Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tis the Season

The ice cream truck just drove by, playing a tinny chime version of "Deck the Halls".

Monday, April 27, 2009

Happy Anniversary!!!

Tomorrow is my parents' wedding anniversary, so Adam and I decided to do something special for the occasion for them. Their wedding cake was a Black Forest cake, so this was the baking adventure I decided to embark on. 

Essentially, I made a chocolate cake, and topped said cake with whipped cream and cherries. 

Oh yes, and kirsch (cherry liqueur). Can't forget the cake cordials. 

Adam helpfully mixing the dry ingredients together. 

Ooooh, batter-y goodness. 

Ta-da!!! The first part of the master plan is complete. 

Not to jinx myself, but this baking business seems to be going a bit smoother as of late. These cakes exited the pans in a calm and orderly fashion, leaving behind just a light kiss of cake in the pan for a taste. These cookies had behaved pretty civilized and lovely as well. I believe I am liking this trend. 

Oooh, am I confident to have just said that, since a big moment in my kitchenphobe life is about to happen. 

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the first time that I ever put together a layered cake. 

TWO layers here, people! This is multi-dimensional! Reaching for the stars! 

Ok, ok, on with the cake. 

Layer one, and all is well. Cake, whipped cream, cherries. 


I was impressed with myself. It was not only layered, but it was staying that way! The cake came out slightly uneven, but what is whipped cream if not a wonderful mistake-cover-upper? 

Have a slice, why don't you?
I didn't anticipate a negative outcome from the pairing of chocolate with whipped cream and cherries, and I was definitely not disappointed. The flavors were delicious together, and the kirsch added a little bonus cherry kick (it had been brushed over the tops of the cake layers). 

And since I am me, we have just successfully had dessert first. I love dessert. 

Okay, on with the meal, and on with Adam taking the kitchen reins. 

The menu (probably should have started with this, in retrospect):
Penne a la vodka
Chicken with prosciutto and herbs
Asparagus with shallots
Roasted garlic bread
Black Forest cake (but you knew that already, didn't you). Hey, I'm still bursting with pride. I'm going to mention that cake for awhile. 

Sorry I don't have a lot of pictures of the actual meal being cooked. I was wandering, Adam was cooking, dishes were sizzling away and being put together faster than I could grab my camera. 

Prosciutto. If you don't like prosciutto... :(

Asparagus and shallots

Vodka sauce

Mmm...asparagus all roasty-fied

Needless to say, dinner was delicious, and was enjoyed by all (especially the anniversary couple). Happy anniversary, mom and dad!!! :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Time for another 100 calorie snack installment! Although today, we are deviating slightly - the snack in question is a mere 90 calories. 

To fit with our theme, we can envision 10% more snack for the true 100 calorie experience.

Or we can just go with it. 

Without further ado, Quaker Granola Bites - chocolate flavored. 

Check out the explosions of chocolate/granola goodness. 

Upon opening the pack, I discovered 12 granola bites, and one huge ginormous granola godzilla towering over the rest. Did we like the alliteration there? I did.

I decided to count the big guy as two granola bites, bringing our total up to 14 bites

I hope that granola "bite" over there is a gentle giant.

Slightly dramatic shot of the bites.

These were a great little snack. I felt as though I was being particularly healthy because of the granola. They were also an adorable (can a little orb of granola and chocolate be "adorable"?) little size, great for a bite size treat (which I suppose was the point, what with them being called granola bites). Yes, I'd even classify the larger bite as a bite. Perhaps as a bite and 5/8ths. 

If we want to be specific, that is. :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I Love My Family

Easter was a fun-and-family-and-food-filled celebration this year. 

Sounds like a good combination to me.

Early morning on Easter. 8 is early.

My mom gave me an adorably themed bunny cookie, continuing with this week's cookie trend.

It's cooking bunny!!! She doesn't look very kitchenphobe-y, what with her confident wielding of that whisk. Maybe I could learn a thing or two from her skills. 

This is an official product here, people

VERY tasty??? The packaging cannot lie!

Out of the box...isn't she cute?!? I especially like her hat.

And if you thought you were only getting a cookie, you are sorely mistaken. This confection comes with a poem as well. Guess where it's from haha. 

My favorite part about getting candy. Or cookies. Or any dessert. 

Saving the most whimsy for last, in the midst of the Easter antics, my aunt gave a Peep a rockin' hairdo. 

Thank you, thank you very much.
Three cheers for Elvis Peep-sley!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cookies! Yay!

Yes, I know I have avoided the kitchen for awhile now. But I'm back, wooden spoon in one hand, and a fire extinguisher in the other. 

Last night I decided to bake some cookies to add to the Easter dessert assortment. Spending a Friday night baking might not sound like the coolest activity ever, but really, these cookies are delicious. Not that you can't make them at any other point during the week and they wouldn't come out with the same level of deliciousness, but I felt I had to justify my activity. 

On with the show!

This recipe is from, made with a light sprinkling of minor adaptations. 

Chocolate chips, pre-melting. 


Here is where one adaptation comes in. I couldn't find the vanilla. I searched high. I searched low. I then decided to use this. 

I didn't sneak a sip. Promise. 
(I, however, could then not resist a taste of the butter/sugar/chocolate/liqueur combo)

It turns out that the Godiva Liqueur made a fabulous addition to the cookies. Now, I haven't made these before using the vanilla extract, so I can't really compare to how they're supposed to taste. 

But really, are there serious rules in cookie making? I think not. 

Anyways, the flavor of the liqueur was subtly present in the baked cookies, and added a little enhancement to the chocolate flavor. 

The second substitution I made was using white chocolate chips instead of the semi-sweet for both the melted and chip chocolate. I thought it would add a little extra something. Plus I already had white chocolate chips. Plus we've all seen how I like using multiple types of chocolate in one dish

This is what my batter looked like before being frozen. 

The recipe says to put the cookies in the freezer for 20 minutes before rolling them into 1-inch balls. This is a fairly important step, as I learned - as the batter begins to warm up, the chocolate gets meltier (is that a word?) and meltier (word or not, I'm using it again) in your hands. I put the batter back in the freezer between batches. 

The batter, as mentioned, is to be rolled into 1-inch balls. Adam (aka my boyfriend, aka bbq'er extraordinaire) has a nickname for me when I enter the kitchen. 

The anal-retentive chef. 

Yes, I check on things a lot. Yes, I stir when unnecessary, poke when unneeded, and above all do not wander away from the kitchen. That is when potentially bad things happen. 

So, in keeping with my nickname (doesn't it make me sound lovely and easy-going?), when the recipe called for 1 inch, I began to doubt my ability to measure what 1 inch in diameter looked like. 

I really don't think I'm the first person in history to measure their cookies. And if I am, then that's okay. 

Adam is most likely shaking his head partly in disbelief, and partly because he anticipated me doing that. 

Before confectioners' sugar

Oh yes, and if these cookies don't sound amazing enough, they are rolled in confectioners' sugar. 

After confectioners' sugar. 

About 12-14 minutes later, I had these.

How good do these look? You don't have to answer, I know you'd rather be eating one of these cookies than talking. 

You want to see them again? Yeah, so did I. 

OMG these are good. Really good. Also, I got 56 cookies out of this recipe, which means that there are plenty to share. Or keep entirely for yourself. 

I think either decision is entirely okay. 

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A few more springtime photos...

Looking out the window this morning, I liked the way the dew-covered grass looked in the sunshine.

Keep going, little blades of grass! Reach for the sun (I know I am)!

It looks like our lawn is covered with magical fairies. Or stars. Or morning dew. Oh wait. 

Then later on this afternoon (or it could perhaps be considered evening) - lets go with dusk - I felt inspired again. 

Leafy perspective

The tree is starting to bloom...

Another shot of the tree in the dusk.

Can we tell I'm excited about spring? 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A burst of spring

After much wintery dreariness, I excitedly welcome this spring foliage into my life. Is it too early to be thinking ahead to 80 degree weather?