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(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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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!

New Year’s Cheers

16 Dec

I know you’re thinking, New Year’s already Michelle, really? Well, kinda.

You see, there is plenty of Christmas posting coming up this week, no worries, but this is time-sensitive material, I need some guests for my party!

I was chosen as one of 24 members of the FoodBuzz community to participate in the December 24×24 program – woo hoo! This program occurs every month and surrounds itself around the idea that there will be 24 meals taking place around the country in 24 hours. I think that is a pretty clever thought and am really pumped to be a part of it this month. Especially since it’s my first time applying and I will be at home in Schaumburg for the event, which ensures me a larger pool of guests to choose from!

Well pretty much anyone is invited, if you read this and I haven’t reached out to you, let me know. There’s always room to celebrate. Now here is where the fun part comes in. My idea is that we celebrate our New Year’s resolution with a really fun brunch. This way, children can participate, and friends and family that have other plans at night are still able to join the festivities. The requirement is that you bring a dish representing your New Year’s resolution. Whether that means you’re planning to get healthier, yearning to learn to make muffins, desire travel the world, or hope to get a new job, whatever your hopes for 2012 entail, the dish will represent it. I’m pretty excited to see what you all bring!

Every one will share their story on my webcam so that I can turn it into a video that we can save for the next year to see if the resolutions came true. This is a positive experience, no negativity allowed. The location will be my parents house in Schaumburg at noon and we will decorate with sparkly decos and other happy exciting elements.

Of course there will be champagne, it’s part of my resolution to find plenty of things to celebrate in the new year and also, of course, my other dish will be dessert. I haven’t decided on the resolution or the dessert yet but I’m ready to get creative and hope my attendees will do the same.

I have decided that each person can bring a guest, meaning if your guest doesn’t want to participate that’s fine but only two people max per dish, so any more than that must participate in the program.

Cheers! 

One last trick or treat

18 Nov

 

Obviously we are all focused on the best holiday, Thanksgiving, but let’s revisit Halloween just one more time for me, k? Thanks! So you all read my post on the De-Lite peanut butter cups, which were devoured and enjoyed! I even had a high school friend tell me she watched my webisode and made them. Really that made me ridiculously happy. But I made another Halloween dessert also, so we can’t let time go by too fast before I share that.

These cookies came from my absolutely favorite, pretzel m&m cookie recipe, of all the cookies in existence, these really shine. Sweet, salty, crunchy, ahh, I’m salivating just remembering them. Well for the holiday I took a little twist on them. You see, I couldn’t find any Halloween M&M’s and I was pretty bummed about that, but what I could do, was dye the dough orange! And I did. Watch and learn people! And enjoy the festive cocktail, too!

 

Here are some close-ups, cuz I know my readers like the sweet details.

 

 

 

 

Christmas in February

23 Feb

If you’ve been reading this, you know I love making cakes and wish I could do it more often – but cookies have been taking over lately. So when the restaurant where I work decided that we were getting to have a holiday party (in February – better late than never!) I jumped on the chance to make a cake. I’m always looking to impress everyone and since I don’t think I’ve ever made my co-workers cake, I decided to make my favorite graham cracker cake recipe, filled with chocolate pudding, chocolate covered marshmallows and a twist on my favorite buttercream frosting – I added in a package of hot chocolate mix.

So in addition to baking my favorite cake, I also used this opportunity to shoot my first segment for my video blog – Sweet Talk Live

So that takes care of how I made the cake 🙂 Let me know how you like the segment! There will be new ones almost every week.

Now for the inside, as I said, I grabbed a box of pudding and a bag of marshmallows and threw them inside, and then my frosting is my favorite buttercream “spiked” with hot chocolate mix – so delicious.

 

I hope everyone loved the cake, I think they did, and I will definitely revisit this combination in the future.

 

Merry Christmas Westwood! 🙂

 

 

Ice Cream Cookies

27 Jul

I have a specific cake recipe I usually choose when someone asks for a vanilla cake, I have a favorite oatmeal cookie (my oatberries) and I definitely have a standard buttercream, but for chocolate chip cookies, I’m always on a search for the best. Each recipe yields a different cookie consistency, whether that is fluffy and soft or buttery and crispy. With that in mind, whenever I come across anything that looks super interesting, I’m all for it. Enter the ice cream cookie recipe.

Ice cream can usually be found in-between cookies in a sandwich, or maybe with crushed cookies in a sundae… but as an ingredient? Really? Yes, really.

I came across this Ice Cream Cookie recipe a few weeks ago and was super interested in the idea of adding vanilla ice cream to cookie batter. I had no idea what the ice cream would do as an ingredient or how the batter would react to adding the creamy treat.

What I learned was that the addition of the frozen ice cream (the recipe says straight from the freezer, which kind of makes me want to try it with melted ice cream…) extremely fluffed up the batter and made it a thicker consistency. It also added an intense vanilla flavor to the batter. Uncooked this batter was amazing, I had to try it, right? 🙂 And the end result was the softest, fluffiest cookies I’ve made in a while! They reminded me of Chips Ahoy! soft baked cookies, only better of course because they were homemade. I ended up baking them last Sunday and freezing them to bring with to our Fioretti family reunion this weekend. They held up well in the freezer and thawed to perfection. I would probably add more chocolate chips next time and I think it would be really fun to sub different ice cream flavors. I have a feeling that using chocolate would be delicious and have a bi-color effect. Of course, I will let you know the results!

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