Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bear Down Arizona!

If you know me then you know I am a HUGE Arizona Wildcat fan.  And, so is my Mom and her side of the family.  Well as basketball season is in full swing I decided a Bear Down wreath was in order!  I do not have a typical front door so I don't ever get to showcase any wreaths.  Therefore, I decided to make one for Mom's door!  
If you want to make a wreath for yourself you can follow my tutorials here or here!

I think my favorite part of this one is the Bear Down sign, all glittery and pretty!  Simply take a piece of wood and use Mod Podge to put any kind of scrapbook paper onto it.  Then paint wooden letters in a matching color and hot glue gun them on.  I added a Wilbur the Wildcat sticker as well that I got from The University of Arizona bookstore!  Drill a small hole on each side of the sign and attach to the wreath using floral wire, just as you did for the poly mesh and the bulbs.
Oh and the basketballs are on "picks" so they can be removed and replaced with footballs when fall comes!  A dual season wreath!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Biscoff Cookie Spread Cupcakes

I know what you're probably thinking, what in the heck?  You know those yummy little shortbread like cookies you get on the airplane sometimes?  They look like this......

Well now there is a spread made out of them!  Just like peanut butter but it taste like these yummy little cookies.  And it comes in creamy or crunchy.  The crunchy is my personal favorite because it has crumbled up pieces of cookies in it, yum!  Found in the peanut butter section of your local Walmart ;)

Well everyone at work was excited about this new spread and so I decided it would be a perfect filling for a cupcake.  Kind of like a peanut butter and chocolate cupcake, you know?  My dilemma though was the frosting.  The spread is very sweet and I knew these would be super rich cupcakes and I didn't want to overdo it with an equally sweet frosting.  So I decided to do a simple chocolate ganache topping.  And I must say, these puppies are quite the tasty treat!  I used a boxed mix this time (shhhh, don't tell) to keep things simple.  But, any chocolate cake recipe would work.

1 box chocolate cake mix and ingredients it calls for on box
2 jars Biscoff Spread
4 ounces finely chopped semi-sweet Baker's chocolate
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter at room temperature cut into slices

1.  Make cupcakes according to package directions.
2.  Once the cupcakes are cooled use a paring knife to cut a circle out of the middle of the cupcake.  Be careful not to go all the way to the bottom of the cupcake.
3.  Spoon the Biscoff spread into the cupcake and smooth off the top.

4.  Finely chop the 4 ounces of Baker's chocolate and place into a small bowl.  It will be easy to top the cupcakes if you use a small bowl because the ganache topping will be deeper in a small bowl.
5.  Heat the heavy whipping cream on the stove until it starts boiling.  
6.  Pour half of the cream into the bowl with chocolate and let sit for 30 seconds.
7.  Whisk the chocolate until uses small circles to stir.  Once it is smooth and combined add in the remaining cream and continue to whisk until combined.
8.  Add in the butter one slice at a time slowly whisking until just combined.  You do not want to over stir, it will cause your ganache to not be as shiny.
9.  Dip the tops of your cupcake into the ganache.
10.  Put finished cupcakes into the fridge to allow the ganache to set.
11.  Serve at room temperature.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake

So, as I have mentioned before, I got a little behind on posting.  This wonderfully delicious dessert was from my Mom's birthday back in December.  Only a month late!  This one was yummy, coffee flavor, chocolate, and cheesecake.  How can you go wrong?

Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake
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For the crust:
32 chocolate sandwich cookies, finely processed into crumbs
5 1/3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Small pinch of salt
For the ganache:
1½ cups heavy cream
20 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
¼ cup coffee flavored liqueur
For the filling:
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1½ tbsp. all-purpose flour
1½ tbsp. dark rum
2 tbsp. instant espresso powder
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ tsp. mild-flavored (light) molasses
3 large eggs
For the topping:
1½ cups sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

To make the crust, butter a 9-inch springform pan and place it on a baking sheet.  Combine the chocolate cookie crumbs, melted butter and salt in a small bowl.  Toss with a fork to moisten all of the crumbs.  Press into a thin layer covering the bottom and sides of the springform pan (at least 3 inches up the sides).
Bring the cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan.  Place the chocolate in a medium bowl.  Once the cream reaches a simmer, pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand 1-2 minutes.  Add the coffee flavored liqueur and whisk in small circles until a smooth ganache has formed.  Pour 2 cups of the ganache over the bottom of the crust.  Freeze until the ganache layer is firm, about 30 minutes.  Reserve the remaining ganache; cover and let stand at room temperature for later decorating.
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F and position a rack in the middle of the oven.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until well blended.  Beat in the flour.  In a small bowl, combine the rum, espresso powder, vanilla and molasses, stirring until the espresso powder dissolves.  Add to the cream cheese mixture and beat until well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between each addition.
Pour the filling over the cold ganache in the crust.  Place the springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake until the top is lightly browned, puffed and cracked at the edges, and the center moves only very slightly when the pan is lightly shaken, about 1 hour.  Transfer to a wire cooling rack.  Cool 15 minutes while preparing the topping (maintaining the oven temperature.)
To make the topping, whisk together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla in a small bowl.  Pour the topping over the hot cheesecake, spreading to cover the filling completely.  Bake until the topping is set, about 10-15 minutes.  Return to the cooling rack and let cool at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.  Transfer to the refrigerator and let cool at least 3 hours, until completely chilled and set.
To finish, wrap a warm towel around the outside of the springform pan to help loosen the crust from the sides.  Carefully remove the springform.  Transfer the cake to a serving platter.  Place the reserved ganache in a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip and use to garnish the top of the cake as desired.  Garnish with chocolate-covered espresso beans as desired.  Chill until the ganache is completely firm, at least 6 hours.

Source: Annie's Eats

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Healthy Chicken Fajitas and Homemade Salsa

I found this recipe and it sounded really good so I had to give it a try.  Turns out, it was!  Even Roy liked it which never happens with recipes deemed healthy!

Slightly adapted from here
  • Chicken Breast sliced thin
  • 1 medium Green or Red Pepper or both!
  • 1/2 cup Onion (your favorite type)
  • 2 or 3 leaves Lettuce
  • 1/4 cup Homemade Salsa (see below)
  • 1 whole Juice of a Lime
Put raw chicken, peppers and onions into a foil pack, add the juice of a lime along with your favorite spicy seasoning and throw on the low heat setting of the grill for 30-45 minutes. Flip every ten minutes until its cooked through. Put into lettuce leaves with your salsa and enjoy!

Note: This is for one foil pack so just multiply the above recipe out depending on how many people you are cooking for.

(Makes about 2 cups)
Slightly adapted from here
  • 3 mediums Ripe Tomatoes Chopped
  • 1/2 medium Onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Cilantro Chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/2 medium Lemon Juice
  • 1 clove Fresh crushed garlic
Mix well all ingredients in a serving dish. Add a little bit of water if needed. Salt to taste. You can, of course, 
make your salsa as hot as you want, by adjusting the amount of hot sauce you use.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happy New Year!

Ok, so I am a little behind with my posting.  The holidays were crazy and I didn't have time to put updates on here from all the events.  I will start with the New Year's Eve cake balls I made.  I decided to do strawberry cake with strawberry icing.  Then I dipped it in this confetti looking Candy Melts that I found.  Then used black gel writing to put '2012' on with.  You can find the recipe here.

We went over to our friends house to hang out with the usual cast of characters.  We of course had matching outfits for the kids and had to take a picture of the 4 babies in their outfits.  Born in 2011 is what the onesies say, it's a little hard to tell!

2011 was quite the year for our family.  Here is a brief recap of some of the significant events this year:
- We welcomed our first kid into this world on March 5th who has turned out to be the sweetest little boy ever!
- Took a cross country voyage to Arizona with Trey when he was 3 months old to visit family, see my little sister graduate high school, and have Trey baptized.
- My Mom moved to Arkansas to be Trey's babysitter during the day!  Leaving the town and house I was sure she would end up in forever.
- Trey had his first plane ride at 6 months old to see Roy's littlest brother get married!
- We met up with Tata and Nana in Pittsburgh to celebrate Roy's Dad turning 50 and watch his beloved Steelers beat the Seahawks!
- Roy and I both turned 30, ugh!
- Mom found out she had colon cancer 2 days before Christmas, had surgery on Christmas Eve, was sent home a few days later with a clean bill of health!
- My Dad drove out to Arkansas to stay with us and take care of Trey during the day while my Mom recovers.  I think he was just looking for an excuses for some quality Grandpa/Trey time ;)
- We rung in the New Year with some of the best of friends anyone could ask for!

Here's to having a GREAT 2012!  And wishing you all the same!