Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Pick me! Pick me! I wanna be the Brownie Babe!!

This challenge was made for me since I am totally obsessed with brownies! They are after all my favorite food group! Seeing as how I love brownies sooo much, it's obvious that I've had a few too many brownies in my day, but that being said this has to be one of my all time favorite brownies! I give to you the amazing Fluffernutter Brownie (With a little help from Cooking Light)!! Since I love this brownie so much (and it is made up of Elvis' favorite ingredients) I decide to write a new rendition of Elvis' Heartbreak Hotel:

Heartbreak Hotel

Well since my brownie found me
She became a good friend of mine
We hang out at the end of a long hard day
With a glass of wine

You make me happy brownie
I get so happy,
So happy that I could die

And although I'm sometimes crazy,
You still brighten up my blues
With marshmallow creme and peanut butter,
I could kiss you!

You make me happy brownie
I get so happy,
So happy that I could die

But now my tears are flowin'
And I'm down on my luck
Cuz I just ate the last piece of my
Brownie Baby

I'm now so lonely baby,
I'm so lonely
So lonely that I could cry

Hey now if you devour your brownie
And you got a tale to tell.
Just take a walk down Lonely Street
to Heartbreak Hotel!!

The moral of the story here kids is that when you create such a moist, rich, gooey, chewy marshmallow creme and peanut butter brownie it will not last for long. So savor every scrumptious bite of this outrageously satisfying brownie, cuz it may be a while till this Brownie Babe comes knockin' on your door!

Fluffernutter Brownie Recipe

3/4 cup low-fat sweetened condensed milk

1/4 cup butter or stick margarine, melted and cooled
1/4 cup fat-free milk
1 package devil's food cake mix
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
1 (7-ounce) jar marshmallow creme (about 1 3/4 cups)
1/2 cup peanut butter morsels

Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine 1/4 cup condensed milk, butter, and next 3 ingredients (butter through egg white) in a bowl (batter will be very stiff). Coat bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Press two-thirds of batter into prepared pan using floured hands; pat evenly (layer will be thin).
Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Combine 1/2 cup condensed milk and marshmallow creme in a bowl; stir in morsels. Spread marshmallow mixture evenly over brownie layer. Carefully drop remaining batter by spoonfuls over marshmallow mixture. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

TGRWT #2 - Banana and Parsley

This was one of the coolest, but weirdest challenges I have seen. Tara over at Should You Eat That? came up with a monthly challenge of pairing unusual ingredients together in any type of dish that we like. So when she announced that the ingredients were bananas and parsley I kind of scratched my head for a minute. My first thought was to do something on the sweet side, but then I started to think about it, and I decided that my family would be more willing to try something that was more on the savory dinner side, seeing as how I might be able to mask the banana a little bit. So here is my masterpiece --- Banana, Parsley Aioli drizzled over roasted baby potatoes!!! And OH MY GOD was this good, this was once of the best sauces/dishes I've ever made. I thought ketchup and roasted potatoes were good, but nope...this is the new Ketchup. It took a little trial and error for me to get the flavors right, but my family was so amazed when I told them. They said that the sauce was the best part of the whole dinner. And the great thing about (now that I know what to put in it) is that it's so simply to make. The sauce was a little tangy but very creamy, with a slight garlic bite to it. Without knowing there was banana in it you would definitely be able to sense a tiny sweetness to the sauce, but as soon as I told my family about the banana they were like "Oh so that's what it is, I knew I was tasting something different". I made sure not to tell them what was in it until after they ate it because I wanted to get their honest opinion about it, and I was surprised to hear rave reviews. My mom even said this was the best part of the whole Lemon Grilled Chicken with Bell Peppers, Snap Pea Salad and Roasted Baby Potato Dinner. So thanks Tara for giving me the idea to create something I will be proud to make again and again. For the base of the recipe I used a basic Aioli recipe which I found from the Williams Sonoma website and added half a banana, a handful of chopped parsley, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon zest and Dijon mustard. (Sorry that I don't have a recipe to post, but I didn't really write it down, I just kept adding and tasting!!) But this will definitely be a new staple in my cooking arsenal. And how fun was it to look at these ingredients and try to find a way to make them work! I can't wait for the next challenge, so Tara bring it on!!

Foodie Blogroll

Our wonderfully fantastic Leftover Queen has created a great blog roll for all you foodies out there!! This blogroll is our connection to tons of other blogs who are blogging about the thing we love most...FOOD!! I invite you all to scroll down my sidebar to the Foodie Blogroll and check out our fellow bloggers and see what their latest creations, thoughts, struggles, joys and satisfactions are with food!! Thanks Jenn!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Pillsbury Bake Off

I'm not sure if I ever mentioned it before, but I am addicted to the Food Network, I watch it religiously and Tivo tons of shows. One of those shows just happened to be the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest that aired this past weekend. So of course during the show they interview the participants and ask them where their recipes came from...Well one of the ladies (Anna Ginsberg) had come up with this Chicken and Waffle Stuffing recipe. As they are interviewing this lady she explains to us viewers that it's ironic that she would be competing with a main course dish because she is known for her cookies, which she bakes everyday with her daughter...which caught my attention. Right after she said this the narrator of the show explained that Anna loves to bake so much that she created her own blog called Cookie Madness!! "Oh my god, I look at this woman's blog everyday and now here she is on the Pillsbury Bake-Off Challenge!!," was all I kept saying. The funny part was Anna said that she didn't think she was going to win the $1 million grand prize, because she didn't think her recipe was special enough, and wouldn't you know the queen of the Cookie Madness blog walked away with that million dollar grand prize! I was soo shocked (and maybe a little jealous) but I just wanted to say CONGRATULATIONS Anne!!!!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Tortoise and The Hare

This is a story about a Chocolate Caramel Turtle Cake ( aka The Tortoise) and the quick eating cake-aholic (Me!!--and my family too...the Hares). You see today was no ordinary day, it was a special day for all of those whose live in the great U.S. of A, for today was Memorial Day. Today is a time when we send our love, prayers and thanks to all of those who are fight or have fought for our wonderful gift of freedom. Seeing as how today was such a special day, Mr. Chocolate Caramel Turtle Cake wanted to put together a celebration, but first he had to get cleaned up and into his party clothes. Without another thought he got into his chocolate whirlpool bath and added his special Baking Powder, Baking Soda and Flour Bubble Bath mixture to the constantly churning bathtub. He just loved how the Bubble Bath mixture helped to make him rise when he would go to dry off in the steam room. So once he was thoroughly soaked form head to toe in his bubble bath, he hoped into the special Teflon pans, which helped him to dry off to just the right shape and texture. Opening up the door to the steam room Mr. Chocolate Caramel Turtle Cake slid right in and prepared for 30 minutes of 350degree toasting. While slowly being dried off and transformed from the wrinkly-wet cake to the more fluffy, light cake, Mr. Chocolate Caramel Turtle Cake dreamt about his big celebration...he would have ribs, baked beans, grilled corn on the cob, was going to be a great day. ---Beep Beep Beep---The thirty minutes was up and it was time to cool down. After cooling down a bit it was safe for Mr. Chocolate Caramel Turtle Cake to come out of his special pans and put on his P-A-R-T-Y outfit. So he put on his best tasting caramel pants and his matching pecan topped caramel shirt, but since this was such a special occasion he added a few extra splashes of his caramel cologne just for the ladies. Little did Mr. Chocolate Caramel Turtle cake know that it would be this caramel cologne that would bring him to his untimely death. Once he opened his plastic cake-saver door the aroma of the caramel covered chocolate cake quickly spread through the house...and boy did it attract the ladies, especially the ever feared quick eating chocoholic known as the Hare! It only took minutes before Mr. Chocolate Caramel Turtle Cake was reduced down to a tiny smidgen of a cake. And so Mr. Chocolate Caramel Turtle Cake was later recognized for his contributions to the Hare Family's remembrance, honorance and celebration of the freedom, and the people fighting for our freedom, that America holds so dear to their hearts!
I want to say thank you soo much to all of those who are serving, served or have lost their lives serving our country. Without you all America would not be America, freedom would not be freedom and we, as Americans would not be Americans. You all are the blood that keeps the heart of our country pumping, and I can't tell you how much your service means to me...because you, through your care, courage and devotion make me proud to be an American. Thank you again, my heart goes out to all of you and may God bless you!!

Yahoo!! I'm finally a Daring Baker, and I can't tell you how excited I am! I kept seeing so many people's blogs with the Daring Bakers' Challenges, and I was so captivated by it. What a cool idea to get people to try things they normally wouldn't try...and now I'm part of that crowd! The reason I wanted to be a daring baker soo bad was because I always see cool yet hard (skill wise) recipes that I want to try, but always talked myself out of - but Daring Bakers will change that - this group of special people will help me to overcome my baking fears and plunge head first into the world of the unknown baked goods! I can't wait to learn what the challenge is, I'm so eager that it's driving me nuts---so stay tuned to find out what the challenge was and how my very first Daring Bakers assignment turned out!

Wish Me Luck!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Fondue For Two!!

Happy Anniversary!! This was last week and I totally forgot to put the pictures up! But my boyfriend and I just celebrated our 5th year of being together--Oh how sweet :0) Soo to celebrate we went to The Melting Pot, which is the WONDERFUL fondue restaurant. The only trick to eating there is that you have to not eat the entire day so that you'll have enough room for all of the food you get! And I'm not kidding. We always get the "Big Night" out, which is a choice of cheese fondue, then salad, then main course fondue, and to top it all of CHOCOLATE FONDUE (my personal favorite). So our choice for the cheese fondue was the "Feng Shui" which was amazing. It's made up of Fontina cheese, sake, garlic and shallots, which you then dip apples, bread, carrots, celery and cauliflower into (oh it was sooo goood). Then I had a California salad, but whose here for the salad? NOT ME!! On to the main course fondue, which was the "Fondue Fusion" a mix of surf and turf if you will. So with the main course they bring a plate of raw meat and veggies to you (Which is what you see in the pic) then you cook the food yourself in the boiling fondue broth. This is the funnest thing you will ever do! The even have a Search and Rescue spoon should you loose one of your precious fondue bites in the broth. To top it all of we finished our meal with the Cookies and Cream Chocolate Fondue, which is melted dark chocolate swirled with marshmallow creme and flambeed table side, then topped of with Oreo cookie crumbles---TO DIE FOR!!! The tasty bites they bring out for you to dip into the chocolate include strawberries, bananas, pineapples, cheesecake, brownies, pound cake, and peanut covered/Oreo covered marshmallows!!!!! And since my boyfriend doesn't really care for sweets, I practically ate the whole thing, he had to hold me back when I reached for the spoon (I wanted to eat all of the chocolate out of the fondue pot). When we left I couldn't even walk because I ate so much, and we had to sit down outside for a few minutes just so I could catch my breath...but it was worth it! Check online to see if there's a Melting Pot near you so that you can go home with the same wonderfully satisfying belly ache that I had!!

Fields of Strawberries

One of the best signs that summer is on the way!! STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKES. I kept seeing so many pictures in magazines for strawberry shortcakes that I broke down and decided to make some. This was the first time that I had ever attempted to make the biscuits on my own...we usually have strawberry shortcake but made with angel food cake, so it was fun to try something different. I found this recipe on Cooking Light's website, but I made my own special changes to adding cinnamon to the mixture and I didn't have buttermilk, so I made my own low fat buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon vinegar to the requested amount of skim milk. The recipe from the website also shows this as one big shortcake, but I decide to cut it up into 6 pieces instead. Doing that made me a little nervous because I was afraid I wasn't going to get the cooking time right, but everything worked out just fine. These turned out great!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Pink Ladies

It's my neighbor's 9th birthday and I wanted to make her a special cupcake present, and what better than a yellow cupcake with pink buttercream!! Not to mention that I added red and pink sprinkles to the cupcake batter. These little cakes came out soo cute...and don't tell Ashtyn, but I had to try one...only for safety reasons of course! I had to make sure that I was serving a quality cupcake to the birthday girl. And I must say this cupcake was so delicious, it's one of the best cupcakes I've ever had. I know I'm a self proclaimed choco-holic, but I really like the lightness that this cupcake offered. And the cake was cooked perfectly, to the point where it's golden all around, but is still very moist on the inside, LOVE IT!! The only problem that I had, and this has happened a few times now is that my buttercream comes out looking a little separated, and I'm not sure how to fix that, so if anyone has any ideas I'd love to hear from you. Other than that I think this cupcake is going to be a hit.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Brownie Points

Who doesn't love a good brownie? Just thinking about brownies make my mouth start to water!! I could eat brownies day and night...sometimes I do!! I don't know what it is about those little guys, but I just can't resist them. But I'm all about the gooey brownies, I don't really care for the cakey brownies. I figure if I wanted something cakey, I'd have a cake, but I don't. I want a warm, chocolaty, gooey, fudgy, scrumptious brownie!! So for today's brownie craving I made a Toffee Walnut Brownie. Which turned out AMAZING, but I couldn't just have a brownie, I of course had to add vanilla ice cream, hot fudge sauce, caramel and whipped cream!! YUMMY. This was also the first time I've ever made brownies with instant coffee granules, which really helped to deepen the chocolate flavor of the brownie. I've heard about doing that many times on the Food Network shows, but never tried it. And now that I have tried it I will be sure to pair coffee with chocolate more often. I can always tell when I've made a good dessert because after I've ate my piece, I'll sit back on the couch and the only thing I can think of is the rest of the brownie pan sitting in the kitchen! Of course it takes every ounce of strength for me to not go in there in eat the whole 9"x9" pan of brownies. But having the craving to do so lets me know that I've created, what I believe to be, a masterpiece. And that is why I love to bake...I love the satisfaction that I bring to myself, as well as others, in creating these devilish morsels!!!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

NYC Pictures

New York City

Micheal Kors, Meredith and Anne

Max Brenner and his creations