Archives for November 2010

Family Holiday Picture Time

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I gained 36 pounds on Thursday. I am never eating again. I lie.I know I am a food blog, but I love sharing my Holiday Pictures with you all. My kids are just so damn cute, I can’t but help share! Photos taken by Kelly Noel Photography. Love […]

Cranberry Walnut Tart…again

So by now we have all established that I am a slacker.  I am ok with it, I really am.All the cool bloggers have posted their awesome Thanksgiving spreads in advance.Well, not me. Last year while preparing Thanksgiving, it did not even dawn on me to document my 3 day Thanksgiving cooking marathon. I will […]

Slow Cooker Pork Chops

Ohhhh how I love my slow cooker. It’s pretty and it shines. I could not live without it. I have a roast in it as we speak! Let me tell you about these bad ass little pork chops. They are so delicious and packed with flavor. They literally fall apart. BONUS- takes less than 5 minutes […]

Cherry Chocolate Brownie Cheesecake and giveaway winner

Oh yeah, I said it, Cherry.Chocolate.Brownie.Cheesecake! Evil, isn’t it?You see that brownie layer with the chocolate chips?See the cherry filling INSIDE the cheesecake?See the creamy cheesecake filling?Feel free to wipe the drool from the corners of your mouth.I’ll wait right here while you go make this…hurry along now.Your back? Delicious, yes?The lovely folks over at […]

Ruffle Cake

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway! K..I am not really sure what the highlight of this post is…how freakin pretty this cake is or how devilishly delicious the frosting is. Cake first. The ruffle cake. Isn’t it so pretty? Like really, really pretty? Feminine wedding cake pretty? It wasn’t a wedding cake though, I made […]

GIVEAWAY-Junior League of Tampa Cookbook

The Junior League ROCKS. Here is their mission…”Founded in 1926, The Junior League of Tampa, Inc. is an organization of over 1600 women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through effective action and leadership. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.”Their commitment to the community is amazing..”For 84 years, […]

Tie Dye Cookie Tutorial

When I asked my daughter what theme she wanted for her Birthday party back in June, she said tie dye and peace sign. Huh? She was turning 5. Maybe she was a hippie in a former life, who knows. Weirdo. I suppose princesses and anything 5 year old’ish were out of the question. Kids, they […]

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Family Holiday Picture Time

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I gained 36 pounds on Thursday. I am never eating again. I lie.
I know I am a food blog, but I love sharing my Holiday Pictures with you all. My kids are just so damn cute, I can’t but help share! Photos taken by Kelly Noel Photography. Love her!

My daughter, son and niece

The kiss. Wont be able to get away with this much longer.

No more kissing.

Me and my beautiful family

The kids posed themselves for the photo.

Me and my photogenic kiddos

Twins. Big forehead and all!

My boy

My sister Erika and I.

I could just eat her up.

My niece, Sarah being a goof ball.

I love love love this photo!

I cant pull off the serious look to save my life.

Doesn’t that smile just warm your heart?

Sassy sisters!

The Stantons

This is my favorite photo of my son of all times!

My husband thinks his shirt makes his hair look gray! (cough cough) I just go along with it.

The i phone Kiss!

Cranberry Walnut Tart…again

So by now we have all established that I am a slacker.  I am ok with it, I really am.
All the cool bloggers have posted their awesome Thanksgiving spreads in advance.
Well, not me. Last year while preparing Thanksgiving, it did not even dawn on me to document my 3 day Thanksgiving cooking marathon. I will try to be more prepared this year to take pretty little photos, so next year you can come here in advance and get yummy recipes. K?
So in true slacker style, I am going to post a repeat dessert.
But you must make it for Thanksgiving, or just any-other random Thursday.
It is the Cranberry Walnut Tart. My husband says it is his favorite dessert of all times, and last year he about cried when I left the leftovers at my Moms house for Christmas.
Its easy and can be made a day in advance.
*on a side note, many of you have contacted me saying you are not able to print my recipes using the link I provide. I am sorry for this. Turns out my printable site has been “suspended” by Google for violation of terms of service”. Hmmmm, not sure what that is all about. Maybe my site is more scandalous than I thought. I have contacted them, but have not had a response. So until I can get it figured out, you can just copy and paste the recipes from my site. Sorry for the inconvenience.

CRANBERRY WALNUT TART
Epicurious



SWEET PASTRY DOUGH
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 tablespoons ice water
Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Beat together yolk and water with a fork and stir into flour mixture until combined well.

Gently knead mixture in bowl with floured hands just until a dough forms. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently 4 or 5 times more. Form dough into a ball, then flatten into a 5-inch disk. Chill, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour



TART

3 large eggs
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups chopped fresh or frozen cranberries (7 oz; thawed if frozen)
1 cup chopped walnuts (1/4 pound)(TOASTED)

Special equipment: a 10- to 11-inch round tart pan (1 inch deep) with a removable bottom; pie weights or raw rice
Make shell:
Roll out dough into a 13-inch round (1/8 inch thick) on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin and fit into tart pan. Trim edge of dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang, then fold overhang inward and press against side of pan to reinforce edge. Lightly prick bottom of shell all over with a fork, then chill 30 minutes.

Put oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 425°F. Line shell with foil and fill with pie weights.

Bake until pastry is set and pale golden on rim, about 15 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights and bake shell until pale golden all over, 5 to 10 minutes more. Transfer shell in pan to a rack.

Make filling:
Move oven rack to middle position and reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

Whisk together eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, salt, and vanilla in a bowl until smooth, then stir in cranberries and walnuts.

Pour filling into shell and bake tart until filling is set and golden, 40 to 45 minutes. (If pastry edge darkens before tart is done, cover edge with a pie shield or foil.) Cool completely in pan on rack.
Can be made one day in advance and stored covered at room temperature.

Slow Cooker Pork Chops

Ohhhh how I love my slow cooker. It’s pretty and it shines. I could not live without it. I have a roast in it as we speak!
Let me tell you about these bad ass little pork chops. They are so delicious and packed with flavor. They literally fall apart. BONUS- takes less than 5 minutes to prep.
We all know kids are picky, right? Well my kids were begging for 2nd and thirds( I am NOT exaggerating).The night I made them, I emailed the recipe to my BFF Bobbi and she was shocked I used canned soup. I think canned soup totally has its place in the culinary world. A white trash culinary world it may be, but I am not predigest. I never said I WASNT white trash. Pftt, you should see my roots right now.

SLOW COOKER PORK CHOPS
Printer Friendly Version

4 thick cut pork chops (bone-in or boneless)
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup with herbs (or without herbs)
1 package Hidden Valley Dry Ranch Dressing Mix
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup chicken stock
Pepper

In a medium bowl, mix together cream of chicken soup, dry ranch mix, garlic, wine and chicken stock. Set aside.
Sprinkle pork chops with pepper (NO SALT..there is enough salt in the other ingredients)
Place the pork chops in the slow cooker.
Pour the soup mix over the pork chops.
Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 to 7 hours.

Cherry Chocolate Brownie Cheesecake and giveaway winner

Oh yeah, I said it, Cherry.Chocolate.Brownie.Cheesecake! Evil, isn’t it?
You see that brownie layer with the chocolate chips?
See the cherry filling INSIDE the cheesecake?
See the creamy cheesecake filling?
Feel free to wipe the drool from the corners of your mouth.
I’ll wait right here while you go make this…hurry along now.
Your back? Delicious, yes?
The lovely folks over at Lucky Leaf sent me some pie fillings and recipes to review. One of them being cherry, my favorite ready made pie filling of all times.  I had never used nor heard of Lucky Leaf before they contacted me. Their pie fillings don’t have High Fructose Corn Syrup( oh wait, isn’t it called corn sugar now???) in them which is a huge plus. They are truly delicious.
I know we are all going to be baking up a storm this holiday season, so don’t forget to pick up some Lucky Leaf next time you go to the store. And visit their website…lots of yummy recipes!!!

CHERRY CHOCOLATE BROWNIE CHEESECAKE
Lucky Leaf
Printable recipe

1 8 oz brownie mix or 1 2/3 cup of brownie mix
4 eggs, divided
1 Tbsp. oil
1/2 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips
3 8 oz packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 21-ounce can Lucky Leaf Premium Cherry Pie Filling
Frozen whipped topping, thawed for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9- inch sprinform pan with cooking spray: set aside.  In a medium bowl, stir together brownie mix, one egg and oil  until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.
Spread batter in prepared pan.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until brownie is set. (It will not be completely done at this point.)  Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until well combined and smooth.  Add in the remaining eggs on low speed and set the mixture aside.  Carefully spoon 1/2 can )1 cup) of pie filling into center of brownie, leaving a 2- inch brownie border along side if pan.  Carefully, pour cream cheese mixture over surface.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the center is set, but jiggles when the pan is lightly tapped.  Cool in pan on a wire rack for 1 hour.  Cover and chill at least 4 hours before serving.  Top cheesecake with remaining cherry pie filling. Garnish with optional whipped topping.

* note* When I made the recipe I doubled the brownie mixture for the bottom of the pan.

GIVEAWAY WINNER
I know the giveaway was supposed to be done at 9 PM. Sorry..life calls and I will be away from my computer at 9.

Congrats Lady Nann!
Please email me with your mailing info!!!!

Ruffle Cake

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway!
K..I am not really sure what the highlight of this post is…how freakin pretty this cake is or how devilishly delicious the frosting is.
Cake first.
The ruffle cake. Isn’t it so pretty? Like really, really pretty? Feminine wedding cake pretty? It wasn’t a wedding cake though, I made it for my husbands birthday. No, my husband is not a girly boy..in-fact he is the opposite, well except for the fact that he is a shoe and clothes whore..but we won’t go there. I love you babe. He was VERY picky on what kind of cake he wanted. He wanted a yellow cake with 1/2 nutella filling and 1/2 strawberry filling . No people, not 1 layer filled with nutella and they second layer filled with strawberries. He wanted the cake filled half and half with the fillings side by side in the layers. FREAK.
Did I say I love you babe? But he didn’t specify how he wanted it frosted. HA! I remember seeing the “ruffle cake” in a magazine somewhere, maybe in the Doctors office. I am pretty sure it was Martha Stewart. I googled “ruffle” cake and her site pops up so I assuming that is where I saw it.
Anyways, I loved it when I saw it and I was just waiting for the opportunity to make it.
So I thought I would use my husbands birthday cake as the guinea pig cake.
I think it is stunning. And it is soooo easy to do.
Put a thin crumb coat of icing on you cake, preferably swiss meringue buttercream(recipe below).
Fit your piping bag with a  medium sized petal tip (I’m pretty sure its a tip size #103). Fill the bag with icing.
Starting at the bottom of the cake while holding your piping bag vertically against the cake with the skinny part of the tip facing out, zig zag back and forth up the cake until you reach the top. Go all the way around the cake. EASY and FOOLPROOF, I promise!

Have you had swiss meraginue buttercream? No? Oh my. I can not tell you how amazingly amazing(I swear I grad-e-ated high school) this frosting is. I am not sure why I have held off for so long in making it. Maybe it because I made 7 minute frosting before and didn’t like it…too marshmallow-y. So I guess I associated any cooked frosting with the 7 minute frosting. But wait, maybe I associated 7 minute frosting with “seven minutes in heaven”..oh God..that’s another episode.
But you MUST make this frosting. I mean look at the ingredients..2 pounds of butter. Are you kidding me? It is amazingly amazing..I said that already, didn’t I? It’s my new favorite.
A warning to people who live in the hot climate. With 2 pounds of butter, this heavenly frosting WILL NOT survive in the hot humid outdoors. I am sure it would melt right off your cake, but that’s ok..just lick it right off the table.
SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM
Martha Stewart
2 1/2 cups sugar
10 large egg whites
2 pounds (8 sticks)UNSALTED butter, cut into pieces (DO NOT use salted butter)
2 tsp vanilla extract
Place sugar and egg white in a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved in the egg whites and the temperature reaches 130°-140°.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high until the mixture has cooled and come to stiff peaks..about 10 minutes.
Add the butter, one piece at a time, mixing well between each addition.
Your frosting might start to look like cottage cheese at this point, but don’t worry..it will come together.
Continue beating until smooth. add the vanilla and beat until incorporated.
Switch to paddle attachment, and whisk on low until all of the air pockets are removed and the frosting is smooth, about 5 minutes.
You can store this in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days. Just bring up to room temperature before using and mix with the paddle attachment for a few minutes on low to ensure a smooth texture.

GIVEAWAY-Junior League of Tampa Cookbook

The Junior League ROCKS.

Here is their mission…”Founded in 1926, The Junior League of Tampa, Inc. is an organization of over 1600 women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through effective action and leadership. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.”
Their commitment to the community is amazing..”For 84 years, The Junior League of Tampa has been committed to building a healthier, more educated and safer community for Tampa Bay’s children and their families. The 1600+ members currently provide more than 60,000 hours of service to the community each year, while spending nearly $250,000 annually on JLT projects.”
So in a nutshell the Junior League is a plethora of women that get together and selflessly give back to the community. Awesome, huh? 
You can click here to see if there is one in your area that you can join.
The Junior League of Tampa was nice enough to invite me to their 2010 Holiday Gift Market



It was every girls dream, 130 merchants from all over the county come together to sell their crafty and unique merchandise to help benefit the Junior League. 
Over the past 6 years the Junior Leagues Gift market event has helped The Junior League of Tampa put over $500,000 into their community Projects in the areas of foster care, basic needs, education and literacy. So if you are in the Tampa Bay area and would like to attend you can click here for all the details..but hurry its only open Friday November 5th-Sunday November 7th.


Ready for the yummy cookbook giveaway?
When I attended the market today, I asked the cookbook booth(which was beautiful) if they would like to provide me a cookbook for my readers….see I am always thinking of y’all..and they were happy to oblige.
Junior League Cookbooks are pretty much the best cookbooks you can get in my opinion. They are a compilation of delicious recipes from the members. You wouldn’t want your recipe printed in a cookbook unless it was absolutely divine, would you?
I present to you the Capture the Coast cookbook from The Junior League of Tampa.

The recipes are scrumptious…scrumptious I tell ya.
So leave me a comment and tell me how much you love me. No, just kidding…just tell me your favorite cookbook. The contest will end at 9 pm EST on November 12th.
Tweet about it….come back and leave me another comment and you get another entry.
Facebook it…come back and leave another comment and you get another entry.
Link it on your blog(if you have one)…come back and leave another comment and you get another entry.
This giveaway is only good for the continental US. Sorry my foreign readers, know I still love you, I am just to cheap to ship overseas. But you can still leave a comment on how much you love me!!! 🙂

Tie Dye Cookie Tutorial

tie_dye_cookie
When I asked my daughter what theme she wanted for her Birthday party back in June, she said tie dye and peace sign. Huh? She was turning 5. Maybe she was a hippie in a former life, who knows. Weirdo. I suppose princesses and anything 5 year old’ish were out of the question. Kids, they grow up so fast. I will admit the other day, I was sitting in her closet getting together some things to take to my sisters garage sale and she brought me her Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella dolls. She said she didnt want them anymore. I said, “WHAT, you dont want your princess dolls anymore?” She said , ” no I dont like princesses anymore.” I sat there in her closet and cried, full on tears. I suppose my baby is not a “baby” anymore.

Anywhooo, along with a cake that she designed herself (not one of my best cakes AT ALL) she also wanted tie dye cookies. I searched and searched for a tutorial on tie dye cookies..and came up with nothing. So these are what I came up with. Call them tie dye or call them really colorful spiderweb cookies…these are what she got.
For the printable recipes for my cookies and the icing I use click here. In the same post you will find useful sugar cookie decorating tips as well.

Start out with your baked, cooled sugar cookie.


Make a nice swirl around the cookie with your color of choice. Work quickly throughout the whole process or your icing will dry.


Make another swirl with another color.


And yet another swirl.


Swirl swirl swirl. Don’t worry if it looks messy.

Add some white for a nice contrast of colors.

Now take a toothpick, and drag it thought the icing. Start in the middle of the cookie and work your way out.

Continue dragging your toothpick until you have gone around the whole cookie.


After you have achieved your desired effect, with your cookie still on the table, shake it back and forth to level the icing out. If you have any gaps in the icing, use your toothpick to fill them in.

tye_die_cakeEmms’s cake. Sloppy and messy. I blame it on the bad batch of fondant. She told me exactly how she wanted it to look. Actually she drew me a picture of how she wanted it to look.

“Tie Dye” inside! You should have heard the squeals from all the kids when I cut into the cake. You would have thought Justin Bieber was jumping out of it. They thought it was the coolest cake ever.

tie_dye_cupcakes“Tie Dye” cupcakes. I used a 1M tip and stripped my icing bag to get this effect.