Category / Good Eats

neighborly christmas cheer.

After our nose-dive arrival into the neighborhood with the martian green front door, I figured we owed the neighbors a little peace offering. Plus, a couple have already been by with holiday treats and I’d like to return the favor. The problem? My kitchen is still half-packed and baking is about #407 on my to-do list right now.

Enter the wonder that is the holiday “oreo” cookie from Trader Joe’s…Peppermint Joe Joes.

I saran-wrapped a handful of these for each house, and whipped up a little card with a nod to the whole door disaster…and everyone loves a little store-bought humor…right?? 🙂

From our (crazy and still half-packed) house to yours…Merry Christmas. 🙂

 

 

A must-try “diet” dessert…

…I promise, these Green Tea Truffels don’t taste even remotely “diet”!

My coworker lent me her South Beach cookbook and I promptly flipped right past the meal sections to DESSERTS. It’s phase 2, baby…bring on the dark chocolate and red wine (both in moderation of course)!

These are very easy to make and you can play with the flavor by selecting different kinds of green tea. I’ve made two batches (one a week – ha!) one with honey green tea, the other with orange green tea. You can really taste both flavors, and there’s something about a truffle that is very decadent. It’s easy to forget it’s a “diet” treat. It’s also easy to reach for a second…and a third…

Green Tea Truffles

1 bag DARK chocolate chips (60% cocao or more)
4 green tea bags
3/4 c. fat free half and half
unsweetened cocoa powder

Simmer the half and half in a saucepan. Remove from heat and add the tea bags for five minutes. Remove tea bags and return half and half to a simmer, then pour over chocolate chips in a bowl. Stir to combine until smooth. Stick bowl in the freezer for fifteen to twenty minutes until mixture is thick enough to roll into balls. Roll balls in hands and then roll in light coating of cocoa powder. Store in airtight container in fridge for up to two weeks.

 

let the (football) games begin.

It’s hard to believe we’re entering fall already. The summer flew by much too fast – but the thing that gets me through it is knowing what’s coming up next…football – more specifically, HAWKEYE football – season! I have my game day cup all ready to go…now… what to serve alongside the beverages?

I’ve been digging up favorite game day recipes from the past couple of years, but also pinning a bunch of new ones on Pinterest. By the time we are 9-0 this season (right??), I plan to have attempted each one of these tasty delights: (Click on photos to go to links)

Stadium Snack Tray:

Chocolate Covered Footballs:

Mississippi Sin Dip:

Beer Dip: (I LOVE this recipe and there’s not much to it!)

As for some old favorites, I’ll be making the Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe found in this post, and definitely going to bring back some of the popcorn recipes I tried for my Academy Award party.

Additionally, I’m hoping to see the following friends’ dishes at some point during the season (and score a copy of the recipe)…not to name names, but those little tortilla chips with the corn and cheese in them (Mary), chili (Emily), and that mushroom swiss bread (Matt)! 🙂

Do you have any MUST-make tailgating/game day recipes? I love to swap! 🙂

Overall, a success. :)

My friend Julie’s birthday was the perfect excuse to try out my new cake pop maker. While these aren’t quite as amazing as Bakerella, I was pleased overall for the first go-round.

First things first – that little appliance was amazing and made it very hard to mess up the baking portion of the process. (I made the lemon cake recipe in the booklet that comes with – they turned out very yummy!) As you can see here (and as the directions mentioned) – the bottom halves look more golden brown than the tops, because of the heat source in the appliance. As long as you use a frosting dip or a rather opaque glaze, you don’t see this in the final pops. I can see why some people opt to do the frosting and cake combination pops – they would be more dense and easier to put on sticks. Even though I let the pops cool, putting them on the sticks was a very delicate process. For every two I managed to get on sticks, and dip without them breaking off, there was at least one casualty.

My friend, Christine, mentioned that getting the icing dip around where the stick enters the pop helps to keep it on there, which makes a lot of sense. My problem though was that because the pops were so delicately placed on the sticks, I had to keep the frosting as hot and thin as possible for dipping, which meant it took a bit to cool and harden – and keeping them together while that happened was the hardest part. I have read, since, that it helps to dip the stick into the icing, THEN insert it. Will be trying that next time!

I’ll definitely be googling and reading a bit more on the Bakerella blog to see if anyone has any tips or tricks, but I think overall it’s just a bit of the practice makes perfect mantra. I leave you with a pic of the cute birthday girl… 🙂