Archive for the ‘holidays’ Category

Merry Christmas!

December 25th, 2008

Sadly, I’ve been limited to writing one post per month on this blog during the past couple months but, I promise as part of my New Year’s resolution I’ll write more! December was definitely a hectic month for me, I just felt like it whizzed by and now its Christmas. I was even very last minute with my Christmas shopping this year, and I promise to never do that again, because I was completely stressed out. I had the misfortune of holding off buying gifts that I found on sale, until I decided to come back on the day that I designated as my Xmas shopping day, only to find they weren’t on sale anymore. Another string of bad luck I had was seeing that a store had the item online, but when I actually went to the store they didn’t actually sell it in stores. My advice to myself and everyone else, just buy it when you see it the first time around!

Other than all the Christmas shopping drama, I was able to get myself a Christmas gift I really love. I finally found a cupcake stand that I like. I was never really fond of the Wilton Cupcake Stand that I always see in stores…it’s a bit too whimsical and the cupcakes look like they’re about to fall out. I bought my cupcake stand from Crate and Barrel (on sale too!). I think it has a more elegant look to it and it will really hold your cupcakes in place. A couple other things I love about it is that you can easily carry it around by holding the top loop and the tiers also spin!

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 28th, 2008

Sorry, I’m a little late, but better late than never right? Anyway, I hope all of you enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday! I know Thanksgiving is over, but I wanted to share this stuffing recipe I found recently…you can keep this recipe in mind for next year’s Thanksgiving or whenever you feel like eating some good stuffing. I found this recipe on allrecipes.com and the title immediately caught my eye, “Awesome Sausage, Apple, & Cranberry Stuffing“. With a title like that and 5 stars with 900+ reviews, I had to try it. So, I decided to make this “Awesome Stuffing” for a friend’s potluck Thanksgiving party last weekend and I must say this stuffing is pretty awesome. I’ve always made stuffing out of the box, so this made from scratch stuffing was entirely new to me. I think this recipe has certainly changed my mind about making boxed stuffing ever again, the flavors were great and the addition of apples and cranberries made this a perfect autumn dish. I made a few shortcuts (how very semi-home made of me…haha) and changes…I didn’t add a couple of the ingredients (sage and the turkey liver). And I also recommend that you use fresh herbs, rather than dried. Anyway, here’s my take on the “Awesome Stuffing”:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 box of Mrs. Cubbison’s Seasoned Dressing
  • 1/2 box of Mrs. Cubbison’s Seasoned Cornbread Stuffin’
  • 1 pound ground Jimmy Dean’s sage sausage
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 3 teaspoons fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 large Fuji apple, cored and chopped
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken stock (use more if needed)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet, cook the sausage and onions over medium heat, stirring and breaking up the lumps until evenly browned. Add the celery, rosemary, and thyme; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes to blend flavors.
  2. Place boxed stuffing in a large bowl and pour sausage mixture over it. Mix in chopped apples, dried cranberries, and parsley. Drizzle with chicken stock and melted butter, and mix lightly.
  3. Place stuffing mixture in a baking dish, cover with foil, and bake at 350 degrees for 40 min. Then remove foil and bake for another 15 min.


All the ingredients in one bowl, ready to be mixed.


The finished “awesome stuffing”

Halloween Treats

November 4th, 2008

I hope all of you had a great Halloween! Mine was especially great because I got to dress up in 3 different costumes haha. Anyway, this year I decided to try making caramel apples for Halloween. I love caramel apples, but I don’t really love having to try and bite into a huge apple or slicing it and taking the risk of any chocolate, caramel, and nuts pieces breaking off. So to avoid the mess, I wanted to try something new and make miniature versions. After some research, I found that a lot of mini caramel apple recipes started with a large whole apple and scooping out apple pieces with a melon baller. Sounds simple enough, but the results just didn’t look as appetizing as a whole caramel apple.

So, I decided to go on a search for the smallest apples I could find. Luckily, Whole Foods had a huge selection of small apples and I finally found what I was looking for. I ended up buying “crab apples” which are the smallest apples I’ve ever seen. Most of the crab apples were slightly larger than ping pong balls, and they tasted a little sweet and tart.

The whole process of making the mini caramel apples took longer than expected. Mostly, due to the fact that I had about 20 apples, and each took a while to prep and dip. The hardest part was sticking the lollipop sticks in…my hands were so sore from having to shove those little sticks in and you had to be extra careful because they bend so easily. I suggest wearing oven mitts while doing this or something to protect your hands. But after all the hard work, the best part was the decorating. I went a little overboard and decided to try and come up with every caramel apple combination I could think of (caramel, chocolate, nuts, m&ms, sprinkles, etc.). Overall, the outcome was a success and I’m happy to say that my friends enjoyed these mini caramel apples more than those ginormous ones haha.

Mini Caramel Apples

Ingredients:
about 20 crab apples
20 lollipop sticks
2 bags of caramel bits
1 bag of chocolate chips
an assortment of toppings (m&ms, sprinkles, nuts, etc.)

Directions:
1. Prep apples (wash, dry, and de-stem)
2. Place lollipop sticks into the center of apple where the stem used to be.
3. Place wax paper on baking sheet and spray with cooking spray.
4. Melt caramel and dip apples into the caramel. Place on baking sheet. Let apples cool.
5. Melt chocolate and dip the caramel apples into the chocolate.
6. After dipping into chocolate, immediately place any additional toppings on the apple.
7. Place finished apples on baking sheet and let them set in the refrigerator.
8. Take apples out of fridge 15 min. before serving.


Cute tiny crab apples


Prepped and ready for dipping!


These caramel bits were very easy to use and tasted great.


The finished product!

Eggstatic!

March 19th, 2008

So, to my surprise the Easter Bunny came early this year! My boyfriend was nice great enough to buy me those Bonnat Chocolate Eggs I kept talking on and on about. I was ecstatic when I saw the Dean & DeLuca package right before me. As promised in my last post that upon receiving these eggs I will love the giver forever and so yes I will love you forever! Thank you!!!! You’ve made this girl very happy and also filled with lots of chocolate and hazelnut praline. So about these eggs, how good are they you ask? Because they better be damn good if they cost $55 for six eggs! My answer to that question is they were delicious and everything I expected them to be. Good quality chocolate and the hazelnut praline filling was so creamy. YUM! Now that I think about how yummy these eggs were, I feel silly for ever believing that Cadbury cream filled eggs were the best chocolate eggs. Sadly, I feel a little disgusted by the thought of that overly sweet cream filling and milk chocolate shell. Not only did the Bonnat eggs taste great, but the whole process of getting to the highly anticipated confection was pretty fun. I enjoyed taking the brown egg from its egg crate and cracking and peeling the shell away. To my surprise it was really easy to peel and within a few seconds I was already biting into it. So, here’s wishing all of you a Happy Easter and hopefully some Bonnat Chocolate Eggs in your basket this year!

Love Treats

March 19th, 2008

I know February is long gone and Valentine’s Day seemed like ages ago, but I finally uploaded pictures of some V-day treats I made for my valentine <3 I found these large pink strawberry flavored marshmallows at the market and decided to make pink rice krispie treats. To make it extra chessy, I made them into hearts and sprinkled some heart sprinkles for some added flare. They turned out pretty well. I was worried that the marshmallows would have a disgustingly artificial strawberry flavor, but the berry flavor was pretty mellow and a nice change to the original rice krispie treats. And how did my valentine like them? Well, let's just say he ate the entire plate of treats in one night.

Happy New Year!

January 4th, 2008

2008!?! Wow, time flies by so quickly! I hope your New Year is starting off nicely, sadly my first day this year didn’t go so smoothly. So, here’s a recap of my New Years Day: I fell down the stairs, but I managed to not injure myself severely (last time I fell down the stairs, I sprained my ankle). So far my whole body has been sore, especially my neck. Later on the same day, I almost got into a car accident because some kid was on his cell phone and tried to merge into my lane without looking. I can’t wait until July 1st…(for those of your who are out of state, July 1st is the official day when California drivers cannot use their cellphones while driving). I really do feel like the roads will be safer, without idiots on their phones all the time and not paying attention.

On to baking news, or well this is news to me. I just found out that dragees (those little edible metallic balls you decorate with) are illegal in California! This completely explains why I never saw them in stores the last few years. I remember looking for them at Sur la Table and a few big name craft stores, but I never bothered to ask. I just assumed you could only get them at specialty baking stores. Apparently they’ve been illegal since 2003, because someone filed a lawsuit claiming that dragees are considered toxic since they contain trace amounts of metal. But, seriously you would have to eat millions of them before anything happens…toxic or not I still want to use them…

Merry Christmas!

December 24th, 2007

I don’t know what happened this year, but my Christmas baking didn’t go as plan, well actually it didn’t go at all. I guess I just got caught up with all the busyness the holidays bring, and before I knew it, it was almost Christmas. I was even really last minute with my Christmas shopping. My “plan” was to bake my Red Velvet Cupcakes and give them out to my friends, but I just ran out of time and energy. Haha oh well, better luck next year. At least I know what one of my New Years resolutions will be…”Stop procrastinating and do things ahead of time”. On another note, I got the best Secret Santa gift this year! Some goodies from my favorite store Williams-Sonoma. My Secret Santa bought me a lovely tin can of sugar cookie mix and also a nice variety of Christmas sprinkles. I’m a happy girl :)


Fancy Cupcake Wrappers

November 19th, 2007

The holidays are coming very soon, well actually a little too soon. I was trying to think of what kind of xmas goodies to bake this year and I came across these lovely laser-cut cupcake wrappers, which would be so adorable to place my yummy cupcakes in. They’re a little on the expensive side, and I don’t know if I can bare to have people just toss them in the trash when they’re done haha.

Tis the Season for Baking

November 30th, 2006

It’s that time of the year again…the malls have put out their xmas decorations and radio stations have started playing those good old xmas songs. Christmastime always makes me feel happy and now I’m really excited to get my christmas shopping done and start baking! I always associate this season with baking…there’s just something about baked goods fresh from the oven with a cup of hot chocolate or soothing tea. I’ve been doing some research and I think I’m going to try and make some homemade chocolate truffles and gingerbread men/women. If all goes well they will end up in wrapped in cute little packages as gifts to all the good girls and boys this year. Maybe I’ll still make a few for the naughty ones too haha.