Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween treats

Last Halloween post- I promise!! Look how adorable this halloween party is from Hello Naomi
I had a friend's wedding on Saturday so didn't make any Halloween treats. I'm pretty sure I couldn't outdo last years cupcakes even if I tried though! 

Happy Halloween!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

halloween treats, not tricks

Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Shortbread Bars

So I'm not a huge fan of pumpkin, but since it's almost Halloween, I figured, what the heck. I should make something festive. I saw this recipe on Picky Palate and figured they looked delicious! 

Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Shortbread Bars 
Shortbread Layer:

2 sticks softened butter 
1 Cup granulated sugar 
1/4 Cup packed light brown sugar 
1 3/4 Cup all purpose flour 
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
Pumpkin Layer:
2 Cups canned pumpkin 
1/2 Cup granulated sugar 
1/2 Cup heavy whipping cream 
2 large eggs 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg 
Chocolate Topping:
1 Cup chopped chocolate or chocolate chips 
Sprinkles of choice if desired 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a stand or electric mixer cream the butter and sugars until well combined. Slowly add in flour and salt until dough forms. Press into the bottom of an 8×8 inch baking dish that’s been lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. 

2. To prepare pumpkin layer, mix pumpkin sugar, cream, eggs, cinnamon and nutmeg into a mixing bowl until well combined. Pour over shortbread layer. Bake for 45 minutes or until pumpkin layer is golden brown. 

3. Let cool for 30 minutes then cut into bars.** Melt chocolate over a double broiler or in microwave until smooth then spread over bars. Sprinkle with white sprinkles if desired and serve room temperature or chill until ready to serve. 

**HINT: I thought it would be a bad idea to cut them and then put the chocolate on top. Do not do what I did! The chocolate hardens and makes it impossible to cut without smooshing the pumpkin. I barely got one piece out looking good. Also, may want to think about baking the shortbread for a little bit first. It was a little bit soft/ undercooked. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Dip

These little buffalo chicken dippers are great party appetizers! The dip mixture can be put in flaky pastries, or left in the dish as a dip. And it's a super healthy version. My friend Elina at Guy-Friendly, Girl Envied makes great recipes that are exactly as her title describes: Delicious but Healthy!
Taste: SO good, I love buffalo flavored stuff.
Texture: The buttery crescent rolls compliments the spicy chicken perfectly.
Would I make this again?: Yes, I made it twice for football parties!
Buffalo Chicken Dip

3 cups Non-fat Greek yogurt
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch mix packet
Red hot, lotsssss of red hot
1-2 chicken breasts depending on taste

2 cans Pillsbury Grands JR Flaky layers

Slow-cook, bake or boil the chicken doesn't really matter how, but cook it thoroughly so you can fork shred it. Once the chicken is shredded add red hot...add some more.

Mix the yogurt with the ranch packet, then add the chicken. Mix well. 

Line your mini-muffin pan with about 1/3 of a flaky biscuit round and fill with chicken mixture. OR put mixture in casserole dish. Bake at 375 for about 15-20 minutes until it looks bubbly and delicious. We made 48 dippers and kept the rest as dip. Serve with celery, or pita chips! 

Monday, October 25, 2010

halloween treats, not tricks

Sara Bareilles

I went to see Sara Bareilles last week at the 9:30 Club. It was SO awesome. I love all of her songs, and she is hilarious! She is so talented, I love her!

Friday, October 22, 2010

weekend wishes

Hope everyone has fun plans this weekend! 
I'm driving down to Clemson, SC to watch the Tigers play! I may get to see one of my girls from studying abroad in Italy, but I'll miss the other bellas!

Merry Maps

How adorable are these DC maps? And this calligraphy?
I would die for that handwriting. See more at Merry Maps.
 Well my good friend asked me to put my photoshop skills to work and create a map for her upcoming wedding! I would have LOVED to create something like this, but of course, I am not THAT talented. So here is what I came up with:
Which reminds me, I also made their Save the Dates:
It was a lot of fun. I love playing on Photoshop! 

hi, i want you

Ah, I LOVE these super simple, little pieces of jewelry. I reallllllly want them! Especially the little heart ring, and maybe an M?! What better way to say, "No, I am NOT MY TWIN SISTER" than with an initial ring!? 
LOVE. Buy them from Catbird!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Buttermilk Pie

Awhile ago I asked the boyf, if I could make you anything in the world, what would it be? His response: Buttermilk Pie. Hm... I had never even heard of such a thing, or made a pie! So I figured I'd give it a try. I got his mom's recipe and surprised him with the pie this weekend! Yes, it is a pie with no fruit. Weird, I know. But it's pretty delicious! It is kind of like a vanilla custard pie. Apparently it's popular in Texas, where his mom is from?
It's actually a really simple recipe. And I made a decorative crust for my very first pie! I think it was a success. Except I would advise waiting about half an hour for it to cool before slicing. I was too excited and sliced it early, and it was a little goopy. Still delicious though!

Buttermilk Pie

1/2 cup Margarine
2 cups Sugar
3 Eggs
3 Tbsp Flour
1 cup Buttermilk
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1 Unbaked 9-inch pie shell (+ 1 extra for decoration?)

Cream together margarine and sugar. Mix in eggs and flour and beat till fluffy. Fold in Buttermilk and vanilla. Pour mixture into pie shell and bake 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees.

See, Easy as Pie! Enjoy!

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes even though it's not feeling very summer-y outside. The boyf loved my Cherry Limeade Cupcakes, so I decided to let him chose my next baking adventure. He picked this similar recipe, but it tasted pretty different! People at our BBQ loved them! :) I got the recipe from my fav blog: Annie's Eats.
Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes
Yield: about 21 cupcakes

For the cake:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. lemon zest
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped

For the lemonade syrup:
1 cup lemonade concentrate, thawed
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

For the frosting:
1 cup fresh strawberries, roughly chopped
12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
18 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For garnish:
Fresh strawberries
Lemon slices

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line muffin pans with paper liners. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. Stir together with a fork and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until it is light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until well combined. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add half of the flour mixture to the bowl and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Add in the milk and mix until smooth. Add in the remaining flour mixture and mix on low speed until just blended. Fold in the fresh strawberries with a spatula.

Divide the batter evenly between the paper liners, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake about 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, whisk together the lemonade concentrate and confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl to make the lemonade syrup. Poke several holes in the top of each cupcake with a skewer and pour the syrup over the cupcakes, allowing it to soak in. (Place wax paper underneath your cooling rack so you don’t make a mess!)

To make the frosting, puree the strawberries in a food processor or blender. Strain the puree through a mesh sieve to remove the seeds, and set aside. ** Beat the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and very fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract and mix until incorporated. Mix in strawberry puree, a tablespoon at a time, until you achieve your desired texture and flavor of frosting (Annie added 7, I used the entire mixture and added some red food coloring). Frost cupcakes as desired and garnish with fresh strawberries and lemon slices. (or sprinkles if you buy strawberries out of season that aren't super pretty)

**Annie makes this seem very easy, however for amateur bakers, who do not have such tool, which I pronounced "Seeve" instead of "Sive", this proved to be a little difficult. Luckily the boyf remembered that last year for Halloween I wore a mesh fluffy skirt. So we chopped the costume up, and used it as a sieve.

happy birthday blog bff

Today is my bloggy bff's birthday- Madeleine!! We have had some AMAZING times over the past 5 years: Italy, Blacksburg, Sigma Kappa, DC, blogging, baking. We are basically the same person, but yet so different! I love her SO much, I can't wait for more adventures with her. xoxo

Friday, October 15, 2010

fall into october


stop motion save the dates

How freaking adorable are these save the date videos?! love them. 
{song} "first day of my life" by bright eyes

{song} "what i wouldn't do" by a fine frenzy

Thursday, October 14, 2010

halloween treats, not tricks

Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Halloween collage

It's that time of year again.. another holiday collage! So here is my tried and true Halloween collage.
Click to enlarge, set as desktop background. Enjoy!

october tricks and treats

Monday, October 11, 2010

Garlic Toasted Spaghetti Pie

From the second I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it! Spaghetti and garlic bread baked into a pie? Yes please! It was really delicious and super easy to make!
Taste: The garlic bread is SO good, and the oozing cheese makes the dish. I don't want spaghetti without cheddar ever again.
Texture: It's garlic bread and pasta! I added more sauce to make sure it wasn't dry.
Would I make this again?: YES, I have already made it again!!

Garlic Toasted Spaghetti Pie
Found: Picky Palate

1 lb spaghetti noodles2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 lb ground beef
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon Lawry’s garlic salt
26 oz jar of your favorite pasta sauce
10 fresh basil leaves stacked, rolled and thinly sliced (chiffonade)
1/4 Cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 Cup shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4-1/2 teaspoons Lawry’s garlic salt
1 roll Pillsbury French Bread Loaf
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.
2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Saute onions for 5 minutes then add beef, salt, pepper and garlic salt to brown, about 7-9 minutes. Reduce heat to low then stir in sauce, basil leaves and cooked pasta.
3. Open French Bread and unroll it to rectangle. With a knife cut it in 2 equal parts. Take one piece and press into the bottom of a well greased springform pan pressing up the sides slightly. Bake for 10 minutes then remove from oven. Transfer approximately 3/4 of the spaghetti into the pan (or fill about 3/4 way to the top of pan) (save leftover spaghetti for later). Sprinkle top with parmesan and cheddar cheese. Take remaining piece of dough and place it over top of spaghetti trying to cover entire surface. Brush olive oil over top of dough then sprinkle with garlic salt. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until bread is just golden brown. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

whooo is ready for october?

Found: Sunset

Nutella Hazelnut Cookies

I found this recipe and couldn't resist making them. One of my friends said, "These are like Baci cookies." Which is exactly why I loved them! Baci is this delicious hazelnut chocolate I had all the time when I studied abroad in Italy. They even made Baci McFlurrys! Which I would KILL for right now. I searched all of France and Spain on my last trip, but apparently only the McDonalds in Italy have them. 
Taste: To die for. Nutella = heaven.
Texture: They are really chewy with the crunch of the nuts. 
Would I make these again?: YES, I did make them again, but accidentally forgot to chop up the hazelnuts, haha whoops!! oh well, still good!
Nutella Hazelnut Cookies
Found: Sugar Plum
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup Nutella
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts, toasted **

** I toasted my own hazelnuts like this: On the Stovetop- Heat the skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the nuts in the skillet for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir the nuts with a spoon or shake the pan occasionally to prevent burning. Remove the skillet from the heat when the nuts are fragrant and browned. While the nuts are still warm, pour them onto a clean, dry dish towel. Gather the ends of the towel around the nuts and rub the nuts together until most of the skins come off.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook butter, whisking frequently, until it turns golden brown and foams, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate until melted. Place sugar in a large mixing bowl; add butter-chocolate mixture, and beat using a mixer on medium speed, until well combined and grainy - about 2 minutes.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Beat Nutella, eggs and vanilla into sugar mixture, until well combined, about 1-2 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in flour mixture until just combined; stir in hazelnuts until combined.

Roll tablespoons of dough into balls, place on cookie sheets, and flatten slightly using palms of hands. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until set and slightly crisp. Cool 2 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes 3 dozen cookies. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

weekend wishes

YAY it's Friday! Hope you have a fun weekend planned. Mine will be filled with 2 wine tours + one trip to Hopkins to see my friend with a new liver!

happy october!

It's October! Which means perfect fall weather, pumpkins, apple cider and trick or treating! 
Found: desktop wallpapers at Smashing Magazine