Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Foodbuzz Tastemakers...This is a good one!

I love being a part of the Foodbuzz Tastemakers Program. I can't even describe how much fun it is to get a package in the mail of some new yummy food to try. I know, I need to get out more, huh! But really, it's such a fun little treat.

This month I was so excited to get to try Quaker's new True Delight granola bars. These are like, gourmet granola bars too. They come in 3 flavors including...are you ready for this... Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond, Honey Roasted Cashew Mixed Berry, and Toasted Coconut Banana Macadamia Nut. I know, those are a lot of flavors packed into a little granola bar, but they were all amazing.

I decided to bring my samples into work where I could cut them up and let everyone have a little sample to see what they thought. Afterward I wasn't so pleased that I had shared though. These granola bars had such an intense flavor to them. You could taste berry or banana in every bite. They were fresh and chewy and the best part is that they taste so much better than the original granola bars but have about the same number of calories. Seriously, I can not emphasize enough have good the flavor was in these.

Look for them now at your local grocery store. They are a little more expensive than the original, but worth every penny.

Are you ready for some football?

There is nothing I like more than a party with good food. I love having parties and I love preparing for parties. I especially like eating at parties, so I'm sharing some of my all time favorite party food recipes that are all extremely simple but always a hit.

That's exactly what they are. Get some bacon, cut it in thirds and wrap a piece around a little smokie sausage. Hold it together with a toothpick. Line them up on a foil lined tray and dump at least 1 pound of brown sugar over all of them. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. The brown sugar will caramelize and you will get some goodness. Take them off of the foil while they are still warm so they don't stick and serve them warm. Be sure to get one quick because they go fast!

BACON RANCH DIP 16 oz sour cream
1 ranch dip packet
1/4 C bacon bits
1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese

mix together and serve with chips and veggies. It's even better the next day so make the dip ahead!

I love how everyone makes their own version of the 7 layer dip. Here's how I do mine:
2 cans refried beans
1 C gaucamole
8 oz sour cream mixed with 1 packet of taco seasoning
2 C shredded cheese ( use the mexi-blend and I like a lot of it!)
1 can sliced olives
2 roma tomatoes
1/4 C green onions
a little more shredded cheese on top

Layer in 9x13 pan and serve with tortilla chips.

I'm pretty sure I know who is playing in the super bowl this year, but I really don't care who wins. All I know is that we will be eating good and having fun with some friends and I love any excuse for a party!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My First Wedding!

I have been too busy to bake or post anything for the past week or so because I have been very busy getting ready for my first wedding! My friend got married last night and I was lucky enough to make the wedding cake all by myself! After lots of baking, filling, stacking, frosting, more stacking, and more frosting, along with some stressing, I ended up completely satisfied with my cake.

The cake was a 3-tired hexagon cake. It was chocolate cake and the bottom and top layers had a chocolate truffle filling. The middle layer had a white chocolate truffle filling with a layer of fresh raspberries. The bride wanted a chocolate buttercream frosting and ribbon around each tier. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, I will have to do a whole tutorial post on just the ribbon portion. It was a challenge but I finally got it!

I had a lot of fun doing this cake and learned SO much! I am excited to start taking some classes so I can learn some good tips and techniques and learn how to use fondant and other fun things. I am almost ready to do another one!

I also found out when I got there that I would kind of be in charge of the catering part. But that was a lot of fun too. We had 3 different chocolate fountains going with dark chocolate, white chocolate, and milk chocolate. To dip in we had platters of marshmallows, pretzels, sugar cookies, strawberries, apples, pineapple, and bananas. It was beautiful and delicious!

Thank goodness for these girlies who stepped in to help me! We all work together at a local Technical college, so we already are good at helping each other out. We all kind of decided we should quit working where we are and start our own catering business. How fun would that be?! I honestly couldn't have done it without them though! Thanks guys!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie: French Pear Tart

The good news is...I found my camera! It was hidden in the pocket of my snow jacket and had been there since Christmas Day when I was outside taking pictures of a few of the neighborhood dads driving 4-wheelers down the street with kids being dragged behind on sleds hanging on for dear life and having a blast doing it. The bad news is...I found my camera! I was hoping to use this as an excuse to buy the really nice one I want, but I guess I'll keep saving my pennies for another day.

Today's recipe was chosen by Dorie Greenspan herself. I loved making the tart, mostly because I was excited to put the tart pans to use that my mom got me for Christmas! Thanks, mom! I had no idea they would come in handy so quickly! Isn't it beautiful though?!

As usual, I'm barely qualifying as midnight is quickly approaching and my bedtime has come and gone, but I can go to bed with my house smelling absolutely amazing while the tart is cooling and waiting for me to have a big slice for breakfast! I'll let you know how it tastes, although I'm pretty positive it will be devoured the second I walk into work with it. That is, if I don't fall and drop it in the snow on the way in. Is it ever going to stop snowing???

Alright, I'm way too tired and starting to ramble. Great recipe today! Check out the blogroll to see my fellow TWD bakers!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Apple Toffee Dip

Still no camera, but I will try later today. Here is a must try recipe for a fun dip for your apples. This stuff is delicious!

Apple Toffee Dip

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 C marshmallow cream
1/2 C brown sugar
1/4 C granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 bag toffee pieces

Mix all together except toffee pieces until creamy. Fold in toffee pieces. Serve with sliced apples.

Happy New Year!

Tuesdays With Dorie: Tall and Creamy Cheesecake

I didn't post this on time because somewhere, sometime, over the crazy past two weeks, we lost our camera! I think it's a perfect excuse to get the nice camera that I really want, but for now we are going to have to do without. What is a food blog without pictures to show how good the food looks?! Well, I will try to describe it until I can at least borrow my neighbor's camera to take a few pictures. (please Steph, I'll share a bite!)

This is easily the best cheesecake I have ever eaten, and I've eaten a lot of cheesecakes including about 1 piece a week from The Cheesecake Factory when I was pregnant with my first! Yes, I'm still trying to lose that weight 5 years later.

But this cheesecake is so creamy and smooth and has such a rich flavor. Dorie says to beat the batter until it's satiny, and then you cook it for 1 1/2 hours in a water bath and then let it rest in the water bath in the hot oven for another hour. I just made the plain cheesecake, but I am so excited to try different flavors next time.

Definitely a great choice this week by Anne of Anne Strawberry! Here is the link to the TWD Blogroll.