Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Please Vote for Davin

Hello, Blogger friends! I know I've been absent lately but I was hoping to ask all of you to do me a quick favor. I have entered my son into a contest for Heart Disease Awareness month. Last week was Congenital Heart Defect Awareness and I submitted a story about my wonderful heart warrior Davin. Davin was born with TAPVR and required surgery only 12 hours after he was born. Within the first 10 months of his life, he went on to have 2 more life saving surgeries for the Pulmonary Stenosis he has developed. He is now 6 years old and surgery free for almost 5 years.

The contest goes until February 29th... It's easy to vote. You only need to follow the link below, find the story "Dan the Man" listed on page 2, click vote, enter your email, and you're done! You can use as many emails as you own to enter and can vote every 4 hours!

One single vote will make such a huge difference in our day and if Davin wins (even third place) we plan to take him to Disneyland. Make his dream come true!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Strawberry Madeleines

My husband absolutely loves Madeleines! Whenever we go to Costco he has to pick up a box of them. Honestly, I can't say that I blame him... They buttery cookie with a soft inside and slightly crisp exterior is perfection.

When his Birthday rolled around on March 14th, I knew just what to make him... These strawberry Madeleines. They use a fresh strawberry puree for a pop of pink and butter... Lot's of butter. Please invest in one of these pans, it's so worth it!

For the Madeleines:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup strawberry puree (make this with 1 cup strawberries, 1 Tablespoon sugar, and a splash of water)
9 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly grease your Maeleine pan with cooking spray or shortening, set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the sugar with the lemon zest until fragrant. Beat in the eggs until light and creamy, approx 5 minutes.
Gently mix in the flour a little bit at a time, just until combined.
Add in the melted butter and mix just until incorporated.
Add in the strawberry puree. If you're looking for a stronger strawberry flavor, add a dash of strawberry flavoring or if you want them more red in color, add a dash of red food coloring.
Chill the dough for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
When time is up, scoop the dough into the molds, roughly 1 Tablespoon in size.
Place in the center of your oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until puffed and cooked through. Cool on a wire rack and dust with powdered sugar before serving.

These cookies are great by themselves, fantastic with a bowl of chocolate ice cream, or dipped in a cup of coffee (my favorite way). Enjoy!

*recipe adapted from Coffee and Crumpets

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Blueberry Lemon Pound Cake

Hello blogging world! I can't believe it's been almost two months since my last post... For some reason, I lost the love of blogging. I was uninspired by ideas and have been busy working on a better me. I've officially turned into a Gym/Zumba addict (in the most healthy way possible, of course) and just didn't know how to fit in decadent treats. I also didn't want to load the blog with "healthy" things and scare you all away with words like "flax meal" and "chia seeds"!

So, I may have some posts in the future with healthy treats or dinner ideas but for now, I will stick to what I know... And hopefully shove food in everyone else's face while I eat one (OK, maybe 3) slices... All in moderation, right?

With Spring right around the corner and us all moving forward in time, I wanted a recipe with a fun pop of flavor. I found a delicious recipe for this bread over at Chef in Training and knew I had to make it... Who doesn't like the lemon and blueberry combo? This bread is moist and I love the slight zing of lemon and pops of blueberry... It's the, y'all.

For the Bread: 
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
zest of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 large eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups fresh blueberries

For the Glaze:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon zest
2 Tablespoons heavy cream

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line 2-9x5" loaf pans with parchment paper; grease and lightly flour, set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla until creamy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition.
In a separate large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Now, add in the dry ingredients to the butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk, being sure to start and end with the buttermilk, mix until just combined. Gently stir in the blueberries.
Divide batter evenly between the 2 prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let the bread cool for 15 minutes in the pan before inverting on to a cooling rack to cool completely.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the ingredients for your glaze. Pour glaze evenly over the 2 loaves, allowing it to drip down the sides. Allow the glaze to harden on the top of the loaves and then slice and serve... Enjoy!

I am in love with the buttery bread, the pops of blueberry, and the tangy glaze... It's the perfect combo!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Cookie Butter Swirled Cheesecake Bars

I'm fairly sure a majority of the good people of this Nation are cookie butter addicts... I mean, why wouldn't you be? It's spicy, it's sweet, and has a little hint of saltiness.... It's a little unexplainable just how delicious this butter is.

And I love that they offer it at Trader Joes, among other things (OBSESSED with that store) and no, they aren't paying me to say that (unfortunately, because I love me some Trader Joes gift cards *ahem*).

I'm so excited about the many varieties of cookie butter they have to offer there; swirled with chocolate, cookies and cream, so many choices... But the classic, it's just, classic.

The cookie butter pairs perfectly with the semi-spicy crust from the Speculoos cookies and the creamy cheesecake... These bars are amazing. You can eat three and say you "Barely had like, even one piece"

New Years Resolutions, Schmu Years Resolutions...

For the Crust:
16 Speculoos Cookies
12 graham cracker squares, original flavor
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 Tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt

For the Cheesecake:
28 ounces cream cheese, softened (approx. 3.5 boxes)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
8 ounces sour cream
3 large eggs, room temp
2 Tablespoons flour

Cookie Butter Swirl:
3/4 cup Cookie Butter Spread
4 ounces cream cheese, softened (1/2 a box)
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In the bowl of your food processor, crush the cookies into fine crumbs. Add in the sugar and pinch of salt and pulse to combine. With the processor running, pour in your melted butter until incorporated and the cookie crumbs begin to stick together.
Line a 13x9" pan with aluminum foil, spray lightly with cooking spray, and press the cookie crumbs evenly into the bottom and part way up the sides, about 1/2 an inch, set aside.
In your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and vanilla until incorporated. Add in the sour cream and eggs, beating on low speed until completely mixed. Pour over the prepared crust.
In a small bowl, mix together the cookie butter, cream cheese, sugar, and egg until smooth. Drop by spoonfuls over the top of the cheesecake mixture and drag a knife back and forth to create a swirl pattern.
Bake the bars in the oven for 45-50 minutes or until the edges are golden and set while the center still wobbles slightly. Cool completely on a wire rack before chilling for three hours and up to overnight.
Cut into squares and serve; one pan yielded about 6 squares (kidding). Make sure to store remaining bars in the fridge.

*recipe adapated from Rose Bakes

Friday, January 2, 2015

Spinach Artichoke Dip

"Hi, my name is Veronica and I am a dip addict"....

Ugh, I LOVE dips! I have yet to meet a dip I didn't like...

Lately, I've been loving the idea of appetizers for Holidays. No main course, no dessert, just an array of appetizers. Then I can eat as much as I want and call it "sampling". I made this dip for our New Years Eve celebration and it was perfect... I may have even had it for breakfast the next morning.

For the Dip:
1 cup chopped artichoke hearts
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 of a large onion, diced
1/2 cup sour cream
4 ounces of cream cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons milk
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, plus more for topping
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients in the order listed. Pour into a lightly greased 8x8" square baking dish and sprinkle top with mozzarella cheese.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden. Serve with bread, chips, veggies, or a spoon...

Enjoy this cheesey deliciousness.

*recipe adapted from Yammie's Noshery

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Baklava Pull Apart Bread

If you like an overabundance of nutty and sweet... This pull apart bread is for you. It's yeasty, doughy, crunchy, and sweet. We had this pull apart bread for Christmas morning and we found we didn't even need the honey syrup. It has all of the flavors of Baklava, minus the pesky hassle of Phyllo dough.

It takes a little work and love but trust me, it's sooo worth it...

For the Dough:
3 Tablespoons warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup milk
2 1/2-3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the Filling:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 Tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Honey Syrup:
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup water
pinch of salt

In a small bowl, activate the yeast by combining the 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast with the warm water and sugar. Whisk quickly just to combine and allow it to rise for 5 minutes, until bubbly.

To make the dough: Fit stand mixer with dough hook attachment. In a small saucepan, combine the 1/4 cup unsalted butter and 1/3 cup of milk. Stir over medium heat just until the butter has completely melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine 2 cups of the flour with the remaining sugar and salt. Add in the yeast mixture, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Stir together on low speed for 2 minutes then increase to medium and mix until the ingredients are well incorporated. Start by adding in a 1/2 cup of flour, a little at a time and up to 1 whole cup. You want the dough to pull away from the sides but still be slightly sticky. Knead for 2 minutes or until smooth.
Place the dough in a large greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow it to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

While the dough is rising, prep the filling.
In a small bowl, stir together the 1 cup of sugar and cinnamon, set aside.
In the bowl of your food processor combine the pistachios, walnuts, almonds, lemon zest and salt. Pulse 4-5 times until the nuts are chopped. Add in the vanilla and pulse just until large clumps form. Set aside.
In a small sauce pan, combine the honey, water, and salt for the honey syrup. Heat over medium until it starts to bubble and then lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the sauce has thickened and reduced by a third. Pour into a heat proof container and cover.

When your dough has doubled in size, turn it out on to a floured surface, gently flatten.

Roll out into a 20x12 inch rectangle. Don't worry about having a perfect rectangle.

Brush the 1/2 cup of melted butter over the top. Sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture and sprinkle the nut mixture evenly over the top.

Slice the dough into 6 horizontal strips and gently stack each strip on top of each other. Slice into 6 semi-even squares.

Prep a 9x5" loaf pan with parchment paper and grease with cooking spray. Layer each stack, standing upright into the loaf pan.

Cover with plastic wrap and allow the bread to rise in a warm place until doubled and fills the pan.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake the bread for 30-35 minutes or until a dark golden brown on top and completely cooked in the center.

Allow to sit in the pan for `15-20 minutes so the bread doesn't fall apart upon inverting. Remove the bread from the pan, drizzle with honey syrup or serve on the side.

Enjoy this nutty, rich, and sweet pull apart bread!

*recipe adapted from Sprinkle Bakes

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Eggnog Scones

I'm really not the biggest eggnog fan. Growing up, we used to have Christmas at my Aunt's house and she would serve boozy eggnog (not to the children! Don't get your panties in a bunch...) All I ever wanted was the little chocolate cup they would serve it in.

These scones though, are a whole different story. They are moist, slightly spicy from the cinnamon chips, and the eggnog makes them uber creamy... They are the perfect sweet treat with your Peppermint Mocha or on Christmas morning. The best part? They can be pre-prepared and frozen for a quick breakfast after a long night of Santa-ing...

For the Scones:
(makes about 8 scones)
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, cubed
3/4 cup cinnamon chips
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup cold eggnog, plus 1 Tablespoon
*sugar for topping

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice until combined. Work in the cubed butter until the mixture is crumbly, if larger pieces of butter remain that is ok, it makes for a flakier scone. Add in the 3/4 cup of cinnamon chips and stir to combine.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla, and 3/4 cup of the eggnog. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and mix on low just until it comes together.  Dump out dough onto floured surface and shape into a 3/4" thick rectangle. Cut to your desired shape, I cut mine with a round cookie cutter but if you like the triangular shaped scones, shape dough into a round and cut into triangles (like a pizza).
Place scones on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Brush the tops with the remaining 1 Tablespoon of eggnog and sprinkle with sugar. Place the entire cookie sheet in the freezer to set up while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Bake the scones for about 20-25 minutes or until golden.
Scones are best enjoyed warm... Enjoy!

*recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour