Monday, May 30, 2011

Judge's Pic of the Week

My boyfriend thinks him and his iPhone are unstoppable. Sometimes when helping me with my blog, he'll get these really creative ideas. Sometimes they turn out awesome...and sometimes...well sometimes they're a little too artistic. Like Picasso's what am I looking at artistic.

Never to be the one to stifle creativity. I decided to feature some of my dear beloved's artwork. I hope you find them as amusing as I do.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Thinking outside the box

Things haven't been fun around here. Yes, finals are finally over, but ever since I've been done I have been working NONSTOP. I took on this security/maintenance job in order to get free a room while I take summer classes. And boy, it hasn't been a walk in the park.

7 am mornings. Enough said, right?

Painting. That would be fun if there weren't approximately 400 rooms to paint in such a short time span.

Moving furniture. I feel like I do A LOT of that.

At least I get off at 11am. Although they try to beg me to stay longer. Sometimes I give in. I'm a sucker like that.

The worst part of all is the cafe is closed until the start of summer classes and the kitchen was temporary out of service.

How's a girl suppose to eat?! Lately it's been salads and sandwiches (and Kool-aid). My cousin would appreciate these summer meals. Since I haven't made it around to getting my favorite summer dessert, popsicles, I had to get creative when it came to something sweet.

Without an oven, I had to think outside the box. I decided on an icebox dish I seen on The Kitchn. Icebox desserts are no bake, no fuss treats that you store in the fridge. This ones strawberry and oh so delicious.

No Bake Strawberry Icebox Cake (via The Kitchn)

2 lbs fresh strawberries
3 1/4 cups whipping cream, divided
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 sleeves of graham crackers
2 oz finely chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips

Gather all of your ingredients, as I sort of did here. 2 lbs fresh strawberries; 3 1/4 whipping cream, divided; 1/3 cup confectioners sugar, 1 tsp vanilla; 4 sleeves of graham crackers (I only used 3); 2 oz finely chopped dark chocolate; and 1/2 tsp rosewater (optional)

Wash all the strawberries. The recipe originally called for setting a couple aside for garnish. I attempted to do that, but since I broke my dish into smaller containers to give away instead of just one pan, I eventually skipped that step. 

A moment of honesty: This is my first time whipping cream! I'll admit that I was shocked to see this liquid go from this... this by simply whipping it!

Anywho, whip 3 cups of cream with a hand mixer until it holds stiff peaks. 

Whip to combine vanilla and sugar. Now the hard part is done!

Slice strawberries until your heart is content. 

Keep going. The more, the merrier.

Ok now layer! Add a dollop of whipped cream to the bottom of the pan. Next completely cover the cream with graham crackers. Then pile on some more cream. 
Next layer some strawberries and then cover in yet more cream. Please don't think about the calories! There's so much cream. 

Repeat steps until you reach top of pan. As a final step (which isn't pictured) make the ganache. Heat cream until bubbling occurs along the edges. Pour over chocolate, let it sit and then whisk. Drizzle over the dessert. 

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Dish is best within 48 hours, otherwise it makes really soggy.  

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Finals Suck, Have a Treat

Today, is Wednesday. Hump day. After today everything is smooth sailing,  right? Wrong, there is no easy coasting until Friday, because its FINALS WEEK! This is probably the most stressful time of the year for a college study. Long nights, early mornings, red puffy eyes and the occasional slice of pizza; all in the name of good grades.

I took my hardest final last night and I still have one more to go on Friday. Knowing how stressed I was feeling at this time, I decided to spread a little cheer. I made Rice Crispy Treat pops and passed them around. I hope I brightened someone's day. 


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

This made me smile.....

...and for once my smile came from something not food related.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Hey guys,

I just wanted to wish you all a Happy Easter!
May it be full of laughter, family, candy and egg hunts!


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me!

My 21st birthday was Thursday, and I had a divine time. It was just an ordinary day. I had class. I had work. But what made it totally awesome was I got to take my ID picture and I went to Bravo's.

Bravo's. MMMM. I love Italian food. It speaks to me. I secretly think in another life I WAS Italian. I simply have to say the best thing to get there is the Chicken, Spinach, Bacon Flatbread. It's been two days and I'm still fantasizing about it. I don't like spinach, but this flatbread was delicious. It had the right balance of all the flavors and everything tasted fresh. I'm trying to think of a way to reproduce it so I can have it at my (future) wedding! Haha, seriously, it's a must try.

I wanted to bake and decorate my very own cake for my birthday, however there's been some difficulties with the kitchen. So I'll have to test my cake decorating skill at a later date. I do however bring you Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies adapted from The Taste of Home Cookbook
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup AP flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup flaked coconut
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Gather the above ingredients.

Cream both sugars and butter in a large bowl.

 Beat in vanilla and egg.

Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Slowly add dry ingredients to creamed mixture.

Stir in coconut and chocolate chips.

On an ungreased baking sheet, shape dough into 3 tsp balls about 3 inches apart. Bake at 350 for about 12-18 minutes or until lightly brown. Cool on wire racks.

Makes about 1 dozen cookies.

*I forgot to take a picture of the end result and Judge ate them all!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Spice of Life

Snick-er-doo-dle. Snicker-doodle. No matter how you say it, to a person who has never had a snickerdoodle cookies, it just sound down right WEIRD. I admit, I never had a snickerdoodle cookie until last year. I was the one who cringed at the sound of a snickerdoodle cookie.

Why would anyone want to eat a SNICKERDOODLE cookie?

Because it's the favorite cookie of one of your loved ones.

...Oh, wait is that just me?

Ok, no really, you want to eat a snickerdoodle cookie because they're delicious. And what's more delicious than a cookie? A cupcake, of course!

Before you can start daydreaming of cupcakes. I'm sure you're wondering, what the heck is a snickerdoodle?

Snickerdoodle is simply a sugar cookie with a twist. Cinnamon gave the sugar cookie a whole new make over. Instead of frosting a sugar cookie, it is rolled in cinnamon sugar (cinnamon is also incorporated in the cookie dough)

So why such a weird name for a simple delight? No one knows for sure, although it is rumored to have German or Dutch origins. Where ever the name came from it sure is fun to say!

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes Recipe via Stephanie's Kitchen

Listed are the ingredients for cupcakes and the frosting. Cupcakes: 1 1/2 cake flour, 1/2 tbsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tbsp cinnamon, 1/2 cup butter, room temp, 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla, 2/3 cup milk. Frosting: 4 oz cream cheese, room temp; 4 tbsp butter, room temp; 1/4 cup milk; 4 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, halved; 1 tsp vanilla; and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Plus cinnamon sugar to sprinkle on top

In a large bowl mix together flour, cinnamon, salt and baking powder.

Then build upper arm strength by creaming the butter and sugar in another bowl. Shout out to everyone with a Kitchen Aid mixer who can do this much easier and faster than I can. Alas, at least it wasn't by hand this time!

Add the eggs and vanilla.

Now slowly incorporate flour and milk. Alternating between flour and milk.
Line a muffin pan with pretty pastels colors, in hopes that Spring will soon arrive.

Fill cupcake liners. Stick in oven and bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes. Frost with cream cream frosting.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream butter and cream cheese. Add half of the sugar, milk, vanilla and cinnamon., mix well. Add the rest of the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Then decorate until your heart's content!