is a HUGE plus.

Now, I don't think I'm doing a very good job of telling you how tasty this soup is! It really has a lot of flavor and the crunchy tortilla chips on top take it over the edge. I am not a leftover-lover, however this tastes better the next day! I have had the leftovers 3 days in a row and even took the rest to work for lunch! :) And you know what? That buttery cornbread really makes the perfect complement. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Snow Day in Austin, TX- 2/4/11

Say what?! I know to you folks pretty much everywhere else, this is nothing new and DEFINITELY nothing exciting, but bear with me! We get snow maybe once/year and everything shuts down. It really is dangerous on the roads- Texans have NO IDEA what they're doing. Now, I feel OK saying that because I'm not a native Texan. :) hehe I used to live up North (New Hampshire, Connecticut, Memphis), but its amazing how quickly one can forget what below freezing feels like! 

Since I was "working from home" on Friday, I sneaked outside to grab some shots of the winter wonderland before it was all gone. And you better believe it was the next day. In fact, although I played tennis with many layers Saturday morning, by the time I played again Sunday afternoon (I know! Look at me keeping up with my plan, right?!) I was wearing a skirt and tank top (And crossing my pale little fingers for a tan)! 

Anyway, I do feel bad for you snowed in folks. :( Keep warm and try some chili! I made some delicious Tortilla soup Friday night- will post that recipe later this week! 

Enjoy the rest of the snowy photos...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Dreamy Chocolate Cream Pie

I don't know why I've been procrastinating on writing up this recipe for so long. Its seriously one of the best ones I've made so far- EVER! My mom put me in charge of making a different-than-normal dessert for our first night of Thanksgiving. She always makes her famous caramel pecan and pumpkin pies for the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, so mine was supplemental. That's OK!

This pie does take a little time to make, and the most time intensive part would be waiting 4 hours for the chocolate custard to set up and chill. It's SO WORTH IT though! :)

I dug around for a delicious chocolate pie and found this recipe from the Hungry Mouse. Seemed good- I just decided to swap out the chocolate crust for a regular flaky pie crust. My mom whipped up a homemade crust that she blind baked, but you could also use frozen pie crust if you wanted.

The best part of this pie is the rich, chocolatey custardy pudding filling. Its rich. It's DELICIOUS! For the best results, use a good quality chocolate. :)

Chocolate Cream Pie
1 9 inch pie
  • 1 pie crust (Your favorite recipe or frozen)
  • 3 1/2 cups half and half
  • 8 TBSP butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 9 egg yolks
  • 9 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Blind bake pie crust according to instructions and set aside (or you can do this while your filling is chilling).

In a large (3 quart) pot, pour half and half. Heat over medium heat until it JUST starts to bubble. Keep an eye on it so it doesn't scorch!

While its heating up, combine sugar and cornstarch in a large, heatproof bowl until it is well-combined and resembles baby powder.

Add egg yolks to cornstarch mixture and whisk until combined.

Pour hot half and half mixture until egg mixture via a THIN stream, whisking constantly. (Thin is very important here, if you pour it too quickly it will scramble the eggs!) Pour the mixture back into the pot.

Make sure your butter and chocolate and chopped and waiting on the side!

Whisk constantly for about 4 minutes, until considerably thickened. The mixture should easily coat the back of a wooden spoon.

Remove from heat and add butter and chocolate in small handfuls. Keep whisking to stir and incorporate.

Once you have a big pot of chocolate pudding, add vanilla and mix to incorporate. Plash mesh strainer over a large bowl and pour mixture through strainer to catch any bits of egg that may have solidified. As you can probably tell, at this point I discovered my mom did not have a mesh strainer (don't worry, she has since received one for Christmas), and she offered up THIS strainer...

Hmmm well it did not really catch any of the egg bits, but it did make a big mess! Its OK, you really couldn't tell in the final product. :)

Press some plastic wrap directly on the surface of the filling to prevent a skin from forming.

Refrigerate for 4 hours, or until completely chilled. This is a good time to clean up the mess you created...

Pour filling into prepared crust and smooth down with a spatula.

Next, whip cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks are formed.

Gently spread on top of chocolate mixture, being careful not to mix the two. Place in the fridge until ready to serve.

To make the chocolate slivers, melt the chocolate chips in a bowl in the microwave (about 2 minutes). Place wax paper or parchment paper over a cookie sheet or plate that will fit in your freezer. Spread melted chips as thin as you can over the paper and place in freezer for 15 minutes or until completely solid again. Carefully and quickly remove from freezer and roll paper to break chocolate into little shards.

Sprinkle on top of your pie. For curls, try rolling up the ends of the chocolate-covered paper in the freezer. Keep refrigerated until you serve. Enjoy!!

Seriously grab a piece for yourself before its all gone. It will be. :)

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