Friday, August 28, 2009

6 Layer Cake

This was so much fun to make and even more fun to see the reaction on my friend's face when she cut into it!
A six layer funfetti cake. I baked a small amount of batter into 6 small pie tins, let them cool, and layered them with an orange flavored and colored buttercream frosting. So fun! Would love to do more layers next time!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Easy Tomato Cheese Salad

Something quick and delicious to do with all of the beautiful cherry tomatoes from your garden.

Slice the tomatoes about 1/4 inch thick
Slice some mozzarella cheese sticks the same width
Add some chopped fresh basil
Mix with Balsamic vinagerette

Serve immediately!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie: Brownie Buttons

I pretty much have been craving brownies for about 2 weeks now and have been holding off for this recipe!

Dorie says to add orange or lemon peel to the brownie, but I thought I would try something different. I smashed up a couple of sweet raspberries to it, dipped the cooked and cooled brownie in white chocolate and added a beautiful raspberry to the top. Absolutely amazing! They were so fun because they were small enough that I didn't feel guilty, but still rich enough that it satisfied my craving. The brownie was moist and decadent.

Definitely a perfect pick of the week by Jayma of Two Scientists Experimenting in the Kitchen. Check out her blog for the recipe and don't forget the blogroll for the other TWD bakers!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

One of my favorite thing I made for my cousin's wedding reception in June was Chicken Salad Croissant Sandwiches. Yum! My friend had a "healthier" recipe that I used and although I was nervous about it at first, it was delicious. I got so many compliments on these sandwiches and of course using Costco croissants makes them even better.

Here's the link to my friend's blog to get the recipe.

I am hoping to get photos of the other food from the photographer soon. I was so busy preparing and plating and wasn't able to take any pictures myself, but trust me, the food was awesome!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lemon Ginger Sandwich Cookies

No such luck with TWD vanilla ice cream today. I didn't get my ice cream maker into the freezer in time, didn't have enough cream, ran out of eggs, and I don't eat ice cream anyway.

I found these sandwich cookies at Costco not too long ago and even though they were really good, they still had that store-bought taste, so I decided to make some of my own that were better and homemade! I used the packaged gingerbread cookie mix from Betty Crocker and added an extra egg to make them chewier. I just love those packaged mixes! For the frosting, I did 1/3 C softened butter, 2 T milk, and enough powdered sugar to get the consistency where it just holds shape. I added some yellow food coloring and some lemon extract with some grated lemon peel and it was delish! When the cookies are completely cooled, frost one side and top it with another cookie. Store airtight if you have any left to store!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cheese Tortellini Salad

Sorry, no TWD today. Between catering my cousin's wedding, cooking for a group of up to 45 at Girl's Camp for a whole week and getting ready to leave on a family vacation tomorrow, I've been swamped! So, here's another colorful summer salad that you must put on your "to make" list!

I made this salad for a bridal shower and also for camp last week, which is why the background of these pictures is in the neck of the woods! Even most of the teenage girls liked it though. It is more of a main course as long as you serve it with some good rolls.

Cheese Tortellini Salad

1 lb cheese tortellini, cooked al dente
1 lb bacon, cooked and chopped in small pieces
1 lb chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
2 15 oz cans mandarin oranges, drained
1 bag baby spinach

Mix all together in large serving bowl.

3/4 C sugar
1/4 C red wine vinegar
1/4 C olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1 T grated onion
1 T toasted sesame seeds

toast seeds until fragrant in fying pan over medium low heat. In small saucepan bring sugar and vinegar to boil. Remove from heat when sugar has dissolved and add remaining ingredients. Dressing can be made a day or two in advance and served already mixed in or separate. Bring to room temp and mix well before serving.

Be sure to check out the amazing dessert from TWD today though. Susan of Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy chose Raspberry Blanc-Manger and you would not believe how beautiful hers looks!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Summer Berry Salad

I made this beautiful salad for my cousin's wedding that I catered a few weeks ago and have made it several times since for various parties and BBQs we have been going to. It is SO easy and refreshing, not to mention beautiful with all of the different colors. It is such a sweet salad I could almost eat it for dessert!

Summer Berry Salad

6 C spinach leaves
1/2 lb sliced strawberries
1 pint blueberries
1 pint raspberries
2 C candied pecans (see recipe below)
Brianna's Blush Wine Vinaigrette to taste

I was eating these pecans by the handful they are so good! And my house smelled amazing while they were cooking too. You might want to make a second recipe just for snacking!

Candied Pecans

1 egg white, whipped until frothy
1/2 C sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
2 C pecan halves

Mix everything together and spread on a foil lined and buttered cookie sheet. Bake at 300 for 30 minutes. Serve completely cooled and store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie: Katherine Hepburn Brownies

These are some rich, chocolaty brownies that I loved! They were fudge-like and very decadent. Very good pick this week by Lisa, of Surviving Oz.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie: Coconut-Roasted Pineapple Dacquoise

Totally got the dates mixed up and made this recipe instead of Honey Peach Ice Cream, which was a totally bummer. Now I have my post all ready for next week though!

This weeks recipe was chosen by Andrea, of Andrea in the Kitchen. What a nightmare this was to make. I almost didn't do it just because of the fact that the meringue had to cook for 3 hours! I can't even remember the last time I spent 3 solid waking hours in my house at one time! No joke, I put it in the oven before I left for work, my husband rotated the trays for me before he left for work, and then my babysitter had to take it out when it was done. Two out of 3 meringues stuck to the pan so I had to cut the one I did have into thirds. My white chocolate whipping cream mixture never thickened so I had to add powdered sugar to it, my broiler wouldn't light for the pineapple, and then my coconut burnt while I was browning it. I think those are the only major disasters I had though.

It was very pretty and very sweet and tropical. Probably will never make it again, but I'm glad I rose to the challenge and got the experience.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie: Parisian Apple Tartlet

This week, Jessica, of My Baking Heart, chose to do these cute little tartlets. The recipe says to make them with apples, but she also suggests playing around with some other fruits that are in season, so I did some with granny smith apples, peaches, and nectarines. All were pretty good, but would have been better a little later in the summer when the fruits will be better.

I used the Pillsbury pastry dough that was already shaped into little circles so I didn't have to worry about cutting the sheets up. Probably could have found better tasting puff pastry, but what a time saver!

Can't wait for the fruit to be better so I can try again! I love summer fruit desserts!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Popcorn Addiction

I have all of a sudden become addicted to gourmet popcorn and it's way too easy to make.

Microwave your favorite kind of popcorn or use a popper. Put into a microwavable bowl and add toppings. Microwave until melted. Stir, and spread over wax paper to harden.

Here are some of my favorite combinations:

-white chocolate chips, add cinnamon and sugar after melted

-dark chocolate chips and crushed Andes mints

-chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and butterscotch chips

I would love to hear some of your favorite combinations for me to try as well!

PS Congratulations to my good friend, Steph, of Stephanie's Kitchen, who delivered her baby girl yesterday. All is well with both of them!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A New Twist on an Old Favorite

My mint brownies have become very popular among friends and family. I am constantly asked to make them for every event and I am always happy to do so, but this time they were a little more special.

My Aunt Lynn is by far the #1 fan of these brownies so I knew for her birthday I would make them for her. This time I used my mini cheesecake pan from Williams Sonoma that I just LOVE! They are a little pricey, but SO worth it! I highly recommend getting at least one! Everything just looks so much cuter baked in them. And of course I had to make Aunt Lynn her own personal brownie too!

Happy Birthday, Aunt Lynn! Thank you for being you!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesdays With Dore: Chipster topped Brownies

I don't think my chipster stopped brownies were supposed to turn out the way they did. The cookie part cooked on top of the brownie part with like an inch of space in between the two. Did that make any sense? I had, like, a huge whole throughout the entire pan!

If I wasn't so perplexed at the site of the whole thing I would have done something cool with it, like fill it with whipped cream or chocolate mousse, but I was too busy wondering how the heck that happened.

Don't make any mistake about it though, it was completely amazing. Probably the most unhealthy recipe I have ever made. I had to go change into my fat pants half way through making it. I used Andes mints instead of chocolate chips and it was perfect. The brownie was the most amazing thing I have ever tasted too. I couldn't cut it nicely because it just broke into pieces, but it was worth it.

This recipe chosen by Beth of Supplicious.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie: Mango Bread

Just when I get going again with my baking and blogging, life takes some unexpected turns and throws me off for awhile. My mom was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. How a young, healthy, active non-smoker like my mom gets lung cancer is beyond me, and how it can spread to her spine, hips, femurs, neck, and brain before she even has any symptoms of being sick is even more crazy to me. She only went to the doctor in the first place because she had some back pain that wouldn't go away. Anyway, we aren't going down without a fight. She started radiation to 4 spots on her back last week, will start chemo next week, and then will do radiation on her brain the 1st of June. We have a long road ahead of us, but for now, here's some Mango Bread to celebrate some warm weather here in Utah finally.
I found the sweetest and juiciest mangos I have ever had to make this bread. I had a hard time not eating all of the mango before putting it in the batter for the bread. It was a pretty good and very easy, summery bread, but not one of my favorites. I think if I make it again, I would use less cinnamon and more mango.

For my bread I used craisins instead of golden raisins. And then after the bread had baked and cooled, I brushed on about 2 T of melted butter and covered the top with cinnamon and sugar. That definitely added a nice crust to it.

A nice pick this week from Kelly, of Baking with the Boys.

on a side note...for anyone living in Gilbert, AZ, vote for Jenn Daniels today for Town Council!!! She is my sister and I love her! She has worked so hard and has such a passion for the city and it's potential. Vote for Jenn!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Kneaders Cream Cheese Lemon Truffle Pie

If you ever get to take a trip to Utah, put Kneaders on your must stop list. It is a cute little place with amazing bread, pastries, breakfasts, and sandwiches. I found this recipe of one of their pies a few years ago and make it every Easter and usually once or twice more throughout the year. It is rich and creamy and lemony and absolutely to die for!

Kneaders' Cream Cheese Lemon Truffle Pie

Baked 9” pie shell
½ cup water
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
Zest of ½ lemon
1 ½ Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons butter
1 cup vanilla chocolate chips or coins
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1 cup whipped cream sweetened with powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon toasted almonds

Toast almonds on a parchment covered cookie sheet at 350 degrees until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
Put water, sugar, lemon zest in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
In a large mixing bowl, mix egg and corn starch.
Slowly add hot water to egg mixture in the bowl, and then pour entire mixture back into the pan. Stirring continually, heat until thickened.
Remove from the heat. Add lemon juice and butter. Stir until mixture has cooled to 100 degrees.

Pour ½ of the hot filling in a bowl. This will be used as the second layer of the pie. Add vanilla chips to the filling remaining in the pan. Stir until chips are melted. In a second bowl, place softened cream cheese. Add the hot vanilla chip mixture to the cream cheese and beat together. Spread this mixture in the bottom of the pie shell.
Spread the remaining lemon filling on top. Chill for two hours.

Top with sweetened whipped cream and garnish with toasted almonds. Makes 1 pie. Keep refrigerated until time to serve.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thursday Food Review: Buitoni

I'm adding a fun new element to my blog! Every Thursday I will do a new food review. I have been getting so many fun things to try in the mail, mostly from being part of the Foodbuzz Tastemasters Program, and am looking forward to sharing them all with you.

Today I'm sharing the Buitoni Mushroom Ravioli. WOW! This ravioli comes fresh in the cheese aisle of your grocery store. The flavor is absolutely fantastic. My neighbor, Steph, from Stephanie's Kitchen, and I both got the package in the mail the same day with this pasta and were discussing what kind of sauce would go well with it. We both agreed on a white sauce, probably alfredo, but then when I was getting ready to cook the pasta, I read on the package that it said the flavor is strong enough that you only need to add a little bit of olive oil to serve with. They were right. Any other sauce would be too much and take away from the intense cheese and mushroom. I will definitely be buying these in the future!

I served the ravioli with some french green beans sauteed in a little bit of olive oil. I gave them a few shots of balsamic vinegar spritzer and added some feta. If I had goat cheese I would have added that, but the feta was really good too. This was a great side and an amazing meal! Definitely add this one to your menu next week!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie: choclate cream tart

I know what you are thinking...this doesn't look like chocolate cream tart. Well, you aren't crazy! Due to the fact that I couldn't bear to have such a dessert around the house tempting me, and I ran out of time like usual, I did some major modification. I made the chocolate shortbread crust and then topped it with lowfat strawberry yogurt and fresh strawberries. Not as good as it looks, but not a horrible little treat.

This weeks recipe was chosen by Kim of Scrumptious Photography. You really do need to check out her blog. Her tart looks SO good and all of her food photography is absolutely amazing! She is very talented! I'm totally impressed!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie: 4 Star Chocolate Bread Pudding

I missed last week's Tuesdays With Dorie and was going to pass on this weeks too until I saw it was bread pudding.

Dorie's 4 Star Chocolate Bread Pudding was chosen by Lauren, of Upper East Side Chronicle. You can get the recipe from her blog or from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours cookbook.

I couldn't just make the recipe as it says though. I always have to make my own version of it. So, this time, I halved the recipe so I wouldn't eat it all to start with. I used whole wheat bread! Probably a major "no-no" for bread pudding, but it was "healthier" and still amazing. I used dark chocolate instead of bittersweet and I added caramel bits (those aren't nuts) to the pudding right after it came out of the oven. After I took it out of the oven, I went and ran a few miles because I could feel myself expanding just looking at it. Let me just tell you, the one bite I had when I got back was worth every drop of sweat, every sharp pain from my shin splints, and every mosquito bite I got. As if I could only keep to one bite! Absolutely rich and delicious bread pudding!

Another great recipe from Dorie!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pretzel Jell-O!

Don't knock it until you try it! Since I live in the jell-o capital of the world, it was time to add a jell-o recipe to my recipe box. This pretzel jello is more like a dessert than a side dish or salad though. You have the sweet and salty pretzel crust, cream cheese and cool whip middle, and strawberry jello with blended strawberries mixed in for the top. People are always surprised at how amazing this treat really is!

Pretzel Jello

1 3/4 C chopped pretzels
3 T sugar
3/4 C melted butter

mix together, press into a 9x13 pan, and bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes, or until firm. Cool completely.

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 C sugar
8 oz Cool Whip

Blend cream cheese and sugar together. Fold in cool whip. Spread over pretzel crust when completely cooled. You need to be sure to seal all the edges with the cream cheese mixture.

6 oz pkg strawberry jell-o
1 C hot water
1 C cold water
16 oz frozen strawberries, mostly thawed.

Blend the strawberries and 1 C cold water until pureed. Dissolve jell-o in 1 C hot water. Mix with strawberries. Let cool, but not set, before pouring over cream cheese layer.

Keep in fridge until jell-o is set.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Coconut Cream Macaroons

Happy Easter! I hope everyone ate as much as I did and will share all of their yummy recipes! I made these cookies yesterday for our annual egg hunt with some good family friends. They are a coconut lover's dream cookie!

As you know from many previous posts, I love to find fun seasonal candy to bake with. I found these Coconut Cream Hershey Kisses and had the willpower to stop eating them long enough to make the cookie recipe on the back of the bag. Basically they are coconut macaroons with one of these kisses to top them off after they are done baking.

Hurry out and buy a bag, or better yet, run to the store first thing in the morning and get them 1/2 off! I'll be there getting a few bags for my freezer!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie: Banana Cream Pie

I seriously need to work on my pie making skills. My crust tasted great, but it was far from pretty. My custard was a little too thick, and I just wasn't in the mood for banana cream pie. Even still, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I mean, I did end up eating a whole piece of the pie!

This recipe was chosen by Amy from Sing For Your Supper. I'm glad I got to practice, but I have a long way too go.

I ate my what do I do with the rest of it???