Monday, December 27, 2010

christmas and the end of holiday food (i hope)

the sisters and i were wishing that the holidays were split up more so the gluttony of food would be spread out throughout the year. but at least we're almost to the end of the holiday season. soon it'll be people packed into the gym in january and nothing to look forward to but summer. hope everyone had a wonderful christmas. ny got a nice blizzard so s2 got stuck here, hope everyone traveled safe and sound.
 xmas meal: scalloped potatoes (from the everything cookbook: not the most attractive thing when it's made, but very easy and yummy), french bread (from king arthur flour, also very easy to make and no knead!), mushrooms stuffed with brie, delish!), pepper crusted salmon with lemon and garlic, olive and rosemary bread (not sure where this is from, s4 made it), rum cake (self-explanatory deliciousness), buche de noel
the pioneer women cooks' rum cake is so so good. the pecans chopped on top and baked into the cake were delicious once the rum/butter/sugar glaze soaked into them. it was a bit difficult to stab the cake where the pecans were so next time pouring more of the syrup before the cake is flipped out of the bundt pan. it was also hilarious watching s2 pour an additional shot of rum onto her cake slice!
the mocha buche de noel is a bit more time consuming than the rum cake, but light and airy with a nice chocolate glaze that hardens when it dries. the added instant coffee really adds to the flavor.

Friday, December 24, 2010

happy xmas eve!

the cake bite thing is in full swing. had some crazy busy days since it was the holidays and i'm so glad s4 was here to help me out. don't forget to check out the new designs and orders. running your own business is definitely something that is different and interesting everyday- a lot of work but hopefully once i get all the kinks worked out it'll be smooth sailing.
the holidays = baked goods. which is not so good for my waistline but oh so fun to make! rice krispy treats are just so easy and pretty much anything can be added- chocolate chips, holiday stripes, sprinkles, etc. we also topped some shortbread cookies with white chocolate and then striped and added little green swirls. happy holidays!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

it's beginning to look a lot like christmas

christmas music has been playing in my car non-stop probably since thanksgiving and there was actual snowfall so christmas is definitely less than a week away! not that any present buying has occurred but that's a work in progress. my sweet shop blog is coming along and i finished my first order (check it out).

walking through old ellicott city the windows for the shops are decked out in full holiday happiness!
 it's amazing how the pink and purple ended up looking so festive!
i almost thought about trying to hanging ornaments with ribbon against the white wall that runs along our stairs but wasn't sure if it would hang right...

and of course, holidays = holiday baking!

Double chocolate coconut peanut butter cookies (now that's a delicious mouthful!)
1 box chocolate cake mix
1 can condensed milk
about 1/2 cup coconut*
about 1 cup peanut butter (we used smooth, but crunchy works too)
about 1 1/2 - 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients and then roll into however large cookies you would like and bake for 10-15 minutes (depending on the size) until the bottoms are browning (which is a bit more difficult with cookies that are already brown, but they do have a different color!). these cookies sink and harden a bit once they cool so don't worry too much if they are very soft when they first come out of the oven, just make sure the bottoms are brown.

the coconuts give it a nice crunch, i'm sure lots of different add-ins would be great. some holiday colored chips would also probably be adorable. these are about the easiest and tastiest cookies ever

Sunday, December 12, 2010

popeye's chocolate lava cake

my parents came home yesterday from golfing and as usual picked up some fried chicken from popeyes. this time around they were given a package of this chocolate lava cake to try out. according to restaurant news this lava cake was tested out in september to give you the "feeling that you did something."
i'm a big fan of popeyes' biscuits and maybe they should have stuck to that. i don't know if it was because it's a chocolate cake or because of the black plastic container it was sold in but when i opened it i thought i was looking at a worm hole. i couldn't tell what i was looking at. plus, the ingredient list (pretty much everything but the title and the boxed nutrition facts on the left picture) was a bit frightening. the ingredients to make a cake normally were in bold to make you notice them more i suppose, but then all the preservatives and such were in regular font in between. the cake container serves 4 and each serving is 320 calories (170 from fat, 8 g sat fat, 22 g of sugar). so i heated it up and gave it a try. i don't know about you but when i think lava cake i think a cake that when you dig into it, oozing chocolate goodness wells out from inside. this was more of a chocolate cake with oozing icing on top (when heated). the cake seemed standard box cake texture and taste, the icing/lava was a bit odd. there was some sort of aftertaste that i didn't enjoy (probably from the preservatives). i put the leftovers in the fridge for anyone else to try and this morning when i looked at it there were white flecks of something dotting the cake. ew. the packaging says use within 5 days of purchase, so who knows what's going on with the food. i think if i was craving dessert i would buy those break and bake cookies (has anyone tried those sweet moments desserts in the refrigerator aisle?) and put in the extra couple minutes instead of getting this cake.
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

sugar overload

oy vey. felt like baking today and since i'm loving toasted coconut, chocolate and nuts so much i decided to try out the recipe on the eagles' sweetened condensed milk can. i didn't have enough graham cracker so i cut more than half the butter (also in an attempt to make it "healthier" :) and also cut back on some of the chocolate chips. i toasted the coconut beforehand and had chopped almonds, walnuts, and pecans. really the easiest recipe in the world to make, but boy is it a cavity maker on the first bite!
this is their chocolate chunk magic cookie bars. it's very simple but looking at their other recipes i think i'd rather add in peanut butter or salty nuts or something to balance the sweetness. i'm glad my coconut was unsweetened because that would have really sent me into a diabetic shock. so i will be enjoying some fiddling.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

getting back on track...again

there's something about the holidays that just means letting go a bit. which is not a bad thing, as long as you can keep focused on the long term. fell off the healthy eating a bit w/ all the thanksgiving leftovers (which are still hanging around staring at me...) but i think i finally got it figured out today. i can't decide if it was from the handfuls of semisweet chocolate chips i was eating from the baking bag or the celery and pb bonanza (if you know me at all, you know pb is my crack). but i got on the treadmill (it's finally too cold to run outside) and somehow cranked out 80 minutes on the thing without noticing and then whipped up a veggie and salmon dish with pesto. can i just say i love the wild alaska salmon burgers from BJ's? i just bake it up and then cut it up and toss into whatever i want (see pizza from before). so here's to eating healthy and having those not so healthy days that are just as important to being happy:)