Video

(pre) New Year’s Resolution Brunch, 2014!

4 Jan

I might have been the worst food blogger of 2013… but I kept my resolution! Good Luck to everyone with theirs in 2014 – Happy New Year!

Belated Bridal Shower Recap

13 Aug

It has been a very long time since I updated this blog, but you know sometimes you need a break. Whether it’s a break from blogging, working, even a break from doing nothing, you just need it.

I’m currently working on reinventing myself for probably like Michelle Version 6.0 or something ridiculous like that, and I read somewhere that in order to move forward sometimes you have to go back to something you enjoyed and were successful with and revisit it, hence my visiting this. We will see how it goes, lucky for me, and those of you reading this, I never took a break from desserts.

My mom wrote a fantastic blog entry about my sister-in-law’s bridal shower we threw in April – be sure to check out her awesome quilt skills on her page. Despite the fact that we argue on a pretty consistent daily basis, my mom and I throw a pretty good party.

Image

We hosted the shower at the restaurant I work at, Westwood Tavern, in the wine room, which is by far my favorite private party room ever. It has its own bar and it set up nicely for whatever occasion you’re celebrating. We decorated with some pretty crafty items – chalkboard painted wine bottles and wine cork place cards.

Image

Best part of the shower? I might be biased, but the cupcakes I made were unbelievable.

Image

I was very insistent on making sure everything as this shower was on theme, including the perfect purple cupcakes. The main color for their wedding was silver/pewter/charcoal with a little bit of purple, so we wanted to pluck the purple accent and turn that into the main shower pigment.

So I picked out these cupcakes and per usual didn’t read the instructions until the day before. Surprise, this was a pretty involved recipe. Like really involved. Like pulverized freeze-dried blueberries involved. I took a deep breath and committed the rest of the day to mastering the cakes. Success. They were amazing. Take some time and make these before summer’s over, you won’t be disappointed. The lemon zest in the cakes paired with those pulverized blueberries were the perfect complement to the cream cheese frosting.

Image

They’re also pretty cute. I decorated them with little white sugar balls I found at the grocery store.

Since the cupcakes were so involved, the other dessert was so not involved. Boxed brownies, the eggs, oil & water you add to boxed brownies, and 1/2  a package of crushed cool mint Oreos. I also got a bunch of compliments on these guys, and made them because my brother loves chocolate mint and hates cake, and it was a little bit his shower too, right?

Image

I cut out a heart of some card stock and dusted the brownies with powdered sugar. Aside from the baking time, they took less than ten minutes. I definitely recommend making these too. Every day.

Image

That was four months ago, since then there have been a bunch more desserts in my kitchen and I’m sure I plan to write about them too. Stay tuned.

Forgotten Sweets

27 Feb

I’m sitting at home, sick, well sick-ish. Sick enough that my throat is not allowing me to swallow and I sound like a freak, so definitely too sick to go talk on the radio for two hours today. But not sick enough to sleep all day or just be content watching movies in bed. Also I have no TV in my room.

Getting back on track here. I am well enough to realize that I never did my Christmas post and I’m very behind in dessert writing. Does it matter? No, but I like sharing my desserts, especially during lent when I can’t eat any. So this will be a slew of forgotten sweets. Whoops.

Let’s start with what I referred to as “Fake Christmas.” We celebrated Christmas with my immediate family – all 13 of us – on Michael’s birthday this year because when Christmas is on a Tuesday, things get messy. We were all busy on different days and couldn’t find the right time to exchange gifts, so we had fake Christmas and Michael’s birthday together on the 15th. It worked fine, but hopefully in the future, when Christmas is not on a dumb Tuesday, we will get it together.

I was extremely excited to make this three layer red velvet cake covered in chocolate! I saw it on Pinterest, which is where most of my dessert inspiration comes from these days. It was pretty easy and my nephews were mesmerized by the deep red color, and of course the puddle of chocolate ganache that covered everything. You should absolutely put this on your 2013 holiday baking list.

IMG_3763 IMG_3767IMG_3842

Since we were also celebrating my brother’s birthday, I threw together some minty brownies, his favorite flavor combination. I’m not 100% sure but I believe these are my famous Bailey’s brownies with added dark chocolate and mint chips.

IMG_3768IMG_3771

And, to top off the day, I made some Christmas punch. I honestly don’t remember the entire recipe. I think it was raspberry sorbet, orange juice and sprite zero. I left it kid friendly, with the choice to add in some white wine for the rest of us. Madeline and Michael loved it, Michael forgot to put the wine in.

IMG_3764

 

On to real Christmas! Sugar cookies are a staple for our family. Though my mom debates me on this, I always say that these cookies are the only holiday cookies I remember from my childhood. Whether I’m right or wrong, they are the most important cookie of the season, and the only cookie I can guarantee my mom will help me with, on our scheduled Sugar Cookie Day, of course. At this point, we are pros. We have a huge assortment of cookie cutters and know which ones make the best cookies, though we do attempt to make snowflakes each year despite the high percentage possibility that they will break.

 

 

 

IMG_3849 IMG_3853 IMG_3855

I slacked off a little this year. I think I only made about 12 different cookies, when I prefer making 18. I know that sounds crazy, but once I cover the handful of cookies that I feel like I have to make each year, I want to experiment with new ones. This December was a little crazy and flew by super fast, so 12 was all I could bake. We all survived.

IMG_3864

I referred to these as pop tart cookies, though the recipe called them french toast cookies. These guys actually really frustrated me because I was trying to do too many things at once and forgot to add cinnamon to the batter, and then we accidentally thought they were sugar cookie dough rolls for a while, but in the end they turned out cute and different, which is always my goal. They were also pretty delicious – and my dad attempted to help me frost them. They were a little big, so I think people were less likely to grab them from the dessert buffet, but I was happy to have them as leftovers. Now I want a pop tart.

IMG_3865

I apologize that I can’t figure out how to flip this mouth-watering coffee cake picture. Good thing you are probably reading this from a lap top or a phone, you can rotate your device. I made this for my mom’s Christmas brunch with her friends, it was also super yummy, pecan cinnamon coffee cake. I do recall this recipe being very strange. I think I ended up mixing more of the dry ingredients in with the wet ones, so be careful with these instructions.

IMG_3867

My FAVORITE christmas dessert is a cranberry bliss bar. These are amazing and were developed to copy a Starbucks dessert. A delicious combination of dried cranberries, white chocolate and cream cheese. I find it so weird that I love these because I’m not a white chocolate fan and I do not like cream cheese. Weird, right? But these are a huge exception to those rules. I love them, so will you, that is all.

IMG_3874

More Bailey’s Brownies. What can I say? They’re really good and everyone needs extra Bailey’s at Christmas.

IMG_3876

Here begins a selection of drop cookies. Traditional Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Cinnamon Chip Raisin, Mint Oreo Chocolate Cookies, (amazing even though I totally messed up the recipe) Sea Salt Caramel Pretzel Bark, and some sort of layer bar that I think I made from a few bags of leftover stuff. They were also really delicious and while I’m typing this I will try to find the recipes.

IMG_3877

I try to Pin all of the things I make so that I can find them later, success for this one. The bark was not supposed to be giant chunks. This is again what happens to me when I accidentally try to do nine million things at once. But you know what? This was the best tasting thing ever in life, so it’s ok. More odd shaped scraps for me and my dad.

IMG_3878

I adapted this recipe from the leftover things I had on hand: weird tasting chocolate marshmallows, super old coconut and chopped pecans. It was actually really really good. Kind of mushier than I think the crust was supposed to be, but another accidental taste of awesome.

IMG_3879

Dark Chocolate Mint Oreo Cookies. Growing up I never understood why Michael and my friend Stevie liked mint chocolate things so much. I hated them for about 16 years. Finally, I’ve come to my senses and realized the intense satisfaction that comes from mixing them together. Plus this recipe has crushed Oreos in it.

IMG_3880

Oatmeal cinnamon chip (an ingredient you must buy) raisin drop cookies can from the recipe on the cinnamon chip bag. Sometimes that is just the way to go.

IMG_3881

I used the “Mrs. Field’s” Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe I found for Septemberfest for these guys. I think they were better as a giant bar, but still pretty good.

IMG_3882

I made these because I really like Pretzel M&Ms. I didn’t like them as much as my drop cookie recipe, but you live, you eat and you learn.

IMG_3884

Fudge. This is actually another recipe my mom made every year for christmas and I make at least 5… ok 10 times a year. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably had it and you love it too.

IMG_3887

Is it a holiday without Oatberries? These were leftover from my unsuccessful attempt to be on the new CBS baking show. That was frustrating because the “taster” ate about 1/16 of one of these. At least I went to round two, that is my goal with most things in life.

 

 

IMG_4097

I was planning on adding my February desserts to this list but I’m too hungry now, plus it’s lent and I don’t know if I have the willpower to look at brownies any more. I still have 32 days left!

Hopefully you did not give up dessert for lent and since there is more snow on the ground than I’ve seen in two years, you can pretend it’s Christmas. Play some deck the halls and make one of these recipes – let me know how it goes!

IMG_4107

 

2013 Cupcakes

29 Jan

I totally forgot to tell you about my recipes for my New Year’s brunch. 

I wanted to make sure that the cupcakes I made were very moist since they were going to be served unfrosted. Even though some of my cupcake eaters are under five and would eat almost anything covered in frosting and toppings, I still wanted these to be delicious.

Since I was so concerned with the awesomeness of these cupcakes, I went to the cupcake queen for my big event. Martha Stewart.

There was some leftover buttermilk in the fridge from christmas cookie baking and luckily Martha had two perfect recipes for buttermilk cupcakes, one chocolate and one vanilla.. Thanks to google I found them in a few clicks and they were as perfect as I wanted. I even had guests take them home unfrosted. Cupcake success. Please bake these anytime you feel the urge for a baby cake!

It also turns out I completely forgot to write about Christmas cookies. Embarrassing, I’m adding that to my to-do list.

 

IMG_4261

IMG_4292

 

Delicious Declarations 2013

14 Jan

Well, we are 14 days into the new year. Statistically, I think people make it about 10 days before they give up their new year’s resolution. How are you doing?

Since I tend to make my resolutions slightly more vague than traditional cut and dry resos, I can’t technically “fail,” which might be a good thing, it gives me the opportunity to just keep trying.

This year i decided to repeat the resolution brunch I hosted last year, with many of the same people in attendance. Our party was again successful, as I asked all of my attendees to bring a food or drink to represent their new year’s resolution. Will we all succeed this year? We will see in a short 11 1/2 months.

Check out my video to see what we’re hoping for!

Sweet’N Low Seasonal Sips

30 Dec

As part of the DailyBuzz Food Tastemaker program, I recently received a wonderful package from Sweet’N Low, including a super cute cocktail shaker!

IMG_4227

I was challenged to create a low-sugar drink with my Sweet’N Low packets and since I’ve recently joined the peppermint mocha loving club, I decided to tackle my own version of the coffeehouse favorite.

The first ingredient I used was a simple cup of coffee. I used an instant coffee packet, but you can easily use a cup from your carafe or from a single serve machine.

IMG_4226

Pour your coffee in a fancy mug and then add a tablespoon of cocoa powder, for the mocha! Of course, the cocoa is unsweetened and that’s where the Sweet’N Low comes in. I used one packet for my single drink, but this part is really to taste, sweeten your drink as much as you like.

Next 1/2 a teaspoon of peppermint extract. Here’s where you can spike your drink with a splash of peppermint schnapps if you want. That’s one of the things I love about making individual drinks, you can fit each drinker with their favorite flavors.

Finally a swirl of whipped cream topped with a few chocolate chips and a peppermint candy, a low-calorie way to enjoy a sinful drink!

IMG_4233 IMG_4245

Thanks to Sweet’N Low now I can enjoy peppermint mocha even after I start my diet tomorrow – cheers!

IMG_4250

Bear down with Brownies! And cupcakes and cookies!

13 Dec

December means a whole lot of fun for most people, celebrating holidays, enjoying peppermint mochas at Starbucks and of course devouring desserts. But if you know my brother, it also means the annual BEARS TAILGATE.

IMG_3703

This year was the Ninth Annual Bears Tailgate and it didn’t disappoint, well the Bears disappointed us, because they lost. But the event was still {almost} flawless. I will leave the disastrous defense, misplaced Michelle items, and the unforgettable yet difficult to remember details, out of this post, and instead tell you about the desserts I brought along. Since that is how I get my $10 discount.

IMG_3643

I decided to bring three different items since we were a bus of about 25 people, plus I’m always worried people won’t like things, so I bring multiples.

First up, my new favorite recipe – Bailey’s Brownies. These are pretty simple and ridiculously amazing. All you do is buy your favorite brownie mix and swap the water for Bailey’s. Don’t worry, kids can enjoy them, there’s only a shot or two in the entire box and the alcohol cooks out, but the flavor stays in and is such a complement to the chewy chocolate bites! I also added in chocolate chips to max out on the fun.

IMG_3634

Next, oatberries. Amanda Lee requested my signature cookie that she’d never tasted. She loved them – success.

IMG_3670

Finally I made some graham cracker cupcakes with green vanilla buttercream frosting topped with chocolate marshmallows that were supposed to look like footballs. These weren’t the best things I ever made because some of the bottoms burnt. Embarrassing I know, though I can probably say it was because I used foil cups – whoops, forgot I don’t like to use those.

IMG_3608

Also, the marshmallows were gross and no one knew they were footballs. And you know, there isn’t a 60, 70, 80 or 90 yard line on the football field. Fortunately I realized that one myself the night before the game, so at least I could laugh about my dumbness instead of having someone point it out to me!

As aforementioned, things were lost both physically and mentally, so I don’t know how many cupcakes were actually eaten, though I do know that a certain Termini dropped giardiniera on one of those 40 yardline-rs, so I made him eat that one, and the brownies were gone before kick-off!

IMG_3699 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 28 other followers

%d bloggers like this: