Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cannellini and Sun Dried Tomato Bean Dip...


Has anyone caught the show Burning Love that recently premiered on E!?

First of all, it's executively produced by the hilarious Ben Stiller and has some pretty well known actors included in the cast such as Kristen BellMalin Akerman, and Ken Jeong.

It is a genius spoof of the very popular Bachelor on ABC.

One of the spoofs include Mark Orlando who is played by Ken Marino, the Burning Love "bachelor," giving the contestants fire hoses, instead of roses at the elimination round. "Will you accept my hose?" Too funny!

I don't want to giveaway all of the deets, so I won't mention anything else, except that it's worth checking out if you want a good laugh. The characters are so preposterous, that a few of them, some may find borderline offensive. I'm still chuckling over this show, three days after it premiered. I've kind of acquired a somewhat dark/odd sense of humor since my husband and I have been together.

He has a crazy sense of humor and is very quick with his timing. So, this is a show that we can watch together...... since we all know he's NOT watching Downton Abbey with me.

Anyway, if you check-out this show... make some of this bean dip to snack on while you watch. Bean dip totally goes well with TV. It's a fact.

Cannellini and Sun Dried Tomato Bean Dip

  • 2 Cans (15 oz.) Cannellini Beans, Rinsed and Drained
  • 1/2 Cup Sun Dried Tomatoes, Roughly Chopped
  • 2-4 Tablespoons Flat Leaf Parsley, Roughly Chopped
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 1/3 Cup Good Quality Olive Oil
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Sun Dried Tomato Oil From The Jar
  • Sea Salt, To Taste
  • Freshly Ground Pepper, To Taste
  • Pita Chips
In a food processor, pulse the beans, tomatoes, parsley, and garlic a few times to combine. Add the olive oil slowly, then the sun dried oil, while pulsing. Season with the salt and pepper, pulsing a bit to incorporate. 

Transfer the dip to a bowl and serve with pita chips.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Lemon Vanilla Bean Mousse...


So, are you throwing a spectacular Oscar party this year or watching it in your pajamas on your couch, by yourself?

I usually tend to do the latter. I rarely miss the Red Carpet. Honestly, that is my favorite part......

...... well, almost. I enjoy the night after when I can watch Fashion Police on E! Um, can you say hilarious!

Most of the time I've not seen the nominees for Best Picture, but this year I've seen 1-1/2 of the films nominated.

Silver Linings Playbook happens to be one of them. It is a fabulous movie! I would recommend it to anyone. It may seem like a chick flick, but men could definitely get into this movie. It has football, after all.

The other 1/2 was Beasts of The Southern Wild. Okay...... let me explain this one.

While visiting family in California this past summer, my Aunt wanted to take me, my girls, and my sister to see this movie. It is rated PG-13, and the previews looked appropriate when my Aunt saw them, so it seemed fine to take my 8 year old along.

Yes, there was some language I found myself wincing at, but was enjoying the movie. Until, about a little less than half way through the film, my youngest starts freaking out and crying. Okay, it is a bit depressing (I mean, her family sitch is not the best), and there is a hurricane that the young narrator/protagonist begins preparing for. She does this by getting in a small rickety boat, all the while the hurricane is beginning to bare down on her home. It's loud, it's scary.

Needless to say, my Aunt felt bad and took my youngest out of the theatre and insisted we stay. I was willing to ride out the movie, but my oldest daughter and sister we're not. Let's just say my youngest was their saving grace when it came to getting out of that theatre!

There you have it. Two...... and a half...... Oscar nominated films I've seen this season. How about you? Have you seen any of the films nominated? Do you love watching the Red Carpet as much as I do?

If you find yourself watching this year, say you'll watch while treating yourself to some airy, lemony, delicious mousse.

Well, what do you know!?! I have a recipe right here for you...

Lemon Vanilla Bean Mousse

  • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream, Chilled
  • 2/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Lemon, Juiced and Zested
  • 1 Vanilla Bean, Scrapped
  • 2 Egg Whites (You can use Egg Beaters Egg Whites), Room Temperature                                              
In a medium chilled bowl, using chilled beaters, beat the cream until stiff peaks begin to form, all the while gradually adding the sugar, lemon juice and zest, then the scrapped vanilla bean seeds. Set the bowl aside in the refrigerator. Rinse the beaters.

In another medium bowl, beat the egg whites on high until they become frothy, then form into very stiff peaks. This will take anywhere from 8 to 10 minutes. 

Using a spatula, fold the egg whites into the lemon vanilla whipped cream in small batches. Divide the mousse between six to eight, 4 oz. ramekins. Cover and chill in the refrigerator overnight. Makes 6-8 servings.


I'm linking this post up to I'm Lovin' It.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Valentine Cupcake Surprise...

Let's talk about Valentine's Day, shall we?

I have to admit, it's one of my favorite holidays. It wouldn't even matter if I didn't have a special Valentine.....

..... I still love the holiday.

I mean, who can resist all the cutesy hearts, chocolates, and flowers everywhere!?! Not me.

I guess if I got a totally crappy Valentine's Day gift from my Valentine, that would put a damper on my love of the holiday. Which, so far, hasn't happened.

Let's explore what makes a horrible Valentine's Day gift. Or at least what I feel would make a horrible Valentine's Day gift. Okay?

Emily's List of Horrible Valentine's Day Gifts
(In no particular order)

1.)Hunka Love Bear from Vermont Teddy Bear, or any teddy bear for that matter.

I'm a grown woman... stating the obvious here! Plus... I'm constantly trying to clear out my younger daughter's stuffed animals. Why would I want one for myself!?! Fail, my friends. Fail.

2.) Fake flowers. A big no no. Let me repeat. A BIG no no.

3.) Any small kitchen appliance.

Yeah, so I asked for a stand mixer from my husband for Christmas one year. The point is......
I asked for it! Not romantic on Valentine's Day.

4.) Perfume.

Unless I tell you a specific brand or scent, DON'T BUY IT! ...... (hint, hint)

5.) A gift card.

Very impersonal gift, my friends. Not much thought put into that one. Double fail.

6.) A gym membership.

Or ANYTHING remotely related to weight loss. That is self explanatory.

7.) A cheesy Valentine T- Shirt.

Evidence here.

8.) Trashy lingerie.

Definitely NOT thinking of me. Triple fail.

9.) "Funny" Valentine's Day gifts.

Notice the word funny is in quotes.

10.) Nothing at all. Quadruple fail.

It doesn't have to be a huge gift. All I ask for is a card or a small romantic gift that says "I love you."

Have you ever received something awful for Valentine's Day? Or have you received something spectacular? What was it?

These adorable cupcakes are spectacular. I hope you'll make them. They'll cheer you right up if you just so happen to receive a crappy gift this year for Valentine's Day. Or, make them for your Valentine!

Valentine Cupcake Surprise

  • Prepared Cupcakes, Cooled
  • Jumbo or Large Ice Cream Cones
  • Valentine Candies
  • Canned or Homemade Frosting
  • Valentine Sprinkles
Remove the cupcakes from their liners. Add a small amount of frosting around the inner edge of the ice cream cone by piping it or spreading it with a spatula. Fill the ice cream cone, about half way with the Valentine candies. Attach the cupcake, top side down, to the cone so that the bottom of the cupcake is now the top. Frost the cupcake to look like ice cream, then add the sprinkles. 


Monday, February 11, 2013

Mardi Gras Cookies...


Are you looking forward to celebrating Mardi Gras? Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday

As I've mentioned before, I would love to celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans...... it's on my bucket list for sure. 

I have a very simple and fun cookie for you. So simple you can have your kiddos help. You don't even need to make the cookie dough from scratch, if you don't want to. BONUS!

I love how wild the cookies look...... perfect for Mardi Gras! 

Mardi Gras Cookies
  • 1 Pound Prepared Cookie Dough
  • Purple Gel Food Coloring
  • Green Gel Food Coloring
  • Yellow Gel Food Coloring
Divide the cookie dough into thirds. Color one portion with purple coloring, one with green coloring, and the last portion with yellow coloring. Add the gel coloring until you get the desired color. When finished wrap each portion separately in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for an hour or two.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees (F).

Once the cookie dough has chilled, remove each portion. Take a small piece of dough from each color, enough so that you can roll a 1-inch ball. Continue this process until all the cookie dough is used up.

Place the rolled balls onto parchment lined baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until set. Do not over bake, as browning or burning the cookies will ruin the color effect. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for a minute or two, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely. Store in airtight containers. Makes about 2-1/2 dozen cookies.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Chocolate Cherry Chunk Scones...

We need to talk.

About a particular show.

It's called Downton Abbey, my friends.


I'm a sucker for this genre of series, a major sucker...... and my family just doesn't get it. Not one of them! Scandalous, right?

My youngest really doesn't pay attention to it, my oldest doesn't understand why I would watch something so boring, and my husband just makes fun of the series.

In making fun, I mean he uses his best English accent and continues to call it Downtown Abbey... which I know he knows what it's called, but continues to do so, because he knows it ANNOYS the HECK out of me!

But I just ignore it, curl up with my tea and cookies (biscuits, as the English say) or some scones and enjoy the wittiness of Grandmama, the forward moving and kind Isobel Crawley, or even the privileged Crawley daughter Mary. I can't forget to mention Mrs. Patmore. She totally rocks it in the kitchen!

Some may call me obsessed...... but, I think of it as being enthusiastically devoted.

I did almost buy a Downton Abbey 2013 Calendar and I'm totally thinking about ordering a T-shirt or tote. I just can't decide which one I like best. Evidence of my devotion.

So, if you are as enthusiastically devoted to Downton Abbey as I am, make these scones to accompany your tea while you watch.

I mean, you demurely drink tea while watching, right? Why do I even need to ask!?!

...... Of course you do!

Chocolate Cherry Chunk Scones

  • 2 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Cocoa
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Cup (2 Sticks) Salted Butter, Softened
  • 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Whole Eggs, Room Temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons Cooled Prepared Coffee
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 6 oz. Dried Cherries
  • 1 Cup Dark Chocolate Chunks
Heat the oven to 350 degrees (F).

In a medium sized bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, and soda together. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat just until combined. Next, beat in the coffee and vanilla. 

Gradually add the flour mixture until it is incorporated. Stir in the cranberries and the dark chocolate chunks. It will be a very dense mixture. Drop by tablespoonful onto parchment lined cookie sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake 12-14 minutes, or until the scones are set. 

Cool a few minutes before transferring the scones to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen scones. Store in an airtight container. 


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