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Preview: Cupcake, my love

Cupcake, my love



A look at my journey of life through the lens of cupcakes, brownies and cookies. Food can say so much about a person, and a person can say so much about food!



Updated: 2014-10-06T18:27:14.812-07:00

 



Walkin in a Winter Wonderland

2008-12-16T07:51:16.925-07:00

Snow! Yes I have snow! I have it on my doorstep, I have it on my bushes, I have it on my car...I HAVE SNOW! As I mentioned in a previous post, the Westside of Albuquerque doesn't usually see snow. So when I was at work yesterday and the beautiful flakes kept falling from the sky and suddenly turning into 3 inch piles outside the office I was ecstatic. There's something about snow that turns everything into a beautiful serene landscape. This is the time I wish I was a kid again! Our schools are, for now, on a two hour delay, which takes me back to my own childhood snow days. I would wake up, run into the kitchen and have my ears ringing with the words that came out of my mom's mouth, "No school...snow". My brother and would get all bundled up and head out for our first mission, snowman building. But not just one snowman, we would make a Daddy, a Mommy, a Sister and a Brother snowman. The next task was sledding. We used to live by a park that had this huge hill, we actually the park was built kinda like a pit. We'd show up at the park and all the other kids would have these fancy sleds and would make it half way down the hill and come to a complete stop. Well we didn't have enough money for a sled, so my parents gave us an extra scrap of linoleum they had from when we revamped the kitchen floor. All the kids gave us a look of disgust when we pulled out our blue checkered linoleum sled. Chris and I were a little embarrassed at first, but the second we zoomed down the hill like a speed racer, making it all the way to the bottom, the embarrassment quickly faded. Pretty soon everybody wanted to take a turn on our sled! Ah, those were the days! As I'm writing this post they just announced all schools are cancelled, and I just received a text from my boss that we still have to go to work, no delay, no closure. Please, please can I go back to being a kid?!This week's TWD was another great cookie recipe, that I'm sure Santa would LOVE to eat during his busy night of present deliveries. This recipe, Buttery Jam Cookies, is brought to you by Heather of Randomosity and the Girl . I really enjoyed these cookies, they were light, buttery and the surprise chunks of jam really got me excited! Not only will this be a favorite of Santa's but of favorite of my family, and hopefully yours! [...]



Dear Heroes,

2008-12-11T17:03:50.127-07:00

See, I'm a little too old to actually mail my Christmas Wishlist to Santa (Hey, I still make one, it just doesn't go to the North Pole). So I figured this year I would send my Christmas Wishes and Santa Cookies to someone a little more special. Jason Lansdon is my new found Santa. At the young age of 25 Jason is a Sergeant in the U.S. Marines, and is currently on his four tour in Iraq. This Christmas Jason will be away from his wife Jackie and his three month old baby girl Jayden. I was introduced to Jason when I joined the Baking Gals group. Baking Gals has teams of bakers, who bake for an individual, and their troop, who is serving our country. After reading through this round's teams, I was struck by Jason's introduction. Being that I am 24, I can't imagine having been to Iraq four times and to be away from my family at the Holidays. Jason's favorite cookie is Chocolate Chip, and I wasn't going to deny him of his favorite cookie. But, I figured some of the other bakers would also be sending chocolate chip cookies, so I wanted to make mine a little different. I added some grated orange zest and grand marnier to the batter. Why have I never done this before? I made myself a mini cookie and was in heaven at first bite. I also sent along some Oatmeal Crisps. Which are crunchy, mixed with a little bit of spice. A perfect holiday cookie. I am just so proud of all these men and women who are serving our country, and know that cookies could never say how grateful I am for their strength, bravery and selflessness. They truly are my heroes, and I will always be thankful to them for making sure that all of us here at home wake up every morning to a safe and free United States of America! My Christmas wish is to say Happy Holidays Sergeant Lansdon and Crew and may you have a safe and blessed New Year! You will be in my thoughts and prayers!Oatmeal CrispsIngredients3/4 cup all-purpose flour1 teaspoon ground cinnamon1/2 teaspoon baking soda1/2 teaspoon ground allspice1/2 teaspoon grated whole nutmeg1/4 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon ground cloves1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (optional)1 cup packed brown sugar5 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, softened1 teaspoon vanilla extract1 large egg1/2 cup regular oatsPreparationPreheat oven to 350°.Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 7 ingredients (flour through pepper) in a medium bowl. Beat sugar, butter, and vanilla in a large bowl with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg; beat well. Stir in flour mixture and oats.Drop by level tablespoons 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until crisp. Cool on pan 2 to 3 minutes or until firm. Remove cookies from pan; cool on wire racks.[...]



Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

2008-12-09T08:35:42.405-07:00

It's officially holiday time here in Albuquerque. As I woke up and turned the TV on this morning the first thing that I heard was notice of school cancellations, which can only mean one thing...SNOW! Now in New Mexico, we get quite a bit of snow up in the Eastern part of the state, but when it snows here in Albuquerque, it's usually only the mountains that see any of the snow. Albuquerque is pretty much divided in half, one half is the east side. Which is home to the Sandia mountains (which holds the worlds longest tram ride!) and pretty much downtown Albuquerque. Then you have the west side, which is where I live. The west is the newer, continuously growing part of Albuquerque. So, although my side of town hardly ever gets any snow, I love waking up in the morning and looking over at the Sandia's which have been frosted with white icing! Then you get the sun peeking up over the mountain and you have the most beautiful winter wonderland you've ever seen! And although this weeks TWD could mimic my Sandia's with a good coat of icing, I chose to leave my Grandma's All-Occasion Sugar Cookies icing free. I did however decide to adjust the flavor a little bit by adding some orange zest and some allspice to the mix. And boy-oh-boy did I hit the Christmas nail on the head! The cookies were fruity, yet had the warm coziness that everyone loves during the holidays from the allspice. To check out the recipe and make a batch of these yummy cookies for yourself check out Ulrike's blog Kuchenlatein. [...]



It's the Holiday Season

2008-12-02T10:42:47.698-07:00

It's that time of year again people! It's time to wake up at the crack of dawn and stand in 3 hour lines for Christmas presents. It's time to get on the wobbly ladder and hang the Christmas lights. It's time to have the smell of an evergreen tree permeating your house. It's time to get in the kitchen and bake, bake, bake and then bake some more Christmas cookies! TWD started off the Holiday baking with Linzer Sables, chosen by our first male TWD-er, Dennis of Living the Life! And I have to say that this recipe is pretty easy going. I sometimes hate when it seems like Holiday cookies take more effort to make than they do to enjoy. But these cookies were simple and straight forward. I still don't know if I'm a big fan of them yet. I'm not sure how I feel about the cookie itself. It was good and crisp, but for me tasted a little bland. I also am not a fan of inhaling powdered sugar when I eat my cookie so I chose to fore go suffocation this time around :) There's plenty more to bake and plenty more to decorate, so stay tuned for more Holiday Baking! [...]



What came first, the pumpkin or the pecan?

2008-11-25T07:45:17.664-07:00

Yahoo! We are just days away from my second favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. There are a few reasons why i love this holiday. I would like to say that the first reason is the food, but I'd be lying. The biggest reason I love Thanksgiving is that I get to spend of full day of cooking, laughing and sharing memories with my family. In my house we start cooking the night before actual Turkey Day. We have to make the cornbread for the stuffing (or dressing as we call it), pies are made the night before, and we also make a breakfast casserole to have in the morning. Then, at the crack of dawn on Thursday Mom and I are up, with coffee in hand and we are chopping away. Celery, onions, sausage, all meet the knife, and we are thankful for their sacrifice. The rest of the day is filled with me, Mom and Dad moving about the kitchen, with pots clinking, burners boiling, and Mr. Turkey roasting away. The smells fill the kitchen quickly and little by little the magic starts to happen. Deviled eggs are made, green been casserole is browned, pea salad is refrigerating, marshmallows on the sweet potatoes are melting, biscuits are rising, gravy is thickening, cranberries are jellied, pickled and olives are trayed and of course Mr. Turkey is carved. My plate is piled with food, and I'll probably go back for seconds. The crowd of family now moves to the living room to surround the TV and watch some football. The dogs sit close and stare with puppy dogs eyes, begging for a morsel. After a few hours and some games, the pies, pumpkin and pecan, are unveiled, coffee is brewed, wine is opened and we all sit around the table talking about memories past. This is also the time that we bust out the shopping ads and create our plan of attack for the next days shopping mission. It is for all of these reasons that I love Thanksgiving. I love spending all day with my family, I love, love the food, I love the football game, I love playing games at the table, and I love to be able to reflect on everything I am thankful for. This week I was thankful for TWD for a few reasons. Vibi from La Casserole Carrée was our recipe queen this week and she chose Dorie's Thanksgiving Twofer Pie. It's half pumpkin and half pecan. I was so excited about this one, because my pie crust actually worked. When TWD made our blueberry pie, my pie crust was dumped in the trash and store bought was substituted. But not this time! My pie is completely home/hand made! The pumpkin filling had an extra kick thanks to the rum, which I really liked. And I loved the crunchy topping and nutty pecans. If you're anything like my family where we always make a pumpkin pie and a pecan pie, your life may have just got a little easier thanks to this scrumptious hybrid! [...]



A-ha...kinda

2008-11-21T07:49:39.622-07:00

I wish I could have an "A-ha" moment. Deep down inside I really have an urge to change my life, do something different and achieve my career goals. Only problem is I don't know what that career is. My mind has changed so many times that I have no clue anymore of what I want to do. I'd really like to start my own business, my ultimate goal would be some kind of bake shop. But, I'm not financially ready for that step yet. So my mind wanders to other things. Personal Trainer, Real Estate Agent, something in Magazine Design, or even going to school to get my Masters...in what, I don't know. And with times being a little tough these days I feel like I would like to have a second source of income. I don't necessarily want to get another job. I'd like to find something easy that I could do in my "afterwork" hours, that doesn't have me working another 5 hours at night. I just have so many thoughts running through my mind and I don't know how to sort them, where to take them, or what to do with them. I think about the woman that I want to be. Successful, financially independent, respected, entrepreneur, and innovative. Its connecting the dots to get to that woman that I'm having problems with. I just keep praying that while I'm having my coffee one morning I will all the sudden say "A-ha" I know now what it all means! Until that day comes, I had an "A-ha" moment with this cake. I saw a recipe on Epicurious.com for Brown_Sugar Spice Cake with Caramelized Apples. The cake sounded so warm and comforting, some thing to help lift my spirits. Only problem was I didn't have any apples. Think, think, think. A-ha!!! I've had this jar of Pomegranate Jelly forever, and a can of pears in the pantry that needed to be used. So I figured I mix them together for my topping, and what do you know, I had one of the best cake I have ever, ever made! The flavors were so reminiscent of fall, and matched perfectly together that I found myself dying for another piece. At least I had some sort of an "A-ha" moment. Brown-Sugar Spice Cake with Warm Pear-Pomegranate CompoteAdapted from Epicurious.comCake1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder1/2 teaspoon baking soda1/2 teaspoon salt1/2 teaspoon ground allspice1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg1/8 teaspoon ground cloves1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened1/3 cup packed light brown sugar1 large egg1/2 cup dark amber or Grade B maple syrup1/2 cup sour cream1 teaspoon vanillaPut oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter and flour cake pan, knocking out excess flour.Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a bowl.Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg until combined. Add maple syrup, sour cream, and vanilla and beat until combined well. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, then mix until just incorporated.Spread batter in cake pan and bake until cake is golden brown and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes. Compote1/4 cup pomegranate jelly1 can of pear halves, cubedPlace both the jelly and the pears in a bowl and microwave for 2 minutes, or until jelly have liquified. Mash pears, slightly to add texture. Spoon mixture over cooled cake.[...]



High Spirits

2008-11-18T07:28:09.639-07:00

It's time to kick off Holiday Season! This year, the holidays are a little more special to me because I'm living on my own. It's my first time to ever go out and buy Christmas decor, decorate my own tree and host my own cocktail parties. Ever since I was little I always dreamed about this! I know, you may think it's silly, but I was raised in a Christmas loving family. My mom, god love her, has an entire shed in the backyard dedicated to Christmas decor. Every year our house would transform into this magical wonderland full of Gingerbread Kitchen, Snowmen Living Room, Santa Family Room. Every room had it's own theme, and there wasn't one spot of the house left untouched.Well, her magic decorating elf dust has sprinkled its self on me. For now I find myself roaming the stores planning out my themed rooms. Buying up endless amounts of red and green. And with each purchase I make I find my self smiling more and more. I never knew that creating my Christmas Wonderland could lift my spirits so much. To compliment my "high spirits" theme, I decided to give my Arborio Rice Pudding of this week's TWD challenge some added spirit. When I saw that Isabelle of Les Gourmandes d'Isa chose this recipe I decided to stray away from the original flavors of vanilla and/or chocolate. I wanted a little kick to my rice pudding, so I added a little cinnamon, orange zest and Grand Marnier. I also noticed that many TWD-ers were having probably with their puddings being to liquidy, so I actually used 1/2 c of rice and reduced the milk by about 3/4 of a cup. I was left with silky, creamy, orange-y rice pudding. I was tempted to eat my whole margarita glass, but I put the spoon in the dishwasher before I had a chance :) This recipe was such a cinch to make, and has endless possibilities to it. So I raise my glass and toast to the kick off of the Holiday Season, may all your days be merry and bright! [...]



Turning Old Into New

2008-11-14T20:44:21.474-07:00

With the economy heading south for the winter, the time to stretch every penny is upon us. I find myself now making sure to use every last drop of milk, saving every last piece of chicken thinking that I can use it as part of my lunch the next day, even using my tea bags twice or reheating old coffee just to save a few bucks. The funny thing is, that it actually feels a little rewarding to find new, inventive ways to pinch the penny. So, after successfully baking TWD Kugelhopf and having two or three slices of it, I was left staring at a whole loaf of Kugelhopf that was almost destined to make it to the trash. Not that I wanted to throw it away, but I just couldn't eat that much Kugelhopf on my own! When I thought all hope was lost for my little friend, a spark of hope glimmered in the distance.That spark of hope is called bread pudding! That's right! I took my crusty three day old Kugelhopf and turned it into a White Chocolate Pecan Bread Pudding. Since cool dark nights are swallowing the sunshine of my day earlier and earlier, I couldn't think of anything better to cuttle up to than a warm bowl of bread pudding. And kugelhopf is actually a great "bread" to use, it was crusty on the top, but light and custardy throughout the center. To all of you out there who are battling these tough times, I raise my spoon to you and say Show Them What You're Made Of! Because we are a nation, a species, a world who have overcome many, many tough times. We will make it through this, just as we have before and come out on top, stronger and ready to face a new day!White Chocolate Pecan Bread Pudding with Cinnamon SyrupIngredients3/4 c whole milk3/4 c half and half1/2 c sugar1 tablespoon vanilla extract1 tablespoon cinnamon1/2 teaspoon nutmegDash of salt3 eggs beaten4 1/2 c (1/2 inch) cubes of Dorie Greenspan's Kugelhopf1/4 c white chocolate chips1/2 c chopped pecansDirectionsCombine milk through eggs in a bowl and whisk together. Place Kugelhopf cubes into 8 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Pour milk mixture over Kugelhopf. Press down on bread to absorb the milk mixture. Sprinkle white chocolate chips and pecans over top. Cover with foil and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place baking dish in a 13x9 pan, add hot water to pan to the depth of 1 inch. Bake, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake and additional 10 - 20 minutes, until wooden skewer comes out clean. Cinnamon SyrupIngredients1 c water1 c packed brown sugar2 tablespoons whipping cream1/2 teaspoon cinnamonDirectionsCombine water and brown sugar in saucepan and bring to boil over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil for about 10 minutes, until mixture is reduced to about a cup. Remove from heat, and whisk in the cream and cinnamon. Keep sauce warm and serve over warm bread pudding. [...]



Rising Again

2008-11-11T09:01:39.898-07:00

Hello Blog World!! I am so happy to be back! My surgery went perfectly, although they did discover that I have arthritis at the age of 24, but other than that all is fine. I am now in my recovery stage. Today was the first day, in three weeks, that I was allowed to take my stiff-leg brace off. And boy does it feel good to bend (slighty) my knee! As with todays' TWD, I feel like I am rising again, on my way back to my full potential. It's gonna take some time to be completely 100%, but like a good Kugelhopf (chosen by Yolanda of the All-purpose Girl), it's all about the waiting process! I don't think there couldn't have been a better chosen recipe to represent these last few weeks for me!I must admit, I was a little nervous about making this recipe, not only because it had been a few weeks since I have even looked at my mixer, but also because of the dreaded word Y-E-A-S-T. As you may remember from the TWD Sticky Buns I was very apprehensive about a yeast recipe, because all of my previous attempts with yeast had failed. But I tell you, there's something about Dorie's recipes that always seem to work out. I now have two successful yeast baked recipes under my belt, and am slowly starting to warm up to the bubbly, fermenting little guy! I wanted to switch up my Kugelhopf, maing it a little more suited for the fall season that has hit New Mexico like a shcokwave. So, I opted to used dried cranberries and white chocolate chips. And boy what a match. The sweet/tartness of the cranberries gave the perfect zing the the airy, buttery dough, and the scattered bite of white chocolate was a sweet, melty surprise. And who says you need a traditional Kugelhopf pan? I made half the dough in my Brooche molds, and the other half in a tube pan, and they worked perfectly. I can't wait to make this recipe again, but try different additions! [...]



A Minor Leave of Absence

2008-10-21T06:11:03.876-07:00

Dear Bloggers,

I just wanted to let you all know that I will be out of the blogging world for a week or two. I'm going into the hospital today to have knee surgery. After years of cheerleading, dancing and marathon running, my young 24 year old knees have finally given up on me, and need to be fixed. I hope to have a speedy recovery and should be back to blogging and baking within a few weeks!

Thanks for the support!
Stephanie



Light as Air

2008-10-14T14:49:47.709-07:00

This has to be one of my favorite times of the year. Here in Albuquerque, if you look out your window just as the sun is rising, you'll notice jewel tones filling the sky. You'll hear roaring noises that are floating up above. You'll see people gathering on their porches, in their backyards, and in the street, all staring up at the sky. And for what? This... The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. This world renowned event brings balloonists from all over the world, with balloons of all shapes and sizes to this great city to participate in the World's Largest Balloon Fiesta. The event is a week and a half long and hosts regular Mass Ascentions, Balloon Glows, Special Shapes Rodeos and Glowdeos (Shaped Balloons that fly in the morning and glow at night), and Balloon Races (hundreds of balloon race into the park to grab envelopes off poles that are 15 ft in the air). If you ever needed an excuse to travel to Albuquerque, this is it. People begin arriving at the park at 5 am and stay all day to see the over 800 balloons take flight. Of course, to get up that early, it requires a lot of coffee, well for me anyway. We woke up at 4:15 to get ready, and by 5:30 I had already had three cups of coffee. And what goes best with coffee? Cranberry Pecan Biscotti of course! Which was this weeks TWD pick by Gretchen of Canela & Comino. Gretchen actually picked Lenox Almond Biscotti by Dorie, but I wanted to change out the nut and add some cranberries. I just think cranberries have such a "fall" feeling and I adore them in any type of cookie. These were so lite and crisp, and a perfect mate for my little coffee mug :)[...]



No Time to Post

2008-10-08T17:44:57.374-07:00

I am so sorry that I don't have time to post about TWD this week. It's is Balloon Fiesta time in Albuquerque, and that means we're up at 4:30 am, out to the balloon field by 5:15 and watching over 700 balloons take off until about 10:30 am. Then it's back home, sleep for a few hours and get back out to the field around 5:00 pm to watch the balloon glows.

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I did have time to complete the Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake, and was ecstatic that for the first time...Ever...I was able to successfully make caramel. I have had many failed attempts, and this was finally my break through moment!

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I actually switched to pecans, because that was the only thing that I had on hand, and it turned out wonderfully. I took this lovely little cake to work and everybody about died. Which is always my goal when I bring something to work :)

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Check out other TWD members and get the recipe from this week's recipe chooser Tammy of Wee Treats by Tammy, and make it at home, you'll die with one bit! (But of course you'll go to heaven!!)

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Fall Harvest

2008-10-02T11:10:01.870-07:00

Fall is defnitely making a statement here in New Mexico. While the temperature is still a little warm, many signs that fall is here are popping up all around. More and more balloons are filling the skies, which is an indication that Balloon Fiesta is taking flight next weekend. There are pumpkin patch signs popping up all around the city. Creepy ghosts and spooky bats are starting to crowd the porches in my community.

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There's a chill to the morning air that takes your breath away, but in a weird way is a little bit comforting. The sun no longer shines past 7 at night, and the rays don't seem to be as scorthing as they once were. Cool breezes whisp through the leaf-filled trees, as a warning that the days off branch exposure are near.

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Comforting aromas fill the kitchen. Comfort food is slowly making it's way to the nightly menu. Pumpkin puree cans are stocked in the pantry. Baked cinnamony aroma engulfs my body and sense like a warm blanket thats come to protect me from dreary days ahead.

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That baked aroma is the heart warming, soul-soothing Pumpkin Pound Cake. I absolutely love pumpkin, especially in the fall. There's something about pumpkin that drowns all my sorrows and takes away all my fears, leaving me in a moment of sweet serenity. And with a moist and scrumptious cake like this, with a steaming cup of hot tea, it's hard not to completely loose yourself. I'm sad that fall is here, but am happy that pumpkin can rescue me at any time! This recipe was courtesy of Cooking Light.

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Life's Riches

2008-09-29T19:57:35.460-07:00

Doesn't it seem that too often we don't reward ourselves? I know, for myself, that I always feel a sense of guilt if I splurge on something special, or buy something that I know I shouldn't, or even eat something that isn't necessarily healthy. I beat myself up over these things and even am to the point where I sometimes feel that I don't deserve my splurges. I scold myself for "rewarding" myself. It wasn't until recently that I realized how unhealthy not splurging is. If I tell myself that I can't have a hamburger or a donut, I'll end up binging out on ice cream. If I tell myself that I'm not worth a pedicure twice a month then I feel like I can't spend my hard earned money on two days a month of pampering myself. If I don't allow myself to buy things for my new apartment, then I always come to home to an empty house, which makes me feel depressed.Now don't get me wrong, I"m not saying that I'm gonna run out and buy a brand new car just because I've been wanting one for a few years and fell like I deserve it. I think there are smart ways to splurge on yourself to keep you from getting stuck in a rut. I also think that the occasional smart splurge can take you to a higher place, mentally. For example, when I'm able to eat the finest food in my little one bedroom, 812 sq ft apartment, it takes me somewhere else mentally. I can picture myself sitting at a fine dinning restaurant, surrounded by first class people. It's incredible to be able to bring that sense of "high class" home with you. That's exactly the feeling I got with this week's TWD recipe. I have always thought of Creme Brulee as something very fancy, hard time make and only worthy to touch the lips of people who have a lot of money. I don't know where this impression came from, but I'm sure My Best Friend's Wedding didn't help my thoughts of Creme Brulee. And I had my doubts when Mari of Mevrouw Cupcakes chose Dorie's Creme Brulee. But I was amazed to find out how easy the recipe actually is. I wanted to kick my Creme Brulee up a notch, since plain Creme Brulee just wasn't fancy enough, so I steeped some Chai Tea bags into my milk, and added cinnamon to my egg mixture. Within five minutes I had completed my Creme Brulee batter! It was just that simple. The result was amazing! Very creamy and exotic tasting, yet comforting to the soul. Which taught me one thing. I don't have to be high class or non-splurgant to enjoy in life's riches! [...]



My Big Fat...

2008-09-26T16:29:22.295-07:00

There are so many things that could finish this title. First things that comes to mind is My Big Fat Crazy Family. (But I'm sure many bloggers could say the same thing). I'm tellin' you my family is a crazy group of people. First there's Dad, who is ultra reserved until Coors Light shows up, which turns Dad in to a fun loving, joke crackin', "what'd you say?", kinda guy. He often has many moments of forgetfulness too. You can tell him something one minute, and two minutes later he'll have totally forgot what you said. Then there's Mom. She's a crazy lady who can totally keep herself entertained. I remember, as a kid, she would make up the dumbest jokes and she would die laughing over them for about an hour. For example, here in New Mexico there's a little city know for its caverns called Carlsbad. Well we had gone down to Carlsbad for a family vacation, and Mom's big joke was "Oh Carl's bad". We just looked at her with a blank stare as she broke out in laughter. Thank goodness she decided not to become a comedian :)Third is me. And I already know that I'm a nuthead. I'm ultra controlling, things have to be done my way or no way. (Which is something I'm working on desperately to fix). I'm also very silly and stupid. Andy hates it, but I always talk in weird voices or constantly quote from movies. Finally is Chris, my younger brother. He's always making up these crazy inventions. We used to have a big huge trampoline outside called, The Tramp. Well Chris came up with this crazy idea to take the wheels off his bike and put padding all over the frame. He then proceed to use the padded bike to do flips and tricks on The Tramp, kinda like a motorcross rider does tricks off a dirt ramp. But, I guess every family has their crazy stories. With those stories come some of the fondest memories, hardest laughs and face streaming tears. And there is no way I would trade my crazy family for anything in the world. However, of all the things that I could use to complete the My Big Fat title , I would say that My Big Fat Chocolate Chip Cookie would have to be the best choice! Months ago I watched Bobby Flay throw down with Levain Bakery, and I was star struck. These cookies from Levain were the biggest cookies I had ever seen. I slowly started seeing copycat recipes pop up and finally decided to give them a try. I used this recipe from Cookie Madness, but made one small change. I found a Lindt chocolate bar that had a cherry chile filing, so I chopped that up and substituted it for half of the regular chocolate chips. I cannot tell you how good these were! Each cookie is 4 ounces, which you can see from the picture. They were so big that the 12 cookies were overflowing out of my cookie jar. I'm sure this shouldn't be a problem though seeing as I don't think they'll last very long. So here's to many Big Fat things in our lives that end up being the greatest blessings (in disguise).[...]



Life is Full of Dimples

2008-09-22T19:56:07.983-07:00

Dimples...isn't that one of those facial features that everyone wishes they had? Dimples are always a sign of innocence and beauty. A feature, whose goal is to cause envy. Envy of a smile that is so stunningly cute that it was poked at the end, like an exclamation point of a sentence. As with dimples, there are many other things about other people, and the way they live their lives that I envy and am jealous about. One of those things is, and it seems so simple, is belonging to a book club. I, for the longest time, had heard people talk about book clubs and the tons of books that they are able to read, and share with others. I had a friend in college, who was an ARMY wive, that belonged to the "ARMY Wives Book Club". Everywhere I turned, book club, book club! Oprah's book club, Barnes and Nobles book club. U-G-H!!Until January 2008, when my best friend Annmarie and I had had it! We were going to start our own book club. Our very first book was "Kite Runner". That book ended up being one of my all time favorite books. We try to get through a book a month, sometimes it takes us a month and a half. We are currently reading "The Hours", and I have no complaints so far!It's so great to share a love for books with someone, be able to sit down, over a cup of coffee and talk about what we as individuals are taking from the book. We have decided to keep our book club at a two person limit. Not that we don't want to share our club with anyone else, but as two young adults we feel that the start of our book club is something sacred. Something that the two of us can share in, hoping that others look at us the way I look at dimples. While immersed in my September book, I couldn't help but also be introduced to the perfect book reading cake! Dorie's Dimply Plum Cake (except made with Peaches) was the perfect compliment to my cup of Chai Tea and an hour on the couch with the women of "The Hours". Michelle of Bake-En couldn't have picked a better recipe for me. As mentioned earlier, I traded plums for peaches. I am a die hard peach fan and decided that grapefruit zest might make an interesting accent flavor. Sprinkle in a little cinnamon and you've got one heck of a cake. The peaches were so sweet, but were hit with a little grapefruit punch right at the end. And the cake is so buttery and light that I had to force myself to stay away from the pan. Here's to everyone whose every turned envy into passion and love![...]



It's Alive!!!

2008-09-18T09:53:51.350-07:00

It's Alive! It's Alive! Buhhaaaaha!!!My camera that is! As many of you know, new puppy Chloe tore my USB cord to shred, so I've been using my cell phone to upload my pictures (which has been a real pain in my ass). But, yesterday Andy and I went to WalMart to buy some groceries. We were kind of wandering around and happened up the Electronics department. "Do you think they'll have my cord?" "Doesn't hurt to get check..." So off I went to the counter to ask the almighty question. "Well no we don't carry those those cords here," Mr. Man with a big Santa beard said. "But, if you're only looking to upload your pictures on to the computer we have a memory stick for it." He guides me over to the large rack of camera accessories and picks up this tiny plastic package. "This here device lets you take your memory card out of the camera, and upload the pictures to the computer." BRILLIANT!!I was so excited to get home and try it out. But, I have to admit, I was a little skeptical. I just had a bad feeling that this new toy just wasn't going to work. I took it out of the package (fingers crossed) and stuck it into my USB port. Then, with a hope and a prayer, I took out my memory card and inserted in to the little device. Next thing I knew I hard a "ba-ding" from my computer letting me know that it had reckognized a new device. And suddenly, to my heart's amazement the screen for my picture download came up!!!! WOO-HOO!So I give you my TWD Chocolate Chunkers!! Thanks WalMart![...]



The Adventures of Chloe

2008-09-13T15:49:27.841-07:00

A day in the life of Chloe...2:30 am - Wake up with Baxter, follow him to front door and whine to go outside. Keep whining until Mom wakes up and bring me my pink leash. As soon as I see Mom I start swaying this long thing back by my legs that Mom and Dad call a tail. Mom grabs my leash and I start jumping for joy. The big door to the outside finally opens and I am free...for 5 minutes. I love feeling the breeze blow through my hair, but hate the wet pokey grass sticking me in the feet. I run to the front door and scratch to get in, because I am dying for a cookie! I hate when Mom makes me do tricks for my cookie though, oh well. No tricks, no cookie. I gobble my cookie up quick-quick, because Baxter chews fast and I hate sharing. Back to bed now.7 am - Whoa! It's time to wake up! Mom's in the shower and I gotta get in there to steal the blue things that she always wears on her feet. This is the only time those things aren't guarded so I gotta grab them quick. Aha, got 'em! Now out to the living room to chew on them...ah damn, Mom's yelling at me to bring them back. Quick hide, then she'll never know it was me!7:30 am - Eat some breakfast. Go out on porch, sniff around for crazy flying critters that I can jump at. I see Baxter staring at me and challenge him to a dual. He hates when I bite the ears, so that's the first thing I go for! Now the feet, now poke him in the side with my nose. Now whack him with my "tail" weapon! Ha ha, he runs away to Mom...I win!8:30 am - Mom leaves to work, Dad goes shortly after. I hunt around for fun things to play with.1:00 pm - Mom's back and finds out that I found some treasures. I don't know why she seems unhappy. I did a good job at tearing all those cords up! I even got in the bathroom and cleaned out the trash, I should be getting a cookie for all of my help! Egh- oh well. If I give her kisses she'll forgive me...I'm not worried.7:00 pm - Mom and Dad stay in the kitchen making lots of noise, but things smell so yummy. I'm jealous. I beg for a taste, but they never give in. Wait, what's this? Ah my squeaky duck it glaring at me, he wants to wrestle. ATTACK! I fling him around to get him a little confused then I bite at his belly, SQUEAK SQUEAK. Yeah, take that, and that! Now I tear at the face, his fluff is going everywhere! I win!!9:00 pm - Finally it's bedtime, I'm exhausted. At least I know I beat all my competitors today. And now I dream about treasures to find tomorrow.(The smell that Chloe smelled this particular evening was my Banana Peanut Butter Chip Cake with Caramel Drizzle)Banana Peanut Butter Chip Cake with Caramel Drizzle1 box yellow cake mix1 c mashed bananas1/3 c water1/3 c vegetable oil1/2 tsp vanilla1 bag of peanut butter chipsJar of caramel sauceHeat oven to 350, spray 13x9 baking dish with nonstick spray.In large bowl, beat cake mix, bananas, water, oil, eggs and vanilla extract with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes. Pour into pan. Sprinkle peanut butter chips evenly over batter.Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center. Run knife around sides of pan to loosen cake. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Pour caramel sauce overtop and serve. [...]



Compromise

2008-09-08T21:25:04.017-07:00

This week's theme is compromise. I am trying to compromise with my camera (see previous post for info). I had this ingenious idea that my video camera can take pictures, and that was going to be the solution to my problems. Only problem was the battery on the cam-corder is dead, and the charger is at my parents house. Ok, I'll compromise...I'll go over to their house and get the charger. Yes, yes, yes! I was so excited on the way home thinking that I had my camera problem all figured out. Well, I pull out the cam-corder and realize it's the wrong charger. That's just great! As I look around the house trying to get an idea of what else I can use for my pictures I glance at my phone to check the time. Wait a minute! My phone takes pictures! Yes, that's right. It takes pictures I can totally e-mail them to myself and post them on my blog. Problem solved. Well, turns out that the pictures aren't the best quality, but you know what, at least it's a picture! And that is good enough for me! Being on the theme of compromise, I decided to "compromise" this week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe a little bit. Rachel of Confession of a Tangerine Tart chose a most fabulous chocolatey cookie. Da-da-da-daaaaaa...Chocolate Whopper Malted Drops!! And might I say, if you like chocolate, this is the cookie for you! The recipe calls for regular Whoppers and Chocolate Chips, which I had to compromise with Reese's Peanut Butter Whoppers and Peanut Butter Chips. I'm an addict for chocolate and PB, and these cookies hit the spot. The chocolate fudigness of the cookies really brought out the nutty PB flavor, and are great dunkers in a glass of cold milk. Obviously these were a hit with Andy, because I made these cookies in the morning, and by bedtime, this is what my cookie jar looked like. Bake on Bloggers! [...]



This is NOT How I Planned It!

2008-09-02T11:25:12.723-07:00

Andy and I got a new puppy!! For Andy's birthday I decided to surprise him with our new little addition. She's a six month old black terrier mix, who has the sweetest face ever! Andy was so excited, because he hasn't had his "own" dog since he was eight!! We decided to name our little girl Chloe. At first she was a little shy, I adopted her from the ABQ Animal Shelter, but she warmed up to us in a hurry.

I had it all planned out that I was going to post about Chloe and show you guys just how cute she is. I planned to introduce her to the world in addition to my TWD post. Keyword her is planned!

After working on Sunday, I came home to find that Chloe loves electronics. So much so that she chewed my USB cord for my camera in half! Yes, people, she had no mercy on the poor little cord.

After my shock and anger passed I thought, "no biggie I'll just go to Best Buy and get a new one". Don't we wish it were that easy. Of course Best Buy doesn't carry the stupid cord, they tell me that I have to buy it from the Sony website. ...ugh! Fine!

I get home, look up the Sony website, and to my disbelief the FREAKIN thing is on backorder!!! WTF!! At that point I was livid because that means that I have no way to post pictures to my blog!!! (And I have no clue when I'll be able to next)

So I plan on writing my TWD post, but it will not have any pictures :(

Blog world, meet my new puppy Chloe (who you can't see)!



TWD: One Day Late

2008-08-27T19:12:53.875-07:00

Aah!! It's Wednesday and I'm writing my post for TWD! I don't really know what happened, but I realized about an hour ago that I forgot to write my post. DUH!!! So here it is, better late than never!I am so glad that Amy, of Food, Family, and Fun picked and icy treat for this week. Seeing as how summer is coming to close, I wanna get all my ice cream eating in that I can. And boy was this one a good one! Dorie's Chocolate Banded Ice Cream Torte was amazing!! Who doesn't love ice cream with ganache? I DO, I DO!!I must admit however that I am not a huge fan of raspberry ice cream, so I had to adjust the recipe a little bit. I started thinking about my favorite ice creams and right away cookie dough popped into my head. I wouldn't know how perfect an idea this was until the next day when I went out to dinner...Andy and I had gone to Jason's Deli and I was giving a blessing. After we ordered our dinner the lady at the counter asked us if we wanted to buy a bag of cookies pieces. Apparently there was a new hire who tried to take the cookies of the tray a little too soon and all they were left with was chucks of cookies. And at $0.50 a bag how could I resist?I knew immediately these were gonna go into my ice cream treat. When we got home I was ready to start on my Torte. I poured a cup of coffee, ready to begin the ganache when another spark of genius hit me...Kahlua in the ganache? Dare I? Heck yes!!!My little torte turned into this amazing cookie "dough"/chunk, coffee drinking ice cream. When it was all said in done the flavors of my torte were outstanding. The kahlua ganache with the chocolate chip/white chocolate macadamia/almond biscotti balanced perfectly together. And although it does take some time to get to the end process, the actual preparation is very, very easy. And the sky is the limit with flavor combos, which is always a plus when you wanna "reserve" the same dessert later in time!! Thanks AMY!![...]



Mud Pie Revised

2008-08-23T18:22:54.515-07:00

At the age of four years old I remember making my very first "baked" good. It was my mud pie, and the ingredients couldn't be easier. Water, dirt and hands. And the directions were just as easy. Pour water over dirt, mix with hands. Smoosh mixture into cupcake shape and serve. I guess I had a dream early on to become a baker. Because from cupcakes I graduated to stacked mud cakes, decorated with special rocks. Of course there was always mud cookies that had flower petal sprinkles. With such an easy and adaptable recipe the options were endless. I was sure that I had a huge hit on my hands. The only problem was people weren't reacting to my goodies as well as I had hoped they would. I never understood why my mom was so excited to receive my mud pie, but never took a bite. I mean how can one say "Oh wow Stephie this is the most tastiest pie I've ever had," if they don't even put it in their mouth and chew it. And then Dad was always saying that he was so full from lunch or dinner that he just didn't have room, but always asked me to save it for him in case he got hungry later. Well, twenty years later I am here with a revised Mud Pie (Cake) that is just about as easy to make as my original, but tastes 1 million times better, and doesn't leave any grit behind. And to my surprise people actually ate this mud pie and enjoyed it ;) So I guess my dream of being a fabulous baker still lives on thanks to Jennifer of Bake or Break! Her chocolate cobbler recipe was so reminiscent of my mud pie. I did make one little twirk to it, and that was that I reduced the water amount so that I could add a few shots of Kahlua. But blogger I am telling you this is like heaven in a baking dish. Please, please, please make it! It will take you five minutes to put it together and will take you five lifetimes to get over!![...]



Who Says Granola is Boring?

2008-08-19T06:21:39.294-07:00

Back in the day granola was thought as something boring and bland. Just a bunch of oats toasted up and nothing special or fancy. Lately though granola has been all the craze. With it's versatility and variety of flavor combonations what's not to love?Especially when you can add granola to a cookie! Yes that's right...a COOKIE. (And dare we call it healthy? Sure why not ;) ) With this week's Tuesdays with Dorie we did just that! We turned already scrumptious (yet a little boring) granola into one of the best, and I mean best, cookies I have ever had.The combination of almonds and peanuts into the batter gave it such a crunchy texture, and the nuts were practically roasted while the cookies were baking, which really brought out that nutty flavor. And I am such a sucker for raisins, especially in cookies. There's something about a hot oven that can plump up raisins, that really gets me going. I really love how these cookies are sweet but not too sweet either. When I usually eat cookies I can only have one, maybe two, at a time because they give me a tummy ache. But not with these bad boys! Which, now that I think about it can turn out to be a big problem if you know what I mean!Excellent, excellent choice Michelle! Check out the recipe at Michelle's Bad Girl Baking blog!![...]



Ok, Ok, I Give In!

2008-08-17T19:55:21.681-07:00

After making my ice cream sandwiches for TWD I began receiving requests for the recipe of the cookies that I had made. And let me just say that these were the best oatmeal cookies I have ever had. They were crunchy on the edges, but still soft on the inside and had a real yummy nutty oatmeal taste to them that rules over any other oatmeal cookie. So I decided that since so many people were interested in the cookies, and the simple fact that I forgot to post the recipe in my rush to make the "TWD Deadline", that I would make yet another sandwich and post the recipe. These sandwiches came together so easily with the help of a jar of Marshmallow Fluff, and yet they were outrageously delicious. Everybody at work was mad at me that I brought these in because they all had their fair share of cookies that morning. I tried to tell them that the oatmeal in it made it ok, and I guess they bought it. Because those cookies were gone in a flash :)Nut Oatmeal CookiesCourtesy of The New Best RecipeIngredients1 1/2 c flour1/2 tsp baking powder1/4 tsp nutmeg1/2 tsp salt16 TBSP (2 sticks) unsalted butter1 c light brown sugar1 c sugar2 eggs3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats1 c chopped pecans or walnutsDirectionsAdjust oven racks to the low and middle positions of the oven and heat to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.Whisk flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt together in a medium bowl.Beat butter on medium speed until creamy. Add the sugars; beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time.Stir the dry ingredients into the butter-sugar mixture with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Stir in the oats and nuts.Working with 2 TBSP of dough each time, roll the dough into 2 inch balls. Place on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake until cookie edges turn golden brown, 22 to 25 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool at least 30 minutes.[...]



Sour Blueberries

2008-08-12T06:03:25.505-07:00

I am flabbergasted!! Tuesday's with Dorie never cease to amaze me. When I first bought Dorie's book almost two years ago there were some recipes that, just by name, I had decided not to try. To me there's something about a name. A name can explain everything. A name gives identity. A name relates an object to the brain. And when I read the name Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream I didn't know what to think. My first reaction was to the Sour Cream part. I am a huge sweet cream girl, I love my sweets. Sour in an ice cream (unless it's Sour Patch Kids) just doesn't seem like a sane thing to do. But, needless to say that's why I joined this group. I wanted to have a reason to try every recipe, whether I liked it or not. Baking gets kinda boring if you don't experiment. Besides, I've been pleasantly surprised before by my lovely little Apple Cheddar Scones. So, off I went to make this thing called "Ice Cream". In making the blueberry syrup I almost hit a snafu. The dang syrup was so good that I almost ate it all, but I made sure to leave plenty for my ice cream. It was a difficult task :) Then I dumped it into the blender gave it a whirl and added my sour cream base. I looked on in awe as my deep sea of indigo blue slowly transformed into a light airy lilac purple. As soon as everything was blended together I dunked my spoon in to get and early taste. I so wanted to say "Oh my gosh, this is absolutely disgusting." But, I couldn't bring myself to do it! I had to take another bite just to see if I was really tasting it right. Then I found my tongue craving yet another bite of the sweet blueberry taste with just a slight tang to it. I just couldn't believe that this was actually good and that I wanted to keep eating it! Things got even better once I turned my liquid heaven into a frozen blueberry goodness and slapped it between two homemade oatmeal pecan cookies! I actually think this dessert is one of the best representations of summer that I have ever had. And I am so happy that Dolores of Chronicles in Curiosity chose such an extraordinarily, original, mind blowing recipe![...]