Friday, May 30, 2008

Life at my house...

Life at my house includes frequent serenades, often accompanied by smooth dance moves. Tonight's show - this song remixed and served with a shimmy.

I love this man.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Lemonade Iced Tea Sorbet

There's no better way to kick off the start of summer than by combinubg some of the most refreshing parts of summer - ice tea, lemonade, and frozen treats.

This tasty treat makes up quick in an ice cream maker but must chill for an hour before serving. The taste is a perfect blend of citrus and tea and is a great way to beat the heat and quench your thirst. It's the perfect mix of tart and sweet. The best part is each half cup serving is only 78 calories. Can't beat that!

Recipe from Cooking Light, photo by me.
Lemonade Iced Tea Sorbet
2 cups boiling water
4 regular sized tea bags (CL recommends English Breakfast but I just used what was on hand)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (I used just a touch more as I strained out the pulp)
1 cup ice
mint sprigs for cuteness (I omitted)

Combine boiling water and tea bags in a large bowl; steep for 5 minutes. Discard the tea bags. Add sugar to the tea mixture,, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cool completely. Stir in juice and 1 cup ice water. Chill 1 hour. (I put it in the freezer for 15 minutes)

Pour tea mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer ; freeze according to manufacturer's directions (I used my KA attachment and it took 18 minutes). Spoon sorbet into a freezer-safe container. Cover and freeze until firm, about 1 hour. Garnish with mint sprigs if desired.

Yield: Eight 1/2 cup servings.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

TWD: sticky gooey nutty messy- DELISH!

I finally got my hands unstuck and could sit down to type this up.:)

Dorie does it again with the Pecan Sticky Buns, this week's Tuesday with Dorie selection by Madam Chow. I love Madam Chow. She was one of the first people to comment when I first join TWD and now I know we are friends from afar because I would have chosen this recipe, were it my turn. (Only 18 more weeks to go!)

Now, for the buns. The sticky buns are made from Dorie's brioche dough which I had the pleasure of experiencing a few weeks ago. I liked the raisin brioche snails but I think I like their sweeter, nutty cousin a lot better. Nutty cousins always make life more interesting. Just ask my cousins what they think about me and they'll confirm.

Anyway, my dough rose like a dream and this time I had the good sense to hold my KA mixer down so it didn't dance across the counter. A few slaps, more rising, and a few more slaps and the dough was ready to chill all night long.

The next day, I woke up and followed the directions for bun assembly. (Could there be any more butter in the recipe?) Everything worked just as Dorie explained and my buns we rolled, sliced and ready to rise. I followed a tip another TWD gave once and let my buns rise in the oven with the light on. It worked almost too well as my buns were doubled in just an hour. A quick confirmation IM to my buddy CB and I was convinced it was time to bake.

I popped the suckers in and just half an hour later, I was ready to devour these tasty treats. Did I mention that this was supposed to be breakfast and it was now almost 1 o'clock?

I'm taking these to work so I'll let you know what the coworkers think. Hubs and I gave it an A. So delish!

Head on over to TWD and see how all our Dor-ific bakers did this week!

Pecan Honey Sticky Buns
Makes 15 buns
For the Glaze:
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces1/4 cup honey1-1/2 cups pecans (whole or pieces)

For the Filling:
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the Buns:
1/2 recipe dough for Golden Brioche loaves (see below), chilled and ready to shape (make the full recipe and cut the dough in half after refrigerating it overnight)

Generously butter a 9-x-13-inch baking pan (a Pyrex pan is perfect for this).

To make the glaze: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the brown sugar, butter, and honey to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Pour the glaze into the buttered pan, evening it out as best you can by tilting the pan or spreading the glaze with a heatproof spatula. Sprinkle over the pecans.

To make the filling: Mix the sugars and cinnamon together in a bowl. If necessary, in another bowl, work the butter with a spatula until it is soft, smooth and spreadable.

To shape the buns: On a flour-dusted work surface, roll the chilled dough into a 16-inch square. Using your fingers or a pastry brush, spread the softened butter over the dough. Sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar, leaving a 1-inch strip bare on the side farthest from you. Starting with the side nearest you, roll the dough into a cylinder, keeping the roll as tight as you can. (At this point, you can wrap the dough airtight and freeze it for up to 2 months . . . . Or, if you want to make just part of the recipe now, you can use as much of the dough as you'd like and freeze the remainder. Reduce the glaze recipe accordingly).

With a chef's knife, using a gentle sawing motion, trim just a tiny bit from the ends of the roll if they're very ragged or not well filled, then cut the log into 1-inch thick buns. (Because you trim the ragged ends of the dough, and you may have lost a little length in the rolling, you will get 15 buns, not 16.) Fit the buns into the pan cut side down, leaving some space between them.

Lightly cover the pan with a piece of wax paper and set the pan in a warm place until the buns have doubled in volume, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. The buns are properly risen when they are puffy, soft, doubled and, in all likelihood, touching one another.

Getting ready to bake: When the buns have almost fully risen , center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Remove the sheet of wax paper and put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Bake the sticky buns for about 30 minutes, or until they are puffed and gorgeously golden; the glaze will be bubbling away merrily. Pull the pan from the oven.

The sticky buns must be unmolded minutes after they come out of the oven. If you do not have a rimmed platter large enough to hold them, use a baking sheet lined with a silicone mate or buttered foil. Be careful - the glaze is super-hot and super-sticky.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Dolly Parton performs in London the week before I go for vacation. She's in San Diego when I'm in London.

Dolly come back to me! I love you.

My self-made Dolly mix is good but I want to hear Jolene live.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Oh dear

Dear kettle chips,

Why do I love you? Please, please stop tasting so good.

The hips of...


I'm glad I live in CA and still have 9 hours and 9 mins to get my item posted. Hint: it is not madelines.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Super fun weekend.

My sides hurt from laughing so hard. I just spent the weekend with six friends; some old, some new. We were celebrating the upcoming nuptials of a certain fantastic friend. We had a great time! My only complaint is that the weekend went by way too fast.

Can't wait to see you all again at the wedding!

Thanks to CB for the super cute (and tasty) cuppys.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I think a TAG means, "to all groupies"...Yeah, I like that. So, for all my groupies ::waves at mom::, it's meme time! I was tagged by CB a while ago and am just now getting around to doing it. I won't lie. I'm a little afraid of CB so, here goes:

Five things found in your bag/purse:
1. Passport since my purse was stolen and I'm still waiting for the DMV to send me a new DL.
2. Two to do lists - one for work, one for life
3. At least 3 chapsticks. Love that stuff!
4. Ponytail rubberband thingy
5. Crackberry ::runs to check for the flashing light::

Five favorite things in your room:(It doesn't say what room so I'll choose kitchen, just like my hero CB)
1. Tangering Kitchen Aid Mixer
2. My small spatula. We are super good friends.
3. A room divider (as hubs calls it) which holds all my glassware and tea related cuties. Love that!
4. Knives
5. Salad Spinner

Five things you have always wanted to do:
1. Skydive - NOT bungy jump. Hello, it's a giant rubber band, people!
2. Be a mom
3. Finish my BA
4. Travel extensively
5. Grow 5 more inches.

Five things you are currently into:
1. Other people's weddings
2. Baking
3. Crackberry!
4. Knitting
5. Spending time with hubs

Five people you want to tag:
1. I think everyone has been tagged but feel free to do it if you wish! Let me know if you do and I'll make sure to read it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Part 2: You put the lime in the coconut...

and burn it all up!

Yep, I burned my meringue. But, I'm getting ahead of myself. While this recipe, chosen by the lovely Diane at Diane's Dishes, seemed easy I had some issues. Here is a list of things I learned:

1. If you decide to cheat and use a store bought crust, do NOT try to put it into your own pie pan. No one will think you actually made that crust and most likely, your crust will not fit into your home pie plate and will end up looking like this:

2. If you decide to be "authentic" and use key limes, for the love of all things citrus, USE a lime juicer/press thing. Do not think that you can use a regular juicer contraption. The limes are tiny, don't fit and you could end up squirting yourself in the eye (twice). Also, you could possibly spill all the lime juice and have to start over squeezing the tiny little suckers until they release their precious 1/1000 cup of juice. Don't ask me how I know this.

3. When you put the meringue under the broiler, do not let your husband distract you by singing his own version of MMMBop at the top of his lungs. You might just burn your meringue to all heck. Just a suggestion...

Overall, this pie was easy though I was trying to hurry and made some errors. Oh well, we all get busy and make mistakes. I'm also not a coconut fan. In fact, I hate it. So, I added the coconut to the the cream but skipped it in the meringue. I think it was the perfect compromise! The pie was yumola - even with the coconut. I realized I like the taste of coconut but the texture is what is weird to me.

I think I might use coconut milk next time instead of coconut, though hubs says I should make it just like that, again. He loved it and gave it a good solid "A".

Head on over to TWD to see what how our other bakers fared this week.

Yes! I made it in by midnight Tuesday. I rock!

You put the lime in the coconut...

Check back tonight for my TWD entry. I'm running just a tad behind.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Dress update.

I decided not to sell my dress. After thinking about it further and talking to a few good friends, I realized that I just don't want to sell it. The hubs was sweet about it and we both agreed. Once it's gone, it's gone.

I emailed the interested party and let her know that I planned to keep the dress. I know she was looking at several other dresses so I'm sure she'll find something perfect.

Thanks for the comments and thoughts!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Wedding dress - WWYD?

A girl wants to buy my wedding dress, today! Should I do it? Will I miss having it? WWYD?

TWD - Peanut Butter Torte

I'm back! After a two week hiatus from my weekly bake-n-blog group, Tuesdays with Dorie, I'm back with a completed recipe and am ready to share. This week's recipe was chosen by Ugg Smell Food and boy did she pick a yummy one.

A few adaptions on the torte - I used a peanut/pecan mix for my nuts as I found them pre-hopped that way and I didn't feel like chopping up a ton of nuts. I also used semisweet chocolate for the ganache rather than bittersweet, like Dorie suggested. (She does love the bittersweet, doesn't she!?)

I can't decide which part I like best, the crumbly Oreo cookie crust, the fluffy peanut butter middle, or the gooey ganache topping with crunch. I think I may have to try another piece before I can vote!

The torte whipped up super easy and looked so pretty! Due to some upcoming construction my four person department just moved into a shared space with a hodge podge of other departments and let me just say, I think I made a few friends today when I walked in with the tasty treat.

Recipe by Dorie, pictures from my kitchen!

Peanut Butter Torte
1 ¼ c. finely chopped salted peanuts (I used a peanut/pecan mix)
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon instant espresso powder (or finely ground instant coffee)
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
½ c. mini chocolate chips (or finely chopped semi sweet chocolate)
24 Oreo cookies, finely crumbed or ground in a food processor or blender ( I used 28)
½ stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Small pinch of salt
2 ½ c. heavy cream
1 ¼ c confectioners’ sugar, sifted
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ½ c salted peanut butter – crunchy or smooth (not natural; I used Jif)
2 tablespoons whole milk ( I used 2%)
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate finely chopped (semisweet)

Getting ready: center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch Springform pan and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

Toss ½ cup of the chopped peanuts, the sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate chops together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Put the Oreo crumbs, melted butter and salt in another small bowl and stir with a fork just until crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the spring form pan (they should go up about 2 inches on the sides). Freeze the crust for 10 minutes.

Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a rack and let it cool completely before filling.

Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, whip 2 cups of the cream until it holds medium peaks. Beat in ¼ cup of the confectioners’ sugar and whip until the cream holds medium-firm peaks. Scrape the cream into a bowl and refrigerate until needed.

Wipe out (do not wash) the bowl, fit the stand mixer with the paddle attachment if you have one, or continue with the hand mixer, and beat the cream cheese with the remaining 1 cup confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until the cream cheese is satiny smooth. Beat in the peanut butter, ¼ cup of the chopped peanuts and the milk.

Using a large rubber spatula, gently stir in about one quarter of the whipped cream, just to lighten the mousse. Still working with the spatula, stir in the crunchy peanut mixture, then gingerly fold in the remaining whipped cream.

Scrape the mouse into the crust, mounding and smoothing the top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight; cover with plastic wrap as soon as the mousse firms.

To Finish The Torte: put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Leave the bowl over the water just until the chocolate softens and starts to melt, about 3 minutes; remove the bowl from the saucepan.

Bring the remaining ½ cup cream to a full boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and , working with a a rubber spatula, very gently stir together until the ganache is completely blended and glossy.

Pour the ganache over the torte, smoothing it with a metal icing spatula. Scatter the remaining ½ cup peanuts over the top and chill to set the topping, about 20 minutes.

When the ganache is firm, remove the sides of the Springform pan; it’s easiest to warm the pan with a hairdryer, and then remove the sides, but you can also wrap a kitchen towel damped with hot water around the pan and leave it there for 10 seconds. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Hubby gave an A-. He said it would only be an A if it had ice cream in it!

Monday, May 5, 2008

It was a bomb (not the good kind).

Tonight, I made a chicken orzo dish from Cooking Light. While I thought it was OK, hubs said he probably would not want to eat it again. That's his nice way of saying "that was nasty!" He said he thinks it was the cheese which doesn't surprise me. Asiago cheese is for refined palettes. The boy was eating Kraft singles when we met!

Recipe here. If you like 'stinky cheese' you'll dig it. Next time, I'm adding some garlic and a different green veggie. The peas were my least fave part.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Hey knotties/nesties...

Have you seen this?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Stick a fork in me...

I am now finished with my undergraduate coursework! I should receive a letter once my grade posts confirming the completion of the requirements for my BBA. It only took 11 years but I don't care. I did it!

It feels so good to be done. Now what to do with all my free time? Oh yeah! I'm going to have some fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!